Dragons are one of the most common fantasy tropes you can find, no matter where you are. But of course, the giant, fire-breathing lizard isn’t always the interpretation you’ll get in anime. Dragons are a distinctly Asian thing too, so the concept of dragons as god-creatures is more common that dragons are big evil flying creatures to be slain by a knight in armor.
Anime "Best of" Genre List
Of course, this is anime we’re talking about. There is room for both interpretations. Here are the top 10 anime with some interpretation of dragons.
Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z
Of course this would top the list. It’s only one of the most influential series in the history of modern animation.
The funny thing is, Dragon Ball Z only tangentially has anything to do with dragons. The only reason for the title is that the Dragon Balls can be collected to summon a god-dragon who grants wishes. And sure, in the original Dragon Ball, this was a major component of the series.
But in Dragon Ball Z, the focus shifts to earth-shaking battles between overpowered characters who scream a lot. The collection of the Dragon Balls becomes such a tangential task, it eventually just becomes for unimportant characters to do off camera over the course of 15 seconds of narration.
Still, a list of “Dragon anime” would be silly without this on it.
It’s not terribly surprising that Japan would find a way to make a dragon just be a cute girl. But that’s what they’ve done in Dragon Crisis.
In it, Ryuuji Kisaragi finds a dragon in human form named Rose, who immediately takes to him. Ryuuji himself has some hidden powers he hasn’t quite figured out, and so the two of them stick together through all sorts of trouble – including run-ins with other, more aggressive dragons.
All of the dragons in Dragon Crisis can transform into humans, but their true form is closer to the winged, fire-breathing variety common to European lore.
Reiji Ozora is a lethargic quitter who lacks the drive to finish anything he starts. That is until he starts playing the new online game “Dragon Drive.”
This is a game that gives you a dragon avatar that reflects your personality and ability. Reiji, for some reason, expects a bit awesome dragon, but gets a little cute one called Chibi.
Obviously he’s disappointed, but little does he know, Chibi is actually the rarest dragon in the game. And he’s going to help Reiji actually commit to something for the first time in his life – just in time to save the day from a shadowy organization that wants to use Dragon Drive for their own domination-themed purposes.
Dragonaut: The Resonance
There’s all kinds of things going on here. Upon discovering a massive asteroid on a collision course with Earth, scientists scramble to find a countermeasure.
What they find is a dragon egg, and they use that to launch the Dragonaut project – one in which powerful weapons are created from experiments on the egg.
Luckily, the asteroid hit – and destroyed – Pluto instead of continuing toward Earth. Unluckily, the asteroid housed a collection of space dragons, who are now very upset to see one of their own being an experimental subject on Earth.
Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri
Okay, this is probably the least dragon-related series on the whole list. But one of the greatest enemies plaguing everyone in the series is a massive Fire Dragon, and there’s a huge operation to go stop it.
More importantly, Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri should get a plug whenever relevant. It’s quite good.