What began as a mod called Defense of the Ancients for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos in 2003 has become a multimedia empire for Valve. Dota 2 currently reigns as one of the most popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games on the planet, spawning multi-million-dollar esports tournaments as well as a huge viewership on live streaming platforms. With Dota: Dragon’s Blood, Valve and Netflix bring the world of Dota to anime.
Produced by Legend of Korra animation company Studio Mir, along with Netflix Animation and Valve, this new take on the franchise is inspired by the lore found in the MOBA, but is also serious narrative expansion of this universe, introducing backstories for not only some of the characters we know from the games but the goddesses and dragons that rule the world of Dota beyond the mortal realm. The series not only serves as an origin story for Dota hero Davion, the Dragon Knight (Yuri Lowenthal), but also fleshes out many other fan-favorite characters like Mirana (Lara Pulver), Luna (Kari Wahlgren), and Invoker (Troy Baker). Even Terrorblade (JB Blanc) gets his time to shine in the 8-episode series.
While Dota 2‘s “story” is largely told through hero and item descriptions in-game, Dragon’s Blood tries to combine all of this lore into a coherent storyline that largely revolved around a MacGuffin known as the Lotuses, sacred glowing flowers that are said to be able to bring back the missing goddess of the moon known as Mene when planted in the ground by a mysterious figure known as the Invoker. The only problem is that these Lotuses are fiercely protected by the other goddess of the moon, Selemene (Alix Wilton Regan), a vain and somewhat cruel being, as well as Princess Mirana and Dark Moon Order warrior Luna.
But when an elf named Fymryn steals some of these Lotuses from Mirana in order to fulfill the prophecy that might bring back Mene, the goddess her people worship, it ignites a war between the humans and long-persecuted elven race. While Mirana goes on a quest to recover the stolen Lotuses, Luna and the Dark Moon Order begin slaughtering elves without mercy as punishment.
Meanwhile, we meet Davion on his own adventure as a dragon knight, a hunter sworn to protect humanity from the mythical creatures that terrorize their lands. But when he meets Slyrak the Ember Eldwyrm, a powerful elder dragon in a fight for its life against the demonic Terrorblade, Davion suddenly finds his life and mission intertwined with a creature he’s been training all his life to kill.
Paths eventually converge, leading to stunning betrayals, twists, and plenty of awesome combat sequences. We even get a bit of romance before the first season is up. There’s also a cliffhanger ending that we won’t spoil here. It’s arguably the first season’s biggest moment but the screen fades to black before we can see it resolved.
So, will there be a Dota: Dragon’s Blood season 2 to continue this story? While Netflix hasn’t officially renewed the series yet, a second season does sound like it’s at least in the works. Robert Meyer Burnett, the animatic editor on the show, confirmed that he’s worked on 24 episodes of the show, which could mean there will be at least two additional “Books” (read: seasons) of the show if subsequent installments follow the same 8-episode structure as Book 1.
Assuming viewership numbers are where Netflix wants them to be, it’s likely Dota fans will get another installment of Dragon’s Blood at some point in the future. Perhaps even in 2022? We sure hope so because we’re dying to know just what the Invoker is up to…