I’ve been looking forward to reading Drifting Dragons volume 2 for a while now. I received it at the same time as volume 1, but I wanted to carve out some precious time to read it all in one sitting. After loving the world created in previous chapters, I just wanted to take my time and enjoy the art and setting. Let’s find out if the latest adventures of Mika and the Quin Zaza are still as fun in our Drifting Dragons volume 2 review. Taku Kuwabara’s Drifting Dragons is published in the West via Kodansha and is available as a physical tankōbon and digitally.
As mentioned in our review of Drifting Dragons volume 1, the story so far has been single chapter arcs. Mostly establishing the world and rounding out the characters, creating a solid base to launch. My hope for this volume was that Kuwabara would start to weave a larger story.
I was not disappointed! Drifting Dragons volume 2 gives us a whole arc. Set in the port town of Quon, this arc is complete with character development and plenty of action to keep you going. Of course, there are the Drifting Dragons staples; hunting dragons and cooking them! Yes, even though it’s set mostly in one location, we still see plenty of action across this volume.
While on shore leave, the crew find themselves up to all kinds of mischief often associated with sailors. Vannebelle gets into a drinking competition, while Niko and Jiro find out why Drakers have a terrible reputation amongst the public.
It’s not just these smaller side stories though. We get some more backstory when Mika takes Takita to meet his family, which also expands the lore of Drifting Dragons. We even start to see our first romance of the series with one of our main characters. I’ll leave that one a mystery for you to enjoy if you pick up this volume.
The artwork retains its high level of detail from volume 1. I especially enjoy the backgrounds. The town of Quon (where most of this volume is set) gives you the feel of a bustling port town. You get the feeling that there is a lot of industry here and that peoples daily lives are hectic. Panels set in the interior of Old Man Ula’s tent are among some of my favourite in this volume. The level of detail and the uniqueness of the design on display is breathtaking.
Although the character designs are more straightforward than the backgrounds, the difference makes them pop out of the panel. Kuwabara does a great job of keeping the action flowing in fluidly and in a way that is very easy to follow. You never lose any atmosphere either; the balance is perfect between the dramatic and easily readable.
Is Driftin Dragons volume 2 worth reading?
100% yes! After reading volume 1, I was hoping to read an arc that I get my teeth into. Volume 2 proves that Drifting Dragons can work across an arc and not just in single short stories. We see character growth from our main cast, have a few new minor characters added to the cast and plenty of action to shake a harpoon at!
I can’t wait to read more about the adventures of Mika and the Quin Zaza. I’m looking forward to getting my grubby hands on Drifting Dragons volume 3.