This series shows some definite promise, so I'll be getting more volumes once my library orders them. I'm hoping that future volumes allow for Reiji and his dragon, Chibi, to develop a decent friendship, rather than just focusing on the fighting, but, considering that this is a shonen manga, I'm guessing Chibi will mostly just be a mysterious and occasionally funny tool for battle, rather than a friend with a gradually developing and evolving personality.
If this game actually existed in real life in the same way it does in the manga, I guarantee people would be lined up for days to play it. I know I would. That aspect is part of what makes this manga fun. You get to imagine what it would be like having a virtual dragon that's matched specifically to your stats. The dragons themselves are also interesting. There's a bit of humor, too, but that aspect won't be enough to keep me reading this series. I'm interested to see if Sakura will be able to improve this series and continue to make it appealing beyond the things I just mentioned, or if it will stagnate.
- Hikaru no Go by Yumi Hotta (art by Takeshi Obata) - This is another game-based manga, although the game in this case is a board game and real. When describing the game Go, people often bring up Othello, although those two games are not the same. Hikaru, like Reiji, doesn't originally want to play the game he gets roped into playing, but the ghost bugging Hikaru won't leave him alone. Hikaru gets started with Go and gets hooked, and readers get to follow along as he gets better and better. Like Reiji, Hikaru starts off mysteriously good, but that's because he has the help of Sai, a deceased Go instructor.
- Pokemon - I'm not a big Pokemon watcher. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen an entire episode. I imagine the show was probably a bit better in the original Japanese, although maybe not by much. However, the little Pokemon remind me of the dragons in Dragon Drive. They don't get the kind of development human characters do, but their human masters see them as friends. The human Pokemon masters pit their Pokemon against each other to see who's stronger, once again just like the dragons.
- Angelic Layer by CLAMP - I've never read this, but I've heard a lot about it over the years, enough to think that it sounds similar to Dragon Drive. In this manga, the main character is a 12-year-old girl named Misaki. The game here is called Angelic Layer, and players battle it out with little dolls. Even though she's a newbie, Misaki becomes a strong competitor.