Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan follows Hisone Amakasu – a character that lacks social skills trying to overcome her new role as a dragon pilot, in an endearing and relatable story.
Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan, also known as Hisone to Masotan, is the latest Netflix anime series to grace the leading streaming platform internationally. Since Netflix has reached exclusive deals for anime originals, I have gauged a vested interest for this genre merely due to my association with Ready Steady Cut. The likes of Flavors of Youth, A.I.C.O. Incarnation, Children of the Whales and B: The Beginning won me over somewhat easily. If Netflix does anything correctly, it’s expanding into new markets bringing in their existing fandoms, even if it is at times hit and miss.
Before I delve into the general plot of Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan, it is worthwhile discussing the lead character Hisone Amakasu (voiced by Misaki Kuno).
The young character is an introvert but in reality, her demeanour when she finds herself in a pressure situation tells the honest story. She lacks social skills and confidence to allow herself to engage with others; whether superiors or peers, Hisone Amakasu finds it difficult to interact. It does not help that the character often speaks everything she thinks rather candidly, which at times hurts those around her. Hisone Amakasu is an endearing character you immediately feel sorry for. Even if her style is unwarranted, the anime series is built in such a way that you empathise with her diminishing capacity to deal with normal routine situations.
Hisone Amakasu’s lack of social skills forces her to join as a rookie at the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan sees the lead character in an out-of-town career where she can happily distance herself from people, and be comfortably introverted. One day, that all changes when a dragon named Masotan chooses her to be his pilot.
Netflix anime series Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan provides a small degree of history as to why these dragons exist in a Japanese airbase, but it does not feel important in the grand scheme of the narrative. What is relevant is that the dragons are habitually dressed in transforming armour shaped like military planes to avoid public attention. The technical term for the dragons is OTF (Organic Transformed Flyers), giving the story a real sense of government influence, with their need for new terms and acronyms. The first episode of the series provides a charming story into Hisone Amakasu’s lack of confidence; for her, it does not matter if she was chosen because she feels that she is not capable of managing such a high-profile role.
Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan is bizarre in terms of the technology it presents – the dragon swallows the characters up ruthlessly, and they are embodied in an area of the OTF’s body as a kind of fleshy cockpit. Within the sliminess, the characters can control the dragon in various ways. It’s like the dragon loses all ability to function. The concept is almost Pacific Rim, yet less weird and more geared to an organic amalgamation rather than a technological one.
The Netflix anime series sees Hisone Amakasu getting to grips with her new life; maintaining her fame as a chosen pilot, whilst also keeping up with the pressures of becoming a socialite amongst the other pilots. Eventually, a more important project is afoot to stop the destruction of Japan that tests relationships between the characters, and an acid test for the lead character to resist her daily instincts.
Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan serves many lessons about the pressures of a new career and embracing new social groups. Putting aside the main objective of the story, the moments that are uniquely engaging are those where Hisone Amakasu has to deal with a particular person. For example, in one case, she has to deal with rival pilot Nao Kaizaki (voiced by Tomoyo Kurosawa) and the lead character instead chooses to offer an olive branch to her enemy rather than making it an intense competition.
Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan is not the best addition to anime content on Netflix but it is certainly relatable for those who find themselves feeling introverted in many social circles. Amongst the fantasy aspect, the latest Netflix anime series manages to touch some realism amongst human engagement, allowing you to understand the young dragon pilot. It is useful to know that Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan has been converted to Manga, in the Monthly Dragon Age magazine. It may be worth a shout.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.