Dragon Head

Beta feedback is coming in. Apart from spelling mistakes nothing serious. Sadly, I couldn’t dig into the task of setting up the website yet. Let’s hope this will get better this week. I’m considering working in the evenings now, I won’t get this game out otherwise.

On a different note, the situation in Japan is terrifying. I found myself checking BBC news every couple of hours. In Germany, the anti-nuclear energy movement is flaring up big time. Seems there are some significant changes coming up.

I was wondering if the constant threat of earthquakes manifested itself somehow in Japanese culture. The obsession with Atom Bombs in Manga and Anime is well documented and obvious in works like Akira or Neon Genesis Evangelion. However, I was never really aware of earthquakes being a topic. Twitter colleague Sebastian Wupper brought my attention to this.

Dragon Head Flooded Area

A region flooded by Tsunamis from chapter 50.

It’s a Manga series called Dragon Head. I actually went ahead and swallowed it. It starts out very strong with the protagonist being stuck in an impossible situation after a series of major disasters struck Japan. The information on the extent of the damage is revealed only very slowly and it climaxes at a frightening scale to say the least. But as with many Manga series, the story kinda gets out of hand later on. At times there are some ridiculously far-fetched scenarios like an entire village unanimously deciding to commit suicide. The art style is also difficult to get used to. In spite of this, I think it’s still a very good series. It has an engaging “Lost” vibe to it and some mysteries are never fully explained. And at some points, the portrayed scenario is indeed somewhat reminiscent what seems to be happening right now in Japan. Thankfully, the real deal seems to be not quite as apocalyptic.

I’m intrigued. Do you know any other instances of earthquakes being addressed in Japanese Manga, Anime or games?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

4 responses to “Dragon Head”

  1. yougenius

    Is that the one where they start on the subway? I think I started that, but I was put off by the art style, and how everyone always looked like they were perspiring. Maybe they were. But it was weird.

    Maybe I’ll try it again.

  2. SebWuepper

    Earthquakes and volcanoes have been prevalent in Japanese fiction and folklore since long before WWII and the atom bombs.
    Japanese folklore states that Japan is situated on a giant catfish, who’s the one causing earthquakes when wriggling.

    I think Dragon Head’s art style is that of a typical horror Manga, of which only very few actually ever made it out of Japan last I checked.
    From the top of my head I can’t think of other Animes, Mangas or games that featured these kinds of disasters as main plotpoints. There’s Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, an Anime about a big earthquake in Tokyo, but I haven’t seen that one yet.

  3. Gregory Weir

    There’s a series of games that I’ve been meaning to check out that’s called “Disaster Report” in the US. They’re apparently survival-themed games taking place during earthquakes and the like. The latest (fourth) one was just canceled in response to the real-life earthquake.

  4. Rose Familia

    I’ve finished reading it and i’m not regret. It’s a good manga which is almost real and contains of very human characters. The plot is slightly slow but really brings you with the situation. The artwork is quite good, especially the surroundings. It’s definitely one of the best horror manga ever made.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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