DOTA: Dragon's Blood creator: Invoker was most interesting to adapt

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DOTA: Dragon's Blood Book II, the second season of the Dota 2 anime on Netflix, is now available for streaming. Now that the anime spans sixteen episodes, fans of the series have been itching for some insight into what's going on behind the scenes.

Series creator Ashley Edward Miller recently did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the Dota 2 subreddit to answer all the burning questions fans had regarding the show.

Here are some of Miller’s answers towards the show’s casting, which characters he enjoyed adapting, and where he drew inspiration for DOTA: Dragon's Blood.

Warning, there are spoilers from DOTA: Dragon's Blood Book 1 ahead.

On his favorite Dota 2 hero to adapt for the anime

While Davion and Mirana are the main protagonists of the anime, the creator did not see them as the most interesting heroes to adapt for the show.

Invoker as he appears in DOTA: Dragon's Blood. Series creator Ashley Edward Miller has revealed that Dota 2's Arsenal Magus is his favorite character. (Photo: Netflix)
Invoker as he appears in DOTA: Dragon's Blood. Series creator Ashley Edward Miller has revealed that Dota 2's Arsenal Magus is his favorite character. (Photo: Netflix)

Instead, that honor goes to Invoker, whom Miller calls "the most interesting adaptation challenge" for DOTA: Dragon's Blood.

It's not hard to see why. Apart from his reputation as one of the most complex heroes in Dota 2, Invoker is also a favorite among many players for his pompous yet enigmatic personality. He is one of the game's oldest and most powerful magic users, able to use an entire arsenal of spells (hence his title as the Arsenal Magus) including one that makes him nigh-immortal.

With all the power at his fingertips, Invoker is understandably a bit full of himself in the game. He often conveys disdain for both allies and enemies he deems unworthy of his presence through his voice lines, sometimes even expressing boredom of the entire War of the Ancients.

With DOTA: Dragon's Blood showing Invoker in a new light as a mourning father willing to make a deal with demons just to get back at his former lover, it's safe to say that Miller was up to the challenge of adding more depth to one of the game's already most nuanced characters.

On having new voice actors for existing Dota 2 heroes

When it came to picking voice actors for the show, Miller made a conscious effort to recruit new voices for the existing Dota 2 characters instead of rehiring the original game voice actors.

When asked why he did so, Miller answered, “I felt the anime interpretation of those characters needed to start clean. Also, in television, you don’t cast roles, you cast ensembles. I needed to balance out a lot of things and be sure certain relationships would sound and feel right.”

DOTA: Dragon's Blood's cast includes voice acting veterans like Yuri Lowenthal (Davion), and Troy Baker (Invoker), as well as English actress Lara Pulver, who gives voice to Mirana.

On the show's inspiration

When asked where he drew his inspiration for writing the show, Miller explained that it came from a lifetime of loving fantasy and wanting to turn standard tropes upside down.

“I’m a huge fantasy nerd and I saw an opportunity to take a lot of tropes and turn them upside down and inside out. Look I’ve got a knight, a princess, a wizard, a dragon, a demon, and an evil queen. But none of those pieces land quite where you expect them to,” said Miller.

Dota 2 has complex lore full of vague details, weird power imbalances, and all sorts of cosmic entities that make it near impossible to adapt into a cohesive story. Miller was aware of this difficulty and decided to start simple with the story.

“The game lore isn’t really designed to be adapted this way and accomplish what I’m attempting. That’s why I started small and I’m slowly adding pieces, generally by finding ones that connect organically and making them fit together.”

On more Dota 2 heroes appearing in the anime

With 121 heroes in Dota 2, there are a lot of options for additional characters to include in the show. When asked about how many heroes we might see in the show, Miller said the sky’s the limit.

“There is no limit really other than what I feel is appropriate and necessary for the show. I don’t want to overload it. If we see someone from the game, I want it to matter and be consequential.

While DOTA: Dragon’s Blood has a big roster of characters, including Marci, who transitioned into the game, Miller says that there is one character nobody has noticed. A character who has apparently been in every scene and story arc so far.

One Redditor asked Miller to confirm if what seemed to be a shadow in episode 2 was everyone’s favorite assassin. Miller replied, “Riki is in every episode.”

You can view the entire AMA here.

Otomo is a long-time gaming enthusiast and caster. He has been playing games since he was 10 and is the biggest Dota 2 fan.

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