Dragon Flyz is a French-American animated television series created by Savin Yeatman-Eiffel and produced by Gaumont Multimédia (later renamed Xilam Animation), in Association with Abrams / Gentile Entertainment, inc., and distributed by Sony Pictures Television. It ran for approximately two or three years, airing both in Europe and in syndication in the US with a TV-Y7-FV rating. The program centered on a coalition known as the Dragonators (a combination of "dragon" and "aviators"), a set of humans who ride on Dragon-back in search-and-rescue operations. A line of toys named DragonFlyz, based on the series, was released by Galoob. The simple nature of the show was balanced by a refined art direction by future Dragon Hunters (film) director Guillaume Ivernel, and by references to classic Sci-Fi concepts in Yeatman-Eiffel's scripts, himself the future creator of Ōban Star-Racers.
Set in the 41st century, after an event called 'The Cataclysm', the series depicts the adventures of dragon-riders either human or of a reptilian, gargoyle-like race, at war for control of the Earth. The battle occurs above a largely inhospitable landscape, either volcanic or barren; rivers of lava flow freely over the surface, inhabited by animals adapted to the unusual environment. The remaining human population dwells in an air-borne city known as 'Airlandis', from which dragonators regularly travel to the surface to retrieve the fuel of its operation: the oviform purple crystals known as "Amber" (usually obtained from lava pools, or directly from the ground).
The character of 'The Cataclysm' is never mentioned, though in the opening titles the surface is depicted as a post-apocalyptic scene, implying nuclear warfare. Earth's inhabitants, ecosystems, and species have been exterminated, save those sheltered in an 'Oasis'. The skies immediately above the surface are ravaged by continuous lightning storms, dangerous air currents, and acidic clouds, known as the 'Warp Winds', through which the only safe passages are the hollow mountains known as 'Wind Pits'.
Any pockets of life, where any of the planet's former species dwell in relative safety, are known as 'Oases'. One such 'Oasis' is discovered by protagonists Z'neth and Apex, whereupon Z'neth challenges Dreadwing to a duel for its ownership. Impatient, Dreadwing causes his dragon mount, Blackheart, to set the Oasis ablaze. At the end of the episode, Apex is seen carrying a birds' nest, with a few eggs, on the saddle of her Dragon.
This is an air-borne city (see Laputa), golden in color. Five large 'bio-spheres' hover in its centre, each simulating a different natural habitat and thus preserving the species rescued from the Cataclysm. The city's most important region is its 'power core', operated by the engineer Orac, who requires a regular supply of 'Amber'. Additionally Airlandis has a runway for the Dragonators, a Dragon aviary (where the Dragons reside when not needed to fly), a Council Chamber (where matters of government are negotiated), a Control Room (known as 'Skywatch', where a team of uniformed men maintain the city's systems and monitor the skies), and a prison. Dialogue implies that the populace seek a residence on the surface untouched by the Cataclysm. It is shown in one episode that some humans escaped the Cataclysm aboard a space station, on which the protagonists' mother now resides.
All the main characters, good or evil, ride dragon mounts into battle, but have the ability to fly short distances themselves. The Dragonators make use of a technology whereby dragonfly-like wings (known as "Exo-wings") emerge from the back-plate of their armor; whereas Dreadwing and his minions the Dramen literally 'sprout' membranous wings from their shoulders. Both types of wing vanish after the immediate flight's conclusion. The Dragonators' chief weapon is the "Wind Jammer": a wrist-mounted weapon that fires blue energy bolts; whereas Dreadwing and his minions wield glove-like cannons which launch balls or streams of lava. All four protagonists' names are associated with height or elevation.
- Callsign: Dragonator One
- Hair Colour: White
- Armor Color: Cerulean
- Dragon Steed: Riptor
The leader of the Dragonators, and the eldest of the four siblings, Z'neth (pronounced "zenith", meaning "directly above") is characterised by honour and integrity.
- Callsign: Dragonator Two
- Hair Colour: Bleached Blonde
- Armor Color: Forest Green
- Dragon Steed: Sky-Fury, called 'Fury' for short
The second-eldest sibling amongst the four. Summit is known for his various witty remarks, seemingly quick anger, and preference for physical strength in trouble. His name means "the highest point of a mountain".
- Callsign: Dragonator Three
- Hair Colour: Orange
- Armor Color: Silver
- Dragon Steed: Blazewind, called 'Blaze' for short
Apex is the third-oldest sibling, and the only female. She prefers negotiation to conflict, and is primarily known for her telepathic abilities by which she can communicate with dragons, and even partially manipulate half-dragons, such as Dramen, into doing her bidding. When using her powers, her eyes, and those of her subject, glow a silvery colour. Her name means 'the uppermost tip of a triangle'.
- Callsign: Dragonator Four
- Hair Colour: Blond
- Armor Color: Orange/Purple
- Dragon Steed: Wingstorm, or 'Storm' for short
Peak is the youngest, and the most reckless, of the siblings. He enjoys stunt-flying on dragon-back, which lands him in trouble, and is quite egoistical and mischievous. His name indicates 'the top', as of a mountain or hill.
- Callsign: Dragonator Five
- Hair Colour: Blonde
- Armor Color: Brown
- Dragon Steed: Titan
Amod is another member of the Dragon Flyz, and a close friend of Peak's. He is skilled in battle, but initially disrespectful of dragons until convinced otherwise.
- Callsign: Dragonator Six
- Hair Colour: Brown
- Armor Color: Black
- Dragon Steed: Thunder
Zarkan is a soldier of the Dragon Flyz, and loyal to the leading characters.
- Callsign: Dragonator Nine
- Hair Colour: Orange
- Armor Color: Light Blue
- Dragon Steed: Unnamed
Nora is the second female Dragonator in Airlandis, and the object of Peak's sexual interest. She fights alongside the other Dragonators with her own Dragon.
- Hair Colour: White
- Armor Colour: Red
Aaron is the father of the four protagonists, and frequently their advisor. Because his legs are crippled, he cannot walk, and instead hovers above the floor; this levitation is implied to be controlled by his staff, which carries an Amber crystal. He is the strongest advocate, on Airlandis' ruling council, of the search for a terrestrial refuge.
Orac is an engineer who maintains Airlandis' power generator. He is always seen wearing his uniform and gloves.
A ranking member of Airlandis' governing parliament, wherein he often takes opposition to Aaron's position. Although he intends the good of the populace, his impatience ultimately leads him to place Summit in prison, permitting Dreadwing control of the city. He is sometimes considered analogous to the Biblical Joshua.
- Skin Colour: Red
- Dragon Steed: Blackheart
Dreadwing is the chief antagonist of the story, established in a mechanized cave complex known as "Warnado" (possibly hybrid of the English "War" and "tornado"). He appears akin to the Biblical Satan in his villainous character, gargoyle-like appearance, and inhospitable environment. Supporting this, he is once called a 'Fallen Angel', and once misquotes Dante Alighieri's introduction to Hell: 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here'.
- Skin Colour: Cyan
- Dragon Steed: Unnamed
Nocturna is Dreadwing's second-in-command; her defining trait is service to Dreadwing in return for a domain of her own. When Dreadwing offers her the Oasis, in exchange for her continued loyalty, she accepts and is angered when Dreadwing destroys it. Her Dragon is unnamed, but resembles her in colour, and bears a crest similar to that on Nocturna's head.
- Skin Colour: red
- Dragon Steed: Skunk
Fryte is a hunchbacked servant of Dreadwing, and unquestioningly loyal to his master. As with Nocturna, his Dragon mount bears resemblance to its rider.
A mutant scientist who serves Dreadwing. He is ambitious, but aged and bent, and will quickly change allegiances for his own sake.
Gremwings (a hybrid of "Gremlin" and "wings") are bipedal, insect-like creatures known for their definitive screeching and disproportionately large mouths, and distinguished by an impressive physical strength. They serve Dreadwing in vast hordes. Variations of this character include a monocular, batlike species which serves Dread Wing as a collector of information, and a similar species which feed on blood.
- Skin Colour: Purple/Grey
- Dragon Steed: Unnamed
The Dramen (hybrid of "Dragon" and "men") are large, gargoyle-like humanoids that 'sprout' wings from their bodies on demand. Dreadwing's Dramen are sometimes seen supporting Dreadwing and his lieutenants on dragon-back.
- Callsign: None
- Skin Colour: Orange/Brown
- Armor Color: Dark Brown
- Dragon Steed: Titan
Dram is a Dramen raised by the Dragon Flyz, whose loyalty thereto has caused other Dramen to name him 'traitor', much to his resentment. His dragon has made only a few appearances; Dram prefers to fly on his own wings, though he never seems to have trouble keeping up with his comrades. Dram's name is a shortened version of 'Dramen', though he shares it with an archaic unit of measurement.
Vydak makes two appearances throughout the series. He is the tribal leader of a clan of brown-skinned Dark Dramen who destroyed Dram's village and killed his family, and later enslaved another clan. When he is first seen, Dreadwing is attempting an alliance, but fails when Dram attempts to rescue the enslaved villagers. In his second appearance, his warriors are seen meeting with Dreadwing's army in a canyon before their attack on Airlandis, each leader plotting to betray the other.
There are three varieties of Dragons shown in the series. The first and most common are the Airlandian/Wild dragons. They have smooth-skinned, slightly serpentine bodies; long, slender necks and tails; needle-like teeth; and pterosaur-like wings on which they can walk (often in the absence of forelegs). Individuals are distinguishable by colouration and head shape. The second type is a large-bodied, stocky, four-legged breed with very short necks, ridden by Fryte, Kreigo, and Nocturna. The third breed, represented solely by Blackheart, has features of both previous breeds, is unusually large, and has the ability to consume lava and consequently breathe fire. All Dragons are extremely intelligent and seem to understand everything said to them. They are always loyal to their riders, even when the affairs thereof do not apparently concern them. Airlandian dragons live, when not on duty, in a vast, hangarlike station consisting of nesting areas and a somewhat terraformed environment including a lake. On duty, they are exceedingly disciplined, so that under no circumstances do they abandon their riders.
Riptor is the most powerful Arlandian dragon, and is considered the dragons' leader, as evidenced by his larger nesting area; collar; and crest armor. He is blue, with a nasal horn and two large crests. Riptor has a personal rivalry with Blackheart, and is the only Airlandian dragon able to contend with him.
A green female with two brown horns. Sky Fury, called 'Fury' for short, is the only female mount among the protagonists' steeds, and has no hesitation in taking action uncommanded.
A small, green dragon born early in the series. His sire is unidentified. While still an egg, he was captured by Nocturna, sent by Dreadwing to capture dragons' eggs for a genetic experiment performed by Gangryn, with the effect that when he hatched, he was able to project a strong electromagnetic current. Dreadwing attempted to use this ability as a weapon, but failed when Sky Fury persuaded the hatchling to join her. A strong familial loyalty formed thereafter between Fury and her son.
A young, steel-grey dragon, having a spiky head and a long mouth fringed by what may be either points of flesh or protuberant fangs. Both Wing Storm and Peak are reckless, though 'Storm' is the more cautious of the two.
A white, black-maned dragon. Blazewind is closer to his rider than most by virtue of Apex's ability to communicate telepathically.
A massive four-legged, long-necked, red-scaled dragon with the ability to consume lava, which he expels as a gaseous incandescence. The only dragon usually his equal is Riptor, but he is once beaten by the leader of a pack of Wild Dragons shown to match his size and abilities.
The first three episodes were released as a stand-alone movie titled Dragon Flyz: The Legend Begins on December 3, 1996.
|1-3||"The Legend Begins"|
|Part 1: Dragon Dawn: Peak is captured by Gremwings, held prisoner by Dreadwing, and ultimately rescued by his siblings in battle.|
Part 2: The Day of The Dragon: After a rough flight, Summit learns that Sky Fury is a mother. In an attack on Airlandis, her egg is stolen and taken to Warnado, where the hatchling is modified by Gangryn, but later rescued by Fury and the Dragonators.
|4||"Son of Dread"|
|Z'neth is captured whilst on the surface and drugged by Dreadwing into turning against his cohorts.|
|The Dragonators encounter a flight of wild dragons, including one able to convert rock into Amber crystals. Apex negotiates with them by telepathy, but her efforts are foiled when Dreadwing attacks.|
|Gangryn discovers a crystal compound which physically resembles Amber, but expands uncontrollably when exposed to sunlight, which Dreadwing leaves to the Dragonators. When exposed on Airlandis, the compound covers the city and immobilizes its people, until destroyed by electricity.|
|During the dragonators' patrol, Gangryn is seen fleeing from Dreadwing's minions. The Dragonators rescue him and take him to Airlandis, where the Council offers him safe haven; but Gangryn later betrays to Dreadwing the presence of a portable 'crystal reactor', prompting Orac and Z'Neth to arrange the theft of a powerless substitute.|
|Modified with lava-powered nuclear engines, Warnado lifts off the surface to challenge Airlandis; but Summit infiltrates it, and destabilizes the engines, which forces Warnado to the ground.|
|Blackheart is bitten by a mysterious insect and is overcome with a debilitating illness. Dreadwing capitalises on the discovery, breeding vast numbers of the bugs, before unleashing them into the airspace around Airlandis. Apex invades Warnado to force an antidote from Gangryn.|
|Shot down by Dreadwing in a dogfight, Z'neth plummets into a lava-fall to evade his attackers. Eventually found by Apex, the two venture into a nearby tunnel to take cover, where they discover an Oasis. This is later destroyed by Blackheart, when Z'neth challenges Dreadwing for its control.|
|Airlandis happens upon a set of mesas, known as 'Mount Alayas', and attempt to colonize it; but are attacked again by Dreadwing. It is also discovered that the native plants are hallucinogenic, and the plateaux therefore uninhabitable.|
|The Dragon Flyz are joined by the recruit Amod, but the latter's distrust of dragons foils their mission. Tensions reach a climax when Orac's prototype amber-retrieval aircraft, "The Scavenger", is taken for a test flight, offending Airlandis' dragons; but are resolved when the Scavenger itself is destroyed in battle.|
|Plumes of smoke in the distance lead Dram to village burned to the ground. Recalling his own past, Dram leaves to find his fellow Dramen, but the Dragonators follow him. Thereafter the local Dramen assist the Dragonators in their own defense.|
|A solar eclipse provokes the appearance of a hitherto-concealed 'Amber' store, exploited by Apex in danger of Dreadwing. Here, the Amber is guarded by robots, who obey Apex but defy her brothers.|
|15||"There Can Be Only One"|
|For her repeated failures to halt the Dragonators' Amber runs, Dreadwing banishes Nocturna from Warnado. Nocturna approaches Airlandis with an offer of alliance, but later returns to Dreadwing.|
|The Dragonators discover a bunker on the surface, in which they find a single human survivor who identifies himself as Cifex. They take him back to Airlandis, where Apex becomes his guide; but both are seized by Dreadwing, who exposes Cifex as an android. In the following struggle, Cifex is separated from Apex, and presumed dead, but survives in secret.|
|17||"Into Hell’s Gate"|
|The colossal volcano, Hell's Gate, is erupting, its power so destructive that the last shockwave damaged Airlandis' amber reactor. The Dragonators therefore enter the volcano to prevent a recurrence.|
|Separated from the others during a surface flight, Peak stumbles upon a Pre-Cataclysm cache of long-range ballistic missiles. These are later acquired by Dreadwing; but when the latter carelessly launches all the missiles simultaneously, the Dragonators redirect them to the launching-site, which they destroy.|
|Gangryn has developed a machine which simulates powerful telepathic abilities. Dreadwing claims it as his own, which he subsequently uses to unleash havoc upon the Dragonators' operations.|
|When the Dragon Flyz spot an unnatural star-shaped ridge on the surface, but are denied permission to investigate, Aaron reveals that their mother, Miranda, was teleported by a machine there, to a space station far away. He and the Flyz re-activate the machine, and Peak confirms Miranda's survival aboard the station; but Peak is forced to return alone, and the machine itself is destroyed by Dread Wing's followers.|
|21||"Dreadwing Rules, Part 1"|
|Confrontations between Councillor Joshua and Summit escalate after a failed amber run, with the latter grounded and eventually imprisoned on Joshua's orders.|
|22||"Dreadwing Rules, Part 2"|
|With Summit imprisoned and the Dragonators buried under an avalanche, Dreadwing is in control of Airlandis, but Aaron and Orac begin sabotaging Dreadwing's control.|
|23||"The Children’s Crusade"|
|Apex is hit by a new mutagen-based weapon employed by Dreadwing's army and collapses into a coma. Two headstrong children, Lucy and Tommy, with their dragon Clawfire (a child of Blazewind's), set out to find her a cure.|
|Having discovered fertile ground on Old Earth, Airlandis dispatches settlement units and amber generators to establish a colony. Their joy at finding a new home is short-lived when an invisible entity abducts the settlers' children; this is identified as a population of three-headed 'Tri-Dragons'. Because the amber reactors disrupt the Tri-Dragons' reproductive process, the colony is abandoned.|
|Councillor Joshua and Z'neth are captured by Dreadwing and put on trial to justify humanity's actions against the mutants, with Dreadwing himself as judge; but they are rescued by Z'neth's siblings. The episode serves to re-capitulate events of previous episodes.|
|26||"The F.I.S.T Fighters"|
|Shot down by Dramen into an underground cave, Nora and Peak discover a giant column of amber, only to be confronted by a group of underground-dwelling humanoids who call themselves the 'Fight, Infiltrate, Strike, and Terminate Fighters'.|
There are two sets of DragonFlyz toys released by Galoob. One set consists of the central characters in various costumes, equipped with rotating wings that enable it to fly, a launching device shaped as a dragon, and a DVD. The second set does not have the DVD, and the launcher does not look like a dragon. Variations include lone riders; lone dragons that fly by flapping their own wings; and figures luminous when launched. Most of the rider figures carry firearm-like weapons. Galoob released a similar toy design aimed at girls, called Sky Dancers.
Variances in backstory
The backstory of the toyline is essentially that of the television series, but differs in the costume of the characters and in some of the concepts including the existence of luminous dragonators and named Gremwings, neither of which appear in the films.