Dragons. We all know what they are, but did you know that there is a much deeper meaning behind many of them?
Be sure to check out Crispin Freeman’s Mythology & Meaning website, http://www.mythologyandmeaning.com/ for a deeper take on this subject.
But for our article, we are going to keep it simple and showcase a list of dragons that appear in Anime/Manga. Some dragons are from European/Western cultures and others are from Eastern/Chinese cultural designs. And still others are a blend of the two. Eastern civilizations see dragons as guardians, as good spirits, while Western civilizations see dragons as a threat or danger, especially those that are fire breathing.
If you have a love of dragons, be sure to check out these series in our list. Not all of them have named dragons in them.
Amagi Brilliant Park: Rubrum
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Battle Spirits: Saikyou Ginga Ultimate Zero: Mugen
The Betrayal Knows My Name / Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru: Sodom
Beyblade: Dark Dragon
Bride of the Water God (manga): Hibaki, the water god has a contract with the dragons
Cardfight!! Vanguard: Seeker, Sing Saver Dragon
C-Control / C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control: Msyu, Q
Chaika-The Coffin Princess (Hitsugi no Chaika): Fredrika
Cobra the Animation: Chaos Dragon
Cross Ange: Aura
Cuticle Detective Inaba: Donragon
Demon King Daimao (Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou): Peterhausen
Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Supreme series
- The Eternal Dragon
- Porunga – The Eternal Dragon of the Namekian Dragon Balls.
- Shenron – The Eternal Dragon of the Earth’s Dragon Balls. Uses orange dragon balls with red stars
- Shenrons – The many Shenrons who exist in Dragon Ball Online thanks to Dende splitting the Dragon Balls into many.
- Eis Shenron
- Haze Shenron
- Naturon Shenron
- Nuova Shenron
- Oceanus Shenron
- Rage Shenron
- Syn Shenron
- Super Shenron – uses super dragon balls
- Ultimate Shenron – uses black star blue dragon balls
- Fusion Shenron was a shadow dragon created from the black star dragon balls. The Dragon that comes from them is Bolt.
- Black Smoke Shenron – The Eternal Dragon of the Earth’s cracked Dragon Balls – charged with negative energy
- Shadow Dragons
- Mr. Poko Poko is a Demonic Eternal Dragon who works for the Dark Namekians.
- Zalma – Dragon God who created the Super Dragon Balls which are a set of seven planet-sized Dragon Balls
- Shen Long
- King Ghidorah (キングギドラ) is a fictional kaijū (Japanese giant monster) from the Godzilla franchise. King Ghidorah appears in several works by Akira Toriyama.
- Unknown evil dragon – The Eternal Dragon of Eros, who destroyed the planet and the rest of it’s galaxy.
Dragonaut: The Resonance
- Kasuga Nozaki
- Garnet MacLaine
- Belurum (manga only)
- Mother Dragon
- Cú Chulainn
- Booster Dragon
- Carmine’s Mother
- Odd Eye
Dragon Collection: Papi
- Air Blast
Escaflowne / The Vision of Escaflowne
- Igneel / Egneel, fire dragon
- Grandeeney / Gardine, sky dragon
- Metalicana, Iron dragon
- Weisslogia, the white dragon
- Skiadrum, the black dragon
- Zirconis, the jade dragon
- Atlas Flame, fire dragon
- Scissor Runner
- Dark Dragon
- Rock Dragon
- Animus, the Stellanium covered dragon
The Familiar of Zero / Zero no Tsukaima: Azuro, Ancient Dragon, Sylphid
Final Fantasy: Legend Of The Crystals: Wind Drake
Fortune Quest: Shiro
Fruits Basket: Hatori Sohma – Spirit of the Dragon chinese zodiac, but is portrayed as a Sea Horse
Good Witch of the West – Astraea Testament: Rouxbow
High School DxD: Midgardsormr, Tannin
Hime Chen! Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri: Ryoku
Id (manga): Rylo Sidga
Inu Yasha: Ryukotsusei
Kamisama Kiss: Dragon King
Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Mandragon
Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon / Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
- Tohru’s father
Legendz: Tale of the Dragon Kings: Ranshiin
Levithan: The Last Defense: Galguyu, Yurlungur
Licca-chan Fushigi na Fushigi na Yunia Monogatari: chibi dragon
Lord Marksman and Vanadis: Lunie
Magi: Mother Dragon
Magico (manga): Sieg
Mahou Shoujo Tai: The Adventure: Dragon of Fire and Ice
Maoyu / Maoyuu Maou Yuusha: Archduke Fire Dragon
Mauri to Ryuu (manga): Dragon
Monster Rancher: Falcon, Vulcan
Natsume’s Book of Friends: Tama
One Piece: Ryuuji
Orphen / Majutsushi Orphen (Sorcerous Stabber Orphen): Bloody August
Our Home’s Fox Diety: Mamorime, Ko, has the Mizuchi inside of her attached to her soul
Panzer Dragoon: Black Dragon, Blau
Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation: Vol Dragon
Pokemon (dragon types)
- Dragonite, Dragonair, Dratini
- Flygon, Vibrava
- Salamence, Shelgon, Bagon
- Garchomp, Garbite, Gible
- Haxorus, Fraxure, Axew
- Hydreigon, Zweilous, Deino
- Tyrantrum, Tyrunt
- Goodra, Sliggoo, Goomy
- Noivern, Noibat
- Charizard is considered a fire/lizard type on the classification and not an official dragon type
- more to add after Pokemon Sun & Moon get released Nov 2016.
Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren’t They?: White Serpent
Record of Lodoss War (Lodoss-tou Senki)
- Shooting Star
Rage Of Bahamut: Genesis (Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis): Bahamut, Ancient Forrest Dragon
Ryuuguuden (manga): Dragon God
Sailor Moon: Emerald in Sailor Moon R (original anime) becomes a dragon due to her jealousy
Sara no Ue no Kanojo (manga): Mizuchi
Serendipity the Pink Dragon
Seven Deadly Sins / Nanatsu no Taizai: Meliodas’ sword is that of a dragon and he is referred to as the Dragon Sin of Wrath with his dragon tattoo.
She’s Gon (manga)
Shining Tears X Wind: Lazarus
Shounen Onmyouji: Takaokami no Kami
Slayers: Flare Dragon Ceifeed
Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi): Haku, the Kohaku River Spirit
Star Ocean: Ururun
Sword Art Online (SAO): Pina
Tales from Earthsea
Taro the Dragon Boy
Tayutama – Kiss on My Diety: Ouryuu
Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken (manga): Veldora TEMPEST
Tower of Druaga (Druaga no Tou: The Aegis of Uruk): One Winged Dragon, Quox
Tsubasa Chronicles: Dragon
Unbreakable Machine Doll / Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai: Sigmund
- Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon
- Blue Eyes white dragon
- Red Eyes black dragon
- First of the Dragons
- Ancient Dragon
- Barrel Dragon
- Slifer the Sky Dragon
- Ancient Fairy Dragon
- Stardust Dragon
- Life Stream Dragon
- Black-Winged Dragon
- Black Rose Dragon
- Red Dragon Archfiend
- The Great Leviathan
- The Eye of Timaeus, Timaeus of Locri
- The Fang of Critias
- The Claw of Hermos, Hermocrates
- Five-Headed Dragon / Five God Dragon
List of Dragons
- Fuku Riu (the Japanese good luck dragon)
- Kirin – The Qilin of China is part dragon and part ox. It is sometimes called the “Chinese unicorn”; The Japanese version of the Qilin of China, which is part dragon and part deer with antlers, fish scales and an ox’s tail. Said to be a protective creature and the guardian of the metal element.
- Mizuchi – A dangerous water dragon; Dragon like river god
- O Goncho is a white dragon that signals famine.
- Ryuu – The Japanese dragon
- Ryu Jin or Ryo Wo or Ryo-Wo – Dragon king of a kingdom of serpent people under the sea; Said to have a human body, and a serpent entwined in his crown; Known for his nobility and wisdom, was a guardian of the Shinto faith. People who have fallen into the sea are said to have lived on in the kingdom of Ryu-wo
- Ryūjin or Ryōjin (龍神 “dragon god”?), also known as Ōwatatsumi, was the tutelary deity of the sea in Japanese mythology; Watatsumi 海神 “sea god” or Ryūjin 龍神 “dragon god” was the ruler of seas and oceans, and described as a dragon capable of changing into human form. He lived in the undersea Ryūgū-jō 龍宮城 “dragon palace castle”, where he kept the magical tide jewels.
- Seiryū – Japanese version of the Chinese Azure Dragon; Aoi Ryu / Blue-Green Dragon; Guardian of the Eastern signs of the Japanese Zodiac
- Uwibami is a huge fearsome flying beast that snatches and devours men right off horse’s backs.
- Yamata no Orochi – The eight-headed dragon/serpent monster slain by the god Susanoo; (“eight-forked serpent”)
- Yofune-nushi was a sea serpent that feasted on young beautiful maidens. A girl named Tokoyo blinded it with her knife, then killed it when it reared back and exposed its neck.
- Zennyo Ryūō – A rain-making dragon; Zennyo Ryūō 善如龍王 “goodness-like dragon king” was a rain-god depicted either as a dragon with a snake on its head or as a human with a snake’s tail.
- The unnamed five-headed dragon subdued by the Buddhist goddess Benzaiten at Enoshima in Japan in A.D. 552
- Dragon Kings – see below
- Benten is the Japanese goddess who rides on a nameless dragon. She frequently descends to earth to stop the evil doings of other dragons.
- Kiyo / Kiyohime: Scorned Woman Dragon – After a brief love affair but he quickly lost interest in her. Kiyohime, daughter of a wealthy man, was so enraged at his sudden change of heart that she transformed into a dragon and gave chase to Anchin, a traveling priest; Kiyohime 清姫 “Purity Princess” was a teahouse waitress who fell in love with a young Buddhist priest. After he spurned her, she studied magic, transformed into a dragon, and killed him.
- Kuniyoshi is another daughter of Ryujin the dragon king. She appears in a Japanese myth entitled My Lord Bag of Rice.
- Nureonna (濡女 ~ literally wet woman) are dragon-like ghosts that make frequent appearances in Japanese myths. They are usually washing their hair by the river. They’re known to attack when disturbed.; Nure-onna 濡女 “Wet Woman” was a dragon with a woman’s head and a snake’s body. She was typically seen while washing her hair on a riverbank and would sometimes kill humans when angered.
- Otohime / Toyotama-hime is one of the beautiful daughters of Ryujin the dragon king. Has taken the form of a turtle and can shape shift into a human. Toyotama-hime (豊玉姫?) (Japanese for “Lady Bountiful Soul”), better known as Otohime (乙姫?), is a goddess in Japanese mythology and is featured in the Kojiki as well as Nihon Shoki.
- Wani 鰐 was a sea monster that is translated as both “shark” and “crocodile”. Kuma-wani 熊鰐 “bear (i.e., giant or strong) shark/crocodile” are mentioned in two ancient legends. One says the sea god Kotoshiro-nushi-no-kami transformed into an “8-fathom kuma-wani” and fathered Toyotama-hime, the other says a kuma-wani piloted the ships of Emperor Chūai and his Empress Jingū.
- Inari, the god of fertility and agriculture, was sometimes depicted as a dragon or snake instead of a fox.
- Sui Riu is a rain-dragon, which when in pain causes
red rain, coloured by its blood.
- Han Riu is striped with nine different colours and is forty feet long. This dragon can never reach heaven.
- Ka Riu is a small dragon; only seven feet long. It’s said
that Ka-Riu is scarlet, a fiery red. Some sources even
say that its body is all flame.
- Ri Riu has wonderful sight and can see more than 100 miles.
“Chinese dragon mythology is central to Japanese dragons. Japanese words for “dragon” are written with kanji “Chinese characters”, either simplified shinjitai 竜 or traditional kyūjitai 龍 from Chinese long 龍. These kanji can be read tatsu in native Japanese kun’yomi and ryū or ryō in Sino-Japanese on’yomi.
Many Japanese dragon names are loanwords from Chinese. For instance, the Japanese counterparts of the astrological Four Symbols are:
- Seiryū < Qinglong 青龍 “Azure Dragon”
- Suzaku < Zhuque 朱雀 “Vermilion Bird”
- Byakko < Baihu 白虎 “White Tiger”
- Genbu < Xuanwu 玄武 “Black Tortoise”
Japanese Shiryū 四竜 “4 dragon [kings]” are the legendary Chinese Longwang 龍王 “Dragon Kings” who rule the four seas.
- Gōkō < Aoguang 敖廣 “Dragon King of the East Sea”
- Gōkin < Aoqin 敖欽 “Dragon King of the South Sea”
- Gōjun < Aorun 敖閏 “Dragon King of the West Sea”
- Gōjun < Aoshun 敖順 “Dragon King of the North Sea”
Some authors differentiate Japanese ryū and Chinese long dragons by the number of claws on their feet. “In Japan,” writes Gould (1896:248), “it is invariably figured as possessing three claws, whereas in China it has four or five, according as it is an ordinary or an Imperial emblem.” – article
“There are certain little things to look out for. A Japanese dragon definitely has three claws on each foot (Chinese dragon has five, Korean has four). Japanese dragons are much more slender and serpent-like. Eastern dragons are sometimes shown with a pearl, which means many things from wealth to wisdom and good luck & prosperity. Eastern dragons ascending in the sky are symbolic of “success in life”.” – article
Links / References:
Many members in the community have contributed information to this article for your enjoyment.
The Best Dragon Anime of All Time (with show preview clips and can add to the ever growing list) – http://www.ranker.com/list/best-dragons-anime/reference
List of Legendary Creatures – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_legendary_creatures_from_Japan
List of Dragons in Mythology and Folklore – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dragons_in_mythology_and_folklore
List of Dragons in Literature – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dragons_in_literature
Dragon Place – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ry%C5%ABg%C5%AB-j%C5%8D
Famous Japanese Dragons – http://www.dragonsinn.net/eastjap-2.htm
Ryujin – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ry%C5%ABjin
Japanese Dragon – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_dragon
6 Japanese Dragons – http://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/6-Japanese-dragons
Dragons Characters (massive list) – http://www.anime-planet.com/characters/tags/dragons
Dragons Anime – http://www.anime-planet.com/anime/tags/dragons
Fifteen Most Epic Dragon Animes – http://myanimelist.net/featured/1369
Top Ten Strongest Dragon in Anime – http://orzzzz.com/top-10-strongest-dragons-in-anime-all-the-time.html
Top Ten Dragon Anime – http://www.dragon-zoo.com/dragons/dragon-anime/top-ten-dragon-anime.html
Fairy Tail Wiki Dragon – http://fairytail.wikia.com/wiki/Dragon