This volume of Dragon Drive sees Reiji, Maiko, Daisuke, Meguru, and Rokkaku headed to the Dragonic Heaven Competition in Rikyu. The winner of the competition will get the Jinryu Stone as a prize. When they reach their destination, Chibi is separated from Reiji while they are exploring the town. Chibi is captured by a set of twins, who are being mean to him, in addition to another dragon they've captured. Reiji finds the twins and Chibi; together, Reiji and Chibi manage to get away from the twins. The competition begins, and Reiji, Daisuke, and Rokkaku enter the contest as a team. The first round requires the teams to fight for stones at the center of the island. There's only enough stones for half of the teams, so half of the competition will be eliminated at the end of the contest. During this contest, Reiji and his team encounter the twins that had taken Chibi. This competition is resolved in this volume, and Maiko actually gets her own story near the end of this volume as well.
First, I was glad to finally see Maiko, the main female character of Dragon Drive, get her own story in this volume of the series. While Maiko may have been the one to introduce Reiji to the game of Dragon Drive to begin with, she had been relegated to being more of a supporting character in the first two volumes, as well as for most of this volume. I hope to see Maiko become a little more integral to the story as the series progresses.
Like with Volume 2, this volume of Dragon Drive had a strong emphasis on action, and not as much on exposition or character development. Because of this, I was able to read through this manga volume a lot faster than average when compared to most of the manga titles I have personally read. With the strong focus on battles and action, there are a lot of "busy" panels with a lot going on in them, as well an increased usage of "sound effects."
So far, it seems that Ken-ichi Sakura has been able to make the story work with the otherworldly elements that were introduced in Volume 2. Hopefully, the story will still continue to work as the series progresses. If you enjoy manga series like Yu-Gi-Oh!, then you might also appreciate Dragon Drive.
Dragon Drive is rated "A," which means it is suitable for readers of all ages.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of this manga volume that my son checked out through the King County Library System.