A role-playing video game developed by Mistwalker and Artoon and published by Microsoft Game Studios exclusively for the Xbox 360. Blue Dragon is based on a design by Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, who also supervised development and wrote the plot. It is both Mistwalker's debut title and the first title to be helmed by Sakaguchi outside of Square Enix. The game was released in Japan on December 7, 2006, where it was sold both as a standalone title and as part of a bundle with the Xbox 360 (including the game, the Xbox 360 system itself, and a Blue Dragon console skin). Other regions received only the game itself, with a release in Europe on August 24, 2007, and in North America on August 28, 2007. Taking place in a fictional open-world environment, the story of Blue Dragon focuses on five friends (Shu, Jiro, Kluke, Zola, and Marumaro) as they travel across the world to confront Nene, the evil ruler of the Grand Kingdom. The setting inspired separate anime and manga adaptations, although these follow the story to different degrees and feature a different cast of characters. The game follows a traditional role-playing design, based around exploration and turn-based combat. Blue Dragon is the first Xbox 360 title to make use of multiple discs, spanning three discs in total. Overall, the game has received a positive reception, with an average score of 77.48% on the review aggregator website Game Rankings. Blue Dragon was both applauded and criticized for its adaptation of the traditional elements of role-playing games.
Blue Dragon takes place in a fictional open-world environment where every year for the past ten years, purple clouds have mysteriously appeared in the sky, signaling misfortune and disaster for people across the world. For years, a terrifying beast dubbed the "Land Shark", and other lost technologies, such as the "sea cube" came with the purple clouds, killing thousands of people and destroying a number of villages. The world is split up into climate regions, each containing multiple kingdoms and villages, a few of which are not on the main path, but hold small stories, such as the giants, and the sheep, as well as hidden dungeons. Around the environment are multiple sources of treasure.
An anime adaptation directed by Yukihiro Matsushita, animated by Studio Pierrot and co-produced by SKY Perfect Wellthink, TV Tokyo and Pierrot was announced in November 2006. The anime began airing April 7, 2007, featuring a different vocal cast than that used for the game. It also ignored most of the game's plot. It aired on TV Tokyo, and ran for 51 episodes. A second season of Blue Dragon—Blue Dragon: Trials of the Seven Shadows (BLUE DRAGON 天界の七竜 Burū Doragon: Tenkai no Shichiryū?)—premiered on TV Tokyo on April 5, 2008. On April 16, 2007, Viz Media announced that it had licensed the anime for release in North America and Europe. An edited English language dub of the series premiered in the United States on Cartoon Network, on April 5, 2008, where it aired on Toonami Jetstream until Jetstream was cancelled on January 30, 2009. Since then it has been discovered that Viz Media did make an uncut version of the Blue Dragon anime in English. This uncut version released by Manga Entertainment has had the first 24 episodes released on DVD (so far exclusively in the UK) over three 2 disc DVD sets with the release date of the next DVD set to be announced. These uncut episodes unlike the US DVD releases fully restores the original Japanese opening and closing, all edited scenes from the Cartoon Network version are restored including the original music, as well as having the option to view the series in Japanese with English subtitles. On July 22, 2011, Viz Media started streaming Blue Dragon uncut subbed episodes on VizAnime/Hulu. Viz Media stated at Otakon that if the streaming numbers are good, they might release the uncut DVDs to the US.