Unlimited Fafnir

Unlimited Fafnir

IMG_1564.PNGWith the sudden appearance of huge monsters that came to be known as Dragons, the world as we know it has completely changed. Soon after, girls with supernatural powers began to be born with powers similar to these Dragons, and were referred to as ‘D’. Only they had the ability to fight these dragons and protect the rest of mankind. Yuu Mononobe is the only male ‘D’ known to the world, and so he is sent to the special school where these supernatural girls are gathered – Midgar. Here he meets clumsy and innocent Iris as well as being reunited with his long-lost sister, Mitsuki.

What initially drew me to Unlimited Fafnir was the clear supernatural fighting element. The plot ideas appealed to me and it seemed like an easy-going anime that was interesting enough to keep my attention and not fry my brain. It has a certain familiarity to it, which I couldn’t put my finger on at first, but halfway through the second episode I realised that the reason it seemed that way was because the plot is very similar to so many other anime titles I have seen over the years.

Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does leave a bad taste in your mouth if you’re left wondering whether you’re just watching something recycled and unoriginal and whether watching something like this is worth your time. My advice would be, if you’re undecided, to keep watching, as things do get better.

The appearance of Tear makes things more interesting.

By the third episode the plot really begins to come into its own. We learn some interesting twists concerning the Ds and the Dragons, and the way they construct magic and battle scenes is something new to me. The exposition is good from the beginning and there is very little info-dumping on the viewer. It’s a good mix of action and explanation, and I do like the elements of Norse mythology used within the girls’ weapons and attacks. There are also hints of political infighting between the two main government groups, which gives a new dimension to the plot and keeps things from just being ‘one boy finds himself in a school of girls’, which is quite unimaginative (in fact, some might say that this angle has been done to death).

One of the biggest concerns I have with this one is the quality of the animation. I enjoyed the inital character designs, but sometimes they are so… inconsistent. Features change so much that it goes so far as to physically alter the characters so I’m left wondering how old they’re supposed to be. Sometimes they look like older teenagers, and sometimes I see flashes of faces that suddenly seem quite chibi-esque. In the same vein, some of the animation with the dragons is a bit glitchy and the 3D element is actually backfiring at the moment. I’m hoping that this is something the producers will address in the next few episodes.

Nevertheless, I have enjoyed what I have seen so far. Iris and Mitsuki, whilst bearing slightly archetypal qualities, are generally interesting characters with room for development. I’m also happy that Yuu isn’t a complete drip, as most guys in harem anime tend to be. I haven’t seen much from the supporting characters, so I hope there personalities aren’t going to be sacrificed in favour of pointless fanservice – but I think it’s still too soon to tell.

Unlimited Fafnir is certainly a mixed bag. Its storyline made a very positive start with me, and has themes and elements that I definitely want to see more of. However, I feel like I’m going to have to weather a little bit of sub-par animation and a little tedious ecchi patchers in order to see if this one fulfils its full potential or falls short of my expectations. Only time will tell.