Unlimited Fafnir Volume 1 – Review
Synopsis: The sudden appearance of monsters known as dragons turned the world upside down. After a time, some girls are found to have dragon powers. Dubbed the D, these girls are collected and sent to a school called Midgard. Now, the only male D, Yuu Mononobe, has been brought out of hiding and forced to go there as well?! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Here we go, yet another story where only certain young girls have special powers that are the last defense between humanity and some great apocalyptic threat, in this case, rather strange looking dragons. And let’s not forget, the ‘true’ hero of the series, the extra special one and only male protagonist who happens to not only be the only male in existence to have the same power as these girls but also clearly meant to be the one who can/will save these girls because he is just that amazing. If you have read stories with similar premises before, volume 1 of Unlimited Fafnir will read like a retread of those for the most part. It ticks all the cliches, like our young male hero being surrounded by young girls his age, him being extra super special for some generic reason, his sister clearly nursing a bit of a crush on him, the female characters only getting personality development thanks to the male protagonist, him being looked down upon by most of his new teammates, etc, etc. So don’t pick this volume up expecting anything new if you’re familiar with its main concepts.
Moving on to the next big point, even though Unlimited Fafnir is not tagged as an ecchi on its myanimelist page or its Wikipedia page, it definitely needs one according to me, It features SEVERAL pages of naked female characters, in fact Chapter 4 has extended scenes of a female character trying to seduce our hero, Yuu and 2 of the 4 title pages in Volume 1 feature a particular female character completely naked with hair or a weapon hiding the more scandalous zones. Hence, you might not want to read this book in public places. It’s clear that this series is one aimed for the male audience and their titillation. And on a less graphic note, there’s a major plot line that the D girls lose their powers once they hit 20 or they become pregnant. Now this may be lost on some readers, but plot lines like these indirectly pay tribute to the outdated notions that women only deserve value or attention when they’re young and single. It’s a mentality that feels outdated and sexist in today’s world and definitely makes the series lose even more appeal for female readers or more socially aware readers. But given the amount of pages and panels featuring nude girls so far, that was probably clear even before we got to that plot point.
Going back to the story itself, thanks to all the cliches, most readers will see some of the bigger plot twists and reveals coming from a mile away. When we learn that the girls are actually apparently meant to be mates for the very dragons they’re fighting, you immediately know who’s going to be the first girl to potentially fall victim to that. The plot gives itself away so easily, it’s hard to be impressed or invested. To its credit, the story does have several unanswered questions still floating around, like the true extent and nature of Yuu’s power or exactly what he and his sister went through in the three years they were separated. But given the cliche and trope ridden story so far, it might be a struggle for some readers to feel like these characters are unique and worth caring for.
So what would I say is good about Unlimited Fafnir? It does have solid art, one that’s a visual delight and does a great job of making its world, monsters and battle scenes look impressive and grand. And yes, the fan service is drawn well enough to most likely please anyone picking up the series for that factor. But that’s it…atleast for anyone who’s a voracious reader and has had their fill of these stories that feature a harem of specially skilled girls and a super special male protagonist fighting for humanity’s survival. If you haven’t had your fill of this classic set up, the plus point is that Unlimited Fafnir sticks to the formula faithfully, probably too faithfully for anyone else but enough to entertain one seeking this specific set up. Ultimately, Unlimited Fafnir is doomed to appeal only to fans of its stereotypes, some of which make it potentially offensive or uncomfortable for others and thus limits its chances of gaining a more well rounded and larger readership.