In Unlimited Fafnir, we have a world that has been attacked by dragons – monstrous beasts with powers that humanity simply cannot deal with. These dragons have caused rampant destruction, and things look grim.
But then, humanity discovers girls who share those powers. These girls, known as the D Girls or sometimes simply the D’s, have the ability to manipulate dark matter and create magical weaponry with it that can be used to fight the dragons. There is a risk though… for each of these girls is matched to a specific dragon, and if the dragon touches her she will become the same type of dragon.
I say girls, because the Ds have always been female… except, of course, our protagonist Yu Mononobe. He is the world’s only male D, and yes, before you ask it is extraordinarily difficult to avoid making a pun every time that comes up.
This show is a harem show. There’s no getting around it, every character is clearly in love with our protagonist, from the resident tsundere Lisa Highwalker to his sister Mitsuki. There are even two girls – Iris Freyja and Tear Lightning – actively and openly fighting for him. And the characters are, for the most part, nothing all that special. Some of the characters have intriguing hooks, and there are some interesting relationships between them but for the most part the girls are just par for the course. The protagonist himself does have a backstory that is rather unique and has some real potential, if only it had been further explored.
When it comes to harems, there are two ways that I can generally accept them. First, if the show uses the harem to enhance the experience – creating comedy and excitement through interesting interactions. Trinity Seven used this approach exceptionally well, for one example. The second method is the one Unlimited Fafnir takes, and that is to make the content of the show not reliant upon the harem aspect and to make that content interesting enough that you simply don’t care that it is a harem show.
Unlimited Fafnir’s premise – the threat to the world, the tie between the dragons and the D girls, and the interesting backstory elements surrounding our protagonist hinted throughout the show – is solid, and offers enough content to really make it easy to ignore the harem aspect. And that’s important for this type of show. There are certain scenes the become a bit awkward (mostly between the protagonist and his sister) but overall they do a great job of maintaining enough interesting content that the harem never becomes a detriment to the show.
If You Can Imagine It….
You can do it. The ‘D’ girls are trained to expand their imagination as the true powers they have can only be unlocked through that. Certainly not an unusual premise, but in this case it is very important. You see, these girls live in a surprisingly undisciplined environment. This might feel odd given what they are and how the world sees them… but what better way to fertilize a young girl’s imagination?
This also explains why they use their conjured weaponry to create bursts of energy. They have these elaborate weapons – swords, spears, spellbooks, etc – that they create with their powers and then fight with them. Kind of, that is. None of the girls actually really use their weapons – they just use them as catalysts to fire different types of energy out of them. This would seem very strange, except we’re dealing with very young girls who are probably not the most physically strong. And the protagonist – a young man with military training specialized in fighting people, not dragons – creates and uses firearms with his power instead of something more fanciful. It all makes sense and creates a good sense of continuity.
The show had some pretty good visual effects. Some of them were par for the course for the type of show, but some of them were really fitting. The audio direction was really good as well. I thoroughly enjoyed a lot of the music choices made during the show, and I loved the opening and closing themes.
There are a few storylines that were not explored adequately nor explained sufficiently for the first arc. The story that is explored is interesting, but there are a few places where they simply wasted too much time on harem scenes and not enough developing certain story arcs.
This has been a strange show to review, because a lot of the elements of this show are pretty standard, pretty stereotypical. And, more notably, on paper the show shouldn’t have been very good. But it is a show that somehow manages to overcome its weaknesses and become more than just the sum of its parts.
As a final note… watching this show with someone else created the opportunity for some fantastic humour surrounding the show – the number of puns and jokes you can make out of the phrase D Girls is staggering.