Fafner: Dead Aggressor, Vol. 1
Original Concept by XEBEC, Adapted by Mikami Akitsu
DMP, 200 pp.
Rating: Teen (13 +)
Fafner: Dead Aggressor vol. 1 is an interesting creature. It’s the manga adaption of a light novel adaption of an anime series from a few years ago. The story follows a band of young kids who are forced to pilot hi-tech mecha known as Fafner’s in an attempt to defend their home from alien invaders known as Festum.
I have to admit it, after reading this I couldn’t help but think of Neon Genesis Evangelion. It’s an easy comparison to make and the manga doesn’t really do anything to drive you away from making it. Young kids piloting mecha against mysterious alien invaders, hints of conspiracies and secrets behind the existence of their mecha, all dressed up in names and symbolism borrowed from Western mythology. Add to that the fact that the main character, Kazuki, just happens to be the son of a distant father who heads up the whole operation and it’s a hard comparison not to make. The characters are flat and unmemorable. Relationships are hinted or suggested on one page but fail to carry any emotional weight since everyone involved is a name and a face and nothing more.
The artwork doesn’t help the series any either. There’s a distinct lack of backgrounds throughout it and the action scene’s are rushed, cluttered and difficult to follow. The mecha designs look awkward and incredibly bland and the Festum aliens only fair a little better. Perhaps the biggest crime is that big momentous things fail to look big and momentous. The entire tale is set on an island that we quickly learn is artificial and even mobile! The idea of a giant, mobile, island base complete with a town and everything that entails is fantastic and should look amazing when it finally begins to move. Sadly it doesn’t. We get some water trails and that’s about it. I’m sure it looks better in the anime, but here it’s just an aerial shot of the island with some lines in the water to the depict motion. Ah well.
I went into this not expecting much, but hoping for enough of an interesting story to make me want to check out the anime series and well, I kind of want to now if only to see how much had to be slashed from this adaption. Unfortunately the adaption itself feels like an average paint by numbers mecha tale. Anyone who hasn’t seen Fafner and was thinking about checking out the manga to get a taste would be better off going straight to the anime.
Fafner: Dead Aggressor, Vol. 1 is available now at Emanga.com. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.