Fafner: Dead Aggressor, Vol. 2
Original Concept by XEBEC, Adapted by Mikami Akitsu
DMP, 216 pp.
Rating: Teen (13 +)
The second volume of the manga adaption of the light novel adaption of the anime series Fafner sees our young hero, Kazuki, abandon the island and his comrades in an attempt to discover what’s happened to the rest of the world. In the slowly recovering wasteland he finds answers to his questions and makes some startling discoveries regarding the mysterious Festum.
I was rather harsh on the first volume of this manga, and while I’d love to come to you saying how I was blown away by the second half of the series I’d be lying. It continues to be an odd, confusing and fairly derivative mecha series. Revelations regarding Festum, humanity, group consciousness and individuality seem to make my comparison to Neon Genesis Evangelion even more on the nose. The characters come across as fairly one note, and even the attempts to flesh out some of the history between Kazuki and Soshi fail to elicit sympathy or interest. If that wasn’t enough, Kazuki’s emotional revelation that comes with it ends up feeling forced and hackneyed.
Alas, much like the story, the art fails to improve with this volume. It’s an incredibly bland looking book. The mecha are large, ungainly things with narrow waists and huge shoulders that looks like they’d fall apart under a strong breeze. The action scenes are quick but uninteresting and at times incredibly difficult to follow. Many of the characters are generic looking and at times it’s hard to tell them apart.
So in the end Fafner: Dead Aggressor has failed to impress. It has an awkward, fragmented feeling to it. It’s rife with moments that feel like they’re intended to be large and key moments that just fall flat and fail to resonate. It really wasn’t a very impressive introduction to the franchise, but it did it’s job in making me want to watch the anime, if only to find out whether the full series is better.
Fafner: Dead Aggressor, Vol. 2 is available now from Digital Manga Publishing. Digital review copy provided by the publisher.