Anime Spotlight: D-Frag!

D-Frag! is an anime based on a manga by Tomoya Haruno. The anime is produced by Brain’s Base and is directed by Seiki Sugawara. The series aired on Japanese television from January 6-March 24, 2014. As of this writing, FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American streaming license for D-Frag! (which the company streams under the title, D-Fragments).

D-Frag! is about a boy named Kenji Kazama, a delinquent at Fujou Academy. During the first episode, he and his friends Yokoshima and Nagayama encounter the school’s Game Creation Club when they see smoke coming out of their clubroom. After putting out the fire, the three club members (Roka, Chitose, and Sakura) start using their “battle types” to fight against them. By the end of episode one, Roka and the rest of the club get Kenji to agree to become a member of their club; the club needs one more member in order to keep the club going.

In episode two, Kenji is approached by a girl named Takao and three of her friends, who claim that Roka’s Game Creation Club is a fake and that they have a Game Creation Club that’s the real one. Takao declares that she’ll find a way to shut Roka’s club down, and we learn that Takao’s resentment comes from the fact that Roka had been in her club and then left to form her own. Takao challenges Roka to have their clubs compete against each other at the cultural festival. Roka accepts the challenge, and in the end, Roka and the others win and save their club.

Over the course of the series, various other characters are introduced and other challenges are presented to Roka’s Game Creation Club. However, in the long run, many of these new characters hardly added anything of any real value to the series.

Also, after having such a strong focus on an overarching story in the beginning, the series pretty much devolves into the characters running around and doing stupid gags instead of following an overarching story.

When I saw a preview for D-Frag!, I was expecting to find a lot of humor in the episode. While there was some humor included throughout the first episode, there wasn’t quite as much as I thought there would be. From what humor I saw in that episode, I was given the impression that there’s a potential for this series to rely on the same gags every week for the series’ humor. Sadly, I ended up being right with that assumption.

At the end of episode two, I truly did see some potential for D-Frag! Sadly, as the series progressed, that potential never materialized. Instead, it became a comedy that relied heavily on gags that weren’t terribly funny the first time and wore out their welcome rather quickly. By episode four, I felt that the series was already starting to become stagnant. When I reached the halfway point, I decided I’d stick it out, but the second half of the series really couldn’t go fast enough for my taste.

The final episode didn’t feel like an episode to end a series on. Nothing has been resolved at all, and little to no progress has been made on the loose threads that are out there. I found this to be an unsatisfying ending for a series that had worn out its welcome for me several episodes ago. While I’ve thought that D-Frag! has been drudgery to watch for a while now, Episode 12 was the worst of this that I’ve experienced. After finishing the last episode, all I could say is that, “Thank God D-Frag! is over!”

For most of the season, D-Frag! rated as the least favorite of the six new shows that I was watching during Winter 2014. However, it managed to move up one spot when Magical Warfare had an epic fail of a final episode that helped to demote that series to the bottom rank.

Ultimately, I can’t recommend D-Frag! to anime viewers. If you enjoy comedy anime, then you’re better off avoiding this series. Regurgitated non-funny gags and a lack of direction later in the series make D-Frag! a series to avoid.

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