Fafner: Complete Series (DVD)
Studio: Studio XEBEC
Licensed by: FUNimation
Release Date: September 18, 2012
MSRP: US$59.98 [BUY]
Fafner follows the exploits of Tasujimiya Island, a peaceful island that lived in harmony for quite some time, until the bizarre intelligent reace known as the Festums arrived and began wreaking havoc on the inhabitants. The island-dwellers and the invaders are at war, and like usual, the fate of the known world hangs in the balance of alien technology that isn't even fully understood as well as the youths who are fated to control it -- in particular, Fafner, an enormous mech that sync with pilots much in the same way you've seen in Evangelion and other biomechanical behemoth series. The pilot becomes one, in a sense, with the weapon, feeling its pain and sensing its movements. It's got to be more than a little uncomfortable, but those kids seem to take it all in stride, despite the madness going on all around them.
The sprawling cast of characters centers around an appropriately aloof teenager named Kazuki and a group of high school students caught in the crossfire. The first few episodes explore the intricacies of the students and their fellow island brethren. They're battle-worn, and there's a defense plan in place to ensure civilians are protected and able to get to safety when the invaders come out to play -- shelters throughout the island and several mechanisms in place to ensure the cities aren't destroyed. Most of them, at least.
It's all pretty dramatic stuff. Shields are raised, strange new vernacular is tossed about, and operations are conducted from a secret base. There's also a lot of German terminology and references to Norse mythology. It'd be much more impressive if we hadn't seen it so many times before. If you've dabbled in existential crises/philosophical quandaries mixed with dazzling action sequences and/or teenage angst before, you'll probably have a good idea of the main layout of Fafner by the time you begin the second half of the first episode.
By the end of the series the very same soul-searching questions Evangelion centered around are raised, though Fafner never tackles the subject matter in such an obtuse manner. There's substance beyond the fluff, but you can only try so many variations on the same flavor before your taste buds begin to dull.
If you do choose to take a chance on Fafner, you'll likely be lured in by Studio Xebec's gorgeous artwork. Vivid coloring, bold character designs (you'll be thinking Gundam SEED of course) and arresting environments are certainly Fafner's strong points. In addition, singer Angela's ethereal vocals work quite well with the theme of the series and the otherworldly OP and ED songs -- they take a bit to grow on you, but by the end of the show I was hooked.
The puzzle pieces of the atmosphere are in place, but the series lacks the glue to properly arrange them. This tale has been told before, but much more cohesively. Still, it's worth a watch if only to see how derivative the work can truly be -- or if you're looking to add some new German slang to your vocabulary.
6.0 – Okay. 6’s are flawed, but still enjoyable. These titles may not have attempted to do anything special or interesting, but they are nonetheless enjoyable. These typically make great rental fodder or bargain grab. Photo Gallery: (3 images)
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