Tatsumiyajima is the central island in the middle of a small cluster of islands, in a sleepy backwater of the Japanese isles. Not much happens there, and the island's young people go to school knowing that their lives are likely to remain peaceful and undisturbed. Or so they have been taught... but the truth is different. The fate of mankind is on the line, and Tatsumiyajima is the last line of defense against a hostile and incomprehensible enemy. At the center of it all, fighting for Humanity's continued existence, is the giant robot Fafner, the dragon that guards this final treasure of mankind.
This review is based on 4 rewatches of the anime in 2 years. So I hope this will be as unbiased as possible. As a long time Xebec fan, I must say this is by FAR the best mecha anime they've produced to date. Now I shall try to break it down to different components.
Story: The story began with a paradise-like environment, but it quickly turned into a scene of chaotic desperateness. With tons of downhill battles to begin the story, it certainly illustrates how desperate the situation is for the protagonists (and the small group of humans living on that remote island). For a
mecha anime, it is not very common to start the story the way Fafner did.
Art: The animation is directed by the same guy whose responsible for Gundam SEED and Destiny. So it is only natural that people see similarities between characters (for example, I find Kazuki very much like Shinn). With that being said, I find it a bit lacking in originality so minus 1!
Sound: Absolutely stunning. The battle music is very unique and alive! I especially love the drum beat. The OP and ED are by Angela (who sang FFXII's opening).
Character: Most character development occurred during the 2nd half of the anime (when things become less gloomy), which was a good thing because there was no room in the first half to fit those in with all the intense battles and basic background storying telling. Again minus -1 for some unoriginal character design.
Enjoyment + Overall: Although it was hardly advertised (ie. lack of media attention), Fafner's success was undeniable. Just ask yourself this, how many anime (or how many anime done by Xebec to be more precise) actually got a prequel/sequel to further expand on the story? Well Fafner is one of those! With a touching story that can make even the toughest man cry a river, this anime is definitely one of the "emo-est" show ever!
I will agree with one of my club members regarding this anime. It is underrated as a series. I've watch this anime 1 year ago but I'll do my best to write the review about it.
The story has a nice flow. Like all mecha series, it got fantastic mechas with specialized specification for each mechas, skills training and conflict between characters, powerful enemies and realiable reason(s) for fighting. Not to mention 'best friend theme' where we can find alot in other anime is also included.The start of this anime which shows peaceful school days for main characters, Kazuki and his friend make a nice twist
when the secret of the island and the reason the island is the last line of defense is exposed. As we goes more into the episodes, more secret/mystery will be reveal. I guess that was attracted me the most. The anticipation of 'what's more' and hard to guess 'what next'.
Art and Sound:
I have no comment on the arts and sound due to my limited knowledge. But I would say, the arts and sound is good, really helping in making you enjoying the stories.
All the characters are well made. The relations between the characters are well explained and there's nice development of characters along the series. What interested me the most is, how fair development of characters is given to all cast, not only focusing on the main characters. You will also noticed the variation of attitudes and issues between the casts is brought up in the series.
Overall , I enjoy the series. It's one of the series where I can't put down until I finished it. And I would love to have a rewatch of this anime *if only my sis will return it to me rite nw*. The only reason the anime didn't get a full 10 from me is due to ending which left me a little unsatisfied/sad. But it's the matter of opinion. But really, it's only the last part that I'll leave it to your opinon, the rest of the anime is great!!.
Sokyuu no Fafner is an anime of the good old Evangelion school; a postapocalyptic setting where mankind faces annihalation at the hands of a mystic supernatural species, a band of mentally depraved kids as this world's saviours, and a plot with what is, at times, fairly cryptical content. Whether or not it does it well is hard to say however; it has its strengts but also its distinct weaknesses.
The series start off quite calmly on your average tropical Japanese island, where a group of kids are attending school as if life was nothing unusual. However, soon a Festum (the series' supernatural/extraterrestrial race) attacks the island,
and it is not long before it is revealed that the island is in fact a moving fortress, and the last remnants of a Japan annihalated in the human-Festum war. Also, these kids, with Makabe Kazuki as the lead acre, are revealed to be the only characters capable of piloting a series of robots known as the Fafner - and thus mankind's main hope for survival.
From here the plot accelerates, slowly, but steadily. It tends to stumble at points, and it, like many mecha series of its kind, has all these weird concepts and technologies, many of which are hardly, if even, explained. A pill you have to learn to swallow, I guess. The pacing is generally good, though, taking time to relax and develop the characters inbetween the more action-filled sequences.
Unfortunately, it suffers from the "frequently not making sense" syndrome, and from time to time characters say absolutely nonsensical things, or explain concepts in such a manner; I can only assume this is an attmept to be deep and mysterious gone slightly awry.
Its charcaters are a mixed bunch; your average cast of mentally depraved teenagers; most of them having troubles with depressing pasts, extreme self-confidence issues or other such negatively laden emotions and experiences. They're handled respectably, for the most part, and some of their stories are quite fresh and almost touching. Some, however, fall short of the stereotype treshold both in concept and execution, while others are victims of the "repetitive gag" syndrome, and one or two at least are victims of "not making sense" syndrome.
As a whole however, both the characters' conflicts and the plot made me want to keep watching, made me wonder how it would end up in the end. Was I satisfied? Yes, and no. There's no top marks, but it certainly wasn't bad.
The series' soundtrack is very often absent, or quiet - which can be efficacious at times, but at other times I feel it works against it purpose. When there is music, it's generally good; a few outstanding tracks and a lot of generic ones; especially towards the end of the series there are a few very good themes that are used. The opening and ending themes are performed by angela, a band whose msuic I love more and more by the minute. Their vocalist has an amazing voice, making the themes are a true pleasure to listen to! Voice acting is generally solid, with a few outliers in both directions - as with the rest of the show, it is generalyl not mad, but not outstanding either.
Animation-wise, the series tend to be, at times, quite iffy, especially when it comes to character designs and facial reactions. The mecha are animated well and the battles are entertaining to watch. The colouring is a bit bland, but is remedied by good work in the lighting and shading departments.
Thematically it touches upon many subjects that its genre brethren touches upon. Death, and existence. Individuality, and life. The Festum have a habit of asking the seemingly insignificant question "are you there?" - a question with a more metaphysical implication than one would think at first. Can you truly be said to live, to be here, if you have no reason for living? If life holds no intrinsical value for you?
Summarized, I'd say that Fafner is a solid series. It's nothing outstanding, nothing extremely great, and there are mecha series of its kind that are better - but it was enjoyable. The series finale was good. The soundtrack was as dramatic as it needed to be. It had its distinct detracting elements, but nothing you can't swallow and see past, resulting in a fairly enjoyable experience.
The beginning of Fafner was quite confusing as it went straight to the action. Going straight into the action is often never a good idea since it’ll leave the viewers confused. Now if this were only the first episode and the second episode takes place a few months earlier then it would work. Gungrave, Berserk, and the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya used this technique. Haruhi used it quite effectively as it made more viewers come back for the 2nd episode to figure out what was going on. I guess my biggest problem is the fact that the action was relentless
for around 9 episodes and they tried to create drama in that time frame. This is simply not possible with out proper character development/knowing the characters. For example, a certain character dies and they make it quite a big event and extremely dramatic. However, this character was only a step above some random faceless character. If this series were 50 episodes then I can under stand the pacing but it was only 25 episodes. It’s as if the creators realized that Fafner wasn’t popular enough to make into 50 episodes and cut their losses.
Around half way through the series, Fafner starts to slow down. Here things got better as there was proper character building and story progression. Now when drama hits it can actually affect the viewer. Sadly this happened way too late in a 25 episode series as there was quite a bit of potential in the Fafner universe. Thankfully, Fafner does save itself by creating a satisfying conclusion, albeit a bit rushed. I also felt that Fafner could have improved its ending by providing some kind of epilogue.
Music was one of Fafner’s better qualities, especially the OP/ED. Also, the character designs were the same as Gundam SEED so it quite hard not to make comparisons. However, in terms of animation quality Fafner compares quite favorably. So while the beginning went straight to the action and was a bit confusing it was nevertheless pretty. If you’re a mecha fan then its almost worth watching just for the action scenes. As far as I recall Fafner doesn’t use repeated animation sequences, one of my pet peeves.
Fafner is a fairly entertaining mecha anime, especially for mecha fans. It features good animation and very good music. However, Fafner didn’t provide anything exceptional and doesn’t rise above the pack of mecha anime. In addition, it was severally hurt by inappropriate pacing for a 25 episode series. It is quite sad to see so much wasted potential. Finally a proper epilogue would have greatly benefited the series.
Hey, what were you doing back in 2010? Hopefully, you were spending your time wisely by watching some of the best anime movies that year had to offer. And if you didn't, then here's the list to get you up to speed!