Jan 4, 2010
miki_sei (All reviews)
Soukyuu no Fafner is an anime full of good ideas that could have been even better with some adjustments here and there.

The world of Fafner combines elements of Evangelion (Festum = Angels), Gundam (teenage pilots and "real robot" action), and even Star Wars (Mir = The Force) to create an original flavor. Shades of Huxley's "Brave New World" can be seen in the too-idyllic Tatsumiyajima setting, and the characters themselves spend a lot of time absorbed in philosophical thoughts and arguments. Unfortunately, the plot isn't quite as unique as the setting, and it's a little slow to develop - but in the second half of the series, the plot picks up and the revelations and mecha action come fast and furious.

Artwork and sound are fine, neither excellent nor terrible. The Fafner mecha, with their twisted torsoes and lanky limbs, are a little strange to look at (and we don't get enough good looks at them), but at least the artists dared to be different. I think Hisashi Hirai's character designs are fine, but I'm not sure that everyone feels the same way.

The characters are where Fafner falls a little flat. The supporting cast, though large, is quirky and likeable, but most of them are doomed to die, and only one of their deaths (very early on) really made me feel anything. That particular death, however, is handled very well and brings up another strength - the chemistry among the entire cast is very good, and it's easy to believe that these people are friends, family, and comrades who mean something to each other. However, the main characters - Kazuki and Soushi - come off as bland and unmotivated to me, and Commander Makabe may be the most unqualified and uninspiring commander in all of mecha anime.

That said, Fafner is more than the sum of its parts. The final episodes of the series that tie everything together really deliver, and made me feel like it was worth it to watch that far. If the main characters had shown more personality, and some information that was necessary for understanding the world the characters lived in had been shared earlier, I think Fafner would have been even more engaging. If you need a less-mainstream anime to satisfy your mecha cravings, or if you're feeling a little philosophical, then try Fafner - you'll probably enjoy it.