Fafner is an anime rife with symbolism, it is a mecha anime somewhat in the vain of Neon Genesis Evangelion. In fact most of this anime reminded me of Evangelion, down to the music and most of the mood of this show, except the one thing that separates it from Evangelion is the fact that it manages to stay optimistic throughout most of the series.
It takes a couple episodes to get off the ground but I think Episode 6 is when the series really changes things up, you will see a lot of characters perish throughout the course of this series, but in this episode there is an emotional shock that really changes the tone of the series and from there you start to realize what kind of a world this place is. In fact what is most interesting is that for many of the battles the pilots are almost helpless against the Festum and they only barely manage to escape with their lives.
The Animation for this show for it's time is great, now granted it is only 5 years old, it's pretty standard animation, The Battle Scenes are the biggest key in this series and for the most part they succeed.
The Music in this series is it's biggest strength, Tsuneyoshi Saito and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra do a beautiful job on the music, of note is the main battle theme "Opening of Nightmare's Gate" which really gets you into the moment the second it starts. As for the Opening and Closing, they are handled by the great Japanese Pop Duo of angela, atsuko (the lead singer) does a phenomenal job on the vocals for both the opening and closing, the closing theme song of this show not to mention the ending animation that accompanies it are among the highlights. I cannot say enough good things about the music for this series, it is definitely within the Top 10 of anime television series scores.
Tow Ubukata who wrote this series and has written Heroic Age, Le Chevalier d'Eon, Mardock Scramble always manages to make his characters written very realistically, he tries his hardest to ensure that the characters are not predictable and frankly there are not many stereotypical anime characters in this show. But I think Ubukata's greatest character writing comes in the creation of the enemy force known as the Festum, Ubukata manages to give you bits and pieces of information about what the Festum are really about, you eventually come to see that the Festum are not exactly evil in nature but basically are shaped by another reason entirely, one that I cannot give away for risk of spoiling it.
This is not a series that is enjoyable per-say, like I enjoy the story-line and learning about the characters through-each episodes but in some ways, this series is bitter-sweet, it's not a happy and not a sad series, you feel somewhat unsatisfied after the ending of it, as of this writing, I have not seen the Fafner Movie but i will probably get around to it and the maybe my feeling of the overall Franchise will change.
Fafner is in someways a different kind of a Mecha series, but it does fall within the range of what I call an Emotional Mecha series, it has melodrama, ethical questions and an enemy that does not understand humanity.