Apr 3, 2012
TheLlama (All reviews)
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.