3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Following in the footsteps of anime greats Neon Genesis Evangelion and Rahxephon, Fafner borrows heavily from its peers but still manages to cobble together an interesting story of its own. Instantly fans of the aforementioned tales will recognize some key similiarities present in Fafner's plotline, but those similarities can actually help ease viewers into a more comfortable level of understanding. We've seen strange plots before when little explanation is offered from the start. Having accepted that, we can sink our minds into the offerings with ease.
Fafner tells the tale of Kazuki, a spunky teenager growing up on an island paradise. He lives a fairly care free lifestyle, surrounded by plenty of friends who also enjoy basking in the tropical splendor they call home. But that sense of serenity is one day shattered by the arrival of a mysterious golden being called a Festum. The Festum, much like the Angels of Evangelion, are bent on attacking Kazuki's island for reasons that have yet to be fully explained, but nevertheless the attacks are ruthless. During the assault, the island itself is revealed to be more than simply the idyllic paradise the children have grown to love, as buildings erupt from the ground, gun batteries rise from the forests, and even the concrete docks reveal missle turrets aimed at the alien attacker. The adults of the island are actually members of a secret organization known as Alvis, and beneath the placid facade of island life there exists a vast underground stronghold built, presumeably, to fend off the Festum. In the heat of battle Kazuki is called upon by his friend Soshi to pilot the one weapon capable of battling the Festum on equal terms: the Fafner Mark Elf. Once in the cockpit of this hight-tech marvel, Kazuki soon begins his journey, beset by the enemy as well as the discovery that all he believed to be reality has been nothing but a lie.
On the surface, Fafner carries all the of elements of a giant robot show. But it remains unique in much the way Rahxephon and Evangelion did, in that the conflict is seen through the eyes of the story's protagonist. We the viewers really know only as much as Kazuki does, and really we only learn the truth as it becomes apparent to him. As a result the story can certainly be a bit confusing from the start, especially when there is such a large and plentiful cast of characters introduced in very short order. Putting names to faces is essential early on in a story like this one, which is a little difficult when the children AND their parents are placed before us as characters to watch. But once this hurdle is cleared, the viewer can focus mostly on the hero and what comes his way. Kazuki himself is an interesting protagonist in that he defies the traditional stereotype that usually appears in shows like this. Rather than whining about being incapable of piloting the robot and risking his life for others (something Shinji Ikari did in nearly every episode of Evangelion), Kazuki gets with the program almost instantly. What little apprehension he shows vanishes once Soshi reassures him that he is not fighting alone. Even the pain of his first battle is not enough to stop his immediate resolve to protect the island he has called home for so long. This willingness on Kazuki's part makes him a more appealing hero. At the moment he is not clouded by angst, though he still seems to have a little trouble following orders. And it wouldn't hurt him if he asked just a few more questions from time to time.
The animation of Fafner is rich and vibrant. The colors are deep and from the start it has the feel of a well produced anime that holds much promise. The quality of the animation does slide a little once the series gets going, but not enough to be distracting. There is plenty of computer rendered imaging to be found as well, whether it be in the Festum themselves or the intricate displays adorning the Alvis command center. Character designs should feel familiar to fans of Gundam SEED and its sequel SEED Destiny. In fact, Kazuki bears a resemblence to SEED's Athrun Zala, crossed with the eagerness of SEED Destiny's Shinn Asuka. While the Festum look like something out of Rahxephon, the Fafner is an interesting mecha. Its design resembles the Labors of Patlabor, something more functional and industrial than outright fantastic, with a lot of blocky planes and a fairly ordinary color scheme. However, there is clearly more to this machine than meets the eye, as will undoubtedly be revealed in coming episodes.
Combine all of these elements with a stirring soundtrack performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic, and you have a recipe for an intriguing viewing experience.
Volume One contains episodes 1-4 of the series, but these 4 are time well spent. They offer a good taste of the things to come, should the viewer be inclined to follow. The mysteries of the island are vast and the threat of the Festum just as perplexing. Fans of mecha series brimming with mystery, conspiracy, and action should consider suiting up and taking a ride with Fafner.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
OK people, what is Fafner?
Before I get into the story, I will try to answer a hypothetical question first: Who should not and who should watch Fafner.
To begin with, if you are a die-hard fan of Evangelion or Gundam etc. than most probably you will not want to watch this one because it has some similarities with the previous mention animes indeed; and you most probably will `blow away' a great anime like this. On the other hand, people who would like to watch a very good anime, with strong storyline, twists, romance, lots of action and of course Mechas (belongs to the so called sci-fi category) than you should watch this one.
Let us proceed to the storyline:
It starts with the life of people, teenagers going to school, adults to work etc. by introducing the viewer to their everyday life. The place where the story starts is called Tatsumiya Island. To make the long story short, aliens attack earth and obviously the Island gets under attack, devastating their lives and throwing the teenagers into battle; basically, because they are the ones who are able to fly the Mechas. Additionally, power games will start to evolve, exhausting battles all over the globe will occur, between sort of government and military parties etc. and all the teenagers are caught in the middle of all this. As the series proceed, many questions will be raised (which will be answered - directly or indirectly - in the end of the series), the bounds between the main protagonists will become stronger (and of course romance), the viewer will witness all the emotional rollercoaster that these youngsters will go through and some of them will even die.
This sums up the story. I could get into more details and tell you what will go on in every episode but I refrained myself from doing this because I believe that if someone decides to watch the series than I would give away the entire suspense and twists of it.
Overall critique about the series:
If you are into Mechas for a while, then most probably you have watched Mecha series and are familiar with the common pattern that this kind of animes are following: teenagers are the ones who can fly the Mechas, alien invasion, battles, romance, power games etc (as for the good guy vs. bad guy, in the Mecha series this usually presents a grey zone). Therefore, why should someone watch Fafner? If you are not into animes for a long time, should you watch Fafner?
The answer would be yes. First of all, because of its animation, which is very good. Second, because of its storyline, which although is based on the common pattern that is been explained above, yet, it manages to bring forth new ideas, a solid and strong storyline, many twists and mainly till the final episodes you will not be able to foresee its final conclusion. Even if you are a die-hard fan of Evangelion, RahXephon etc. this one is definitely worth a watch from you. As for the action, the series are packed with it. Third, because of its dub; in other words, if you belong to the category of people that instead of Japanese would prefer the English dub, it is very good done and professional orchestrated. Thumbs up!
Apart from it, if you buy the box set or the complete collection, then the box is exactly the one you see in the picture, which is very strong, like a shelf and doesn't brake easily. As for extras, the usual stuff like previews of other animes, not credit opening/ending and so forth.
To the most obvious question: Buying it or not? To be honest, if you can afford the money than I will definitely recommend these series to you, if, you can not afford the money than try to rent it and watch it.
To conclude these series are highly recommended!
I hope that I could help you...