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Fafner: Complete Series (Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
DVD + Blu-ray
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Terrorized by a hostile alien race's mental warfare, humans hear only this question just before their lives-essentially their minds-are assimilated by the violent invaders. Kazuki and his classmates lay everything on the line to pilot their heavily-guarded island's secret weapons: towering mechs for which only they are genetically qualified to control. With most of Earth destroyed, humanity's survival relies on these youths' selfless determination to protect the only home they know. But when each battle pushes the pilots to the brink of assimilation, who will protect them?
The mecha adventure series Fafner (2004) proved so popular, it spawned a theatrical feature, a TV special, a light novelization, a manga series, and a video game. In the not-too-distant future, Earth has been devastated by the aliens known as Festum. Uncounted millions have died; most of the survivors fight rear-guard actions under the Neo-U.N. But a small group clings to life on the hidden island of Tatsumiyajima, which can be moved when danger threatens. That group includes scientists developing the technology of the Fafners, anthropomorphic robot-suits, and the teenagers who pilot them. Kazuki and his cadre of friends battle the Festum, despite great pain and the danger of being "assimilated"--having their identity absorbed by the aliens. Fafner borrows heavily from Evangelion and many of the Gundam sagas, but director Nobuyoshi Habara and his crew fail to present the story coherently. The Festum are the enemies of humankind, yet all the teenage pilots have some Festum genetic material in their bodies and several Festum manage to disguise themselves as humans. Tsubaki is--simultaneously--the living "Core" of the island, a Festum, and a weepy friend to Kazuki and his classmates. The plot lurches along incoherently, as partisans switch sides with little motivation; characters disappear for 10 episodes then inexplicably reappear; crises mount only to fizzle out. The many battle scenes lack the panache of the better mecha series, despite a plethora of CG effects, while the animation in the dialogue scenes looks almost as static as Robotech. The filmmakers can't even get the scripts to fit the standard episode length: the action sometimes begins before the title sequence, sometimes after, and sometimes continues under the closing credits. (Rated TV 14: violence, violence against women, alcohol use, brief nudity) --Charles Solomon
(1. The Beginning (Paradise), 2. Life (Confession), 3. Truth (Labyrinth), 4. Departure (Escape), 5. Pledge (Promise), 6. Sacrifice (Soaring Sky), 7. Parents & Children (Family), 8. Koyo (Strife), 9. Parting (Assimilation), 10. Crossing Paths (Disintegration), 11. Human Force (Old & New), 12. Desperation (Absence), 13. Festum (Erosion), 14. Occupation (Awakening), 15. Stream (Memory), 16. Welcome Home (Friend), 17. Device (Survival), 18. Memory (Father), 19. Sight (Maya), 20. Light (Lantern), 21. Future (Sakura), 22. Power (Protection), 23. Decoy (Pillage), 24. Mir (Conversation), 25. Symbiosis (The Final Battle), 26. Final Episode (Azure)
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Top customer reviews
There are a lot of mecha series out there. This one is above average. It doesn't reach the level of Evangelion, but it's a heck of a lot better than Gasraki. I think that it is most like RahXephon. If you've seen RahXephon, then you can get a pretty good idea of what this is like. It has good animation, voice acting, and a suitable soundtrack. There is plenty of action and drama is Fafner as well.
After hearing all of that you're probably wondering, "why not 5 stars then"? The reason I can't give it 5 stars is b/c some of the characters seemed very distant. Even though the characters feelings and love for each other was a major theme, the relationships between them weren't developed very well. I think that the psychology of the Fafner pilots was focused on too much. The thing that would have made this series great was stronger relationships between them. This is the reason It wasn't great. Don't get me wrong, Fafner is definitely good, but it lacked the most important thing it needed...character development.
The main problem with Fafner is the first half of the series up till episode.12 is messy with bad dialogue and mediocre plot pacing. In the latter half of the series, they changed the script writer to Tow Ubukata and the series showed a marked improvement. The TV series' ending is bitter-sweet but the film "Heaven and Earth" is a direct sequel and resolves the issues in a more satisfactory fashion.
Recommended for fans who like animé with a serious handling of sci-fi/military themes and human drama. There's also a heavy dose of Existentialism with the question "Are you there?" re-phrased throughout the series. Soukyuu no Fafner isn't casual viewing and has a grim feel to it. The music is composed by Tsuneyoshi Saito and performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra with a strong female vocalist for OP/ED songs, backing the epic feel/Norse mythology used in the show.
1. Fafner: Right of Left OVA (takes place a few months before the main series and explains a lot about the plot and characters. It should be seen before the TV series if possible but isn't available yet as a US release)
2. Soukyuu no Fafner aka Fafner in the Azure (TV series)
3. Fafner: Heaven and Earth (film occurring 2 years after the main series and provides the real ending)
Minus one star for starting the series in the middle of the war. . .