Anime: Fafner #1

[a href=mailto:[email protected]]Hawkeye

imageFor most of their lives, the children of Tatsumiya Island have been living in blessed ignorance. Then one day, their peaceful lives are shattered and they discover that the world has been at war since before they were born. Their race is fighting for survival, battling aliens who’s one goal is to eliminate the human race. With tricky twists and sci-fi flair, Fafner is an anime that all action loving mech fans should check out.

Episode one, Beginning (Paradise), starts with a happy little city setting, children going to school, families saying good morning. But things suddenly turn grim when an alien presence is detected by the island’s defense force. Worse, the islands general populous doesn’t seem to know anything about what’s really going on. Can unsuspecting student Kazuke successfully pilot the giant mech Fafner to save his home?

Episode two, Life (Confessions), is the continuation and completion of the battle in episode one. Strangely, most of the island citizens seem to settle back into their normal lives after the attack. Some people will never be the same, though, having lost people they love. Deeper secrets of the alien attack are revealed and Kazuke’s training truly begins.

imageIn Episode three, Truth (Labyrinth), more pilots are recruited from the island’s children and they begin their rigorous training. The inner workings of the defense base are slowly revealed. Kazuke also begins to notice strange things about the base, such as a mysterious floating girl that leads him through the hallways to a strange glowing door. Simultaneously another attack is launched on the island.

In Episode four, Departure (Escape), another attack from the strange Angelic alien ships befalls the island. Once again, Kazuke and his partner Shoji are deployed to save the day, and a mysterious song is played as they fight. Meanwhile, the island finally begins to more to relocate to a safer and more secure location.

If Evangelion and Macross got together and had a baby its name would be “Fafner”. With mechs that only certain people can pilot, angelic foes, and a strange woman whose voice sings across the intercoms in battles, Fafner threatens to be nothing more then a cheap knock off. However, once you sit down and watch the show, it proves to be original and unique. The characters are compelling and complex. I really dug how the story simply gave you snippets and clues as to how and why the mech pilots were chosen, and also how the story starts off with no introduction. You’re simply launched into this world at full speed, but it does it slow enough that you don’t feel too lost or over whelmed.

imageThe sound was excellent. I enjoyed the opening and ending theme music, which was an excellent blend of traditional Chinese music with a J-pop twist. It’s the type of music that just gets you ready and in the mood for some kind of adventure. Another awesome sound aspect of Fafner was the short narrations at the end of each episode. The calm voiced Kazuke leaves the viewer with an ominous feeling, yet also with an almost irresistible desire to see the next episode. It was a wonderful effect that I hadn’t seen in an anime before.

The animation is crisp and smooth, though for the most part its no more impressive then other animes being released. It’s defiantly helping keep the bar high for the quality of anime out though. Also the mech battles were very well done, there were enough explosions and movement to keep me interested, but not so much that it was overdone or too flashy. Finding the balance between action and too much action is a hard feat that Fafner managed well.

Technical: 3
I don’t think I’ve seen a DVD with less extras ever. It has a credit less opening and ending and a Reversible cover on the DVD Box. For the first Volume I would have liked to see more goodies.

Entertainment: 9
Good plot, intriguing characters and excellent sound and animation.

Overall: 8

Episodes: 1 Beginning (Paradise), 2 Life (Confession), 3 Truth (Labyrinth), 4 Departure (Escape)

DVD Extras: Creditless opening/Ending, Reversible Cover

[i]Katie “Hawkeye” Connell is Assistant Site Manager for FMA Warcry and a frequent anime reviewer for the hubsite. She is known for her cutting wit and astounding alliterations.

You may also like