It’s unfortunate that the world of Fafner is much more interesting than any one of its characters and the boring situations they find themselves in. Released in Japan in 2004, Fafner a group of Japanese people that inhabit Tatsumiya Island, a serene and quaint town that houses a well knit community, on the surface. It turns out the these inhabitants are the very last of the Japanese people and that the world has been overcome by aliens called Festum. The young children of the island become the only line of defense, by piloting giant robot’s called Fafner’s, that protect both the island and the world itself from assimilation by the Festum. Made by Studio Xebec, the folks responsible for Martian Successor Nadesico and Shaman King, present a trite, boring foray into the mecha genre with Fafner.
If someone came into watching Fafner and had never seen a mecha show before, they might like all of the intrigue and action that the series sets up. If you’ve seen stuff like Evangelion, Rahxephon and a few other mecha shows over last few decades, you’ll see that this series doesn’t offer up much of anything at all. There are some interesting moments in the series, where you find out about the way the world is currently and how its affect the people on the island. Yet, even with all its set-up, Fafner can’t do much of anything original to make it seem worthwhile.
Xebec has done a real nice job at animating the show and some of the action sequences are pretty impressive. While Hisashi Hirai’s character designs are really nice and sleek, too many of the children in the show have the same facial structure. There were a few instances in the beginning, where I’d get confused at two different characters, that were of the opposite sex, because they both had short brown hair. Naohiro Washio’s mecha designs are a little uninspiring with the first few Fafner suits we see, but towards the end of the series, other characters show up sporting some really nice ones and the main character, Kazuki, gets a really nice upgrade that show off a cooler design. If there was one thing that I absolutely abhorred in this show was every single one of the Festum designs. They look like giant yellow blobs that have some sort of form or shape, but you can’t tell because they’re entirely one color. While they do sport some intricate forms throughout the show, all of their distinctions are marred by the fact that they remain in a single color scheme, that subtract from any sort of definition and really comes off as lazy.
Funimation’s packed this set to the brim, containing both DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s containing all 26 episodes of the series, a behind the scene’s video and many variations of the intro and outro with different characters. While this set may be packed, content wise, the series itself isn’t really worth diving into, especially with it borrowing heavily from stuff like Evangelion and Rahxephon both. Do yourself a favor and see those shows before you come anywhere near Fafner and you’ll be much better for it.