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Fafner [Anime] Review

Posted on November 16, 2012 AT 06:39am


In 2114, the Festum, a golden group of aliens, arrived and began to decimate the Earth, with Japan being especially hard hit. Now in 2144, a group of people have escaped the war torn world by living on a hidden island known as Tatsumiya. There they raise their children in a simulated peace while simultaneously preparing them to fight the Festum in giant robots known as fafners. Only teens and young adults can pilot the fafners, which causes the adults great anguish. As the fighting escalates and young lives are lost, the islanders must decide how to proceed while the pilots struggle with the reality that they have abruptly been thrust into.

Fafner takes on the mechanized giant world thrusting you into the often gritty brutality of war. Unlike many of the other mecha type shows on the merrit this one stays away from the silly moments. Small doses of triumph are often intertwined into the more often sad story. Viewers looking for the classic goofy mech type battles found in other mecha series may be disappointed in what Fafner offers. However what they will find, however, is a harsh, fairly well-told science fiction story that points out that even when we win, there is always a cost. Fafner focuses on the struggles of war and the cruelty of higher powers, often times orders will be carried out in a harsh manner that will effect their own children.

Kazuki Makabe comes to us as the main character, he is skilled in piloting giant mechs and also the son of the general. Piloting the giant mechanical robots requires almost a symbiotic relationship as the pilot feels each injury the robot takes effecting them emotionally. Kazuki being one of the only ones not effected by the cellular connection is destined to be a great pilot. Emotional tolls quickly become present as the symbiotic relationships take a toll, a normally shy girl becomes determined and the class clown’s fears are revealed.  Soshi Minashiro plays the overseer of his classmates, he is tapped into everyone’s psyches through something called the Siegfried system. Allowing  him to give them advice and orders. The toll it takes, however, is extreme, as he experiences everything that each pilot feels, right up to their deaths.

Characterization in Fafner is thought out characters are not just thrown into the fray with no introduction. Each character comes into a unique understanding of who they are. Character’s appearance plays a key role in distinction of importance, usually higher end characters are better dressed then subclass characters, whether alive or dead. Likewise each robot has its own name, though they are more easily told apart by virtue of their colors and features. Watching through each episode you will likely find yourself drawn to a certain character. Fafner makes it easy to draw yourself into the role of one of the main characters.

Visuals do not stun the eyes in any way art is neither strong nor horrible it just suffices to pass by. Fafner does lend some fun visuals through out but they do unfortunately fall short. Lines are sloppy making for some awkward design through out Fafner. Though the robots do not visually please the eye they do take center stage through out most of the chapters. Stunning battle scenes push the visuals over the top especially as the pilots assimilate with their robot counterparts. When Kazuki first enters his mech the visuals of him combing with the robot is amazingly beautiful. Festum the villainous alien race is also stunningly beautiful. In later chapters Festum becomes almost scary to look at but in an interesting type way.

SUMMARY: Fafner does well combining the emotion of the children with the raw power of the mechs they control. Fafner does not shine through in many areas it is very lackluster in terms of anime. One redeeming quality of the overall anime is the true gritty quality of war. Delving into how tough war can be and how decisions can strongly effect all involved including family, even if it was children that would face the consequences. 

  • THE GOOD: Very different from other shows with giant robots
  • THE BAD: Character design is flawed in many aspects
  • THE UGLY: Over bearing tone of despair that never goes away

Score: 6.5

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