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Fafner

Fafner: Arcadian Project
List Price: $29.98
Studio: Geneon Entertainment
DVD Release Date: July 5, 2005
Run Time: 100 minutes
Video: Full Screen (Standard) – 1.33:1
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo) & English Subtitles

THEIR PARADISE WAS A DECEPTION…

The youth of Tatsumiya Island believed that they had ordinary lives until extraterrestrials called Festums invaded their island. In the midst of the sudden chaos, their once peaceful island transforms into a high-tech military fortress built to counter-attack the hostile aliens. Their shock and terror intensifies as the young men and women learn that they must join the battle and pilot the Fafner, a class of humanoid-type robots that represent the final defense against the Festums and their divine powers.

DVD Features:
• Creditless Openings
• Creditless Closings
• Reversible Cover
• Geneon Previews
• DVD Credits

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INTRODUCTION
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Fafner is a series directed by Nobuyoshi Habara. Habara worked on several other popular series including D.N.Angel, Megaman, and Shaman King. Slated for release in June of this year is Negima, one of Habara’s most recent titles that is a 26 episode adaptation of the popular manga of the same name.

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STORY – Rating: 5 (out of 10)
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Fafner follows the story of Earth on the brink of destruction by an aggressive alien race. Unfortunately, traditional means of combating the foreign species have proven futile because the aliens can read the thoughts of the humans and can predict any attacks before they are launched. In order to defend against this threat, a large mech known as Fafner is created. The Fafner is supposed to allow the human pilot that controls it the ability to mask their thoughts from the Festum. Fafner is one more series in an already very popular genre of anime. While there are some factors that are interesting about the series, very little about it truly sets it apart from others within the genre. Many people will find things to enjoy, but there are other shows that have much more to offer.

Beginning (Paradise)
Tatsumiya Island is a small island secluded from the rest of the world. Everything seems normal until the sky literally opens up and the truth is revealed. Hidden from the children that live there is the true nature of the island’s existence and their role in a war with a strange race of aliens known as the Festums.

Life (Confession)
Kazuki, one the island’s children, pilots a Fafner for the first time and engages a Festum in battle. Surprisingly, he defeats the creature. Now, the island is left trying to resume as much of a normal life as they can while parents try to explain the situation they had kept hidden from their children.

Truth (Labyrinth)
Based on their synergetic code values, children of the island are drafted into the fight against the Festums. Their parents are unable to do anything except fear for their safety as the children are trained to use the Fafner and perform various other functions as well. Kazuki wanders the military base only to see a ghostly individual. He follows her through the base and to the core of the island, right as the Festums attack once again.

Departure (Escape)
Kazuki must use the Fafner once again to defend the island from attack. Others listen on, unable to do anything to help. Unfortunately, the Festum isn’t the only threat the island faces. A Neo UN plane is nearing the island. Kazuki must destroy the Festum and return to the island in time to avoid detection.

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ANIMATION – Rating: 7 (out of 10)
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The animation is clear and bright. It tends to be fluid as well. However, while it is excellent over all, I found the character art to be less than excellent. The characters weren’t overly distinct aside from hairstyles and eye color. Most of the time, you can tell the individual characters apart, but none of them really stood out. The biggest differences between characters were difference between adult and juvenile characters. Unlike the characters themselves, there was a great deal of variety in the backgrounds. In buildings, the backgrounds were often very simplistic. Outdoor scenes, on the other hand, were considerably more complex and often very beautiful. Likewise, machines and the Festums are also highly detailed and often beautiful.

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AUDIO – Rating: 7 (out of 10)
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The audio in both the English and Japanese tracks were quite good. However, there were some notable things to point out. First, while the acting is good in the English dubbing, the Japanese version sounded much more expressive. Additionally, the English dubbing suffered from numerous changes. While most of these changes were minor, some involved the adding, removing, or altering of a sentence or two of dialogue within very short bursts. Needless to say, these did noticeably change how some scenes played out. As a result of these two issues, I found that I greatly preferred the Japanese version. Luckily, the rest of the audio was excellent on both tracks. The music effectively enhanced the experience and the sound effects were quite realistic, making the scenes more believable.

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EXTRAS – Rating: 2 (out of 10)
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The standard anime extras are here. They included Creditless openings and closings to the first episode and all the other episodes (the first episode was different). There are also previews for several Geneon titles and credits for the DVD itself. The only other extra is the reversible cover. Obviously, none of these extras really stand out. The previews you can probably find on other DVDs. Honestly, had it not been for the reversible cover, I’m not sure the extras would have even warranted a 1 out of 10.

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OVERALL – Rating: 5 (out of 10)
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Fafner is a decent series with some interesting features to offer. Unfortunately, there is little to set it apart from others in the genre and its lack of DVD extras further decrease its value as a purchase. This series is really more highly suited as a rental. If you are strongly interested in purchasing it, I recommend renting it first before actually committing to buy it.