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REVIEW: Fafner BD+DVD


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dtm42



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:32 am Reply with quote
Ah yes, Fafner. A show with a first episode so awful I barely finished it (the episode).

Maybe the quality picks up in subsequent episodes, maybe not. But after the experience I had I am loathe to watch more to find out.
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Fronzel



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:08 am Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
Ah yes, Fafner. A show with a first episode so awful I barely finished it (the episode).

Maybe the quality picks up in subsequent episodes, maybe not. But after the experience I had I am loathe to watch more to find out.

I watched about half the series and then decided it was too awful to continue.

A by-product of making things hard for the teenage protagonists is that the society they live in starts to look very vile before long...yet when the UN shows up, we're actually intended to support the former over the latter. It doesn't work and apparent attempts to correct this are so clumsy it broke my suspension of disbelief, making the problem downright fatal. I found this to be a very annoying series.
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Moonsaber
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:18 am Reply with quote
Fafner was a spectacle back in the day, and I never picked up a copy of my own. With a combo Blu Ray / DVD box I guess I will go ahead now and do it. It was one of the Evangelion inspired follow mecha shows that tried to break the boundaries, another I remember was Brain Powerd.

Rebecca, great review but I would appreciate more details on packaging and the disc details. You did mention the BD was sharper, and that neither BD or DVD was in widescreen. No surprise there, it was not shot in widescreen, it was a 4:3 show. A little more on video and audio quality would be nice, as well though.
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marie-antoinette



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:49 pm Reply with quote
Interesting review. I generally not a mecha fan, aside from a nostalgic love for Gundam Wing, so this isn't a series I would normally have looked at but colour me intrigued now. I may have to check it out and see if whose assessment of the show I agree with the most.
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Zalis116
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:30 pm Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
Ah yes, Fafner. A show with a first episode so awful I barely finished it (the episode).


Indeed, any first episode that does not lay out exactly what's going on in the entire show is awful.

Quote:
Funimation has left the Geneon dub intact, which is certainly serviceable, but Jennifer Sekiguchi's Maya is distinctly weaker than her Japanese counterpart.
I'm more curious to know if Funimation tweaked Geneon's subtitles, as they were pretty badly written.

Quote:
The show does not come in wide-screen on either the DVD or the Blu-Ray,
As moonsaber has already pointed out, it's a 4:3 show. I would think that being in the correct aspect ratio and not cropped/stretched/squished would be a good thing, not something worth highlighting negatively. I know 16:9 TVs are the dominant thing these days. However, I don't see any reviews from, say, 2001 or 2002 of 16:9 content mentioning that the DVD doesn't come in fullscreen, which would have been the dominant TV AR of the day.
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:44 pm Reply with quote
Zalis116 wrote:
Indeed, any first episode that does not lay out exactly what's going on in the entire show is awful.


Oh very funny.

Unfortunately for your argument I like plenty of shows which are just as cryptic in their first episodes as Fafner is. Mysteries intrigue me. Badly-written shows - well, episodes, as I haven't watched any but the first - do not.
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SecretJustin1130



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:30 pm Reply with quote
dtm42 wrote:
Zalis116 wrote:
Indeed, any first episode that does not lay out exactly what's going on in the entire show is awful.


Oh very funny.

Unfortunately for your argument I like plenty of shows which are just as cryptic in their first episodes as Fafner is. Mysteries intrigue me. Badly-written shows - well, episodes, as I haven't watched any but the first - do not.


It must suck to be you. You don't seem to LIKE anything at all...
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One-Eye



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:43 pm Reply with quote
It was ok and I think the review is pretty accurate, but I would have given it a slightly lower grade--for me its an overall B-.

The show is obviously trying to be a NGE clone. Giant robots, secret fortified base, unknown beings that appear out of nowhere to attack, child pilots, boy pilot must step in out of the blue in the beginning with no training to save everyone, body suits that aid with syncing to giant robots, strange mythological based psychobabble, etc. It does have some positive things going for it. First, the show moves along briskly, never slowing to wallow too deeply in angst (unlike NGE). This made it easy for me to consume 25 episodes in a short time span. There is a variety of characters and in this case it helps as the show doesn't focus too deeply on the main lead. The benefit of this is that the sadness, depression and angst found in NGE is mitigated in Fafner by other characters. Not everyone in Fafner is in need of some prozac and some sessions in therapy. Many, but not all, of the adults try to support the kids in the show--unlike NGE where people tended to kick depressed characters when they were down.

The negatives are that the show is a little slow to reveal what is going on and then there's not much background to it. The meandering into philosophical lectures on the value of life started to get much at times. Its really a post-apocalyptic world, but its slow to reveal that and when they do I don't think its done well enough or thoroughly for me as a viewer. The politics between the island inhabitants and the rest of the world could have been interesting, but again I did not find it clear enough for me to understand some of the positions and actions taken (especially the UN forces).

Fafner is not bad, it tries to show us the hell of war, especially on families, and also the desperation of a war fought by the remnants of humanity. I think it doesn't always do this very well. It also tries to create an opponent that is alien in its thinking and existence to humans, but at times comes off as too ambiguous. The best thing to say about Fafner is that it doesn't really get boring (imho) and is decent but not great entertainment. I think I would recommend it to Mecha and giant robot fans, but maybe not to everyone else.
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:01 pm Reply with quote
SecretJustin1130 wrote:
It must suck to be you. You don't seem to LIKE anything at all...


Oh really? My Anime list says otherwise.
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Lynx Amali



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:11 pm Reply with quote
One-Eye wrote:

The show is obviously trying to be a NGE clone. Giant robots, secret fortified base, unknown beings that appear out of nowhere to attack, child pilots, boy pilot must step in out of the blue in the beginning with no training to save everyone, body suits that aid with syncing to giant robots, strange mythological based psychobabble, etc.


It does take elements from Evangelion but most of those points you've made can EASILY be attributed to most mecha shows.

Giant robots? Self-explanatory.
Secret Fortified Base? Mazinger Z.
Unknown aliens? Dancougar, Macross, etc.
Child Pilots? Hello, Zambot 3, Gundam ZZ (Judau was only 14!)
Boy pilot with no prior training? Gundam 0079, Mazinger Z.
Body suits? Okay. I concede this point.
Mythological Psychobabble? Ideon.

Fafner does take things from Eva but calling it a clone right out is slightly insulting as both an Eva fan and a Fafner fan. It's entirely different as it doesn't head towards the direction of what being a robot pilot does to one's mind but rather the effects of it on family and friends, stuff like that.

It isn't free from it's own issues as the pacing is rather weird at times.
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One-Eye



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 5:49 pm Reply with quote
Lynx Amali wrote:
Fafner does take things from Eva but calling it a clone right out is slightly insulting as both an Eva fan and a Fafner fan.
I think you are taking what I said way too personally. But you also agree that it "take[s] things from Eva", which really was my point.

Quote:
It's entirely different as it doesn't head towards the direction of what being a robot pilot does to one's mind but rather the effects of it on family and friends, stuff like that.

It isn't free from it's own issues as the pacing is rather weird at times.
I think you are taking my use of the word clone too literally. For example, I did mention how its not like Eva. You know, when I stated that in Fafner everyone is not in need of a therapist or when I mentioned that it showed the effects of war on families. Did you miss that? What I was trying to get at is that it borrows heavily on many elements that came before, maybe too heavily and for me it doesn't particularly break new ground by doing this.

Oh, as far as "what being a robot pilot does to one's mind" yea Fafner is not quite as psychological but let's not forget that the Festum also seem to attack the pilots mentally, you know like something that happened in NGE to a certain pilot. We also have a missing mother in Fafner, just like NGE. Heck, we could even say that many of the elements (secret bases, child warriors, special suits, etc.) can be found in shows without giant robots. This does not mean that Fafner does not borrow from Eva. How much it borrows is obviously up to debate or interpretation. You obviously feel that it doesn't borrow that much. For myself when I watched Fafner things like Gigantor, Getter Robo, Macross or Gundam (though I have not seen every Gundam) didn't spring to mind but Eva certainly did.
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ikillchicken



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:31 pm Reply with quote
Lynx Amali wrote:
It does take elements from Evangelion but most of those points you've made can EASILY be attributed to most mecha shows.


Certainly all those elements are at least moderately common mecha tropes (especially in the post Evangelion era). However, it is not the case that most mecha shows contain most of those elements. It's usually just one or maybe two. Case in point...

Quote:
Giant robots? Self-explanatory.
Secret Fortified Base? Mazinger Z.
Unknown aliens? Dancougar, Macross, etc.
Child Pilots? Hello, Zambot 3, Gundam ZZ (Judau was only 14!)
Boy pilot with no prior training? Gundam 0079, Mazinger Z.
Body suits? Okay. I concede this point.
Mythological Psychobabble? Ideon.


Sure, Mazinger might have a secret base and Macross might have unknown aliens but they don't have the dozen other things that both Fafner and Eva have. So yeah, those other shows all may have certain similarities but Fafner is, by far, the most consistently similar to Evangelion than the rest. I really can't say whether it does anything to differentiate itself from Eva but regardless, it certainly does enough the same that it deserves the title "Evangelion clone".
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:36 pm Reply with quote
I've come to the realisation that the word "clone" is too loaded to use in this case. For titles such as Gasaraki, Argento Soma, Brainpowerd, RahXephon and Fafner, I would rather call them "Evangelion-inspired".
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Lynx Amali



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:47 pm Reply with quote
One-Eye wrote:
I think you are taking my use of the word clone too literally. For example, I did mention how its not like Eva. You know, when I stated that in Fafner everyone is not in need of a therapist or when I mentioned that it showed the effects of war on families. Did you miss that? What I was trying to get at is that it borrows heavily on many elements that came before, maybe too heavily and for me it doesn't particularly break new ground by doing this.


Your wording made me assume you were literally talking about Fafner trying to be exactly like Eva. Most notably what set off my trigger was "The show is obviously trying to be a NGE clone."

Quote:

Oh, as far as "what being a robot pilot does to one's mind" yea Fafner is not quite as psychological but let's not forget that the Festum also seem to attack the pilots mentally, you know like something that happened in NGE to a certain pilot. We also have a missing mother in Fafner, just like NGE. Heck, we could even say that many of the elements (secret bases, child warriors, special suits, etc.) can be found in shows without giant robots. This does not mean that Fafner does not borrow from Eva. How much it borrows is obviously up to debate or interpretation. You obviously feel that it doesn't borrow that much. For myself when I watched Fafner things like Gigantor, Getter Robo, Macross or Gundam (though I have not seen every Gundam) didn't spring to mind but Eva certainly did.


I was referring to the aspect of Evangelion of 'what it does to a pilot's mind' in the sense that Eva is character driven, not so much with an actual ongoing plot. (Most of Eva TV was essentially Monster-of-the Week and used to flesh out the characters and their issues.) Fafner, while it touches briefly on that, doesn't go as deep as Eva did.

2) Not really what I was going for. It does borrow aspects. I just stated that Eva really didn't create the tropes you listed and that they were shows before Evangelion that used those tropes (In some cases, better I might add.)

I love how Evangelion always pops up when people talk about Fafner. Just so damn fun. Laughing
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dtm42



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:07 pm Reply with quote
Lynx Amali wrote:
I love how Evangelion always pops up when people talk about Fafner. Just so damn fun. Laughing


Just like how Evangelion gets mentioned in every discussion of RahXephon.

People love to compare things.
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