Jeezus Christ! Seriously! How many times can you rip off the same damn show?! Fafner is just another in a looooong line of series to totally, and without remorse, copy the shit out of Neon Genesis Evangelion... Which itself ripped off even earlier giant robot shows.... Which ripped off shows themselves, etc.... All the way back to the first cave painting done by Ogg about that cro-magnon kid who was forced to pilot a futuristic, untested wheel in order to combat the invading Ugh-Uughs.... Oh, that was just stupid and unoriginal myself. Sorry, but you get my point: Unoriginality is rampant in the anime biz. And unfortunately so is averageness. Even more unfortunately, Fafner is both unoriginal and only slightly (ever so slightly) above average. *Sigh*
This is the story of Fafner. Stop me if you've heard it before (no, don't really, because you already have, and I hate to be interrupted... God I'm hungry). Times are peaceful... No, wait, they're really not. Some sort of alien force keeps attacking mankind, and the only defense that humans can use against the invaders is a giant robot piloted by a teenager who's never even seen the thing before his baptism-by-fire-battle against the giant alien that made him realize that a world larger, and scarier than he had ever imagined existed outside of his quiet little Japanese town. All the kids in Kazuki's class (Kazuki being the teenage pilot I just spoke of) are potential Fafner pilots themselves (Fafner being the name of the giant robot), and soon they all get into the thick of things themselves, because it wouldn't be dramatic enough otherwise.
Fafner in the Azure is a lot like Gundam Seed as well -- Lots of whiney kids thrown into a military environment and then they all get pissy with each other. The character designs are simply totally recycled from GS too. Half the cast could be switched out with GS characters and I doubt I'd notice any difference. Hell, half the cast could be switched out with each other and I doubt I'd notice that either. The only difference between any of the character designs is their hair -- the faces are all identical. Did the character designer die at the beginning of production with only one figure drawn, and his assistants just spent the rest of their time coming up with wigs to put on that one face? They didn't even come up with too many hair styles either, as characters kept getting blurred together. Honestly, it's very confusing all the way through the end trying to figure out which persona is which. I'd be like "Whoa, why did that one kid's mom betray everybody like that? Wait, is that the teacher woman or the mom? What the fuck?!" The voice actors didn't help all that much either. None of the people who looked alike sounded very different from each other as well. I call "Lazy Shenanigans" on the lot of them. So fucking lazy...
Anyhoo, what the fuck was I talking about? Oh, yeah, the kids then have to fight, they don't understand why, they turn out to be better fighters than the adults could have hoped for, their robots transmit battle damage into pain for them to feel (why the FUCK would anybody design a robot that did that?!? Eva, Escaflowne, and tons more I don't give a crap about do the same shit), the enemies keep coming.... And then the New United Nations tries to fuck things up for everyone... I mean, does this not sound like ANYTHING you've heard of or seen before? Eva, anyone? RahXephon? Argentosoma? Anyone? Anyone? Fry? Fry? Fry? Fry? Fry? Fry? Fry? Fry? Fry?
Sorry. Back to the story. So, interference from the worldwide gov. and attacking aliens... Check. Then some shit happens that was never really explained nd that I didn''t fully understand, and a big, final battle takes place and then... Well, you can probably guess. But man, those Festums (the alien attackers) were such dicks! And WHY were they complete a-holes like that? And what was with all the very noticeable homo-eroticism that passed between Kazuki and his friend Soushi? And for what reason.... did ANY of this... Why did any of this shit happen? UUUUURGH! This show was just so pointless. I tried hard to like it, I really did. I never gave up on it and hoped that it would find its footing and its voice and become something fun and exciting all its own. I waited in vain. It could have been all hard core and all, but the fact that we knew beyond any doubt that the four kids who had to dive into the heart of enemy territory in the final hour-long episode would survive (for some retarded reason their giant robots were all mentally tied together, and if one bought the bucket they all would)... Well, it kind of took ALL of the drama out of the situation.
Fafner didn't even have a "gimmick" all its own either. The Escaflowne could turn into a dragon; The Eva Units had powercords and Reeboks; The RahXephon Unit had wings on its head and sang; Frank was a Frankenstein's monster of mish-mashed, discarded enemy creatures who could only talk to a crazy little girl (and possibly her dog)... The Fafner robots were just poorly designed Gundams. They didn't even look cool. I have models and toys from pretty much every robot from every giant robot anime show ever made, and I most definitely will NOT be buying a Fafner. My Giant Robo would so make fun of it. My Gunbuster would probably nickname a Fafner toy "Corky" and talk with a slur with his hands shaking wildly when he did his impression of it to my Valkyrie and Mazinger Z. Fuck you, Fafner, and your azure skies!
One more thing I wanted to talk about here. It's obvious that the Fafner writers and directors could take chances with plot and characters... But they don't do much with the chances they take! For example, early on in the show a main character dies while trying to save all the people on the island that the action takes place on. I was like, "Whoa! Nobody's safe!" But then it became telegraphed who was going to be cut from the world of the living next... Then nobody kicked the farm until the last few eps, and when that killing began it started a slaughter that had a higher body count than anything else I'd ever seen that didn't involve wiping out the entire planet (think End of Eva). Did that make sense? The remaining characters pretty much brush off all this death (half the cast of secondary characters, and there are TONS of them, get wiped out in a matter of minutes, and then a worldwide struggle for survival soon begins), and because of that, so do we the viewers. At first you're all like "OMG! That's, that's just terrible! Oh, all the pointless death... Oh, so sad." But soon you realize that nobody in the show is giving two shits about all the wasted lives themselves and you start to think "Hmmm, well, I guess it isn't all that sad when globs of paint die." It kind of pulls you right out of the drama.... But whatever. My overall point is that the show is just average. There you go.
You know, just once I'd like to be that "special teenage boy" who accidentally comes across a giant robot and gets to pilot the damn thing in a fight against assholes or aliens... or asshole aliens, to save mankind and all the hos. I'd pimp the fuckin' thing up with so much gold, and some stylin' two-story tall spinners. Ooooooh yeah! Then, after killin' me some anti-pimpin' baddies, I'd go bitch-huntin' like no other has ever done, foo'!
I'd cruise on over to Main and 27th, roll my window down, crank up the machine's bad ass sound system with some boomin' Tupac, and shout down to the whores, "You like? Yeeeeeeah, bitches, this shit is for REAL! Wanna take a ride in my GunDAMN? C'mon, ladies, this thing can take ALL of you at once... And so can I. Yeeeeeeeeeah, dog!" Oh man, I'd get so much action with my own giant robot. Where the hell is the government hiding them all?!
I just don't get it.... Seriously, I don't understand it at all. WHY does the Rossman make me watch this crap?!?! I know HOW he does it -- his blackmail diary is on the 42nd volume now... I'm just wondering WHY he keeps making me sit through these looooong, laborious shows. Is this his own special kind of torture for me? Did he set up some kind of deal with Satan to test out new ways to make people go crazy in Hell? If so, then this show will definitely be a hit down there... A "hit" in that it will make people want to blow their heads off, despite the fact that they're already dead. Hmmm, maybe if Satan chains poor souls to a wall with a gigantic screen blasting shows like this 24/7, and then places a handgun just out of the viewers reach and leaves them like that for all eternity... That might be the kind of heavy psychological torture She's aiming for.