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Fafner, Vol. 3: Human Force (2004) – DVD Review

Fafner, Vol. 3: Human Force


Original story by Xebec
Directed by Nobuyoshi Habara
Character Design by Hisashi Hirai


  • Art gallery
  • Trading card
  • Reversible cover

Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:

  • Children in peril
  • Big stompy monster aliens
  • You Will Be Assimilated
  • No concern for fragile ecosystems, whatsoever

Released by: Geneon
Region: 1
Rating: 13+
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format.

My Advice: Get it if you like mecha.

[ad#longpost]In the previous volumes of Fafner we met the kids of Tatsumiya Island and the secret fortress built there to combat the alien Festums, who are, of course, bent on their domination of humans. The island’s only defense is the giant mecha known as Fafner, and only the children can pilot it (see New/Next Generation in a host of anime titles).

In Volume Three, Our Heroes are attacked again on their island by the Festums, and are on their way to release the Fenris, which they hope will defeat the Festum on the island. We get to see our first fully assimilated person, but viewers may not be happy about who it is, though it’s not much of a secret, given the text on the back of the DVD case. The results, however, are interesting, as we see his family’s reaction; this gives us more insight into the character than his own actions had. Finally, we are being given reasons to care about these kids. Kariya’s manipulations of Kazuki are also coming more to the fore, and the kids are all struggling to adapt to their new roles as well as they can. We also get a little bit more insight into the Neo UN’s motivations and plans, but not enough.

The look of the show is solid, if not outstanding. Characters were designed by Hisashi Hirai of Gundam SEED and Infinite Ryvius fame, and you can see his hand here in the show’s aesthetics. The images are bold, interesting, quite clear, and make full use of the lovely island setting. The show also sounds good, with both casts demonstrating competence and an appreciation for the real personality of their character.

The special features list is acceptable, but certainly nothing to write home about. We get a nice art gallery and a reversible cover. There’s also another in the set of trading cards that, on one side, continues to build a large image of the characters together, and on the other side give us small versions of the DVD cover art. Character profiles would have been helpful as many folks as we need to know in this show, and of course interviews with the creative minds behind the series would always be welcome.

Fafner can be recommended to anyone who tends to like alien invasion/kids piloting mecha stories. Science-fiction fans new to anime might also like this one, especially because it’s a relatively short series that does not demand a lot of background knowledge and appreciation of manga as a genre. Fans of Gundam SEED and other similar titles will be fond of how the mecha are used here, though anime fans tired of the “New Type” cliché will just grind their teeth in frustration at this new, but interesting and well-produced, iteration.

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