Fafner: Exodus

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Raikoh
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Raikoh » Sat Oct 31, 2015 4:48 pm

It just hits me that Canon never even got to name anything after her beloved [and awesome] Irish heritage. Oh well, Einherjar is fitting.

There's not much that I can say that I haven't said before. Exodus is really good and it keeps on being really good. I'm interested in seeing where they're going to go with Maya, she's gotten way more human blood on her hands in the last couple episodes than she has in her entire career as a pilot. That's got to have some effect on her.

Haircut scene was fun. It seems like Soushi's only gotten more awkward with time.

That scruffy loli Canon in the OP, she really deserves to be protected.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Dark Duel » Sat Oct 31, 2015 10:46 pm

Raikoh wrote:That scruffy loli Canon in the OP, she really deserves to be protected.
OH. MY. GOD. I know, right?
As cute as the kids all were, I saw poor little Canon, and the only thing I thought was how adorable she was. That, and I felt she looked like she needed a hug :P
No wonder Michio took her in. Anyone would.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Amion » Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:12 pm

The new ED is so epic it more than makes up for the new OP's lackluster appeal.

I'm speechless for this episode. All I can say is that Fafner has officially surpassed Gundam for me. It's now the best anime series I've ever watched. So long as it doesn't somehow fail during this second half, this series is legendary.

Tell me how in the world people have failed to recognize something with this kind of brilliance? It's clearly a notch above anything else airing out there right now.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Sun Nov 01, 2015 1:08 pm

Because the character designs are by Hirai, which makes it the same show as Gundam SEED and a lot of people don't like Gundam SEED.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Amion » Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:13 pm

*Sweatdrops* Yeah. That might have described me not three or four years ago. To be honest, my original turn off was the confusion about what the sereis was about. Its hard to describe the premise behind the original to fit all that it does, not without sounding like an Eva clone, even if it's the farthest thing from the truth.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Raikoh » Sun Nov 01, 2015 3:23 pm

Amion wrote:Tell me how in the world people have failed to recognize something with this kind of brilliance? It's clearly a notch above anything else airing out there right now.
There are many reasons why I think both Japan and the West don't fully recognize the appeal of Fafner, and the Hirai designs is just the first of them.

While Exodus is amazing, it requires having seen everything before it to get the proper context, so I wouldn't be surprised if viewers haven't. The first season, which is the most important one to see before Exodus, is over 10 years old. For a lot of anime viewers, anime before 2007 is practically a non-entity except for rare exceptions. Some people might say, "Why should I watch something I need to watch older stuff for when I could just jump into another new show instead?" ignoring that Fafner is really good. Even knowing this, the setting is incredibly dense. Characters and factions don't lay out their motivations and plans explicitly, which makes following what happens more engaging but also a bit harder to follow at times. For all fans say "show, don't tell; stop treating us like idiots", whenever a series primarily does that it doesn't exactly get a good reaction.

There's also the massively misguided thing that the average anime fan would put Fafner on, the oft-misused "Eva Clone." You know, the kind of people who say Raxephon was an Eva clone despite being in production before Eva aired, and taking almost all of its inspiration from Raideen. The people who say Aquarion is an Eva clone just because it's weird and artistic.

Perhaps something else has to do with the mechanical and Festum designs. The Fafners are largely samey but with different colors (although there's less of this in Exodus) and don't have distinct names which makes it sometimes difficult to tell them apart and some people might think that the Festum all being that shiny gold isn't as "interesting" as if they all had their own colors even if the design of the Festum fits them perfectly.

But really I think it's just that Exodus is not a jumping on point, it's a continuation. People who started watching here, for whatever reason, probably wouldn't feel a fraction of the empathy towards the characters as longtime viewers do. They wouldn't know about the character development (especially for characters who have been axed off like Douma and Canon), the Curse of Goubain, the callbacks to RoL in Sui's story (and the parallel's to Koyo's family), or how awesome people like Mizoguchi are. But Exodus continuing the story instead of retelling or rebooting is what makes it so good. I thought every entry to the franchise before Exodus was decent to above-average, but Exodus is probably one of the best anime ever, and it's good from absolutely every angle.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Amion » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:54 pm

I agree with most of those points, particularly the astute observation that most viewers, despite rallying on the "Show don't tell bandwagon" aren't happy when they're forced to think for themselves, and thus get angry and decry a story for being too confusing.

Chances are the death toll also has its own hand to play per the Japanese audience. They're usually not as big a fans of tragedy as Western fans are.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Vent Noir » Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:31 am

Raikoh wrote:It just hits me that Canon never even got to name anything after her beloved [and awesome] Irish heritage. Oh well, Einherjar is fitting.
Well, if it's any consolation, there was a lot of viking influence in Ireland.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:50 am

Well at least we get to claim that we liked Fafner before it was cool.

Heck, ten years ago it was the series I chose to review for my MAHQ 'audition.'
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Dark Duel » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:20 pm

God, I can't believe it's been ten years, almost. I feel old, now.
But yeah, Fafner has been one of my favorite anime ever since I discovered it.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Vent Noir » Mon Nov 02, 2015 4:00 pm

I still remember how the first episode of the original series got booed out at Melbourne Anime Society. After that, I didn't get into it until I heard the folks on Gundamn! talking about it on one of the first ever episodes (the "Women in Mecha" one).
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Amion » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:10 pm

I just rewatched the first episode not long ago, and admittedly it's one of the weakest first episodes I've ever seen. It follows the mainstream entertainment's handbook for what not to do, simply by virtue of not telling anything at all, versus showing everything only. Funny how that works, as Raikoh touched upon.

Still, it feels like a living, breathing world from the get go. It throws itself into the plot immediately. Only issues I still have are that it does fail in terms of setting at the start. It's obvious the parents were trying to give their kids an early life of peace as if the Festum never existed. But it rings hollow with how we know the world to truly be. It's equal parts internally consistent with the expected emotions of the cast, and almost impossible to believe in its actual execution.

For instance, the beginning episodes indicate that there's only Mark Zwolf, and that it can't even use all its available equipment. They even mention that "we can't go on with just one pilot for Mark Zwolf', specifically. No mention is made until episode 3 or 4, where we suddenly get people talking about Mark Zex or some such, as if there'd always been a Mark Zex chilling in the hanger awaiting a pilot.

What really feels inconsistent is that even later on it's shown there's been a whole generation of previous pilots, along with Fafner that can use better and bigger weapons. But we're led to believe the kids never really questioned where Mikio went off to or details about why the outside world is so different. And the parents foolishly locked down the launch systems to the extent they couldn't fire a railgun without Minashiro having to put himself in terminal danger. Why in the world was that done? There's no logic to it, none of the obvious professionalism and tact that's kept the island alive against continuous Festum incursion.

If they'd only given us at least half the first episode, or better yet the second to explain exactly what was going on, they might have gotten viewers hooked better. Sadly, the shallow audiences out there will never appreciate the true depth it offers with the cast, and the more discerning will as often as not see what's so great just by watching the first five episodes alone. Regardless, I'm glad I was influenced to stick by it. It's definitely a hidden gem among gems.

It ages well too, as the first episodes are MUCH clearer to me now than they were during Round 1, particularly Soshi's and Kazuki's almost but not quite hostile relationship during the beginning.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Dark Duel » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:50 pm

To be fair I originally picked up the series about midway through, and didn't actually see the beginning until later. I remember the first arc I saw was when Kazuki first leaves the island. On the one hand, I was confused. On the other, that arc is IMO one of, if not the best part of the original series. And I was instantly hooked.
But yes, the first couple of episodes sort of dump you in the middle of an ongoing story without really taking the time to establish the setting, and it's rather weak. Taking the series as a whole, it is still far better than many others I have seen.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:08 pm

I've been hearing that Tow took over writing it half way through the original which supposedly is what caused the jump in quality.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Amion » Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:09 am

Maybe so, but the story did have some good moments up until the second half, so it's not like it was awful, just not interested in helping less astute viewers along. Though to be honest the best moments for me are during the second half, so that's not saying much on my end.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Soma Taozi » Tue Nov 03, 2015 6:10 pm

To be honest, I didn't get into Fafner until when Canon and Michio were introduced...I was interested in where the story was going after Shouko's tragic end, but it wasn't until we started seeing the outside world did I start seeing Fafner as something special. It was something I watched because I was just starting to get into anime around 2007-8 and wanted to watch more mecha series.

That was the point in my life were I only liked Gundam and shoujo anime...(you have two older brothers who make their sister watch Gundam on toonami growing up and see what happens to her anime tastes) but wanted to see something a little different. That and...cough...I heard about a potential pairing of two of the male leads...cough... :oops:

It is rather amazing to me how far the series has come and looking at it reminds me of how far I have come as a viewer of anime. I have grown up...but so has Fafner...I think we all know how rare it is for an anime to do that.

Not dismissing the first series, but my god...Exodus is just so amazing.

And on a different note, I really like the new opening. The first opening of the first series is still my favorite but I think I like it more than Exist. Also maybe it is the visuals that show so many dead characters that make me like 'Dead or Alive' as much as I do.
Destiny_Gundam wrote:Well at least we get to claim that we liked Fafner before it was cool.

Heck, ten years ago it was the series I chose to review for my MAHQ 'audition.'
This must be how the first readers of Game of Thrones feel now about ASOIAF...only difference is that no one cares about Exodus except us old people ;)
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by LightningCount » Wed Nov 04, 2015 3:07 pm

Realistically, I've come to realize and largely accept why Fafner will likely never be a break out success in the anime fandom: Art style, mecha genre, serious tone, and a layered story tied up in knots requiring the viewing of multiple old shows.

The *art style* is too old-fashioned and too closely linked with Hirai's work on Gundam SEED.

The *mecha genre* was a partial driver of fandom in the 80s and 90s because of anime's close link with the sci-fi genre and fandom, but mecha and sci-fi in general has not been a driver of anime fandom for a while. Newer fans I've talked to prefer and associate anime with fantasy, steampunk, and retro/feudal time periods, or else it's all about contemporary slice-of-life. But futures with cyborgs, robots, mecha, etc? Not so much. Just look at Ghost in the Shell ARISE. I don't think that made much of a dent, despite its pedigree, quality, and attempts to modernize from past iterations.

The *serious tone* in Fafner is just too much and too dark for most. The fan-servicey, chibi-warping faces, and other zany antics that lighten up certain popular anime and make it a communal, laid-back experience of release for many are rarely if ever really in Fafner. F

inally, the *layered story* presents itself in riddles, and that always has mixed reactions--some audiences love it, others are impatient and can't take it. In today's fast-paced world, I think the patience for these kind of stories is even thinner. Plus, to even wrap your head around a lot of things, you need to watch two or three other iterations that are several years to a decade old. I've learned more than ever in recent years that anime is a "in-the-moment" fandom. The newest things are what matter, and most fans are only fans for a handful of transition years in their life.

There is nothing "wrong" with the different perspectives noted above in the anime fandom, but it shows why Fafner has a rough path toward any popularity.

Now, since we're all talking about our first encounter with Fafner: When it came out, I hadn't heard a lot of praise for it, I did not care for the art style of the characters, and was somehow convinced it was a show that relied heavily on early-generation CG. It took until the late 2012 re-release for me to actually seek it out. At the time, the mecha genre was in a lull period for me. The "mini-boom" of Gurren Lagaan, Code Geass, and Gundam 00 had basically passed, and those had let me down overall. Gundam Unicorn was also starting out as a mixed bag for me. It got me to watch an obscure show called Xam'd: Lost Memories, which Sentai Filmworks billed as a "mecha series," but was far more bizarre than that. It was closest to Eureka Seven, but if the Nirvash was in its final form from the very beginning. It proved to be very good actually, but also a mixed bag by its final act. Then came the Rebuild of EVA movies. The first one really blew me away, and the second one was largely still impressive (though I didn't care for the pacing or ending as much).

So, enter Funimation advertising their re-release of Fafner. Well, I watched the first episode, and I was pretty much hooked. It was a lot different than I was expecting--particularly the lack of CG. The second episode sealed it for me that it was up my alley, so long as it could carry through on its premise. It reminded me of an expanded version of RahXephon, and as I continued to watch it, I could see it echoing things from Evangelion, Yukikaze, The Big-O, Gundam SEED, and Macross; yet, that was a combination I had not really seen before.

I think the UN's search for a moving island was a really big plus for me in the intrigue. I found the show and its pacing uneven, but I was always intrigued. (As Amion said, there are some seeming incongruities in the franchise that cause some confusion, and I feel there is always a sense of distance/elusiveness to all the plot details, which is or can be both appealing and frustrating.) For the record, I believe Tow was involved from the beginning, as the OST booklet interviews really go into the thought process behind the world and even its future (before Heaven and Earth or Exodus existed). I felt the original series' biggest problem was that it had trouble carrying out its action animation for its unique mechanical designs. Once I saw Heaven and Earth, that issue was solved, ironically enough by CG.

In terms of how the story could or should have started...there are all sorts of entry points it could have used. I do not necessarily think what they did was wrong. From what I've seen of Right of Left, I almost wonder if it is the best entry point for new viewers. It really doesn't spoil too much, considering that Episode 1 of the main series has a cold opening that shows the Fafner and the Festum, and it seems to have a tight story that will emotionally engage newcomers.

RahXephon was brought up, and I want to say that I still think that series has a bit more of an organic/naturalistic feel, but Fafner's been one of the closest to it. If Fafner had had character designs like RahXephon, I think it would have added to it quite a bit; though, I think the design work in Exodus has been an improvement over the past. Raikoh, you said that RahXephon was planned for production before EVA started? I've never heard that before, but it'd be fascinating, if true.

Regardless, Exodus, as has been said, is the best representation of this franchise from start to finish so far, and has really elevated the franchise as a whole. Something about Episodes 16 and 17 didn't fully click for me compared to others in terms of pacing and distribution of content, but I assume they will fit more snugly in a non-week-to-week viewing pattern, or by developments in Episode 18.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Nate123 » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:25 pm

Wlep that just happen
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Destiny_Gundam » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:55 pm

Well, we knew the show was gonna stumble big time at some point and I guess it was time.
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They say it'll take more than a month to upgrade the Fafners, but the shields won't last that long so they need to abandon the island and come back later. But then all of a sudden the new Fafners are ready and it doesn't look like they ever left the island. If there was some sort of time skip and they somehow managed to finish the Fafners ahead of schedual there's no indication of that. By all appearences they were able to do the upgrades in no time at all.
It's recoverable but still a pretty big hole.
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Re: Fafner: Exodus

Post by Amion » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:56 pm

Destiny_Gundam wrote:Well, we knew the show was gonna stumble big time at some point and I guess it was time.
Spoiler
Show
They say it'll take more than a month to upgrade the Fafners, but the shields won't last that long so they need to abandon the island and come back later. But then all of a sudden the new Fafners are ready and it doesn't look like they ever left the island. If there was some sort of time skip and they somehow managed to finish the Fafners ahead of schedual there's no indication of that. By all appearences they were able to do the upgrades in no time at all.
It's recoverable but still a pretty big hole.
My g
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uess is the fact that they were done without a timeskip indicates it went faster than expected.

Could also argue that if this show were 50 or 39 eps, this would be a plot point added and they just had to put it in as a nod to what might have been.
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