Two years have passed since makind and the alien festum faced off in the North Pole. While life has pretty much returned to normal in Tatsumiya Island, an increasingly brutal war against the surviving festum goes on in other parts of the world, and a nearly blind Kazuki still awaits the return of his lost friend Soshi. Suddenly, an abandoned submarine arrives at Tatsumiya with a single lifeform, a festum dubbing himself Misao Kurusu and carrying a message from Soshi. With Tatsumiya once again drawn into a conflict, the survivors from the last war and a new generation of pilots are thrust into a new battle, not only for their own lives, but for the survival of the two species. This is the awesome end to the series. Please watch the anime first or you will not understand most of it. The film, like the series, attempts to spread the story around from the very opening. He is caught between worlds, literally, as will be explained as the film progresses, and between saving his friend, Soshi, or humankind. It is a classic hero’s conundrum that humanizes the protagonist in way that anyone can relate to.
The story develops much faster due to it being a film as well, which is kind of an improvement for fans, although the film still suffers many of the issues that plague the series, such as just not being that engaging. Fafner: Heaven and Earth was also a little lacking in the giant robot fighting department, but it was mainly due to the main story needing more time to develop, don’t worry though there were still fights to be had. The best element here is no doubt the Kazuki – Kurusu – Soushi storyline, which actually manages to work up some unexpected emotional heft by the film’s climax and denouement. But a lot of the other supporting stories are left sadly underdeveloped.
Apart from a few scenes here and there that look just a little bit soft, there’s hardly anything to find fault with in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement of the digital animation. FUNimation did an excellent job bringing this to blu-ray. As fans of Fafner know, the series combines both CGI with more traditional hand drawn cel animation. A lot of the CGI looks very good indeed, but at other times it’s really weirdly soft. Sadly, the storyline became a bit too difficult to follow. This same inconsistency carries over to the hand drawn elements, where at times line detail is very strong, colors are vivid and the image is nicely sharp. At other times, though, things look distressingly soft and ill defined.
This anime is an interesting film that offers plenty of drama as well as a bit of giant robot action. With its amazing special effects, and dazzling animation, Fafner: Heaven & Earth offers plenty of red meat for fans of the original series. Fafner: Heaven and Earth offered plenty of closure for fans of the anime and it was definitely nice to see Kazuki and the rest of pilots not acting like the crying angsty teenagers from the first part of the anime. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of tears shed but it just didn’t have the overly dramatic feel of the series. Be sure to pick this up and for fans of the series, this is a no-brainer; must buy!