And that’s why this was the worst mecha manga I’ve ever read. Oh wait, did I explain anything? I didn’t? Well, that’s too bad, because if you want a manga that actually explains something, this ain’t it. So why should I go into detail why I disliked “Fafner”? Maybe because it has nothing to say. Maybe because Fafner wants me to feel bad even though I don’t. Well, let’s see what’s wrong with this one.
Plot: I have no idea.
Seriously, this plot seems disjointed. Something about stopping an evil menace with giant robots. Oh wait, that’s every mecha manga. Nothing really happens, at least, nothing interesting. But we’ll go more into that over the course of the review.
The first time we meet our protagonist, he talks about how tense it’s become with his father ever since his mother died. That’s it. Already they try to make me feel something that I can’t feel. I JUST met you; how about having a scene where we get to know you? Or, you know, say anything but mindless exposition? Well, at least we’ll get some interaction or inner-struggle between father and son, right? NO! That wouldn’t be poorly thought out! The two never say a word to each other or think of their relationship! My, I’m so glad he told us about his backstory!
And that’s kind of what this manga both is and lacks: Backstories. Oh, people have reasons for doing what they do. But we’re never shown why. Constantly we’re told about how “I love Makabe” or “Shoko died for our sins”, but we never get a flashback to properly illustrate the point. Why did Shoko (one of the pilots or something; who honestly cares?) love Makabe (the protagonist; again, it doesn’t matter)? She gave her life for him. But they never, NEVER had interaction. We don’t get a flashback, she doesn’t give any reason to sacrifice herself other than “I love Makabe”… it’s a mess.
Now, the pointless pandering to my emotions. The aforementioned Shoko gave up her life to protect Makabe and the island. Ever since, everyone feels the need to say “SHOKO GAVE UP HER LIFE!” or “Shoko wasted our precious mecha.” I got it. She died. Oh, and it’s not like no one else died protecting the island. No, only Shoko, who we know almost to nothing about, was the reason we stand to fight. HORSESPAGHETTI.
No one has any personality or identity. One character fights with Makabe over a girl named Sakura. Okay, who’s Sakura? Well, she appeared throughout, but she did nothing and only had her name addressed to her towards the end of the volume. Great work setting her apart! Even with the copy and paste characters, they’re all better than… SOSHI. BOO!
Soshi. The meanest character in this dreck. Why, all he cares about is war, not people! I mean, how could he think of machines more than people? Well, I’ve got no idea. Honestly, he’s just taken from every war series ever. You know, the one guy who seems horrible because he doesn’t convey any emotions? Truth be told, I’m kind of with him on this one. Well, come on. Look, Shoko died because she disobeyed orders. Really, I can see that all he wants to do is end the war and not have to deal with stupidity. She didn’t even have a valid reason to die. What, she wanted to prove her worth? But we, as the readers, don’t know you. Sorry I’m still on this, but I’ve never seen a dramatic death scene handled so poorly.
The fights are boring and confusing. There’s a ton of useless jargon that doesn’t mean anything because they never explain it. “IT’S SOLOMON’S PROPHECY!” they explain. Oh wait, they don’t. I don’t get how the machine works, I don’t get how the island moves, and I especially don’t get what the enemy is. Oh, the enemy they fight throughout? “Festum”. Yeah, just makes you quiver and quake in your boots, huh?
Look, if you wanted to make me feel something, anything but annoyance, all you really need is development. Why, even Gurren Lagaan had character development, and that was a terrible manga. So imagine where you are, Fafner. In my head, you’re worse than Gurren Lagaan. A Bandai title. I don’t know, maybe the anime was awesome, but that’s no excuse for this piece of… well, it was fairly lousy.
Overall Opinion: Confusing, rushed, and nothing you haven’t seen before. If you get the chance to read it, don’t.
Rating: Fafner doesn’t deserve a rating. You go sit in the corner, Fafner. That’s a bad manga. BAD.