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Finished Fafner. It felt like an Evangelion wannabe with an ending similar to Eureka 7. I really wanted to like it, but it was just "ok" really. The only interesting thing about the series was how many pilots died throughout it, and how many mechas were lost. They didn't go hand and hand though. Some of the mechas were piloted by multiple people, while some were lost with their pilots. What was most unrealistic to me was how they all lived in isolation on an island, but seemly had unlimited resources to restock their defenses and repair mechas that lost limbs. I'll watch the movie later to see if it redeems the series in anyway for me.
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I thought it was a great show, then again I did watch it back when it aired 12 years ago and haven't watched it since. There were a lot of things I wished they'd of elaborated on while I watched it but it was pretty entertaining overall. There was nothing to salvage after battles Sledge, the enemies weren't human nor did they pilot mechs (they're called Festum and are created by the Mir, what they exactly are is hard to explain) and yes it does take place mostly on the island (some eps take place outside of the island but the majority of it pertains to the islands defenses).
I have yet to watch Heaven and Earth, it's been on my watch list forever and it's buried somewhere on my passport. You'll have to let me know how it is when you watch it. Right of Left was pretty damn good (prequel OVA). I also need to get around to watching Exodus as well but that'll have to wait till after I watch the movie (as it takes place two years after Heaven and Earth).
Yeah the Festum and Mir could have used more depth instead of everyone sulking about Shoko. I guess I didn't care too much for the characters. I didn't really understand the whole Soshi's eye thing, maybe I missed it looking at my phone, but they seemed to refer to it a lot without explaining what actually happened. The main character leaving with the Neo-UN defector seemed half assed, and his quasi-assimilation seemed cheap since he got all fixed up by info given to them by a Festum. It wasn't a bad show. I just wanted more I guess.
I don't even think they go into more depth in the movie or the 2nd series but that was my major problem with the series. The creators dropped the ball on explaining what these beings were (outside of servants of the Mir, who also didn't get any explanation). It's been so long I don't even remember anything about what happened to Soshi (I think he was merging with the system he used to help the pilots, I don't know).
When it aired it was a good show, now maybe not so much. I should probably give it a rewatch to see if it holds up in my book, I've become quite the anime snob in recent years.