Posted by psgels on 1 October 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




For a long time I wondered what happened to the good parts of Xebec. I mean, it’s been ages since they released anything. Now however, I know: they were working on this movie. This was one heck of a roller-coaster ride.

The Fafner TV-series set itself apart with the way in which it took the “teenaged mecha”-formula, and executed it well. Not partially well, like what Ao no Exorcist is currently doing, they really came up with a great setting, premise and storyline for their run. This movie carries on this tradition, with a significantly upgraded budget. This is a real feast for the eyes and especially the action scenes are just gorgeous. Oh, and the music kicks even more ass than it already has.

Heaven and Earth makes terrific use of its time. The TV-series did enough building up. Using this, it can really deliver climax after climax after climax, with a very good balance between the quiet scenes that never drag out. On top of that though, it does manage to push the themes of the TV-series further, like the enemy, who is trying to understand human nature, or the way in which the main cast uses children, just because they happen to have special powers.

This movie is an action movie, but it puts its characters’ emotions above all else. It successfully introduces a new cast of characters who manage to show themselves off, without taking over the series in favor of the main cast. The main characters themselves also have some great scenes themselves, while also giving plenty of time for the side characters to shine (another great point of the TV-series that managed to carry over). The creators really tried to turn this into an emotional roller coaster, and combined with some excellent character development, they really succeeded.

This has one downside, though: it refuses to explain most of the stuff that happens. I mean, it describes what happens, but as for the why behind everything this is a movie that really likes to leave its viewers into the dark.

Let me stress this to the people who haven’t seen the Fafner TV-series: watch that one first. Heaven and Earth is really meant as a continuation, not to mention that it’s filled with spoilers from the TV-series. If you have watched the TV-series and liked it however, then there is no reason not to watch this movie. It delivers an excellent emotional climax to an already excellent franchise.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Great pacing, emotional and exciting. There’s a lot of teenaged angst and it may not explain exactly what went on, but nevertheless this was very solidly told.
Characters: 9/10 – This movie really gets the emotions out of its characters, without delving into cheese for even a second. A genuine roller-coaster.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Gorgeous graphics, action scenes and dogfights. Awesome soundtrack.
Setting: 8/10 –

Suggestions:
Macross Frontier – Itsuwari no Utahime
Tales of Vesperia
Ponyo on a Cliff By the Sea

7 Responses

  1. ayra says:

    where did you found this? i am dying to watch it !! plz tell meeeeeee!

  2. astrocurrent says:

    This movie is truly one of the best fan movies. Best Christmas present for all the Fafner fans, considering it was air on the Christmas day. That means, don’t watch it if you haven’t finish the TV series and OVA! ;)

    I agree with the down side though. It tries to pull everything into fitting a nearly 2-hour length. So what we get is a very balanced result but felt somewhat missing. The producer actually admits that they have to cut off some scenes due to the length. I personally think the fact that the opening 20 minutes is only full nuanced slice of life part of the whole movie is kind of unfortunate, cause they played a big role in both TV and OVA series, letting the tension and emotion to be fermented. Well, but there is tons of action scenes to make it up.

    The cast of characters are great. Especially for Koyo. He never said one single word, but there he was. Never expected this kind of characterization, but because of all the build up in TV, the paid off in movie is really sweet.

    I still think if the story can be translated into a 5 or 6 episodes of OAD would turn out to be a lot nicer. But the reality is it is a business world out there. A movie was the best choice of production. And as a fan of the series, I cannot be more satisfied.

    Also, the producer promises that if the box office hits 100 million, they will make a sequel. And it did. So we are getting another new member of the series, Sokyu no Fafner -EXODUS-, coming 2012.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Since there are no subs out yet, did you watch this with a full understanding of the japanese dialogue? Are you fluent then? Otherwise, it stands to logic that some stuff would confuse you, especially if you don’t understand who and what Misao is, and his relationship to both Soushi and Kazuki.

  4. Caroline says:

    Where were you able to watch this movie? I can’t find it anywhere.

  5. VyseLegend says:

    I was confused as hell at this movie, but it was most definitely interesting to watch. I’m gonna have to wait for a proper sub group to do it before I can pass judgement on all the things you mentioned though.

    • VyseLegendaire says:

      I finally got around to seeing the proper translation and I think my appreciation of the movie has increased. It sure doesn’t pride itself on explanation, as is so often the case with Xebec works, but more than makes up for it with devotion to its message and the sheer emotionality of the storytelling.

  6. Alec says:

    I just watched it, and it was damn awesome.

    I better rewatch the series again, for I almost had no idea what the F was going on when I watched it. Only remembered a few important things…Ahh, nostalgia.

    “Soko ni Imasuka?” that phrase was stuck inside my head for years, but I totally forgot about it.

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  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.

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