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Fafner: Heaven & Earth Movie Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Japanese & English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: AB (No Region C)
  • Rating: TV-14
  • Run Time: 95 Mins.
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Studio: Funimation Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 30, 2012
  • List Price: $34.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Fafner: Heaven & Earth is a feature-length return for the Fafner anime series that picks up some two years after the defining battle for the inhabitants of Fafner’s Tatsumiya Island at the North Pole against the aliens that have been threatening their existence, and the existence of all of humankind. Still not safe, and with the existence and location of the series’ hero Kazuki now exposed, the inhabitants of Tatsumiya Island must find a way to fend off the continuing attacks by the alien invaders, now using human tactics against them, while still healing from the scars of the previous battles. Meanwhile an alien messenger takes on human form and offers an ultimatum of peace – hand over the island’s power core and fight with him against other humans and aliens to bring about peace and coexistence, otherwise they will all be guaranteed to die. Can they trust him?

With its amazing special effects, dazzling animation, and edge of the seat action sequences, Fafner: Heaven & Earth offers plenty of red meat for fans of the original series. Beyond those obvious factors, however, it is easy for newcomers to get lost in the dense backstory, numerous character references, and illogical plot twists that lead up to the film’s climactic battle for the fate of all human existence. Where the film succeeds most is the core heroic quest that Kazuki is set on 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.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

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 for Fafner: Heaven & Earth from Funimation. There are no visible artifacts, the detail is strong and colors are incredibly vibrant.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack provided for both the original Japanese and English dub is quite good as well. Even though dynamic range seems to be a bit narrow, the louder, action-intense passages never really seeming to break out and become very thunderous, the mix is still quite involving. The surrounds are active throughout with numerous discrete and atmospheric effects, dialogue is clear and stays above the onslaught of sound effects, while lows are deep, but not earth shaking.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The English commentary is the biggest thing on offer here. Everything else provided is promotional in nature and brief.

The supplements:

  • U.S. Commentary
  • Commercial Collection (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:05)
  • Theatrical Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:59)
  • Funimation Trailers
  • DVD

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

Fafner: Heaven & Earth gets an A for recreating the feel of the original series so perfectly and making anyone familiar with it once again become engaged in the story. It gets a C- on the execution of its story, however, which tends to breakdown and become a bit too difficult to follow. The film is definitely rescued in the end by a likable protagonist and spectacular animation.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Fafner: Heaven & Earth on Blu-ray Combo Pack  at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

[amazon-product]B008NNYA2A[/amazon-product]

Purchase Fafner: Heaven & Earth on Blu-ray Combo Pack  at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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