Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing – Final Thoughts

ラストエグザイル-銀翼のファム-/Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam

 
*Potential SPOILERS*

When the sequel to Last Exile was announced and revealed that it would feature new main characters, I have to say that I was concerned.  I wasn’t sure that I wanted to see new characters in the world of Last Exile as I felt there were stories to be told with the original characters.  Fortunately, my worries proved for naught as Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing proves a worthy successor to Last Exile, though is suffers from some of the same problems as Last Exile.

Let’s start with some of the problems.  Lead characters Fam and Gisey are supposed to be around 16 years of age when the anime starts.  Unfortunately, Fam looks like she’s 12 and Gisey 13.  For the most part, Gisey the mature one, but sadly, Fam mostly acts like a 12-year old kid, howbeit a very gifted one when it comes to flying and capturing large, Ades battleships for her Sky Pirate faction.  The two are close like sisters, which isn’t a problem, but there is a period in the anime where the two are fighting, and that comes off as forced and fake.  Thankfully, the writers don’t spend a tremendous time on this forced conflict between the two.

Fam and Gisey aren’t really strong leads for a series, and this is directly due to the issues I described above. The title of the series implies that Fam might be something special, but in the end, she’s just an idealistic birdbrain who’s skilled at flying and too often lives in a dream world.  I don’t have a problem with her being a girl with dreams, but I would have preferred a character that looked and acted more her age, based on the circumstances of her life as a Sky Pirate, which a very dangerous profession.

One of the problems I had with Last Exile was the lack of proper backstory for some of the characters and the situation as a whole. That happens in the sequel as well.  For example, we know that Fam was an orphan and her parents were in a fatal crash, but opportunities to explore this are passed on after a relative of Fam’s is discovered.  Empress Farahnāz Augusta was assassinated, but the reasoning behind the assassination is never revealed.  We aren’t privy to the story of the Prester (Anatoray-Disith) Exile‘s return to Earth, and how they settled where they settled. (This story is reserved for the official, canon manga.) Dio supposedly died in Last Exile, but he’s alive and kicking when this sequel starts. (This was explained in the official art book.)  Those are just a few examples.

I wasn’t that happy with how the villain of the series, Luscinia, was handled. The writers had him act as a cliched villain intent on taking over the world, but then came up with some stretch reason for him to justify himself and his actions, which the writers hope will flesh out the character.  He’s highly intelligent, skilled, and capable as a leader, yet in the end, he’s a moron who just gives up, but not without trying to kill other people in the process.  Even here, the writers attempt to make him sympathetic, but I for one saw a character who had potential to be very interesting, but turned out to be, “Meh!”

On the positive side, the character of Millia ended up being the most interesting. She started out as a spoiled brat, but then had to grow up fairly quickly when she became the leader of her people.  I really enjoyed seeing the young, mature woman that she became.

Although Dio’s return was a head-scratcher, I liked the role he played here.  The production team even allowed him to have two, shining hero moments, which rocked.  In order for his background to be explored, an entire flashback episode dedicated to the original Last Exile series.

Most of the other surviving major characters in Last Exile return, such as Tatiana (now in command of her own ship), Alister (Tatiana’s 2nd in command), Sophia, Vincent, and Alvis.  Claus and Lavie get the smallest roles as they are relegated to two episodes, and one of those was a flashback episode to Last Exile.  That flashback episode was probably one of the best uses of the recap format as it helped educate (or remind) viewers of Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing on the events that transpired in Last Exile.  Without it, my complaints over the lack of backstory would have been worse.

The story itself flows pretty well. At times, it is highly predictable, but at other times, it goes off in somewhat surprising areas. The overall unpredictability makes the story more enjoyable to me. This tale is aided by the nice CGI battle sequences from Gonzo.  Maybe it is because of my experiences with Last Exile, but I didn’t get the same sense of awe when I saw these massive, flying ships in Fam, the Silver Wing.  However, the ships are still impressive to look at.

Although there are problem with Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing, and I know many folks outside of Japan aren’t going to be happy with the fact that the story is told over anime AND manga (which likely will never be licensed in the U.S.), I feel that the positives of the series outweigh the negative aspects. The story is enjoyable, the characters are interesting, the visuals are very nice, and the musical score is decent.  As such, this is a highly watchable series, worthy of a rent at the very least.

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4 Responses to “Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing – Final Thoughts”

  1. Anonymous says:

    A little late on this one, huh. 😉

  2. Anonymous says:

    cause of the lolis too <3 Gisey <3

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