Last Exile – Fam The Silver Wing – 01 Review (Manifest Screening)
[Edit] I have decided to move this post back up due to the fact that Last Exile is airing tonight and we would need to write another review for it soon.
I had change the name of the post so that when we get down to writing the review for the official Episode 1 of Last Exile, this wouldn’t clash with it. (In the newer review, whenever we write it, M0rg0th will be giving his imput and I will be simply adding my 2nd impression of the first episode =D )
Beneath is the unchanged post of the first ep review I had written shortly after Manifest.
[End of Post Edit]
This is a special review for you guys.
I am sorry for not uploading the reviews for the other anime but I am so busy this week. Hopefully you will enjoy this review until I get the time to catch up on the latest episodes of the current series.
I had spent all of today at Manifest where they had the screened the first episode of Last Exile brought to us by Gonzo Studio.
So without further wait, here is a summary and my review of the first episode…
Please note that due to strict prohibitions of being able to bring in any electronic device, I could not take any screen captures for this review. (I have attached the trailer of the series to the end of this review for you to watch)
The episode starts off with Fam prancing through the airship half awake resulting in her falling out of the aircraft. Luckily, Fam is tied to a Vespa which Gisey was sleeping in. (It seems like Fam sleep walking is a common occurrence, but this scene does well in explaining the kind of character that Fam is meant to be)
The rest of the crew on board the airship then gathers together after realizing what had happened with Fam. The scene follows with Fam and Gisey boarding a Vespa and going out to hunt for a Skyfish (it is simply another skyship what the airpirates call their prey). After finding a target, Fam orders Gisey to send a crude message to the commander calling him a “perverted captain”. Gisey argues with Fam about the use of some of her terms but Fam insists on continuing on with those phrases. The commander then curses at the Airpirates (this is where to are introduced to the fact that Fam and Gisey are airpirates) disturbing his plans for the night and chooses to ignore them. Naturally, Fam decides to attack and a battle ensues. The chase ends with Fam and her crew harpooning the Skyfish and capturing it.
On-board a Turan aircraft, the Princesses of Turan, we get to see the Princesses interacting with one another discussing the future of Turan and a sacred site that brings good harvest to their lands.
After arriving back at their home, Fam and Gisey reads about news regarding the Turan Empire and the both of them joke about “what if Fam were a princess?” An alarm sounds and interrupts their discussion causing Gisey and Fam to run out to check out the situation. What they saw was a big armada approaching the Turan aircraft blotting out the sky. Fam then decides to make the Turan aircraft their next target.
After seeing the approaching fleet, the younger Turan sister gets scared and the Princess decides to sign a treaty only to have the Ades Federation declare war on them instead.
A big battle ensues and Fam offers to capture the Turan airship in order to save them from the approaching enemy’s fleet of ships with conditions attached to it. The princess agrees to the conditions in hope of saving Turan as a dead princess would not be able to support her country. To throw the Ades Federation off, Fam concocts a plan to make it seem like the Turan aircraft has sinked.
Fam’s plan is successful and the battle scene ends with the elder Turan princess declaring war/revenge on the Ades Federation.
The episode ends with the commander of the Ades fleet and his subordinate discussing the sinking of the Turan airship with the commander saying that he would not believe that Turan has been defeated until he sees it for himself.
A few imporant things that you might want to note about this series:
“First of all, this takes place in a different world than the previous Last Exile. Now we’re trying to portray what’s happening on Earth, and a side of the story we haven’t seen yet. In the previous series, the vanships were powered by a mysterious energy source that people didn’t comprehend; the Guild just gave it to them. Unlike that, in this series, the protagonists are fully aware of how these things work. The pirates on the frontier. They really understand these things inside and out. It really gives us an opportunity to explore that side of the story. The Vespas are quite a bit smaller than the vanships. It’s like how we are always striving to make these laptops smaller. These guys are doing the same thing with their ships—don’t think their performance is lacking!”
“Turan was being invaded by two of these giant Ades battalions. Each one could wipe out the entire country, so Turan was on the brink of destruction. Obviously, there is still more to come, and a lot more to be developed with these guys, so stay tuned.”
Back to the review…
Firstly I have to say that I have only manage to watch the first two episodes of the first season after trying to watch the series for the first time two weeks ago. Sadly, I just could not find the time nor motivation to watch more. So if you are looking for a review from a person who is a fan of the first Last Exile or have at least watched it before, this is not what you would be getting. Hopefully, what would will instead be reading will be a review from a fresh pair of eyes (having only seen 2 eps) without the bias of being a fan of the previous show.
The screening of the first episode was one filled with all sorts of trouble. The choice of device (play station) just would not play the episode and after a lot of trouble and issues we finally got the show on screen only to realise that it was not being played in the rightful widescreen format.
Now onto the review of the first episode…
The opening scene was really nice and dynamic. If the aim of the show was to capture the attention of the viewer from the get-go, they did a good job. The animation was fluid and the colour palette and the textures used were really pretty and suited the mood. Throughout the rest of the episode, the consistency of the fluidity of the animation did drop slightly but overall it was still really beautifully animated and the world of Last Exiled has definitely been refreshed nicely. Many of you have seen the poster and may worry that the animation might end up being too “3D” and CGI-ed for your liking, but fear not, the show still keeps to the mainstream 2D look that you commonly see in Anime.
Despite how much I love the animation, there were a couple of minor issues that I had with it.
Firstly, a different type of texture was being used on the airships as compared to the characters and backgrounds. What do I mean? What I mean is that the airships look 3D and quite obviously CGed. Whether that is a good or bad thing… I shall leave it up to you to decide when the first episode airs.
Secondly, the panning scenes became painfully obvious during a few points in time during the major battle scene in episode 1. If it was not panning it was zooming in on certain frames of animation. The good thing is that those scenes were a rarity. Honestly, I might just be nitpicking. One thing is for sure is that animation-wise, this is one of the best out of Gonzo and you can tell that Gonzo has invested heavily in this film hoping that it will succeed. (Even the Gonzo representative seemed to placed an emphasis on how the Last Exile was one of Gonzo’s most successful projects and they are hoping that fans will be happy)
I would not claim to know much about animation or how it is done so I had decided to ask my friend who was with me who is an Animator (she has worked at companies like Ubisoft previously) about what she thought of the animation and the show. Here is what she had to say:
“In the fast paced world we live in today, when deadlines are always hours away and payday seeming lightyears further, the animation scene has always been rather adept at squeezing every ounce of product from very finite resources. In what appears to be a contrast screaming in the face of the rising tide, this premier was oozing with visual opulence. From the soft earthy palette of pastel colors to the use of well timed 3D animation, it was a visual treat well worth the technical stuff ups. Something about the big “action scene” really caught my eye. Perhaps it was the tons of cgi (which will always hold a special place in my heart). Or the “strategy style” airship wars that hinted something a bit more intelligent than just whacking the enemy with a big stick. Or maybe just the copious use of lots of big guns.
Some may find the use of 3D animation coarse and awkward in a clearly 2D anime. But I’m simply loving the amount of freedom it allows the animator to introduce an incredible amount of depth to the images without introducing an equally incredible budget for the episode.”
The character designs in this show were done really well as well. There is a mystical air surrounding the characters and the duller pastel tones used in this series creates a very beautiful atmosphere and world for the characters to live in. It reminded me of an updated version of the first Last Exile.
One obvious thing about this anime is the overwhelming unbalance in female to male proportion of main characters. There main characters Fam and Gisey are female, the main head figures of Turan are females as well. Naturally with the way anime are these days, one cannot forget to add in, amongst this female dominated cast, a character that would satisfy the moe crowd. The good thing is that whilst it was feeling a bit lopsided on the female-male proportion scale, the anime itself will not turn any females away with stupid cliche characters. The characters themselves are all interesting and the use of Fam to bring some light comic relief to the series was a smart move. Her character had just the right mixture of quirkiness and spunk to make her an adorable character.
On the other hand, Gisey’s character is one that is totally opposite to that of Fam’s. She is a more introverted and seems to do what Fam tells her to do despite her questioning the some of Fam’s orders, she still goes through with it. It is interesting to watch how the two main characters with opposite personalities balance each other out and compliment one another.
My problem is that some of the voice actors came across whiny to me. I am hoping it is due to the audio setup at the screening that caused the voices to be slightly annoying to my ears, but I have my doubts on that. Perhaps I will have to wait and see the official airing of the first episode to see if my mind is changed.
On the note of sound, the backing music for this show is epic. It is amazing. There are those few moments of appreciated silence but most of the time an orchestra piece fills your ears. Just imagine… an airship battle where tension is high and two opposing Commanders are shouting orders around and things blowing up whilst there is a high energy ochestra piece being played to carrying the scene to a different level. Beautiful right? It was beautiful to watch, but I am not sure if I was overly excited by it.
What was interesting was the idea of mixing some old ideas with the new. The world of Last Exile is a futuristic one but the existence of pirates is ancient. The idea of ships being ships and preys being referred to as fish was also a nice concept.
Overall, the story thus far is intriguing and I am looking forward to the next episode. The ending scene of the Ades federation makes me want to watch the next episode to find out what happens next. I would say that if you a show leaves you wanting more, it has done it’s job. The comedy is light and integrates into the show really nicely with it’s simplicity. It does not feel like the writers are trying too hard and instead it feels like the characters themselves are coming to life and taking charge of what happens next. Since I have not seen the first series I can’t compare it to the first Last Exile but this one felt like it was targeted at a mainstream audience without outcasting anyone with heavy technical dialogue. That being said, did feel like it was leaning towards targeting the male population but I feel that it is not such an issue was both guys and girls alike will like the show.
I have a conspiracy theory that Fam is a princess but I shall keep it to myself for now. =D
Episode Rating: 8.5/10
I originally did not plan on watching this series but the first episode has definitely changed my mind! The Gonzo representative did say that there will be new changes to the episode along with the edition of the OP and ED so I am looking forward to rewatching and reviewing it again when it comes out in October!
Trailer #2 of Last Exile : Fam The Silver Wing
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