Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing – 01 Review
No, of course they wouldn’t go to war. It’s not like that’s exactly the reason why they arrived with a battle-fleet to peace-negotiations…
Episode 1 – Open File
Review by M0rg0th and Saranaufogus
Last Exile goes into the second round with a new series telling a gripping story about how a warmongering federation makes war and a peaceful kingdom defends itself with the help of righteous sky-pirates. As you may have already realized it’s basically a story of a big meanie bullying a group of girls. Like with all these kinds of stories it’s hard to not see who’s evil and who’s good which makes the whole affair more a matter of how much stuff explodes than how subtle the story is. Nonetheless, it’s Gonzo’s big hope of making a lot of money so let’s see how the first episode turned out…
Saranaufogus wrote already a very detailed summary of the first episode here.
To summarize the whole thing, here’s what I thought basically happened in this episode:
It starts with Fam and the rest of the Sky-Pirates doing their job highlighting how much fun it is to steal other people’s ships and how peculiar Fam is. As they come back from their job they read about the Turian Kingdom signing a peace-treaty with the Ades Federation who basically spend their time conquering nations. The scene switches to this sacred place where the treaty will get signed. As it seems the Turian Kingdom is led by a bunch of young girls, the oldest one sort-of leading them. A younger one voices her suspicions whether the Ades Federation will really honour the agreement but the oldest one insists that since it’s a sacred place they won’t do anything silly like that. But surprisingly… she’s wrong! Silly as it is, the big Ades Federation actually doesn’t give a shit about “sacred places” or little kingdoms. So they arrive at the place with a whole battlefleet intending to start a war. But the Sky-Pirates take notice of the situation and Fam realizes it’s time to take justice in her own two little hands which leads to a risky rescue-mission. After a lot of heart-warming trickery and being better than anyone gave the Sky-Pirates credit for, the princesses are in safety. Guided back to the Sky-Pirates town the Princesses want to repair the ship asap to stop the Ades Federation from taking over their kingdom. But the repairs take time and the Ades Federation advances towards the capital of the kingdom with every passing minute.
This new Last Exile is another one of those series where moe-like teenagers decide the fate of whole nations while the adults follow them stumbling.
It’s difficult to review Last Exile: Fam without considering all the things that make this review more difficult than usual. First of all it’s a sequel and that means there’s always the comparison with the original to be made. It’s not something one should do or something one has to do – it just happens. Sequels are what they are and they always have to live up to what has come before in the franchise. The second thing connected to this is the point that the original was really good, I think, many would even call it the best Gonzo has ever produced in its history. The third point is that it has been so long since the original series aired that most of us Anime-fans regard the original series with an air of nostalgia and reverence that everything gets surrounded by if it’s popular long enough. And the final point is that this new anime has to be a hit, Gonzo wants this to be a hit. I doubt they will pull a ‘Madoka’ with the story of this anime. This has to be a success and they don’t want to be it some kind of experimental piece of sophisticated obscurity the greater part of the audience won’t like. This thing is supposed to sell – and not impress.
I started watching the original Last Exile again thinking that it can’t hurt for the review to remember how the original series was like but then I happened to read the manga-version of it (the first two chapters). And it was strange because you could see the same style there but you also could see how this new series didn’t want to be like the original. This new series wanted to be more than occasionally cute, this series wants to go all the way with being ‘moe’. And there’s nothing dark, dramatic or serious about the story. It’s light-hearted and really simple. You have the righteous kingdom with all these girls at its top who are full of compassion, mercy and other iffy stuff you could find in the innards of an unicorn and you have these evil bastards of a warmongering nation just trampling on everything that’s cute and sacred. When you see the princesses trying to be characterized typically in a very unimpressive way which ultimately makes them these virtuous examples of nice girls with a quirk here and there and see on the other side this evil general with an eyepatch who seemingly never heard of the word ‘mimic’ – then you know who’s good and who’s evil. And then adding to that this peace-treaty searched by the princesses while flagrantly ignored by the evil dudes then the whole affair becomes so obvious from a good/evil point of view that there’s hardly any doubt which direction this story wants to go. Ah and don’t forget the sky pirates who as the series wants you to believe are some kind of Robin Hood-group just doing their job for the sake of the underprivileged.
There’s a lot of room for reasonable doubt at this point whether this series will be something special or if it just remains in the shadow of the original series. Especially with scenes like this one where the general of the Ades Federation fumbles with a bracelet telling us very ‘subtly’ about his tragic past we will surely hear about in the future.
The story doesn’t impress me with such simple notions but it sure as hell tries to entertain. Air battles, trickery, evil dudes being really evil, risky rescues and so on… The only thing missing was a character spouting a pseudo-philosophical line while watching the sunset. It was direct and it was entertaining. But what I missed was where the series said to me: “This is what this series is about.” It just seems too generic what’s presented in this first episode as the story of the series (although Guilty Crown has it worse with the way the story was presented, I have to admit). The Sky Pirates need to be more than a merry ‘Robin Hood’-ripoff and the evil guys need to be a little more than “World domination is SOOO cool…!”. And the Turian kingdom with their team of princesses at its top… well, they are plain stupid and beyond saving.
The best of the characters is Fam and she’s definitely more believable than for example the main-heroine of Shangri-La with her ‘That’s my turf you’re stepping on, bastards!’-attitude. She’s self-confident but more in a kind-of naïve way and her generally brazen attitude is fun to watch. The rest of the cast seem forgettable so far with exception of Dio from the original series who’s in the series because… well, he’s in the series, let’ just leave it at that. Seemingly there will be a bunch of other characters who will reappear but what matters here is to add: It is NOT the same universe. Parallel universe maybe – but not the same.
The first episode opens with a lot of action and a straight-forward story. But what it can show off in terms of animation and action it lacks in terms of story and characters. Overall, it may be a pleasurable episode but due to how good the original is, it’s hard to see how the series’ simplicity can measure up to the virtues of the first Last Exile.
“Hello! I know I am meant to be an introverted moe character but please don’t ignore me.”
[Disclaimer: have only seen first couple of episode of Last Exile]
After having seen the first episode a couple of months back, I was curious as to how my 2nd impression of this show would turn out to be. As such, this review probably wouldn’t be as detailed or long as usual and would be more of an impression voicing my thoughts in a speedy manner.
You can go here to read the review I had written back during the Manifest Screening if you want a slightly more detailed view of what I had to say about the first episode (I must warn you, my impression of the show may have changed since then).
The first thing that I should say is that perhaps it was due to the residual “high” from having just came from an event back then, but I had given the first episode an 8.5, however after watching it for the second time I realised that perhaps I had hyped it up in my mind a tad bit.
This story is probably not something everyone would be raving about years later, it also doesn’t look like it would be anything unique or special. However, what it does look like it would be, is that it seems like it would provide a solid storyline that would serve its purpose in entertaining the crowd.
The characters are as I had said before, moe characters targeted at the crowd that the animation studio had probably thought this show would attract. However, that being said, the characters are all tastefully done and none of them were overbearing in their nature. As such, even a girl such as I (don’t question that fact) can enjoy this show without feeling turned off by certain parts.
The best part of this show was the soundtrack. The background music and the soundtrack did a brilliant job at creating an epic atmosphere during the battle scene and that contributed to a large part of the positive impression that was left on me. I would suggest that one watch this episode with their volumes turned up to enjoy it even more.
What this show proved to me was that music plays an integral part in building an atmosphere that would suck the audience in and I feel sad that nearly no other show this season have spent as much time or allocated a bigger budget to that front. (at least that is the way it seems to me). As for whether the quality of the animation and cinematography would keep up for the rest of the season remains to be seen.
What I did not like was the CGI-ed effects of the spacecrafts. After revisiting this episode, I have come to the undeniable conclusion that I still hate it. It clashed with the rest of the animation when it came to the art style and it had even cheapen the show at times. This will never change and I am dreading the look/execution of the major fleet battle scenes in the future. However, the cinematography in this episode cannot be discounted as it was one of the biggest reason why I had enjoyed this episode so much.
What I had issues with in this episode was the choppiness and the speed of how quickly things went by. We were essentially jumping from one scene to another and the episode ensured that all the main characters had some screen time and that their backgrounds were established. Personally, I would have liked if the whole battle sequence and meeting between Fam and the princesses was not wrapped up in this episode but continued on into the next. That being said, despite it’s choppy nature, we are still able to get a good grasp of the characters and the story. If you are looking for a show that is well developed with a deep cast, I would suggest you look elsewhere instead since it is not looking like this show would satisfy you on that front. (Then again, it is only the first episode)
What is with this season and the whole person-from-my-childhood theme?
Overall, it is essentially the cinematography and the Fam’s interesting personality that is supporting this show for me. The series looks like it won’t turn out to be anything epic or memorable but at the very least it would serve its purpose as being one of the more entertaining action series this season for me.
Episode Rating: 8/10 – yes, I changed my mind
So, how did this show hold up in your mind? Did you like it? Or were you upset that it was a unrelated story to Last Exile that simply takes place in the LE universe?