Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing – 02 Review

Actually she just knows that you’re the main-character and that your name is in the title of the show. These are two irrefutable pieces of evidence proving that you simply can’t be a normal person!

If you want to hear the short summary of the second episode: It’s a hell of a shit-hits-the-fan-episode. Yep, it isn’t quite the picnic-day for the good guys everyone had hoped for. Actually a lot of stuff goes wrong… Not everything of course because Fam was born with so much talent that it isn’t even a question whether she can pull off the amazing stuff she’s supposed to do. She just does it – and it works. But even Fam is powerless when a badass ‘spaceship’ gets involved…

Synopsis:
Fam and Giselle escort Milia to the Turan Capital with a plan to defend the capital from Liliana. She meanwhile plans with the Kartoffel Sky Pirates how to fight the Ades Federation and comes up with the plan that the Ades Federation army without their commander Luskiania are just a bunch of non-swimmers tossed into the Atlantic Ocean. So she takes the broken Turan warship Lala (or whatever the name for it was) that the Ades Confederation considers to be a treasure chest at the bottom of the ocean for future archaeologists. At the same time Fam & Co arrive in the capital city whose population gets evacuated just in time. But as Milia meets her old father who’s the king of Tura he admits that he just wants to die with the soldiers defending his kingdom. Milia doesn’t like the sound of it but accepts to be transported by Fam and Giselle to another village in the east for protection. In the battle things take a turn for the worse as the plan literally appears to be dead in the water. The surprise attack had failed due to a skilled assassination and kidnapping done by one of Dio’s people. Dio also saw the person who did it and recognized him but ultimately he let him go and instead he flew to the Turan capital telling Fam & Co the news of the kidnapping. Following Milia’s lamenting and pleading Fam and Giselle decide to save Liliana with the help of Dio. In a risky manoeuvre that only someone as talented as Fam could pull off they enter the main-warship of the Ades fleet and confront Luskiania. He orders the troops around him to stand down and shows off his power that he acquired by kidnapping Liliana. That new-found power also includes calling down what appeared to be a moon revealing itself to be one of the Exiles and it pretty much destroys the Turan Capital on its own without taking any kind of damage while doing that. Fam, Milia and Giselle find themselves some miles away at a coast. And while the Turan capital is burning Milia appears to settle for depression as appropriate reaction.

Well, I guess, since he’s dying and all, he can afford to dream with open eyes…

Review:
The second episode continues kind-of what began in the first episode, only that it offers more of everything. Last Exile Fam seems to be the kind of series that wants to be big, loud and soapy. The episodes just seem like the stuff you would see in a dull summer-blockbuster-movie. You have countries fighting big battles against each other, you have alien-ships appearing that are so badass that they could win the war by itself and you have the tearjerker-moments of tragedy and loss. The second episode offers all that but one thing’s really strange. Instead of a straightforward epic action-adventure, this story appears to be actually really convoluted at this point.
Before I go into how convoluted this story is I want to talk about the two strange assumptions this story has been constantly making during the second episode. The first is the fact that Fam and Giselle are amazing pilots. Okay, I get it, they are amazing. I didn’t know that they are that amazing but seemingly everyone in the series knows more than me. Because what they say is ‘Yes, they are that amazing.’ and the problem I have is asking myself the question ‘How the hell do they know that?!’. I get it if people from Kartoffel (German for potato by the way, don’t ask me why Sky Pirates would name their hideout after food) know that they’re amazing. At least Fam and Giselle aren’t pricks about their talent like certain Gundam-main-characters so I can deal with the fact that they’re amazing. But if strangers who know these two only for a short time already have nothing but gushing praise to say about them then I get the feeling the storytelling isn’t very subtle with telling me I should better excuse the main-characters for doing all sorts of crazy shit and surviving it. And that’s what they do actually and I guess I would accept that fact a little bit better if everybody could stop praising them like it’s a kind of mantra when they talk about the main-characters. The second assumption that was made during the episode was Liliana’s location. Some character seemingly always knew where to find her and treated it like it’s a question about the colour of the sky. There are probably reasons for the characters knowing why she’s in some place and not in another but it’s not obvious to the audience why she has to be in one specific place.

Oh my god, they are doomed! They are absolutely doomed! There’s no way she can be the kind of person that can lead a kingdom…

But the whole thing was pretty obscure and that’s why it seemed so convoluted to me. The story needs to do a lot of explaining for what happened in this second episode. Because the simply story I’ve seen in the first episode just got really fucked up. Turan, a little backwater kingdom? No, because the oldest princess appears to be a cyborg with special abilities. Ades Confederation, just a warmongering nation? No, because they appear to know some shit about the setting the common folk don’t know of and that seemingly motivates them to be a little pushy on the issue of world peace. And the Sky Pirates? Well, now that’s a faction that’s so deep in shit it could drown in it. They just allied themselves with the losing side, no, let me correct, the side that already lost. I still don’t understand how the leader of the Sky Pirates could be such a sentimental twat as to ally himself with the Turan Kingdom although it was obvious that they would lose. Even if the Sky Pirates could’ve somehow won the battle. They would’ve lost the war against a big nation like Ades Federation (or that’s what they appear to be at least…). And that’s where it gets soapy which gives the story a strange atmosphere. Because you have these hints where this evil general tries to redeem his nation’s point-of-view but then you have scenes like the old Turan king staying behind with the soldiers dying a noble death which clearly is a sentimental sign of telling you that the guys who killed him are really evil. You see that a lot is going on which you don’t understand at this point but the story already spends the time morally condemning one side with these soapy scenes. So, why should the details matter to me if the story doesn’t leave room for doubt as to who’s evil and who’s good?
Now what happens in this episode really is the stuff you expect to see in these big, epic series. Big battles, big cannons and risky missions full of brevity and other iffy stuff that makes rainbows sparkle. What seems strange about the way this story plays out is how ‘constructed’ the whole thing is. This isn’t the kind of story like Ben-To that tries to build on one idea and it isn’t s a series like Cowboy Bebop where you build a world around good characters. On the surface this is a by-the-book plot. Most of the scenes aren’t very original but instead typical, like the old king staying back dying the noble death, the big battle that ultimately relies on one brave act from one of the relevant characters, the risky saving-mission that Star-Wars-like involves a risky flight through the machinery of a ship and so on. One the surface most of the scenes in this episode aren’t really that engaging, all the more so because the series still plays mute-deaf in terms of answering the audience’s questions what the hell is really going on. There are some promising moments like the Exile appearing, I mean, it’s of course one of the ‘Holy Crap! How the hell did that happen?!’-moments in the episode but that’s exactly the kind of thing Last Exile Fam wants to do (at least that’s how it seems to me right now). So, what this series needs is making the story less a game of hide-and-seek and making it clearer what are the stakes in this ‘game’. But even more importantly the series needs to do something about the characterizations. The characters need some quiet moments now to characterize them properly. Well, basically all the series needs to do now is take its time to make good on the promises of the first two episode.

The second episode is an improvement over the first episode and it delivers the big, loud and easy action in a decent way. Since the series doesn’t feel like sharing at this moment it’s difficult to really sympathize with what’s going on since that’s simply unclear. Therefore what this series needs now are quiet moments to develop and deepen the stuff that were introduced in the beginning two episodes.

Episode-Rating: 7,5/10

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About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on October 25, 2011, in Anime, Last Exile - Fam The Silver Wing, Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I think it’s obvious that Liliana was another Alvis. We’ve got another 5 Exiles parked up in orbit. Meaning we have six Exiles that have returned from their Prester colonies, not counting the seventh we saw in episode one that was landing and looked like the Exile from the first series.

    Someone brought this up somewhere else. Perhaps the reason the first series was called “Last Exile” in the first place was because that messed up Prester ends up being the last Exile to do its mission in returning the colonists to Earth, while the other Presters had their shit together and got back to Earth long before the people from the last series did. My guess is at least a hundred years prior.

    Luscinia seems like one of those people who are pissed that after all the work the Guild did to restore the Earth, the riff-raff normal humans are back to their bickering ways. He’s basically all about bringing some pain to bring about a utopia. 😀 Yet, we see him in a Guild uniform, rather than his Ades Premier uniform in the flashbacks and the OP, coupled with people seemingly having been back on Earth for quite some time now, I’m guessing there’s more to the story of Luscinia’s change of heart from faithful Guild dog to bring peace through destruction despot.

    It’ll be interesting to see how big in scope this story gets. It’s got the potential, with there likely being other people out there who are genetically tied to the other five Exiles in orbit. If they go that route, the plot starts becoming really predictable and episodic, so hopefully they don’t.

    Anyways, we’re two episodes in out of twentyfour. I wouldn’t stress over not knowing what’s going on until the last episode has finished. But, that’s just my two cents. :/

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  2. P.S. Someone was nice enough to try translating the Travelers from the Hourglass manga, which bridges the first Last Exile with Fam. The first one just came up here: http://www.batoto.com/read/_/43414/last-exile-sunadokei-no-tabibito_v1

    Yep, that’s Fam and Giselle right there at the end. Also this confirms that Prester’s Exile literally WAS the LAST Exile to come back to Earth (so far). Fitting.

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  1. Pingback: Anime Review: Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing Episode 2 | This Euphoria!

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