Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing – 04 Review

It’s images like this one that tell you LE: Fam’s intense story about the two-faced nature of war. On one hand you have badass-spaceships killing hundreds people in the name of the greater good, on the other hand you have… this.

Last Exile – Fam, the Silver Wing 04: The Fun Of Being Challenged

The fourth episode shows us what happens when Fam actually tries to capture a legendary ship that supposedly won against an entire Ades-army by itself. But still despite the odds it’s another chance for Giselle to show her god-like talent and Fam showing off in front of Millia with her fearlessness. It’s a surprisingly good-natured and laid-back episode despite all the stuff that happened in episode 2 which made it seem like the good side had hit rock-bottom. Fam, of course, has a plan how to win against the Ades Federation. And she’s the only one with a plan because they all follow her and nobody objects to her foolish adventures. I guess, that’s the kind of authority you get by being the main-character.

Synopsis:
Fam declares that she will steal the Reaper-Ship for Millia but before any planning is done the whole happy family eats and indulges in some charming-for-no-particular-reason antics. After that Giselle uses her uncanny powers to discern the Reaper-Ships weak points and special abilities (yeah, surprisingly it’s a very special ship). So they have a plan and at least some knowledge what to expect of the ship. But things aren’t as easy as they seem and the whole operation of stealing the ship gets a bit more complicated as Fam and Giselle are pressured by Tatiana while the rest… is simply useless. Only Dio’s intervention saves Fam and Giselle which enables them to try another one of their Star-Wars-moves with the Reaper-Ship. But they are tricked and instead get kidnapped by the ship’s crew. As Tatiana confronts Fam and Giselle, the latter cowers in fear while the former shows more courage than is appropriate in this situation. As Dio and Millia arrive Tatiana challenges Fam by saying that she has to agree to capture 15 Ades Federation ships if she wants to go free. And Fam boldly accepts that challenge.

These scenes where Fam declares what it all is she wants to do for Millia still have a weird vibe to them. It’s one of the biggest mysteries of this series why exactly Fam is that obsessed with helping Millia.

Review:
It’s easy to see why this show has Fam’s name in the title. That kid really can go nuts in this show and everyone will just dumbly agree with her and follow to whatever insanity she’s thinking up next. It’s strange to see how Fam declares something completely foolish like capturing a legendary ship – and everyone follows her. For a story that tries seemingly to be epic with warring nations, many characters and big battles it’s weird to have such a character-centric plot. Fam decides to do something – and everything in the story follows her.
But the good thing is that it doesn’t bother me that much. She’s the only character of the cast that actually seems suitable for a main-role. The opening may want to make you believe that Milia, Giselle and Fam are the main-characters but right now the first two can’t hold a candle against Fam in terms of charisma and personality. Of course that isn’t really great because it is strange how vague and questionable the other two are characterized. Giselle is this shy girl with a god-like talent and an obsession for vanships that gives her another insane ability. She has a personality but it’s surely not a very likeable one. And the fact how the last four episodes established her god-like abilities did make me question how good this series wants to make her. The problem I have with this is the lack of development there. I guess I would frown seeing any teenager becoming ‘the best of the world’ but the least the story could do would be easing me into this statement using the story. Just plainly stating it at the beginning of the story like it’s a fact I have to deal with isn’t really the nice way of characterization. Milia on the other hand is a crybaby spending her time whining and spouting all kinds of shit as long as it’s self-serving and sentimental-girlish. I don’t quite see why she needs to be in the story. Even if she does get some kind of character development leading her to be the centre of action at some point – right now, she’s just useless. And that naturally begs the question why she has to be in the story at this point. Okay, she has a tiny role and that’s motivating Fam to do some crazy shit for her. Why? Who knows… It’s not really clear why Fam wants to help Milia that much. Fam is persistent in her undertaking of helping Milia getting an army and probably she also wants to help her using that army to defeat the Ades Federation. I think it’s a stupid way of the story to get the story going or at least that’s how it seems to me at this point. Fam pushes the good side to get up from their asses and do something to save the day. That’s what she’s basically doing and we have no idea why.

Uh, right… but that still doesn’t quite explain why a 15-year-old can know so much about a special aircraft like the Reaper Ship just by looking at a blurry photo.

One good thing you can say about the story is that its pacing got slower. Episode 3 and 4 are a step into the right direction pacing-wise. Story-wise I liked episode 03 more than 04 even though I would say 04 was overall better. The reason for that is that episode 04’s first half is a waste of time. It’s charming slice-of-life with people being creepily nice and everybody laughing. But it didn’t do anything in terms of characterization or story-development. It was silliness trying to charm the audience. Giselle revealed new heights of her god-like talent in that sequence of the episode but it wasn’t anything I would call ‘interesting’. Last Exile: Fam certainly a show that tries to be on its surface to be very mainstream. All the stuff I would call interesting about this show are so subtle or presented so secretively that I sometimes doubt myself whether they are there at all. Last Exile: Fam seems to me like a shallow series – frustratingly so because if you look very closely there is the potential for a good story. I guess, it depends all on how the story develops but the series definitely doesn’t make an effort of letting you know what you will get from this series if you keep watching it.
After the rather banal first half the second half concentrates on the capture of this insanely strong ship. What bothered me most about the idea of capturing the ship how it was somehow assumed that just by stealing this ship they would get ‘the legendary phantom-ship’. That’s an assumption based on the idea that it’s all about tech and it has nothing to do with the humans onboard. Of course that’s wrong. The ship is just a tool and it’s effectively depends greatly on the person who uses that tool. Likewise, it’s not the ship that is legendary, it’s the crew using that ship. I didn’t expect Fam to say something regarding that but I expected at least Dio or Giselle to point out that stealing a ‘legendary ship’ doesn’t mean you automatically can get to have the same kind of strength out of this ship it used to have with the original crew.
Well, anyway, they tried to steal that ship. Of course a bunch of guys actually support Fam in her endeavor even though Kartoffel won’t get anything from it since it’s the plan to give the ship Milia. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem for a bunch of young Sky Pirates and they start this foolish mission. It fails. And I like that. It shows that Fam and Giselle might actually not be the best thing since sliced bread. But it was certainly a strange atmosphere because of what happened during the kidnapping. Tatiana has captured Giselle and Fam and proposes that they have to capture 15 Ades-ships. And Fam stands up shouting: “Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll get 15 ships for Milia’s fleet!”. Now that was a classic ‘Huh?’-moment because this scene had a lot of things going on which was hard to follow. I think this whole sequence of trying to capture this phantom-ship is based on the assumption that the viewer actually knows that Tatiana and Alister are actually good guys. Therefore it was never an issue of the story whether they can capture the ship or not. I guess, this sequence was rather a way to reintroduce these two characters from the first series. There also was a strange remark from Dio when Fam and Giselle had a vanship-contest with Tatiana. While Milia panicked at the sight of this ‘battle’, Dio said that it looks like they are having fun. In the same vein as Fam and Giselle are trapped in the ship’s belly as it floods it there was no question whether they are rescued or not. Because of that they didn’t even bother to show how it happened. These were good guys they went against and even though the story wanted to describe how Fam & Co tried to capture that ship, it surely wasn’t a battle. It is strange how subtle this series expected you to know something about the first series in this sequence. Although it was very basic the actions of the characters become very confusing if you don’t know what to expect when you learn that the legendary phatom-ship is led by Tatiana from the first series. So what the confusing dialogue in the kidnapping-scene really meant was that Tatiana is on the good guys side. She basically wants to support Fam recognizing in her an ally rather than an enemy. Of course the next episode still has to do some explaining as to what Tatiana’s role in the current events is.
The story-development hasn’t progressed that much this week and with the slower pacing it is an interesting question how much time the series will spent on the good guys gathering an army to fight the Ades Federation. But what I called ‘the hints of awesomeness’ don’t really go into that direction. The really interesting stuff is Dio’s behavior or what exactly happened between the first and the second series. It’s the story of this world that to me seems far more interesting than the story of most of the characters of this show – and I don’t mean the point that most of them try very hard to be moe or charming in some other way. It’s clear that Last Exile: Fam has a story to tell but the way characterizations are done and the atmosphere is a little bit too nice at times worries me how high of a priority the story exactly is. Right now, moe-charm seems more important to the series.

The fourth episode continues the trend of the third episode with its laid-back story and its slow pacing. It’s a series that still tries to woo people with its charm and less with its substance which I don’t like that much since I feel like the story is more interesting than the efforts in that regard. Nonetheless the fourth episode was another solid offering from the second season of Last Exile.

Episode-Rating: 7/10

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About M0rg0th

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

Posted on November 9, 2011, in Anime, Last Exile - Fam The Silver Wing, Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I must say… How shall I say…
    Well, it seems Last Exile changed in a K-ON! Mood. Lot´s of young girls hanging around eating, chating, showing off some underwear and discussing the new hair-do.
    Did I forgot somethig? Mmmh, not more like the anime itself…

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  2. I didn’t really mind the first half, as it was there pretty much to add character to the cast we have so far. For old hands like me though, the *real* treat was the second half, where we see Fam and her merry band (*snerk*) schooled by some of the familiar faces from the first season (Yes Tatiana, show them how it’s done). There’s always a bigger fish after all…

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  3. @Morgoth: I forgot to mention: Nice first pic this Heidi image.

    @Myssa: Yes, you are rigth, but still it gives my the chills to think about what´s coming up if it starts focusing on THIS too much. One could get the idea the main plot is about just the little girls playing around and cause of nonexistence of some teddybears and little goats there playing war with vanships.

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  4. @Myssa: You’re right, I mean, the first half did give the characters some personality. I think what really bugged me was that I expected the characterization to either develop the story or do some serious world-building. But in that regard it was K-ON-like slice-of-life, like Keiko said, that we got to see here.
    And yeah, the second half definitely was better and the reason why I liked the episode.

    @Keiko: There are way too many female characters in the cast that try to be moe or charming in some other way. I feel like the series tries simply too hard to appeal to the Otaku-audience this way. I honestly hope that they do something about using this time more efficiently. At least now they can still have this laid-back slice-of-life to do something about the setting and the characterizations. When the story starts to take its toll they won’t have the time to do this and when they wasted their time just trying to be cute the story-action will be lacklustre because of how simple the setting and the characterizations are. Or the pacing could become as frantic as in the first two episodes again because they wasted the laid-back parts of this series with their moe-slice-of-life.

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    • “I feel like the series tries simply too hard to appeal to the Otaku-audience this way.”

      Yes, I know and so my worst fears came true. Gonzo just gives anything for this anime to become a success and therefor you do have to have a bunch of fanservice. But I doubt this is working on this kind of anime.

      “Or the pacing could become as frantic as in the first two episodes again because they wasted the laid-back parts of this series with their moe-slice-of-life.”

      Thanks heaven I was not the only one feeling this way. The speed was to fast in story combined with does sometimes really impressiv air battles. It´s shame if it would come down to this. Such a waste…

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  5. this FAM is suppose to be what, 2 years after Last Exile 1?

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    • Thereabouts. We know this because, for some strange reason, the production staff decided to release the AGES of the characters on top of their basic info prior to the show’s airing.

      Everything else is assumed though, and only with the recent Sunadokei no Tabibito/Travelers from the Hourglass manga has the connection between the first season and second season made slightly clearer.

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  6. Any Idea of when they would release this in the USA?

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  7. never. this show sucks. no one want it

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