Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing Anime, Guest Post by Felix (English)

November 23rd, 2011

It’s Guest Post Wednesday! Today we have an exciting post, from long-time Okazu reader and commenter Felix! We’re very excited to have Felix join out Guest Reviewer community. Please extend a welcome hand and thank to Felix!

Last Exile, Fam the Silver Wing is the story of three girls, each of 15 years of age: Fam Fan Fan, sky pirate and fantastic vespa pilot, Giselle Collette, Fam’s genius navigator and closest friend (whom Fam calls “Gisey”), and the girl they meet, the young princess of the Kingdom of Turan, Millia il Velch Curettola Turan. This is the story of how Fam decides to steal a battleship from the middle of battle, save a princess, and embark on a quest to help Millia save her beloved older sister and their kingdom from the conquering Ades Federation. This story also involves a legend, how once long ago humans left a dying earth but one day returned. The legend of the Exile…

When I was first writing this review, I was thinking of doing a detailed synopsis of the first four episodes, but I decided instead tell you my reasons why you should start watching.

1) Three great female leads:

Because you are reading Okazu, I am assuming you love great female leads, like I do. In these four episodes I have come to truly love Fam, Gisey, and Millia. Outside of some of my favorite Yuri series, I don’t think I actually have been as excited to see how the leads develop, as I am with this series. In the beginning, Fam was a somewhat crazy, hotshot pilot, Gisey was really her straight man, and Millia was…a princess. My god, the amount of actual character development just in these first four episodes, I can honestly say is more then I have seen for the female leads in most series I watched. Fam may come up with “crazy” plans, but they are in fact actually based on extremely solid ideas. Actually, of all three characters, and despite what you expect, she is probably the most mature, often times the most level headed.

The main reason for their success is because Gisey is in fact a genius when it comes to battleship design and has a photographic memory. She memorized the layout of the enemy’s flagship, and was miffed that they did some remodeling. There was a scene in the lift were she quickly flipped through an updated copy a plotted their route to the bridge, which gave them the updated info they needed for their plan to succeed.

Millia, like I said, is a princess and, when we are first introduced to her, is all she is. Over the first few episodes, Millia changes from a generic self centered damsel-in-distress type princess to someone that is kind and mature. While she has realize she don’t have much power to change what has happened to her, instead of wallowing in it, she is determined to move forward, with Fam’s and Gisey’s help.

Not only are Fam, Gisey, and Millia great indivudually, I absolutely love their interactions. Fam and Gisey are basically as close are you can get, short of openly being lovers, both relying on each other. Fam often says she believes “we” can do it, referring to Gisey and herself. When Millia asked Fam why she is exposing herself to so much danger on her behalf, Fam replies it’s because she wants to see Millia smile.

2) Return of some fan favorites:

While not a direct sequel to the original Last Exile, a number of fan favorite secondary characters return. The first we are introduced to is Dio Eracles, who joined the sky pirates a number of months before. While as of episode 4 it’s not clear why he joined the pirates, it seems that his role is to bring about the meeting of Fam and Gisey with the next two returning characters – the two I am most excited about, Tatiana Wisla and Alister Agrew. In this world, Tatiana and Alister command a legendary battleship, the Silvius. Nicknamed “The Reaper,” it’s said that it first appeared two years ago, destroyed an Ades fleet, and disappeared. The first meeting between Fam, Gisey, Tatiana, and Alister is really nothing short of epic.

3) The looming threat is more direct and real to the characters:

While there are some plot elements that are similar to the first series, the tone of the series is rather different, in a good way. In the first four episodes, which cover less than 72 hours in time, it has been made abundantly clear that this series is going to going to be darker then the first series. The second episode, without giving too much away, introduces a disaster that directly and personally affects one of the female leads. People on some of the boards I frequent noted this was a “wham” episode that you would expect half or most of the way though the series.

While the first series takes place against a world that is ending, it didn’t seem to directly have a gut punching effect any of the main characters like episode two did, which basically ends with the reaction shot of a one of the leads watching her world crumble around her. Then again, this personal disaster is the catalyst for a lot of the development of Fam, Gisey, and Millia. You can describe the arc of the episodes 01 to 04 as:

Episode 01: Cool action, kind of what I expected.

Episode 02: Holy shit, they wouldn’t! Holy shit, they did! Holy shit, that is dark!

Episode 03: A wonderful bit character development and a truly emotionally moving last few minutes to allow the characters to come to terms.

Episode 04: Hell ya, this is epic, Tatiana and Alister are awesome!

In conclusion:

While I started watching originally simply because I had watched the first season, I wasn’t particularly expecting anything amazing. Right now can honestly say I haven’t been as excited to see what happens next in a series in a long time.

Ratings:

Art, Character design: 8 – Fam, Gisey, and Millia do have some moe style elements to their character design, but at the same time their design is interesting, unique, and not moe blob at all. Tatiana and Alister are cool and mature.
Art, Mechanical design: 7 – The whole world really exists for the purpose of supporting Range Murata’s unique mechanical designs. Your enjoyment might vary depending on how much you enjoy the steampunk/dieselpunk design aesthetic.

Characters: 8 – Like I said, I absolutely love Fam, Gisey, and Millia.

Story: 8 – I have loved a lot of series, but it’s been a while since I been so excited to see what comes next.

Yuri: 4.5 to 5 – It might be the fanboy in me, but honestly by episode 04 the series seems to heading towards Fam and Millia as a couple. Then again it’s already been established Gisey really is Fam’s most important person.

Service: 2 – Slight bit of fan service, mostly boiled down to Fam’s old fashion underwear we see her in a couple times and Liliana is maybe naked from the waist down the first time we see her, but we really can’t see anything. It’s actually in line with the first season.

Overall: 8

If you looking for an action orientated series with awesome female leads, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing will fit the bill nicely.

Erica here:  Thanks again for the review! I’ve linked to Hulu, where you can watch this in English, for free, legitimately along with me. Post-watching the first few episode, I’d put the Service score much higher. The first episode fills the camera with panty shots, completely obliterating  any bonds of female friendship for me.

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10 Responses

  1. Mara says:

    Ah I do have to agree with this. Won’t go so far as saying I see any Yuri but it is nice to see the Silvius headed by Tatiana and Alister who do have as close a relationship as the previous captain and XO.

    Dio joining the pirates (Dio was assumed KIA in the first season & very mean things happened to him) I believe is covered in Last Exile – Travelers from the Hourglass a manga that covers several events between seasons. But other than some hearsay from a colleague I know very little.

    Good show in bringing this to everyone’s attention.

  2. Eric P. says:

    Loved the first show, and was hooked from the get-go on this show. What really made it for me was seeing that Dio was still alive, because if that really was his death/disappearance in the final episode of the first series, it was as pointless and meaningless as they come. Otherwise, yeah, the characters are awesome, it’s nice to see the creators put real effort into that. I wonder if they’ll reintroduce more familiar characters…

  3. Felix says:

    @Erica – Thanks again for the opportunity and I really do hope you enjoy the series. Maybe not as a Yuri series (depends on your shipping views), but hopefully as a great action series with great female leads and an interesting plot.

    @Mara – Heh, the glorius return of Tatiana and Alister is one of my favorite parts of Fam.

    Dio being alive again was one of the biggest surprises to many western fans of the first season simply because the the official art book that retconned his death was never officially translated to English.

    There is something I failed to really cover in my review: How necessary is it to watch the original Last Exile before watching Fam the Silver Wing. While I would recommend watching Last Exile sometime, its a good series, it is not vital to do so beforehand. Since it is a sequel to a 2003 series, GONZO is not banking on the viewers having knowledge of the original series. Actually the last time I watched Last Exile was 2006 so going in I didn’t recall all of the first series. So far anything that is vital for you to know from Last Exile, Fam makes sure to explain.

  4. Felix says:

    @Eric P – Heh, I am glad it hooked you.

    As you asking about more returning characters then Dio or shown in the OP? There already has been a brief surprise cameo in episode 05.

    I think Range Murata agreed with you, that why it was retconned.

    Remember, the whole Last Exile verse is basically Range Murata’s baby. It definitely shows both he puts lots of effort into it, and the story telling abilities of him and the team he works with have rather improved.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I found the fan service off putting in the first episode (I never made it to the 2nd episode), just because it slammed me so in the first moments of the show, and was done so blatantly. I love Last Exile for it’s story telling and strong female characters. This show was done for the moe and pedo crowd.

  6. Felix says:

    @Anonymous – Actually Fam doesn’t have any more or worse fanservice than the original. I am quite convinced if you had actually watched the second episode your opinion would be completely reversed. Actually by not watching episode 02 you have completely missed the actual tone of the show will take, not to mention the real beginning of Fam, Gisey, and Millia’s characterization.

    My hope if is that you would actually reconsider and watch episode 02 in its entirety. I think you would be surprised.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Felix – I hope your right – but when a character is introduced by a crotch shot before anything else, and when the character is under-age, it does not bode well for a show.

  8. Felix says:

    @Anonymous – Ah, Fam’s sleepwalking. So far in the six episodes aired, that has been aired that is the most fanservicey shot. I wouldn’t classify it as a crotch shot, but honestly I would not not have started the show that way either. That said personally I think the rest of the episode made up for it, and the second was frankly quite amazing. I really hope you do reconsider watching since Fam does have everything that attracted to you to the first series, and frankly I think Fam does it better.

    By the way its not clear yet but her tendency to sleepwalk might actually mean something, and not a gag.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  9. Arkadi says:

    Hot damn! A sequel of Last Exile? Awesome!!! :3

  10. @Felix – So, I’ve given the series a few episodes and I wanted to let you know what I think.

    I have to agree Anonymous that the first view of Fam was indeed an egregious and utterly pointless crotch shot.

    The second episode, I am sorry to say, was not unpredictable, as you intimated. In fact, I am very vexed at Lucius, for failing to really carry out his stated plan of complete destruction. If he was competent, NO ONE AT ALL would have been left alive. Not even himself. So as far as I’m concerned, he’s a failure.

    I’m still watching. There are 6 episodes up and if I get to the end and forget to watch 7, that’ll be my answer. I don’t hate it, but at the moment, I have to say, I’m not as enrapt as you are. The fact that the “strong women” are in fact mere teens sours it all for me. 16 is hardly the peak year in a woman’s life. Fam would be 10x more interesting to me if she were 30.

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