Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 1

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam (Fam the Silver Wing) contains a healthy blend of old and new when bringing back the Last Exile franchise.  There are themes, concepts, and details that have been retained from the first series present and prevalent everyone in this new anime, which does well to connect this series with the original.  And then there are the newer elements which integrate nicely to distinguish itself from the first series.  This incorporation of new and old was the aspect I worried about the most when watching this first episode but, for the most part, everything turned out alright.

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam has preserved much of the same setting as the first anime but added some flares and highlights to give this new season some additional identification.  Last Exile has one of the best settings I’ve ever seen in an anime, rivaling Aria and a few others, so it’s wonderful to see many elements from the old series existing in this one.  The foundations and fundamentals between the two are nearly identical, from the picturesque environments to the thorough technologies to the detailed airships, vanships and so much more.  The way the setting is used, both for the story and the characters, is comparable as well.  But there are some novelties in this anime that were not there in the original.  There were never any pirates, black markets, or those concepts in the original.  Nor were there any Vespa vanships, that miniature one that Fam and Giselle are shown piloting.  Considering the comprehensive physics and mechanics in the first season, especially after watching Lavie work and repair her vanships, those mini-vanships seem almost absurd.  It’s certainly a change in the setting from the original but the new themes (pirates) and technologies (Vespa vanships) do give this anime a new way of approaching this vivid and inspirational world.

The set-up and story, or what we would like to think is a story at this point, have parallels between the two series, too.  As was true in the first one, we seem to be in the middle of a war between two powerful nations where airship armadas exert their military strength and rule the skies.  The warfare, although minimal at this point, seems exactly the same minus the nations participating and their respective uniforms.  I’m pleased that aspect hasn’t changed too much as it was one of my favorite parts of the original series but I’m a bit disheartened that the two nations seem to be more alike than when compared to the nations of Disth and Anatoray.  It has only been one episode though so it hasn’t been crushing or depressing, just nothing to get too excited over at this point.

And while the casts of the two anime are vastly different, the overlap of some key and respectable characters from the first season help in blending the two series together by linking the characters between timelines.  Dio is certainly the king of this aspect.  His behavior, from talking to people and flying his vanship, mirrors the delightful and enjoyable free-spirit from the first season, a definite win in my opinion for this new series.  His presence does wonders to linking the franchise together and some might argue that it’s more important than the setting or the stories.  His involvement in the story will be interesting to watch considering how significant he was in the first season and the presence of other characters from the first season, not going to spoil it yet but they are in the opening sequence, should help bridge the two series together.  The main difference, though, is everyone else.

Fam seems like a strong protagonist, much like Claus, who follows her ideals and lives free as a pirate who hunts down airships for their parts.  Her perspective will be something entirely new to the Last Exile franchise, so her story should be stimulating and intriguing.  Giselle seems weak at this point and not weak like Lavie, who turned out to be my favorite character from the first season, but weak as in she lacks depth, personality, and emotion.  She’s kinda bland and bleh at this point, so I hope she changes soon and does so drastically.  What won me over, in addition to all the aspects listed above, was the friendship and dynamic between Claus and Lavie and how they lived together.  I just don’t see the same thing working for Fam and Giselle but it has only been one episode, so while it isn’t an area for disappoint yet, it’s an area that I hope develops quickly and properly as the story begins.

All these aspects, including many other smaller ones not talked about (because I’m lazy or unaware), do a tremendous job in linking the two sides of the Last Exile franchise together.  This bond is greatly appreciated, carrying with it some of my favorite aspects from the first season.  And while it does build excitement and energy toward this new anime, it does bring high expectations which may be difficult to satisfy.  On one hand, it needs to be comparable in quality and charm to Last Exile, otherwise the feeling would be off, but not similar enough that it is just repeating the first season either.  So far, the foundation of the world, story, and characters are there and done well, a strong positive for this series.  And there are plenty of new concepts and themes, too, so this anime is on the right path for making a name for itself.  It’s combination of old and new has been great so far and helps transition us from the celebrated first series to this greatly anticipated new one.

However, not everything has been exceptional in Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam; there are some minor complaints.  For one, the use of ecchi has been a bit of an unwelcome surprise.  The bra and bloomers to open the episode and the nude princess in the lake seemed to remove the charm and feel from the first series almost immediately and it took until the end of the fight for this anime to earn it back, at least for me.  The cast, especially outside of Fam and Dio, seem to act more like anime personalities rather than real personalities.  Millia and Teddy are the embodiment of this problem.  The ways they act and interact are stark contrasts to how people were in the first series, especially considering Millia is a princess.  It feels cartoony when compared to the original, something I do not want from this new series.  Lastly, the physics feels off.  In the first anime, there was always a great amount of detail and time spent on the vanships, especially with their mechanics, their flying, their instruments, and much more.  This season seems to solve all that with just starting them up and having them go without changing the instruments, performing maintenance, or requiring any effort.  And the way they fly now seems fictions when compared to the first season.  I felt disillusioned and somewhat sick when Fam and Giselle flew in parallel with the giant airship near the beginning without adjusting their vanship.  That’s not the authentic and appreciated physics that I remember from the first season of Last Exile.  There are other complaints, too, such as the predominantly loli cast, some worse 3-D animation than the original, and the lack of fear or astonishment but those are minor and hopefully will be solved once more episodes air.  But those first three are what’s keeping this anime well below the level of the first season.  Again, the series doesn’t need to be a repeat of the first season, but I’d at least like more of the charm and wonder in this season than what we got.

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  1. #1 by Myssa on October 20, 2011 - 4:15 PM

    A very strong start, though it hasn’t quite dispelled the fears of some people that the bulk of the series will be about “cute vanship pilots doing cute piloting” ahaha.

    • #2 by avvesione on October 21, 2011 - 2:34 PM

      Yes, cute vanship pilots doing cute piloting in the middle of a bloody war over impoverished lands. Some people will be in for a shock when this anime starts going.

      I’m really eager to see what approach this series will take to the world of Last Exile. Fam brings a nice, new perspective to the world, especially with her sense of freedom and adventure, and I’m excited to see what she does and where she goes.

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