Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 4

Only four episodes in and there have been several surprises and numerous interest points with the characters, story, and setting for Last Exile Fam.  They’ll all be answered or explained when the time comes, but for me, there is one that’s bigger and more pressing than any other question at this moment: Just how exactly did Dio and Fam end up becoming friends like this?

We were given a brief insight into their friendship in this episode with the two actively planning the capture of the Silvius.  But seeing the two together, especially with how they talk to each other is still beyond strange to me.  No, it’s not just how their personalities correspond to each other like a square block trying to fit into a triangle hole, it’s that they seem to become two different people when they talk to each other, too.  And right now, it’s the only relationship between a character from the old series and the new series, so there are multiple aspects of their friendship that I want answered as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

Let’s look at Fam first.  Normally, she’s an adventurous, confident and energetic young girl, with a beaming smile and compassionate demeanor that you can’t help but admire.  Additionally, her ideas and thoughts are usually up in the clouds and she does fantasize quite a bit (not to the point of megalomania) but she’s a clever girl who enjoys having fun.  So why is it that when Dio shows around, she’s more down-to-earth, levelheaded and actually calm with him than just about anyone else?  It’s like she’s a whole new person around him.  What’s even more strange is that she has a more casual friendship with him than Giselle, harping on him to stop being lazy (first episode), complaining about him goofing-off in his vanship (first episode) or dismissing his ‘interesting news’ as something stupid again (third episode).  You’d figure that Fam and Giselle would have the most informal since they’ve known each other for their entire lifetimes but for Fam, it isn’t.  On land, Fam and Giselle are the best of friends but their relationship in the sky is strictly business.  Now obviously Fam spends more time with Giselle than with Dio but that’s not the point here.  What’s strange about her friendship with Dio is that she seems to act differently around him than around anyone else.

For Dio, obviously more than the friendship sticks out as different but I’ll try to stay on topic here rather than go into the drastic changes he’s gone through since the first series.  Dio is still the fun-seeking free-spirit that he was previously and, as always, one of the most skilled vanship pilots in the blue skies.  But this Dio is a bit more sociable and outgoing and is having an easier time expressing his emotions.  In the first season, he pretty much only talked to and cared about Claus and Lucciola.  He never attempted to make new friendships with the various friends of Claus and seemed content with only those two.  But now he seems to have connected with the entire pirate village.  Strange to see him go from so isolated to so involved but it does well to show how much he’s changed.  Of all his new connections, his friendship with Fam is undoubtedly the strongest.  Dio doesn’t act differently around Fam but his language and meaning are what’s interesting.   Despite retaining his peaceful and amusing personality, he’s rather enigmatic around her with the things he says.  It seems like he knows more than is being let on and eagerly tells Fam these details while keeping his secrets intact.  It’s not stunning or outrageous to see him like this, a bit mysterious and a bit playful, but it’s strange to see it in a relationship like this.  Makes you wonder if all this information he knows about Fam is why he joined the pirates and hangs around her so often.  I’m thinking he actively sought her out to help her but it’s a simple thought without much to back it up.  Dio doesn’t really talk to anyone else like he does with Fam (that Silvius drawing scene is close) and definitely talks to her more than anyone else, so there might be something else going on there.  Dio’s friendship with Fam has produced some mysteries but they are nicely covered by his enjoyable personality.  Whether they mean anything or not does not dismiss the fact that it’s already an interesting relationship.

Exactly when we’ll learn about this friendship, we can’t be sure.  But there may be subtle hints along the way to understanding why and how these two came together.  Fam’s seriously attitude toward Dio and Dio’s mysterious words do make for an curious friendship, especially when everything else seems normal.  Perhaps I’m trying to make too much out of this simple friendship but this was the fifth time that something about the relationship caught my eyes (or ears).  Although it wasn’t directed at Fam, him saying the source of the photo of the Silvius being a secret was one.  Another was when Fam explained that he suddenly appeared half a year ago is another.  But probably the most significant and the one in the forefront of my memory while writing this, was in the first episode after Fam returned home.  Her serious personality toward Dio was unlike her attitude toward any other person and Dio’s words, claiming to have seen her flying out there while not actually going out on the mission and telling her that she is going to have a busy day (after catching a giant warship no less) tipped me off to thinking this friendship might be special.  Hopefully you, too, will keep an eye out for these two together because they may eventually start dropping hints and providing clues for later on in the series.  And if all that turns out to be a red herring, then you can at least enjoy Dio having fun which should be more than enough.

Why has there been underwear in every episode of Last Exile so far?  And yes, I’m counting those bloomers that Fam wears as underwear.  But is all this fanservice necessary or even relevant?  There were some bloomers visible at times in the first season of Last Exile but they were never used as a focus in a scene.  Fam’s two sleepwalking adventures seemed to be directed to include her lingerie (who sleeps with stockings and a garter belt on, anyway?) as much as possible.  And Millia changing into pedestrian attire was another scene that was pretty much only included for more fanservice.  So what’s up with this new theme in Last Exile?

Besides sexualizing the characters, there might be another purpose to this selection of wardrobe.  For Fam, it might show off more of her feminine side which really has only been apparent when she’s barely dressed.  Her tomboyish personality, ambiguous looks, and adventurous behavior don’t really give off the feminine charm that Giselle and Millia have.  Plus her style of clothing don’t seem very feminine either besides the fact she wears a skirt.  Putting her in some girly underwear does take a step into making Fam more feminine without needing to put her in a dress or miniskirt.  But do I really think that’s why there has been underwear in every episode?  Nah. I think it’s there for fanservice and to attract more viewers.  But then again, those are the only times where Fam actually looks like a girl.

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  1. #1 by Myssa on November 10, 2011 - 8:02 AM

    My only comment as to Dio’s change in personality from the end of the first season is: falling into the Grand Stream without protection likely changes a person. :P

    I figured that Fam treats Dio slightly differently is because of the perception that he’s a harmless slacker, who gives good ideas more often than not.

    • #2 by avvesione on November 10, 2011 - 8:45 AM

      Often the simplest explanation is the correct one, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see you be correct about that. But I want there to be something special between the two since it’s the only true friendship between someone of the old series and someone of the new series.

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