I really should start calling these ‘Late Exile’ rather than Last Exile since they always come out well after the episode aired. Well, it’s more of the same from me this week but a number of curious surprises and praiseworthy developments coming from Last Exile which has the anime treading upward. But instead of examining the ascending trend and the reasons behind this surge, there’s a theme that has been persistently reiterated in episodes like this that I just can’t ignore anymore and needs some much deserved notice.
Last Exile Fam follows the adventures and travels of sky pirate Fam Fan Fan and her trusted yet timid navigator Giselle. But the story of Last Exile Fam revolves around nations waging global wars, the terrifying and shady presence of the Guild, and the enigmatic Exiles floating above in the heavens. These major plot points intertwine with each other to the point of being inseparable and have driven the story for the entire anime. But these plot points aren’t really directly relevant to Fam or Giselle. Rather, the entire plot of Last Exile Fam follows Millia and her struggles to revive her fallen nation amidst the abduction of her dependable sister, death of her charismatic father, and desertion of her cherished people. Though not the main character of Last Exile, Millia is without a doubt, the protagonist of this anime.
So what does it mean if Fam is the main character and Millia is the protagonist? For one, we see the world through Fam, she is our window through which we can see and experience the world of Last Exile. But the plot of the anime, that of the war, the guild, and the Exiles, does not really fit in well through Fam’s viewpoint. Should we try to experience these events, the anime usually goes through Millia first before we’re able to see how these developments affect Fam. For Millia, it’s the same but just flipped. The story goes through Millia before anyone else on the ‘good guys’ side because it really is her story or at least more than anyone else aboard the Silvius or within the sky pirate guild. We’re not as lucky to follow Millia around, to experience the story firsthand, but we’ve been given some opportunities lately and the anime has made the best of them when given this limited chance. However, all these chances are primarily to advance the plot rather than examining Millia’s character or feeling the world through her eyes. Most anime and other forms of storytelling don’t split the roles of main character and protagonist but Last Exile does between Fam and Millia.
But now a question arises: what would Last Exile Fam be like if the roles weren’t split between the two? What if Fam had all the perspective and the story or what about Millia? How would the anime be different? Well, that’s the point I wanted to explore in this post. Since it’s easier to change perspectives from Fam to Millia than altering the story from Millia to Fam (if that’s even possible), we’ll go with this example.
If Last Exile Fam followed the adventures and travels of Turan Princess Millia, then the anime would be like most others with the main character and protagonist roles united. And that would probably improve the anime, perhaps even greatly. By following Millia first and foremost, we’d be able to see the world through her eyes and understand what drives her so. Not only would the conflict and tension that relentlessly pressures her throughout the anime be more transparent but we would also see how she prevents her mind and spirit from breaking down from the unyielding hardships. I’d love to see the emotion of the anime flow through Millia than Fam, especially since I believe Millia feels more human than Fam (who tends to be more anime-ish which isn’t the best of descriptions but you know what I mean). Furthermore, the exploration of Last Exile would be more fascinating since Millia had never been in the skies before on a vanship, let alone fly pilot or navigator. From this perspective, we could rediscover the charming technologies again and find more significant behind their influence. We might even see Millia develop a passion for the skies after seeing her fearful in her first few flights. In my eyes, Millia makes perfect sense to be both the protagonist and the main character.
Now, don’t get me wrong and judge me to believe that Fam is the bad at being the main character but I do believe she is the wrong choice. Fam really has had a minimal impact on the story. Besides rescuing Millia from the bombarded Lasas, the flagship of Turan from the first few episodes, and then taxiing Millia from place to place, Fam has had zero impact on the story beyond emotional support. All those battleships she stole (another problem I have with the anime but not appropriate to bring up now) haven’t done anything to affect the story besides eat up valuable time and detract from other meaningful plot points. The airships were actually used in this episode, their first time in the anime, but they proved to be completely ineffective in altering the story. If you completely removed them from the scene or even the entire anime nothing will change. And that’s all Fam has done for the story. Her emotional support really hasn’t affected the story either but it has done some worth helping expose sides of Millia’s character we wouldn’t otherwise learn about. Fam’s strengths lie in her liveliness, personality, and compassion which help keep the energy of the series high whenever she’s on screen. It keeps otherwise boring scenes and lackluster characters from affecting our moods because Fam always jolts us like a defibrillator. Fam is not a regretful main character by any means but she isn’t the best in the anime.
Unless the anime changes significantly and Fam’s role in the story becomes involved and obvious, I’m going to keep the idea that Millia would be a better main character than Fam due to her role as the protagonist. Of course, the example used was simple and ignored the serious ramifications of such a change but it would be for the best regardless. The biggest downgrade would be Fam’s determination and enthusiasm taking a backseat to Millia’s indecisiveness and doubts (Fam could come off the bench and supplying those emotions which might be worthwhile). The more I see of Fam, the more I think how much better she’d be as a minor character with her energy and silliness as her primary characteristics. I’d imagine her still as the pilot and chauffer for Millia but to be featured less and assuming more of a support role.
I’d like Millia to assume the role of main character but I know it won’t happen. Fam is the main character of this anime and it won’t be changing to Millia anytime soon, if ever. There’s a reason we’re following Fam and I hope it becomes obvious soon. The whole split of main character and protagonist is constantly evident in these plot heavy episodes and I can’t help but think about it virtually every time. And every time I am reminded about it, I think to myself that this is one area where the anime could improve, in my eyes, if it just made this change. I imagine with the plot finally accelerating and heading in a positive direction that these thoughts won’t go away anytime soon. Maybe you, too, notice the split between roles and can use the upcoming plot heavy episodes as examples and see if you feel the same way I do. Might be a fun game to play if you’re into this sorta thing (and I’m guessing if you made it to this point, you are into this sorta thing).
Poot Beep. Just say that our loud, Poot Beep. Poot Beep. Would you drink something called “Poot Beep”? Yeah, it’s read as “Root Beer” in Fam-land but I almost spit out my drink when I paused on the label and read it in plain English. Would be even more ironic if I spit out root beer when I read that in my mind. I did get up and check to see if I had any root beer left but alas, I’m fresh out, and went back to drinking cola. Still, I got quite the laugh out of that bottle and that label.