Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 21

While Giselle has been a pleasant and delightful girl throughout the series, she’s been largely ineffective as a character and tends to be forgotten.  Despite being a constant presence around Fam and trailing her everywhere she goes and supporting her wacky endeavors, she never asserts herself in the scenes.  The unfortunate outcome is the proper character placed in an important role failing to meet the needs of the series.

Now don’t get me wrong, I adore Giselle as a character for being a sensible person and endearing friend to Millia and Fam.  Her role in the story is crucially significant as she’s the only one able to assist these two in their activities while also providing reasoning and rationale to their thoughts and opinions, helping make the best of the situation and in accomplishing their goals.  And for the most part, Giselle has been able to do that, providing slight influences on these characters while playing a major role in these undertakings.  But as a character, meaning as a person herself, Giselle never really stood out in the series nor did she ever make a name for herself.  Even though she was around for the entire series and in the spotlight quite frequently, she never took advantage of the situation and made her character a meaningful or memorable one.  Perhaps the best example in the entire series of Giselle’s unsuccessful situation is when she butted-in to the heartfelt conversation between Millia and Fam and said, “Don’t forget about me.”

What this scene demonstrated is that everyone knows what a missed opportunity Giselle has been in this anime.  We know it, the audience knows it, the producers, creators, and animators know it.  Hell, even Giselle knows it herself, otherwise she would not have jumped in like that with those lines screaming ‘I matter, too, please look at me,’ while still looking innocent and cheerful. And it wasn’t like this was an enlightening moment either judging from how she’s been largely forgotten or ignored in other decisive moments throughout the series.  The only time she’s made appearances are to follow Fam or make quick and trivial remarks.  So how is it or rather, why is it that Giselle was so ineffective as a character in this anime?

The quick answer would be that she was never designed to be an important character in the anime.  Had she been removed from the anime, the series could survive with just Fam and Millia running the show.  However, because vanship pilots require a co-pilot, a character needed to be created for which to fly with Fam.  However, with that piece solved, they had an extra character around whose only meaningful purpose was to support Fam as a friend and try to make her come to her senses.  As a result, Giselle was around in virtually every meaningful scene but was never required to make her presence known nor did she have anything significant to add to make her character more influential.  Not only does she fail to make herself apparent during the any relevant plot or story in the anime, she couldn’t even bring herself to match the emotions of the scenes, too.  Giselle existed to fill the seat behind Fam in their vanship as they pirated the skies and was there to be her friend in times of need but she served no purpose beyond that.  Instead, throughout the series, Giselle felt like a third wheel to Millia and Fam’s adventure and, when the anime was at its peaks, remained silently in the background, smiling, and appreciating the progress that was being made.  And judging from the timing of this post considering the series has concluded three months ago, her irrelevance is probably even more evident.  You can’t help but feel sorry for a character like Giselle for being placed in this type of role but never able to make it her own.

During the fight between Dio and Alauda, I couldn’t help but remember a similar fight between two excellent Guild warriors when Lucciola fought Cicada in the original Last Exile.  Though nowhere near as impressive in terms of animation, artwork, presentation, or significance, I couldn’t help but wonder if this fight was a tribute to that cherished battle from this prequel.  The roles between the characters were similar as well as the timing in the series.  That and there aren’t often fights between such skilled and talented fighters from the Guild like this.  In fact, these seem to be the only fights where two Guild members brawl with each other in the entire franchise.  While it is possible this scene was not homage to the original fight between Lucciola and Cicada, I am under the impression that Last Exile: Fam wanted to honor the original series with something similar and gave us a rather enjoyable fight between probably the two best fighters in this anime.

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