Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam- – 20, 21 (END)
A forced end to war isn’t real peace but it allows everyone to unite to fight the big baddy. It’s only natural that the people you were supposedly trying to “help” would fight back. Who would want that kind of peace? After all, the saying goes: Absolute power corrupts absolutely. No one was meant to control that Grand Exile.
I was pretty surprise by Sorush when he came out of nowhere. How he was able to survive the death pit in episode 16 is beyond me. The strategic importance of the valley in Boreas never made sense to begin with but I guess if there’s no body, you really shouldn’t assume someone died.
There were a lot of convenient things that occurred during the episode. First of all, the whole idea of an altitude limit is once again squashed by using countless other ships as a platform to get up to where the Grand Exile is at. It’s also pretty convenient that the Grand Exile “cannon” would fall off after one use and even more so when the hole became an entrance into it.
I’m not surprised that Anatoray-Disith swooped into the battle at the last minute to help out. They were due to make an appearance again. My biggest question was where was Sophia this whole time?! They changed Sophia’s character drastically – everything from her looks to her mannerisms. She wasn’t always the softest character in the original but she was definitely opening up near the end and now she’s a hardened warrior. Having her come back to play such an insignificant role is kind of disappointing after what Vincent was hinting at earlier in the series.
Inside the giant Exile the Guild’s starfish make a return and give chase to Fam and the gang. Dian’s hammerhead technique to destroy the Guild starfish was pretty interesting. It’s details like that make the flying aspect of the show more interesting since it’s a real move.
* Full-length images: 24
As Fam stood across from Luscinia in the Grand Exile pouring her heart out, I couldn’t help but think she was actually saying something sensible for once. Regrettably at this point in the series, I’ve had enough of her absurd and obnoxious character so none of the things she had to say really had any impact on me.
The anime ends bittersweetly yet predictably. Fam gets the Grand Race and there is peace and harmony between nations. Unfortunately, the ending made many of the deaths seem meaningless. Even after all the posturing and hard work done by Luscinia to undermine the treaty, he gives up rather anti-climatically without a fight handing over Empress
Maestro Sara to Fam so they make an escape. It sort of makes what he was fighting for unclear. Was he fighting to bring Farahnaz’s vision of universal peace to the world? Was he trying to secure the world for Ades from the people who came back to Earth on the Exiles because of limited resources? Fam sort of implies that he wanted the world to hate him so they could unite against him but did that really need to come at the cost of people’s lives? If he knew he was going down in the end, did he really have to kill someone like Vasant?
Another death that probably didn’t need to occur was Sadri’s. It would have made more sense to have him survive so that Fam would be able to expand on her heritage. Her origin didn’t play into the plot as I was speculating early on. The show was named after Fam so it would have made more sense to make her story more essential to the main plot. One could argue though that Fam really wasn’t the main character but that’s a debate for another day.
This show had the makings to be great. The original Last Exile built a great universe that came along with it a certain tone. Let’s start off with the good parts of this show first. Fam tries to offer its viewers elaborate epic steampunk airship battles, political maneuvering. If one knew chess lingo, you’d see that many of the episode titles alluded to what was going to happen in an episode. Finally, if one paid close enough attention, they could see the little details the show used to try to build a robust and compelling world. For example, one scene that really sticks out in my mind was the meal with Sara and how they explained how resources were scarce. It’s moments like these that really make the show brilliant.
One of the other great things to come out of this anime was the music. The soundtrack sounds amazing and epic – just as Last Exile should be. We got a taste of all the instrumental/orchestral goodness with the six different EDs they used throughout the show.
Even with these positives, Ginyoku no Fam does many things badly. The sequel left more questions unanswered than plot lines it had wrapped up. Fam’s heritage makes you question why it was important in the first place. Also, what was Anatoray-Disith up to for so many episodes? Furthermore, what happened to Claus’ legs? If at times it felt like they didn’t have enough material to cover 2 seasons worth, I think there were enough stories that could have been shown there to help pad the series because we really didn’t need more than one recap.
Ginyoku no Fam under-utilized many of the characters from the original Last Exile. Dio was shown early on but his only role was that of a glorified babysitter. Even though Alvis was a key to an Exile, she played no major role in battle and really only served as a compass at the very end. It was hinted at for the longest time that Sophia would appear, but she played a minimal role in the overall story. Worst of all, Lavie and Claus were reintroduced in the second recap but only served as a nod to fans of the original.
This show is very hard for me to recommend. The people who I would normally recommend this show to (Last Exile fans) will probably think the show is much more inferior to the original and probably even a waste of their time. While this show isn’t completely bad, especially when thought of as a standalone series, I believe new viewers would still need to see the original to fully enjoy Fam and get why some elements of the show are significant. The completionist in me still thinks people who have seen the original should watch Fam even though it is less than stellar.
In conclusion, the show is not the worst thing I’ve seen. Most of the series was acceptable except there were a few things that spoiled my enjoyment of it. There were definitely parts I could have lived without and in the shadow of the original Last Exile, Ginyoku no Fam fell short. Unfortunately, to fully enjoy everything that Fam offers, one must watch Last Exile.