OP: 「Buddy」 by 坂本真綾 (Sakamoto Maaya)
Watch the PV!: Streaming ▼

I don’t normally post about episode 0 specials, but seeing as this one featured a lot of impressive-looking footage and will likely go unsubbed, I figured I had to chime in about the series that marks GONZO’s big return. It never hurts when it features Toyosaki Aki, Yuuki Aoi, and Kayano Ai — the voices of the three heroines — plus the short version of Sakamoto Maaya’s “Buddy” music video. It’s also a treat for overseas fans, as attendees of Anime Expo 2011 (USA), AnimagiC 2011 (Germany), and Manifest 2011 (Australia) were briefly shown. The production staff were present at these anime conventions for the unveiling of the next iteration of Last Exile, “Fam, The Silver Wing”.

The “new story” is as I outlined in Fall 2011 Preview, but the parts of the first episode shown did clarify that Fam decided to steal the ship of the Turan princesses, Liliana and Miria, in order to save them. There was also specific mention of the inclusion of popular characters from the 2003 anime, Dio Eraclea, Tatiana Wisla, and Alister Agrew, including a relationship chart that shows their roles in this new setting. Dio is a member of the same “Kuuzoku” sky pirates as Fam and Giselle, whereas Tatiana and Alister are part of another faction. Regarding our heroine, director Chigira Kouichi made comparisons to Last Exile’s Claus and Lavie, stating that Fam is not as free-flying as the other two and is more concerned about what she can do to help Miria and Turan. According to Aki, there are a lot of moving scenes, so I gather that stems from Fam’s personality.

As the introduction to the story didn’t really add anything new, the best part of this special was the sneak peak at the first episode where we were given glimpses of the fantasy world and the sheer scale of the Ades invasion. The production quality appears to be pretty high from the look of things, even with the use of 3D computer graphics to animate some of the scenes. While the CG is still apparent, it does blend in more seamlessly than STRIKE WITCHES 2, which coincidentally, AIC Spirits took over from GONZO. In conjunction with the character designs by Murata Range, the end result is something that is much more reminiscent of the GONZO of old. I’m quite impressed — more so than I was originally anyway — and if Aki’s take on the first episode is to be trusted, Fam, The Silver Wing is of “movie-like quality”. 🙂

Naturally, the interviews with the seiyuu and a look into a dubbing session were a treat as well. It’s always interesting to hear a seiyuu describe a show and their character as some are a lot more “insightful” than others. Aoi in particular is very elaborate, simply because she was once a TV child personality and speaks very well on camera. I haven’t heard too much from Ai since she’s a relatively new seiyuu, but I’m definitely taking notice since she keeps landing more and more big roles. (I know I’ll be looking forward to hearing her as the heroine of Guilty Crown.) Anyway, this “Pre-Episode 1 Takeoff Special” has gotten me a little more excited about the premiere next week, so hopefully Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam- turns out as good as it looks.


    1. I think watching the old, original series is a given to get a better idea of the whole background story, especially for the chracters from the first series. Also Last Exile is absolutely awesome, so you should watch it anyways 😛

      1. Maybe, but here it’s the entire characters that doesn’t fit in with the ray traced vehicles at all. It looks almost like Roger Rabbit (the movie) with cartoon characters spliced into ‘real’ pictures. The contrast between computer shaded 3d models and solid coloured characters are rather glaring.

        Most of the time so do they use 3d generated solid colours instead of the soft shading used here and it mixes a lot better with characters done in same style.

        I don’t know if the terms I have used are the right ones, but I hope my intent is clear.

      2. Ah, I wasn’t talking about the sky, but the vehicles.

        It is a bit silly anyway as you can get a ray tracing program to produce images with a more limited number of different tones easily and then they would fit in with the characters perfectly as those uses two tones for each colour.

      3. The original was done in this exact style. Stills don’t do it justice, but the original looked great (and it still looks good today). The focus wasn’t so much on drawing characters and ray traced objects as seamlessly as possible so that they look similar, but rather to synchronize their movements as extremely close as you can.

        It’s hard to describe, but once you see it, you see how well the characters, objects, and backgrounds fit together in an actual animated scene. At least, that’s how the original was. The sequel needs an equally dedicated effort to get a similar impact.

  1. Nice to see Dio, but I’m kinda miffed there isn’t a Claus-type male character. Call me sexist, but this type of show having 2 female leads kind of makes me group it with all the other “chicks with guns/mechs/vehicles” generic types targeted at lonely jobless dudes.

    I’ll still catch it for sure, since I loved the original Last Exile.

    1. Nice to see Dio, but I’m kinda glad there isn’t a Claus-type male character. Call me sexist, but this type of show having 1 male and 1 female lead kind of makes me group it with all the other “male becomes hero, chicks only support/are rescued by/fall in love with male” generic types targeted at lonely jobless dudes.

      I’ll definitely catch it for sure, since I loved the original Last Exile.

      1. Call me sexist, but this show now have two ordinary stupid anime girls in main heroes and much more than a half other (may be stupid) girls in second heroes so it start looking like new K-on/Sora no Oto.

        I’ll not catch it for sure, since I loved the original Last Exile with grate both sex characters and great story.

      2. I agree with that. Now there are two mediocre anime girls instead of just one.

        Well, this is just my first impressions. Of course, they could ended up being pretty good characters… All we can do know is to wait and see what it’s gonna happen…

  2. Hey so they gave the seiyuus their own mics. The budget for this must be huge.

    Where does this fit into the timeline though? Is it an alternate universe or does it occur before or after the original?

  3. Never watched the first one, but this reminds me ever so slightly of Nausicaa (though I can pretty much garuntee it won’t be nearly as good.) Still, could be good in its own right. Maybe I will check it out.

  4. Super super nervous about this. GONZO… isn’t exactly in the greatest state right now… and even then, Last Exile was one of the few productions of theirs which didn’t completely destroy the source material (although Last Exile is a favorite of mine). This can either go really good or horrendously bad.

    1. Last Exile *is* a GONZO original, remember? 😀

      I’m nervous about this as well though. GONZO is of course still in a bit of a pinch so for their sake (and for fans of the original LE), I really hope this won’t tank. That, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the visuals for the Buddy OP will be just as impressive as Cloud Age Symphony’s.

  5. Is it just me, or are people surprisingly salty in this post’s comments?

    In any event, I’m very much looking forward to the official start of this show as I loved the first season (even the ending).

  6. I felt gipped.

    Warning: Random plot guessing ahead.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
  7. Actually, LE is one of my favorites, ending and all. It took a while, though, because I had to figure out that, “Oh that’s not Dunya and Mullin’s kid, it’s Dunya’s little brother”, and that sort of thing.

    I’ve always liked Gonzo, too, because they take chances on really off the wall stuff, and I love Murata Range’s art (although his studio stuff is a bit too lolilicious for me).


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