OP Sequence

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

「Open file」

I was sorely tempted to title this post “(at long) Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam”…

So obviously, I’m sorry this post couldn’t have come sooner but the delay was unavoidable for obvious reasons. Last Exile is all about waiting – eight years since the first series, and now a seemingly interminable three days since the airing. LE is an awfully important series in my anime development, from the days when I only saw anime on DVD or American TV. It’s no exaggeration to say it’s in my top 10 series of all-time, and I looked forward to this sequel with a curious mix of excitement and trepidation.

First things first – the show looked really great. Mind you this is Gonzo and the animation could be like this by the second cour, but the premiere was stunning on the HD raw I watched Saturday. This being LE there’s a ton of CGI, but no one in anime has ever been able to seamlessly integrate CG as well as Gonzo can. Guilty Crown has the best cel animation of 2011, but Last Exile is still a beautiful mesh of very good hand-drawn and peerless CGI. Virtually the entire staff is back, including Kuroishi Hitomi, whose score once again soars right along with the imagery. There’s one change, though, and it’s a troubling one – this series is written by Yoshimura Kiyoko, who was not involved in the original and whose résumé is, quite frankly, unimpressive.

Which brings me to the content of the episode. There are pluses and minuses, but as I look back I realize something: I liked the raw better than the subbed version. I’m sure there’ll be suspicion that I’m just being a curmudgeon and too loyal to the original series, but for me, the first ep of “Fam” was like a good Last Exile cover band that played a little too loud. The vanships looked great, the music was mostly right, it was great to see Dio and even the Gonzo eyecatch at the beginning brought a surge of nostalgia. But it felt hollow to me. It seemed too flashy and too self-aware and just a little false.

One of the qualities I adored about the original LE was how it didn’t fit into any convenient genre niche for TV anime. If anything it was a reminiscent of Miyazaki’s “Laputa: Castle in the Sky” with its steampunk sensibility and theatrical storyline. This version feels much more conventional. In effect, it’s a “Last Exile” setting with a 2011 cast – mostly 15 year-old girls who check off all the character tropes. The tomboy, genki pilot Fam Fan Fan (Toyosaki Aki). Her sleepy-eyed, shrinking violet navigator Giselle (Yuuki Aoi) complete with younger siblings in tow. Regal oujo-sama Turan Princess Liliana (Sawashiro Miyuki) and her tsuntsun younger sister Millia (Kayano Ai). The character designs are moefied compared to the original too – compare Fam and Gisey against Lavie and you’ll see it starkly demonstrated. The blatant appeal to a more conventional anime audience begins in the very first scene – Fam hanging from a rope in her undies – and never totally lets up.

I don’t begrudge Gonzo for trying to modernize LE and make it more otaku-friendly, because it would be hard to overstate how important this project is to them financially. They’re in trouble and have been for years, and they desperately need this to be a hit and sell lots of Blu-rays. I don’t know if this is the way to do it, though – by trying to please new fans they may lose old ones, and I’m not sure otaku will ever embrace a Gonzo project, especially a Last Exile project. The plot so far seems fine for what it is – the Ades Federation under the command of Luscinia Hafez (Okitsu Kazuyuki), under the guide of phony peace talks, has declared way on the Turan Empire. Fam and Gisey end up rescuing the Turan flagship with the help of our old pal Dio Eraclea (Noda Junko), who gives a nod to the first series with one of Claus’ patented Immelman Turns. There’s no preamble here – “Fam” jumps right into a large global plot, whereas the first series took its sweet time introducing us to the characters and their daily routines. It’s a matter of personal preference which approach you prefer, I guess, though this is certainly a significant change.

In summation, I would say that for the most part the first episode looked right and felt wrong. That’s coming from a hard-core LE fan with a U-Haul full of biases and expectations, so take it as you will. I’ve learned not to trust first episodes as infallible predictors of a series’ quality, and this one certainly wasn’t bad to begin with – just not as authentic to the source as I’d hoped. We did see a few familiar faces, and it looks like Dio will have a large role here. We can also look forward to Alvis making a return at some point, thought in what capacity I’m not sure. What about Claus and Lavie? Well, if there were plans for them to return I certainly wouldn’t tell anybody if I were Gonzo – so their absence from the official sources is hardly definitive. As “Fam” is set two years after LE ended, Claus would be 17 and Lavie 16.


ED Sequence

ED: 「Starboard」 by Hitomi
Watch the ED!: Streaming ▼



  1. I thought the first episode was great, and I’m glad that most of the original LE staff is back. GONZO isn’t exactly in the best shape it was in when the original LE came out, and as you said, Yoshimura Kiyoko’s resume isn’t that great, which worries me a bit. Still though, this may just be GONZO’s return to form. Anyways, the second incarnation of Last Exile is kind of a wild card for me. It can either be really, really great or it may pale in comparison to the original.

    1. In the last episode of the original Last Exile Alvis recited the last verse of the Mysteria which says that the planet they live is the blue star, meaning Earth. It´s never clarifided how was left in such state; I hope this answer your question.

      1. There is a lot which was left to audience interpretation. They never really explained the whole “Exile In A Bottle” thing. E.g. Show Spoiler ▼

      2. Wasn’t that her bloodline? My memories might be hazy, but I seem to remember that she was supposed to be straight line descendant of the Exile navigator – and so it recognized her (her genes, I presume) as it’s master.

  2. Mind you, at least it didn’t felt rushed like Fate/Zero, way too ridiculous like Ben-To or totally hollow and rubbish as Gundam Age. The difference of the characters is that we’re all used to see Claus and Lavie (17-18 years, more or less) instead of Fam and Gisey (16 tops), while there’s no point to compare certain Sophia Forrester (mind you, THE princess of Last Exile) with newbie Princess Liliana, who have the benefit of the doubt right now, especially when Miyuki Sawashiro is her seiyuu.
    Mechanically, there’s a nice evolution with the Vanships. These single seaters Vespas look sleek. As for the bigger ships, I would like to see more.

      1. Most of the characters for Fate/Zero have been revealed but character identities aren’t the main draw of the series. The narrative’s much tighter and moves at a deliberate pace instead of catering to ADHD addled teens. I find the pace to have a lot of engaging build up. The dark atmosphere and cast of adult characters gives a more engaging and mature feel that Fate/Stay night never had.

  3. @huuan – This series takes place on Prester, though Earth was a very important part of the mythology of the original. Check out the wiki for LE for more detail – it’s complicated.

    @SeedStriker – Actually, Claus was 15 and Lavie 14 in LE.

    1. Enzo, I believe you are wrong. ;p

      This show is set on Earth (the blue world hinted at in the first show). Here is a link: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/convention/2011/anime-expo/15

      I definitely suggest reading the wiki for those who have not. Most importantly, the Timeline: http://lastexile.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline

      As for my thoughts on the show; I enjoyed it. Yes, it has a different feel than the first show. So what? I think it’s silly to go into a show expecting it to be the same as another.

      Also, it’s the Ades Federation. Not Aden. :p

      1. Drew, you’re right – I read somewhere a while ago that they shifted this one to Earth and totally forgot about that. It does explain some things, and makes the return of C & L that much more likely.

        It’s a straw man to say the only way you’d be disappointed with the premiere was if you wanted it to be the same as the first series. It’s more a question of execution in its own terms, for me. I found this to be lacking the authenticity that made the first series so special, though that’s only one episode to go by. I wouldn’t care if they set it on Mars or in 21st Century Tokyo – if the writing is as good as the first show, I’ll be thrilled no matter how different the specifics are.

      2. Hmmm.. I read old rumors, and this being one of them. First season of LE was supposed to be longer. This was one of the ideas that went unused and was apparently mentioned or hinted in the DVDs.

  4. Reaaaally looking forward to watching this series. First episode was enough to get me hooked. I just hope it doesn’t pull a Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! : super awesome first episode, extremely downhill from there

    1. You probably have not watched the first series yet. I can guarantee that Gonzo will never pull that shit in this series.

      This series is a huge opportunity for them to back on top and start producing quality animes, which they have done so in the past.

      1. You’re right. I haven’t watched the first series. And I hope you’re right about Gonzo maintaining the quality because A) it gives me an awesome series to watch and B) I’d really like Gonzo to succeed. We need more quality anime studios in the world.

  5. I loved this series, the atmosphere of the series weren’t as great as it’s predecessor but I think, but still it’s kinda refreshing to see one of my favorite series came back.

  6. As a hardcore Last Exile fan, this did not disappoint. What confuses me is how the hell did the ships, cities, and kingdoms got build in just two years? Were there already people living on the Earth by the time Claus and Lavie arrived?

    1. That is the most logical possibility. Just remember there was 7 prester type plantes built for people to live on when they first left earth. So they could of came back to Earth way before Claus.

      1. I’d agree. I remember watching Last Exile and being annoyed at all of the loose threads they left. From the looks of the wiki, they really did create a fully fleshed out universe.

        As far as the Earth having a lot of objects in the sky. Not a stretch of the imagination to think that they could be the Presters folks returned to Earth in.

  7. All I have to say at the moment is- gosh, it’s taking them so long to come out with subs! Four full days have passed and they finally released some.

    Also apparently in order to really make this project sell, they’ve teamed up with Animax Asia to do a simulcast? Not sure how ‘simultaneous’ that is, but you can definitely tell that GONZO is putting their all into this show. Not that I blame them, of course.

    1. You’re jinxing it xD. I highly doubt Gonzo’s gonna screw this up.

      Think about it… a company, who takes pride on creating quality animes, gone bankrupt. That means… in order to get back on the top of the business, they can’t afford to screw up xD

  8. I loved LE and got my start with anime watching some amazing series… Last Exile, Fate/Stay, Elfin Leid, Escaflowne, Ergo Proxy, Witch Hunter Robin, and Wolf’s Rain among others. It opened up a whole new world to me. Prior to that I (like many westerners) thought anime was kids cartoons. If this series is even 1/2 as good as the original LE we will be in for a fun ride.

    This is actually a really nice season for anime fans, Fate/Zero, Shanna 3, Personna 4, this series as well as all the newer ones will make for a really good fall as an anime fan.

  9. Just 2 years after the event of LE we already have new empires & war? Hopefully there are some backstory of what happen after 2 years. Also how did Dio survived and regained his memory?

    your avin a laugh?
  10. Sigh…~

    I don’t like what I’m seeing. At least for now.

    the first LE aren’t perfect, but.. I remember watching the original with jaw-dropping awe not just because of it’s sheer cgi prowess but because of it’s explosive mix of excellent premises and great timings, how the characters are introduce and the nostalgia that accompanies them (the european settings, the aristocracy, the golden age of flying, the chivalry etc..) and the nod to many influences in anime industry itself (Laputa, Harlock etc..)

    and not forgetting the hunting OP / ED song & sequences.

    I also miss the straightforward adventure and storytelling in LE.

    I’m not saying the latest LE is flawed, but just not that great. at least for the first ep it seems. I like GONZO before they screwed up years ago. Hopefully they did it right this time (meaning: no more crappy plotline, too much CGI, unnecessary moefication.. )

  11. Can I watch this show knowing nothing of the previous/other Last Exile series? I’m completely new to this but this seems very interesting and I don’t want to watch anything else in order to watch this.

    1. You could go and watch this series without watching the original but, you’ll miss out on anything related to the original plot. I strongly recommend that you watch the original series since it’s a top tier anime.

  12. So this is the return of Gonzo huh? Well I have never watched the first LE so this still stands in being pretty good for the first episode.

    Just kinda wished that they returned with “THEIR” Kiddy Grade 2 so many years back. I really dint like what studio Satelight did with the sequel…

  13. I really enjoyed many of the fantasy adventure series of the era LE dates to and one reason was the mixed gender casts and how characters interacted together without being smothered in awkward, not-really romantic moe.
    I mean, in shows like ESCA, FMA, LE, ect. were built with characters who served multiple purposes. None of them were pure cheesecake, designed exclusively for the explicit sexual attraction for the narrow group of viewers who like that particular persona (tomboy, tsundere, megane, ect) The stereotypes existed but I don’t remember them dominating any of the titles I remember (or want to remember, more accurately)

    The female cast here seems to be largely cut from the classic harem cookie-cutter set and that isn’t encouraging. I really love Lavie, in part because she never gave off that vibe of being designed primarily to be attractive to male viewers who like tomboy types. She wasn’t dressed to play a role in your sex-attraction fantasy. These gals, meh….guess I have to wait and see.

  14. “If anything it was a reminiscent of Miyazaki’s “Laputa: Castle in the Sky” with its steampunk sensibility and theatrical storyline.”

    ^^ This. That thought was running through my mind the entire time. From sky pirates, mini-hover planes and coloured smoke screens to huge battleships, there were so many elements that were similar between the two. It also helps that I really liked Laputa as a kid, so this series is a shoo-in for me.

    Having never even heard of Last Exile until now, I have to say that it’s off to a great start. Characters are interesting (Dio), and the plot is intriguing enough to keep my attention.

    I’m definitely going to follow this, especially when I love aerial battles with planes and the steampunk elements of LE.

  15. I watched this first episode at the world premiere at AX2011. I think I liked it, but I also felt gipped because they advertised it like it would be a movie. The wait for it to start took f-ing forever also because they kept seating people.

    I really don’t remember the original LE that well so I guess I should dig it out for a marathon. I guess Ginyoku no Fam is a bit brighter start. I hope it holds up to its predecessor.

  16. After 8 years. And it’s back.

    Just finished rewatching the first season of LE, and it reminded me how gripping the story was in most parts.

    With this one, the story seems too fast leaving not much time to breathe and register some of the characters. That’s about the gripe I have with the first episode. Like many said, there was some tweaking done compared to the original. There some thing I liked in the first season that just weren’t there in the second, but then again this is just the first episode. However, being released after 8 years since its first season will be subjected to some changes depending on how the circumstances are. It seems for me its best to judge this show accordingly to what it is. I’ll set aside my nostalgia goggles and enjoy the ride.

    In any case Alvis being shown in the opening with another person looking to be like Vincent bodes well. I wonder if Claus and Lavie will get a Cameo in this series. I’m eager to know how the hell Dio became sane or rather if this is the same Dio from season 1 that we’re looking at.

  17. They bias to a male protagonist or anything. I watch the show and feel that fam character should be a boy not a boy-look alike tomboyish girl. With a ton of girl/female character without a boy how can you make any romance? If you want a female protagonist make her a real girl is better.

  18. LE was one of the shows that got me started on anime and i must say back than i was impressed by the flight scenes as well as the interactions between the characters…

    anyway in the show… dio mentioned bout sophie…. will she be back?

    + it seems like the ships are 2nd gen compared to LE

  19. After freaking 8 years. It was….I was still in high school when I watched the first season. I miss this so much.
    The main character, Fam, is okay, at least for me. Your typical bubbly character, just like the first season XD
    What I wanted to see the most was Dio, of course. Having been reported dead in the first season, he’s back now, and he’s waaay cooler than before to be honest.

    Like some new shows I’ve been currently following (Boku wa Tomodachi, P4A, Guilty Crown, Mirai Nikki, Fate/Zero) this is of course in my watching list.

  20. I agree with Enzo. It looked right and felt wrong. The Last Exile fan in me wants this to do well, but the realist in me has a strong suspicion this is gonna reek of Sky Girls.

    Still, this felt more original tha Guilty Crown, despite being done before.

    Dio’s as awesome as he always was, which is good.

  21. THIS IS A FUCKING PREQUAL! NOT A SEQUAL! Did you even read the previews for this anime!? This is set 3 years before the original LE. Which is why Dio is alive and 13 and why this is Aru’s OLDER SISTER being shown before she’s killed by Dio’s sister.

    1. You got it wrong. Official interviews confirmed Sliver Wing takes place 2 years after Last Exile. Check the OP and see some old faces from LE.

      PS: Talking like that makes yourself look like a fool.

    2. Did you even watch the old Last Exile? Dio was never dead. Sure there were no visual confirmation, but there was a scene in the final episode, where the former house member of the guild and the current chief engineer of Sylvanna, Dagobert, was doing his usual duties when he heard Dio saying “Ascending”, which HEAVILY implies that he is alive

      What you’re basically saying:

      1)Tatiana was a captain of a ship before becoming an ace vanship pilot
      2)Lucciola was dead before becoming alive, then dying again
      3)Technology was more advanced 3 years ago than now

      Lol. something does not add up there xD

  22. I never watched the old LE but this one looks nice and sounds interesting. I guess sometimes going with a clean slate of things can make the experience more enjoyable overall.

    Should I watch the old ones now or wait till the new one ends?

    1. You do not really have to watch the first series.

      The first series was more mature than the current one though. There is only one word to describe the old Last Exile: Awesome.

      Despite not tying all loose ends at the end, it still had an amazing ending

    2. My gut feeling is you’re better off not watching the original until after “Fam” is done. I don’t expect this to be especially faithful to the first series, so foreknowledge is probably not essential. And to be blunt, it’s very possible that with LE fresh on your mind, Fam is going to look bad by comparison. Hopefully not – but why risk it?

      1. Theres a whole lot of assumption built into that statement Enzo. You’ve essentially already stated that there is no way Fam can be just as good, if not better, than the original.

        Not saying it will, but based on one episode? Thats an awful lot of prejudgment on your part.

      2. @Fencedude
        Well, for starters, Claus > Fam (yes, even 1 episode in)
        also, replying another post you made: Claus was far from your standard male lead. It’s very rare you get that level of “understatement” in a male lead. It usually either gets annoying fast (Evangaliion, Guilty Crown), or they make the slient type too lifeless (Hagi from Blood+). Great male leads in anime are actually pretty rare, imho. We should cherish characters liek Claus, Okabe, Brendon Heat, Ginko…etc.

        I’m not really slating this series. I just feel it could have gotten off to a better start. I mean, cmon… having 3 naked chicks in the OP? … wtf!! … the first scene coul’ve worked just as well if Fam were sleepwalking in regular kiddie pajamas as well.

      3. No assumption at all. This series is a stand-alone – we know that from what the producers have told us – so you don’t need to watch LE first. If “Fam” is just as good, then you go and watch LE and you’ll love it. If “Fam” isn’t as good, it won’t suffer in your eyes because you won’t be comparing it to LE. So why watch LE first? You have more to lose than to gain.

  23. I too am a hardcore Last Exile fan. And I agree with what Enzo says.

    Still seeing the Tatiana & Allister in the OP scene, which reminded me of a certain old Last Exile OP, where Sophia was giving orders, really gave me goosebumps. *reminiscing the old days. Oh, and I should not forget the “Immelman Turn”

    Old Last Exile (my fav anime of all time) = More adults & less kids
    New Last Exile = more kids & less adults

  24. Finally, after waiting for days for the subs to come out, I finally watched Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam- …

    To be honest, I had tears in my eyes when I watched this… I really missed the first Last Exile series, and it really feels good to see that this new Last Exile series came out…

    Yes, this is a new world, with new sets of characters, but I find the elements of the old series comings back to me… The vanships and airships, the wonders of flight, the steampunk elements, the vibe of a classic looking world. Then seeing Dio again, and hearing the soundtrack (like Shuntaro Okino’s Head into the Clouds) was really a big nostalgia bonus for me.

    To be honest, the feel of this new series has a mix of the old series with some other Gonzo works like Shangri-la perhaps? It’s a bit more lively and less serious than the first Last Exile, but I somehow welcome it. My only fear is that they might move the direction of the story into something too conventional… I hope Gonzo somehow retains the feel of the old series into this new one, even if they put some new sensibilities. If they manage that, I’ll love Gonzo again. If they miss this one up, curse them!

    Still, I am not disappointed in the first episode and it has really made my day after a long wait. Let’s just really hope that Last Exile -Ginyoku no Fam- will be the series that will put up Gonzo back to its feet…

  25. Having not seen the original I come with no preconceptions of how the show should be. So with no bias and accepting it at face value… My God, what a show. I’m usually more into either horror/mystery/psychological or slice o’ life, with little interest in action or drama. BUT this show has me hooked. It looks FANTASTIC, and I love where it could head. I’m sold to be honest. Even guilty crown I wouldn’t bother with had it looked less beautiful but THIS show! Oh man. Characters, heck, everything about this I enjoyed.

  26. As somebody who’s never seen the original LE, I really, really enjoyed this. Beyond the technical aspects (though dear god the visuals and music are awesome) the thing that stuck out is how alive it felt. I am rather concerned over the rather generic characters and the bits of fanservice I saw–which wouldn’t have really bugged me in, say, Boku Wa Tomodachi, but clashed with the rest of the mood here. In fact, the level of pandering here, while not incredibly high, just didn’t fit with everything else. Despite that, this is easily my third-most anticipated show so far this season. And if the original Last Exile is even better, than it’s moving swiftly up my to-watch list.

    The Kenosha Kid
  27. Oh yeah regarding the one handling the script

    …this series is written by Yoshimura Kiyoko, who was not involved in the original and whose résumé is, quite frankly, unimpressive.

    Seeing that he was involved with Denyuden, I’m a bit ok with this. Personally I enjoyed that show and am still clamoring for a second season. Well in any case I think he MIGHT be able to handle this show.

  28. I have to agree with some other who say this looks like Last Exile, but doesn’t really have the same feel.

    It is very disappointing to see that Gonzo went with the idea that you needed a female cast, this show really really needs a male lead, a strong male lead, I’m not being sexist, but as Guardian Enzo said it just seems like a bunch of cliched characters. I’m not really against having a mostly female cast, but do we really need a tomboy, a soft spoken character, a older sister and a tsuntsun younger sister? I feel like I’m going to watch this for the visuals and to see some old characters pop up, but it’s very disappointing to see this be catered to a crowd who feel as though K-ON or Strike Witches is a good show, it seems crass and stupid to be honest.

    1. How would having a “strong male lead” change things? How is Fam not a “Strong Female Lead”?

      Imagine a male version of Fam, who’d done everything the same this episode (since absolutely nothing Fam did was informed by her gender at all), would you feel the same way? Would you be having these same complaints?

      Or are you just upset that they are doing something different, and making a traditionally male character female?

      Also, your jab at people who like things you don’t is highly uncalled for. K-On and Strike Witches are both good shows, in their own ways. LE2 doesn’t have any particular similarity to them other than a female main cast (and unlike both of those shows, LE2 does have a large number of male characters). The core cast just happens to be female.

      There is a latent, but noticeable strain of misogyny in a lot of the complaints about this episode.

      1. Oh please when ever anybody says that a show has too many female characters there always has to be a misogyny claim, it’s like a crutch that some people hold on to in order to discount any discontent about a show.

        I’m not saying Fam has to be a male, in fact from what I have seen of Fam she seems like a good character, I’m saying that there is no male lead character, in my opinion the show could use one, if you can point to a male lead character than please correct me, but to me Dio is certainly not one, nor is . The point is that that it seems that this show is trying to gear more towards a K-ON or Strike Witches type crowd. Last Exile was a very unique anime, and to me they are not staying true to the original. Instead they are trying to put in certain character traits in order to pick up sales. It’s fine to have shows that cater to those tastes, but I don’t like it when they try to alter a great show from the past in order to pick up sales.

      2. Why does it need a male lead character? What would that give the show that it doesn’t already have?

        Last Exile was a very unique anime, and to me they are not staying true to the original.

        Oh please. Last Exile was good, and the setting was interesting and unique, but it didn’t break any new grounds at all character wise. Claus was a very standard, if generally quite well done, male lead. Lavie was his slightly tsundere childhood friend love interest, Alvis was gratuitously cute plot-device girl, etc etc.

        Basically, what you are saying is “they changed it now it sucks”. Now, the show may or may not end up being as good as Last Exile (far, far too early to make any sort of determination on that count), but saying that because it is not doing things exactly the way Last Exile did them its not being “true” to the original is ridiculous. Sequels should not be just the same show with a few minor differences.

        The point is that that it seems that this show is trying to gear more towards a K-ON or Strike Witches type crowd.

        And this is a meaningless statement. Its as if you are saying that someone who liked those shows would not have liked the original Last Exile, which is of course ridiculous, plenty of people liked all three. The fact that you are throwing those titles out derogatorily demonstrates that you are not, remotely, interested in giving the show a fair shake.

        And of course I’m sure you can’t even defend why K-On and Strike Witches aren’t good shows.

    2. How come whenever we have a new anime or manga hit the scene with girls taking all the lead roles, a bunch of skeezy little gynophobes come out of the woodwork complaining about “a lack of a strong male lead”. Yes, yes. We get it. You have some sort of compulsion to live vicariously through animated dudes. Instead of doing that, why not step into the heroine’s shoes for a moment? Does the presence of female genitalia situated within the lead character’s body actually bother you to such an extent that you would outright refuse to get inside her head and interpret the plot from her perspective? What if I moaned that Naruto lacked “a strong female lead?” Wouldn’t that sound every bit as odd as complaining about the lack of a male lead in a show that is clearly female-dominated by design?

  29. Feels like they adapted the original ideas to fit more with expectations of ‘modern’ audiences. Whether more moe designs or female leads is good or bad is subjective, but one gets the feeling that hardcore fans of the original will have little mercy if gonzo gives anything less than spectacular, and even then not everyone will be happy. Ah well. Guess sometimes it is best just to go in with no expectations.

  30. The music still has the same feeling when I first watched LE, beautiful, and range murata’s characters always have different “feel” too, both anime-like and realistic.

    Been waiting for this series for 8 years! (I knew Last Exile (2003) will have another series right after I watch it), It will be in my top 3 along with F/Z and Guilty Crown.

  31. The episode introduction and ending sequences were a heartwarming throwback to the original LE, which was already a huge plus for me. Even though it’s not a really good question to ask at the first episode, what happened to everyone else? In particular, why is Tatiana wearing a uniform again? What are all these new countries? Lots of questions in my head right now.

    As for the episode proper, yeah, it was alright. I didn’t dislike that first scene, which probably rings an alarm bell for some people, but I did feel like the OP song doesn’t capture the essence of the series. It is pretty obvious, though, that this is a vastly different beast from the last LE, though if for the better or for the worse I can’t quite say.

    I’m still going to watch this to the end, though, if for no other reason than a respect for the original.

  32. LE gets the Sora no Oto treatment of making almost every significant character a girl and starts off with fan-service. Mark me as unimpressed. I was hoping for something more than a moe-blob.

  33. I see what you’re saying Enzo, they did seem to rush into the ‘grand plot’ pretty quickly. I can’t say I minded much though — I was too busy having my breath taken away by the animation, action and score!

    Personally I think it’s promising, though likewise, I’m interested to see if the production quality keeps up over 26 eps, and whether the writing is inventive enough. I won’t criticise a writer for never having had a major hit – if anything this could be Yoshimura’s break.

    And as @izanagi said above, the first series, while a real favourite of mine, wasn’t exactly flawless – great start/iffy finish. If they can improve on that this time round, I’ll be happy.

  34. Well, thanks for the wiki link. The timeline really explained a lot. Some suspicions which arose while watching the old series got confirmed while others were rejectedShow Spoiler ▼


    I agree that this one “looks LE but feels wrong”. The plot was too rushed, lacking proper introduction to characters (and I am not going to comment on character personalties yet, but they did feel out of place). And the level of design in the original LE isn’t quite there (I am not sure about mech design yet, but battle tactics definitely felt cheap).

    Well, I am an hard core fan, so I suppose I did give no mercy if Ganzo did less than perfect.

  35. Last Exile changed a bit, but I think from a stand-alone perspective, it hits the right notes. I don’t think you can ever capture the exact feeling something else gives off perfectly, and I don’t think they are necessarily trying to. If that’s a good think or bad thing I suppose is an exercise for the individual, but I think this show will stand on it’s own merits. It may not give us long-time fans the same feeling, but I don’t think I expected it to.

    The world has also changed, so I think the characters and story will have to change a bit with it. This is not the era of carefree, optimistic free-flying and honor that marked the beginning of last exile but an era of war.

    At least their battle tactics have gotten a bit better, using ships that can actually maneuver, although why Vanships aren’t used as fighters after everything they’ve learned with the great vanship successes is beyond me. The cap fleets would have been better served with fighters. 1 step forward, 2 steps back for humanity I suppose. At least it’s better than the guild.

  36. Well, isn’t it a bit wired that everybody is flying a battle ship vanship style? Even the old federation line battleship the union captured at the beginning of episode was flying that kind of crazy manoeuvre.

    Worse still, they treat what would happen in the bridge during such manoeuvre just as an after thought: it’s not depicted in the first incident with the federation battle ship; when dio did it with the empire flag ship again, we saw the princesses had their feet fixed in some sort of pegs which appear out of no where. Where even if we assume the pegs were there, how they managed to stand 90 degree to the floor (with just the pegs and not any waist support) whilst the ship is on a vertical ascend is purely beyond me. Well, even if they can fix their feet on the floor and can lock their joints perfectly (so their body could be as rigid as a straight stick), the movement of their hair and skirts does not agree with the trajectory of the ship (I am not going to talk about Dio, he’s a Guild so he defies physics).

    Finally, the last time I checked, LE ships fly by the lifting force produced by magnetic fields produced by their Claudia unit. So wings on a LE ship are essentially nipples on Breast Plates (ie. totally useless). So why the Empire flag ship has such big wings? Yes, they are where the units are mounted, but doesn’t that make the ship venerable? You just need to shoot where the wing joins the body (which is weak) and break the wings off, then the ship lost any lifting force (not to mention that there is no way central of gravity of that ship is so much to the back).

    My point: feels right or not, original LE would never have these details over looked.

  37. Nostalgia distorts perspective. We just saw it happen about a week ago with the premiere of Gundam AGE, and here it’s happening all over again with Last Exile…the power of cognitive bias in action, folks- it is a prison from which few ever escape, an illusory paradise which lulls the masses into hypnotic submission…

    1. I couldn’t agree more actually, which is why I try to give everything a chance in a fresh perspective. I think though, we can’t help ourselves sometimes. We have certain expectations about certain things. That’s what branding is all about. That is why this is set in the Last Exile universe, and not an original production with an original world.

      Every time an existing world, brand, series, IP or franchise is used (from now on, I’m calling it ‘established setting’), an existing fanbase will have expectations. We had no expectations going into Last Exile when it first aired. Same for the very first Gundam. This is why people have mixed feelings about after-the-fact sequels. The expectations we have will distort our views, and in all honesty, it should. The creators choose to extend the established setting instead of creating an original world.

      When using an established setting it is always a careful balance between grabbing new fans and pleasing the established ones, and often times creators and publishers both are in a no-win situation because of this. The longer an established setting goes on, the worse the problem is (Exhibit A here is Gundam).

      Sometimes we can cynically (and truthfully) say that executives at a company are looking for a cash-cow and are shoe-horning creative talent who want to work on another story into a world they think will sell, but I don’t think that’s the case here. I think they are making an earnest effort to write a new story in the last exile world, and I don’t expect it to be identical. As I mentioned earlier, I think this hit the right cords well enough to be worth watching. I think it’s a cut above the average, but it may simply not be able to live up to expectations.

      I noticed that many people feel that elusive ‘magic quality’ was lost. I’d argue that has as much to do with ourselves and how our perspective as viewers has changed as much as it has to do with the series. I know I found a magical quality about the original last exile, but I’m not sure if that can even be recaptured. There have been many things that changed over the intervening time period, not the least of which is myself. That alone might be enough to ensure that any sequel of Last Exile will not have that ‘magic’.

    2. OTOH, it’s the easiest thing in the world to dismiss all criticism of a sequel as dewy-eyed nostalgia for the original, especially when you can’t substantively refute it. Fact it, the majority of the time sequels simply aren’t as good as the originals. Not always, but usually. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

      There’s a reason “Last Exile” is as highly regarded as it is – it was a damn good show and it’s beloved by a great many anime fans, with a profile that doesn’t align that closely with the typical anime fan. If “Fam” wants to call itself “Last Exile” then it’s going to have to deal with the comparisons – you can’t have it both ways. You want to cash in on the name? Get ready to be held to a high standard.

      1. I understand, it is indeed an undeniable fact that sequels usually are not as good as the originals, and your points are completely valid- sometimes fans will dismiss a sequel for simply being mediocre, and not awful. And justifiably so; if the franchise you’re messing with has set high standards, then your sequel had better damn well live up to them; otherwise it’s like promising someone a real diamond and giving them cubic zirconium. I don’t care how pretty your fake stone is, it simply isn’t the real thing, and will never be. Sometimes even sequels that could be considered to be objectively good fail to do justice to the original simply because of the insurmountably high standards set by it.

        But the problem I have here is that people are dismissing Fam as inferior after the first episode of a two-cour run. There’s simply no way that I can call that impartial. How can one make an objective evaluation after only seeing less that 5% of what the entire show has to offer; short of things being abysmally awful? (Which both Fam and Gundam AGE almost certainly were not.)

        Remember that my goal when watching any anime/movie/show; while reading any book/manga/comic is to evaluate it objectively and even-handedly. The only thing I actually care about is whether the thing I just watched/read was objectively good. Not once in my above statement did I say that Fam was good, or even bad for the matter. I reserve my judgment for a more prudent time in the future when the triumphs and failings this show are more readily apparent.

        I would not object in the slightest had people started calling Fam “bad” say, something like 12-17 episodes in, while backing it up with some concrete arguments. Problem is, at this moment in time, there is very little, if anything at all to go on that can be referred to as truly concrete evidence that Fam is objectively bad. or even simply objectively worse than the original.

        Certainly there is much to go on proving that it is different/feels different from the original; but this in of itself is hardly an indicator of quality. Anyone remember playing the classic Fallout games? They were certainly great games, but it would be a total fallacy to call the new Fallout games (3, New Vegas) published by Bethesda “bad” simply because they are look/feel so different from the originals.

        Remember the whole fiasco with Blood-C last season? The director of Blood-C made a lot of decisions that were objectively awful, and it was completely justifiable that many people panned the show for it’s terrible character presentation and plot execution; Blood-C was by no means an objectively good show. I have no problems at all with people calling the show “bad” now that it’s over, or indeed when it was halfway through- because that is what it is, and at those points in time there is enough concrete evidence available to support their contentions. But I did have a problem with the nostalgia-mongers who called the show bad right after watching the first episode. Granted, they were right about the show being bad, but really, anyone who can say with a straight face that their evaluations right after the first episode were “objective” is in denial…

        Some lament the fact that a show which they enjoyed is being criticized by others, and argue prematurely for it’s virtues- I take no part in this empty endeavor, and any who engage in it are just as shallow as their adversaries. What I lament is the lack of objectivity; the fact that so many would rather allow their biases to guide them, surrendering the lantern of understanding to be led astray by illusions…

      2. The problem for me, Zen, is that I can’t wait for 12 episodes and say “Here’s a blog post on “Fam” so far”. I have to assess each episode as a standing identity – and because Gonzo is calling this “Last Exile – Fam of the Silver Wing” I have to assess it in part on how it compares to the original. I’m not dismissing anything – merely pointing out what I see as strengths and missed opportunities in the first episode.

        I will say, though, that even for straight-up viewers it’s a lot of ask to make someone wait for 12-17 (17?!) episodes before making a judgement. If you can’t establish yourself faster than that, I can’t blame anyone for not waiting that long. It’s that kind of thinking that caused countless victims to make it all the way to the end of Blood-C…

      3. I sincerely apologize if you took it as me criticizing your article, Enzo, but please don’t because I wasn’t referring to you at all. Quite the contrary, in fact I think that your assessment of the show was very fair. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; by and large all of the bloggers here at RC are quite even-handed. If anything, you guys write impressions, not reviews- two very different things- keep up the good work. 🙂

        All you did say was that Fam is “moefied” i.e. popularized, and less like the original, different. No where in your article did you come out and say that Fam was bad. Instead, all you said was that “It’s personal preference” and “people have expectations” which are true observations, and completely justified. And in a comment below you said that all you cared about was “execution” and “writing quality” in spite of the fact that the atmosphere didn’t have that “special feel” from the original. Fair observations (which I happen to agree with, by the way); all of them, and they’re observations, not assessments of quality. All you were doing was outlining what you got out of the first episode of the show; your observations and your concerns. Nothing wrong with that, in fact that’s what I do myself, and what everyone should be doing, stopping just short of making a summary judgment before the time is ripe.

        The kind of folks who make me *facepalm* are the people who latch onto your excellent observations about “difference” and add in their own “=bad” segment to the equation. Look at the guy who I replied “I rest my case” to somewhere down there. Read his comment, and I think you’ll know what I mean…

        And really, 12-17 episodes is just ballpark range for fair assessment, because it seems like it would almost always be fair to judge a new show after seeing about or a little over half of it’s content. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t exceptions where you can properly judge a show’s quality with far fewer episodes under your belt, or instances where you may need to see more than 75% of it’s content to make a fair assessment. And you are right, Blood-C was bad enough early on that a fair assessment of awfulness could be easily made. I personally dropped it at episode 3 or 4, a far cry from my own “About or a little over halfway” benchmark. (Picked it up again towards the end to help myself better understand what this show did wrong; and believe me, it was quite *ahem* educational; i.e. BLOOD-y awful…)

        What I’m after is concrete arguments indicating that a show is awful, and typically, unless the show is godawful (ala- BLOOD-C), this usually isn’t present until the show is some ways through. By episode 3-4, I should think that there will be some indication as to whether Fam will measure up to the original, but even so, I very much doubt that there would yet be nearly enough evidence to dismiss it as plain awful.

        “I reserve my judgment for a more prudent time in the future when the triumphs and failings this show are more readily apparent.”

        I reemphasize that “About or a little over halfway” is a recommended benchmark, nothing more, a time range where I think that there would more likely than not be enough concrete evidence to support an objective evaluation of the show. Nothing’s set in stone. If you can obtain concrete that proves the poor/superior quality of a show early on, then you’re doing fine. But really, I should like to think that the number of shows that can actually be assessed as objectively awful (or otherwise) after just it’s first episode are few and far between. Over 90% of the time it simply doesn’t make any sense to judge a show after its first episode. A show would need to be exceptionally awful for this to happen- and neither Fam, nor Gundam AGE are even nearly this bad, by any stretch of the imagination, and I would even hesitate to say that BLOOD-C was bad enough to be dismissed after just one episode…

      4. No offense was taken, Zen – I just wanted to make my point about the limitations I’m working under, here. And I confess, I’ve seen many instances (and not just with LE) where legitimate criticism of a serious was slagged off as nostalgia for the original, so that’s become a bit of a pet peeve for me.

      5. “And I confess, I’ve seen many instances (and not just with LE) where legitimate criticism of a serious was slagged off as nostalgia for the original.”

        I agree, this is just as much of a problem as dismissing a show simply because it is unlike the original, for the sake of nostalgia. And if I saw lots of this happening, I would be just as quick to jump on it.

        As I said above: “Some lament the fact that a show which they enjoyed is being criticized by others, and argue prematurely for it’s virtues- I take no part in this empty endeavor, and any who engage in it are just as shallow as their adversaries.”

        I take no sides here. The people who dismiss valid arguments against the quality of a show as “plain old nostalgia” are just as misled as their adversaries.

        My goal here is simply to promote a balanced and impartial evaluation of any given show. Therefore I place myself in the gap which divides these two, equally silly camps of people. If one side starts setting up lots of straw men and claiming false victory, then I’ll rain proverbial fire down upon them and burn their fallacious arguments to ashes (civilly, with sound reasoning and eloquence, of course). This may at times make it seem like I’m supporting the opposite camp, but that is never the case- if the other camp starts acting up as well, you can be certain that they too will be shown no quarter.

        It just so happens, however, that this time round, the nostalgia-mongers were the ones who seemed (to me) to be acting up more, which is why they are the ones that I seem to be more critical of. Remember, whenever you read anything that I write, please don’t interpret it in the most extreme manner possible, even if it seems to be the most intuitive. If there is a more reasonable, even-handed or objective way to interpret it, then I would implore of everyone to understand it as such, because 99% of the time, this is what I’m actually trying to say. And if I am criticizing one extreme of an argument, in 99% of cases it also means (implicitly) by default that I’m equally critical of the opposing extreme…

  38. I already see a fail just by looking the numerous moons. Moons will have different looks waxing, waning from their general location… and will cast shadows upon each other so… yeah fail much?

  39. I made myself watch the whole first season before watching this… I’m glad I did, it was really awesome, and I was really happy seeing Dio again!

    I was wondering who the person behind Alvis in the opening is?

  40. Ok, so I watched the first episode of this new Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam, my first impression was, most of the time it feels different compare to its predecessor but at the same time somehow feels the same way.

    I did watched the first Last Exile 5 years ago so I can still recall the more important parts but at the same time cannot really remember the more intricate details. So far being just a primer, I do not know if this actually is a sequel or some alternate story or what, but at least, the first episode is interesting enough to make me wanna watched the next episode.

  41. I’m curious what the background song is from the opening hunting scene of the “perverted captain”. If nothing else, that song was a very nice intro touch to the series, set the mood for the sky universe.


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