「Light square」

You’ll have to forgive me if I begin this post with a “Danger: Hazardous Curves Ahead” sign after last week…

I’m in a no-win position with “Fam” in some ways, because if I say I like an episode some people are going to think I’m caving and playing to the crowd. And if I don’t, some people (mostly the same people) will call me all the same silly names they did last week. But this isn’t about me, it’s about the show – and in the end, all I can really do is give my honest opinion and let all the hate be “water off a duck’s back”, as it were. I’ve been called much worse than a duck anyway – right here a week ago, in fact. And there’s plenty of internet out there for anyone who doesn’t care to read what I have to say and have a respectful dialogue about it.

So with all that said, I’ll just come right out and say it – I thought this episode of Last Exile was better than the first two. Much better, in fact, and for one very simple reason. Watching people do things is a lot more interesting and more involving if you understand why they’re doing them. Once you get past the pretty pictures and CGI, it’s all just background static unless you understand who the characters are. And this ep made so many good choices in doing just that. I wish it had happened sooner but I’m still glad it happened.

In the first place, I’m pleased that the episode started with what I felt was the most interesting element of the last one – exploring the Ades Federation’s POV. Things aren’t looking so black and white now, and the “good guys” better be careful – the Ades have their own cute little girl and this one’s an empress – The Augusta, Sara (Itou Kanae). Their perspective is becoming clear – they see themselves as defenders of those who were displaced by the descendants of the refugees who returned on the various Exiles. Luscinia’s methods might be extreme, but at least for now it appears that they see this is a war for the human rights of those who stayed – or at least, returned earlier. Interestingly, of course, it now appears that the Exile that returned two years before the start of this series bearing Claus, Lavie and Alvis was indeed literally the “Last Exile” to return.

Another solid move was pairing off Teddy (Saitou Chiwa) with Giselle’s family. That’s a much better use of his character than as a verbal punching bag for Millia (even if he was mistaken for a girl by Giselle’s siblings). Giselle is still a bit of a cliché at the moment – well, that’s pretty much the sum of her character – but the more exposure she has in some context apart from being Fam’s sidekick the more she has a chance to become a distinctive character. As for Millia, the most important milestone for her this week was to learn some humility. It was certainly understandable that she be angry and full of self-pity, but seeing her proud nation reduced to refugee status – symbolized by seeing the Turan flagship cut up and sold for scrap – brought the reality of her new situation home to her, loud and clear. In this new world, she’s not a princess – just a child who lacks the skills that make everyone else in the community useful. Hopefully the kindness she showed Teddy at the close of the episode is a sign that this is more than a passing change on her part, but real acceptance and even growth.

As for Fam, truth be told I’m still having major problems with Toyosaki Aki’s bubbly performance. But the character itself made some strides this week, merely through the practice of a little exposition. An orphan, OK, not a shocker there but useful info. But the thread that ties her to her predecessors in the Last Exile franchise is her dedication to the pilot’s existence as something more than a moneymaking proposition. The Grand Race – “Grand”, eh? – is an interesting dream. If I read the tea leaves right it looks as if Giselle’s father was the last champion of the race before it was cancelled due to war, and never reinstated. We saw a kind of altruistic devotion to the ideals of flying for the love of it, and living by a code of conduct that’s as old as stories about lovable rogues, and those are the most interesting elements we’ve seen from Fam so far. This ideal of a kind of code of outlaw decency was summed up for me in the best scene of the episode, the “Okuribi” – the candlelit ritual to show the souls of the Turanese dead the way to the skies by returning their wings. If any moment in the first three episodes captured the essence of what the classic Last Exile felt like, that did it for me.

Progress is all I can ask for, really, and this is progress. There are still some big issues to contend with here, and for me they still involve character. None of the three leads has really stamped themselves as a charismatic figure that can carry a series, and none of the supporting cast has really been given enough development to make a real difference. I’d like to see more of the edge and sense of mischief that Dio showed in the original – his niceness here has neutered him as a character, although it would be nice if that were all an act and he has hidden agendas. Of course, we know that next week is going to bring the entrance of the reaper ship “Sylvius”, a name familiar enough to send ripples through the heart of any “Exile” fan. And if you followed the publicity you know that the fourth episode is one that the staff have referred to as one that will really begin to tie the new series in with the old, in more ways than one. Whether that provides the needed impetus to push the existing cast to the next level is impossible to say, but at the very least it should provide a compelling diversion.




  1. What’s wrong with the first two episodes? I thought they were brilliant 😀 Enzo, just ignore those haters. People like to flame for no reason these days. Keep up the good work!

  2. Yes, the next episode is going to be an important episode. The Sylvius looks a lot like the Silvana. It might be a sister ship or a modified version of the Silvana. We’ll see though.

      1. And if I remember correctly, the Silvana looking fine when Dagobert, a former house member of the Guild and current chief engineer of the Sylvana, heard Dio say “ascending’ in the power room of a flying Sylvana.

    1. It should probably be a later generation Anatoray ship than the Silvana, which was the first ship produced by the Guild members that defected there. I’m interested to see what differences/improvements they will show with the Silvius, the Silvana was one heck of a ship for being a prototype.

  3. While I maintain that cutting her hair is the worst thing any anime girl can do (and I most certainly do not like the new look), it is good symbolism, and it worked well enough for Milia.

    This was a good episode. Milia and Fam had some bonding time, and we learned about Fam’s past (which had been hinted at a bit) and why she loves to fly.

    One thing that gets me about Gisey is that its so very strange hearing Ao-chan’s voice coming out of someone so…surprisingly well endowed.

    Looking forward to the Sylvius’ introduction, especially if it really is captained by who is supposed to be captaining it.

  4. That would have been my second guess since she wanted her own ship at one point, I was close though. Hopefully the Sylvius is a ship worthy of that title, it better have some serious arsenal and secret weapons.

  5. Pre-written post is pre-written. Guardian Enzo, please excuse the mess. Ginyoku no Fam has just earned it’s keep.

    Not a lot really going on here. It was nice to show the Ades Federation guys as your run of the mill soldiers. Although the vibes were strong in this episode. Lots of Legend of the Galactic Heroes/Tytania feel, made even more apparent with their “let-me-talk-facing-off-screen-and-make-it-seem-you’re-right-there” kind of communication. Something that has boggled me in LOGH when their fleet distances are standard semi-hard science fiction distance of several kilometers per ship and nearly several AU per fleet, it was something that immediately struck that’s all.
    We get a feel for the up and coming fleet commanders, and already I’m liking the old guy. It’s much like my adoration of characters like Willibald Joachim von Merkatz, Alexander Bucock, and Edwin Fisher. You all should know the type. The dependable old man/mentor fighter who is the crystal water amongst the sewage of the degenerating society/nation. Fam’s background and determination to set things right with stuck up princess was interesting, and a nice touch back to the first series with the notion of a race. Seeing that in my last posts in the previous episodes, I talked about the militarization of courier and racing vanships, it’s an interesting return to those roots. It honestly sets the setting analogue in the roaring twenties/great depression era in our timeline. While LE season one was in that confusing turn of the century warfare style of ordered lines and slowly changing doctrines, this season is honestly setting itself in that era where it seemed like anyone can own a plane and be amazing in it.

    That said, the main gushing point of it all came as a surprise.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    This is why I never bothered to try and be a contributor. I derail so easily at shiny things with guns. But not shiny guns. Or black ones. Certainly not pink or green. Blued/Parkerized maybe. Also because I’m lazy as hell and if I want to go and make a post per episode I’ll bore the readers with endless trivia and I remember at the last paragraph that I’m watching the anime as an anime connoisseur/critic.
    Damnit I did it again.

    Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
      1. It looks quite a lot like the Silvana, only with the lower flight deck deleted and the armor heavily streamlined. If the guild unit powering it is the same size, then the ship itself is indeed much shorter and more compact, making it an even harder target than its predecessor. It’s also bristling with heavy ordnance, and god knows what kind of weaponry is hidden under that side armor. I see multiple ports for what could be guns, torpedoes or jet-propelled shell launchers.

        Huh, the profile of it reminds me of the MV Kalakala. Actually, the Silvana had the same Streamline Moderne styling on the exterior of the bridge. It also had something else in common with double-ended car ferries, in that it had bridges both fore and aft and could reverse at roughly the same speed as it could go forward (the rudder system appeared to have both fore and aft control surfaces to accommodate this).

        The rudder on the Silvius doesn’t appear to have control surfaces at all. In fact, it may operate based on a similar principle to the McDonnell Douglas-developed NOTAR system, using air pumps to produce a Coandă effect that steers the ship. Gosh, I can’t wait to see this new beast from the diabolical engineering minds of Anatoray rip through those Ades Federation goons like they were tissue paper. One of the Ades captains called it the “Shinigami Silvius”. A fitting title for a ship patterned after the “Minagoroshi no Silvana”.

      2. Aye, now that we’ve got a look at it.. It also has some lines similar to the Turan battleship with the hull bulges. Maybe they contain the same forward facing cannon?

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
      3. Here’s a quick analysis I did:


        The guns on the Silvius have much smaller dead zones and can engage practically anything in any direction, thanks to their placement. I can see why they call it the “Grim Reaper”. It’s like they took all of the Silvana’s weaknesses and eliminated them. That’s a scary thought.

      4. Uh, a longer flight deck. That can mean that new Vanships with greater combat capability. Tatiana’s Vanship was for all intents and purposes, a fighter/bomber when outfitted properlly. Longer flight deck, greater take off area. or even better yet, greater ammounts of Vanships that can be scrambled.

        As for the placement, Jesus H. Christ. It holds much design back to the standard Anatoray battleships, we did see in the first episode/battle of Minagith that even the port side guns were tracking to fire on the starboard side enemies.

        I thank you for the analysis.

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
      5. What’s got me thinking now is the Urbanus class. Alot of the Earth vessels hold similarities to it in their lines, although utilizing less of a tumbluehome + ramming prow bow but more…standard shield-like bows. Still, maybe the Urbanus was scrapped now that they have an abundance of guild cores?

        It’d be interesting to see an updated/successor to the chainsaw ships attack Ades Federation vessels.

        Also, Vanships are larger. I can only imagine the possibilities. x3 This show doesn’t disappoint.

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
      6. Though I can’t be sure until I’ve seen it in action, the turrets on the Silvius look like they lack the elevation range of the Silvana’s guns. One of the key tactics used with the Silvana was diving under cloud cover and firing at the enemy from below, which is part of what gave it its hellish reputation. The Silvius, on the other hand, appears as if optimized to attack targets that are at roughly the same altitude. Since they’re on Earth, they don’t have to worry about Disith ships attacking from the Grand Stream, hence there’s less of a need to aim straight up. Plus, the guns on the Silvius look like they can out-range just about anything el…

        Wait. Oh my god. Either I need a new pair of glasses, or my eyes deceived me. That’s not nine twin-gun turrets. It’s seventeen. There are four on the underside of each armored “wing”, as well. That means that it can actually train eighteen guns forward, eighteen broadside and sixteen aft. 34 main guns to the Silvana’s 18. Holy. Shit.

        If those guns can elevate up to 90 degrees, that means that nowhere is safe around this thing.

      7. New Pants. You owe me.

        Now we understand why Ades sent out A FLEET to chase after the Silvius. They needed sheer numbers just to match this. Oh Jesus H. Christ, even a undergunned version of this class can give a single Ades Federation ship the loose bowels.

        You sir, are a God. (Also I’ve been handing out candies so I really can’t go think.)

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
      8. Like you, I’m also a military/science fiction buff. I’m always checking out sites like Defense Review, Defense Tech, Defense Update, Jane’s, Federation of American Scientists, Science Daily, and so forth. I like keeping an eye on defense industry news and comparing and contrasting advances in weapons technology and materials science so I can think up inventive military and civil engineering uses for them.

        I can see why the next episode is named “Dubious Move”. You’re gonna steal the Silvius? Yeah, right Fam. Riiiiight.

        More like, they’re going to steal you, put you through a Kostabi-inspired initiation rite and finish off by stuffing you and Giselle into perfectly-fitted Anatoray uniforms. LOL, in the next episode preview, they’re being chased by a RED VANSHIP! OH NO! Better run, ’cause it’s hazing time! Tatiana’s gonna dunk your head in the toilet, Fam! XD

      9. The Ades Federation ships are very, very well-armored and heavily-armed (tried counting the guns on one, but I couldn’t see all of them; approximately 60 in total), but they are so slow. The Silvius may have half as many main guns, but it likely has some nasty, devastating things hidden underneath all that armor that we can’t even see, just like its predecessor. I would say Jet-Propelled Shell Launchers, but it’s still too early to tell. The Silvana’s Jet-Propelled Shell Launchers were inaccurate and tended to spread out after traveling a short distance, creating a sort of shotgun blast of explosive shells. Perhaps the Silvius has an upgraded version, or perhaps the armor hides a single long-range cannon that takes up a good portion of the forward hull section? There’s enough room there to fit a vanship hangar, crew quarters, and a monster gun with a 30-meter-long barrel under that armor, such as the Show Spoiler ▼

        It can – of course – also field a Vanship squadron, which means it can lay down smokescreens to cover its movements and confuse the enemy. If its performance specs are an improvement on the Silvana, it’s probably between two and four times faster than any Ades ship, making it impossible to catch. It is likely capable of pulling off Silvana-style sniper tactics, zipping out of range and dodging enemy flanking maneuvers and blockade cordons like they weren’t even there.

        The Vanships have deadly firepower on their own, too. We’ve seen them using guns, bombs and torpedoes to obliterate Disith and Guild ships before. I haven’t seen even a single Ades ship using Vanships for support. Alauda has some sort of weird hybrid Starfish/Vanship thing that he flies around, but that’s it for the Ades-aligned fighter craft that we’ve seen. If Sky Pirates can manage to disrupt Ades ships so badly by laying down smoke and sending false signals, imagine what trained Anatoray military pilots can do!

        What’s funny about that teardrop-shaped thing on the main mast is that it resembles the compartment on Guild Unit. They wouldn’t put the engine room all the way up there, would they? It makes for an enticing target. Blast that, and you could cripple the entire vessel. Then again, I seriously doubt they would. Besides, the entire ship is such a difficult target as it is (and the main mast even more so), it hardly matters either way. The Silvana was about 142 meters in length, and the Silvius looks even smaller. Anatoray battleships are like 500+ meters long, and Ades ships look even bigger than that.

        “Reaper” indeed.

      10. You’re gonna steal the Silvius? Yeah, right Fam. Riiiiight.

        More like, they’re going to steal you, put you through a Kostabi-inspired initiation rite and finish off by stuffing you and Giselle into perfectly-fitted Anatoray uniforms. LOL, in the next episode preview, they’re being chased by a RED VANSHIP! OH NO! Better run, ’cause it’s hazing time! Tatiana’s gonna dunk your head in the toilet, Fam! XD

        I hope so. I’d pay to see that…

      11. The problem is that there may only be ONE Anatoray vessel on Earth. Besides, I highly doubt, with Sophia in charge and Duke Mad-thane the effective Military Commander of all of Anatoray/Disith, there will end up being vanship specialization. The future is in the Hybrid Cruiser/Carriers. Hell, Anatoray battleships can still work,since they still field Vanship squadrons.

        With the practice the Vanship pilots got in the Offensive against the Guild, we can pretty much see the LE equivalent of the maturing of aerial warfare. And the Sky pirate who got the Princess’ cup, he was on a large Vanship, and we already see these smaller Vespas. We’ve seen varied vessels in the first series. Now imagine Disith and Anatoray soldiers flying in on the Vanship equiv of a Blackhawk, or a Little Bird.

        Duke Mad-thane has a good head on his shoulders, and if Gonzo would give us teasers on this hopeful following of real world progression on aerial warfare, me might end up seeing such things.

        But we can only hope. And, GL to Fam. Like seriously, she may be good, but I doubt they’ll dumb down Tatiana’s skills for the sequel. If they do, Im highly disappointed.

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
      12. What makes the Silvius mega-scary is the firing arcs on the guns. I did a quick comparison, with the Silvana on the left and the Silvius on the right. The problem with the Silvana is that the broadside guns can barely aim and the four single-gun turrets in the middle are blocked by the four single-gun turrets fore and aft, which is why the Silvana spends most of its time prowling around underneath opponents and shooting straight up at them. The Silvius, on the other hand, can freakin’ aim EVERYWHERE!


        The black turrets with red arcs represents the Silvana, and the red turrets with black arcs represents the Silvius. The green lines indicate the center and direction of the arc.

      13. A little off-topic, but I was using the Saints Row: The Third Initation Station character creator demo a couple days ago, and I couldn’t help but notice how similar one of the hairstyles looked to that of a particular Vanship navigator we all know and love.

        So, after tweaking the face sliders a bit, I did what turned out to be a pants-shittingly creepy rendition of Lavie Head, older and about a hundred times meaner than her kid self:


        So, yeah. Damn, is it really two more weeks before this game comes out?

  6. This ep was certainly an improvement.

    What this ep tells us is that the creators know that the hell they’re doing, the main characters can be serious when needed, and that Gonzo is back!

  7. I already said this, but I will say it again: where’s a Claus type of character? This show lack a male character that is actually good(Dio doesn’t count as one, seriously). Aside from that: good episode!

    1. I’m almost afraid to say that again for fear of getting my face bitten off, Leokiko, but I’d like that too. I just prefer a cast that has a balance of male and female characters among the leads – the dynamic is more interesting to me that way. The cynic in me is pretty well certain that this was a very calculated move by Gonzo, and I’m resigned to making the best of if at this point. If the characters are good enough it shouldn’t really matter if they’re all one gender – it’s just that I’ve seen very few shows were that was the case. And so far, the female leads here haven’t proved to have that sort of magnetism as far as I’m concerned.

      1. Now, admittedly I haven’t been reading them since I give not a whit about the show, but I assume you have raised this same issue in your posts about HunterXHunter, correct?

        (also, for the record, the “Claus like character” is Fam. Not a hard conclusion to reach)

      2. @Enzo
        Yep. You summed up exactly what I think.

        Fam is a girl. In the anime world, the difference it makes is BIG. You obviously know that. Many good interactions that could exist are gone. All we have are guys like Dio. In these adventure-type of animes, that exist in their own ”world”, should have an balanced cast.

        But I thought that putting a cast full of girls would result in absolute trash. So far, it’s at least better than what I expected.

      3. Fam is a girl. In the anime world, the difference it makes is BIG. You obviously know that. Many good interactions that could exist are gone.

        And some new ones are opened up. Also, does the list of “interactions that are gone” include romance? Because I have some news for you…

        But I thought that putting a cast full of girls would result in absolute trash.

        If the cast were primarily male, would you say the same thing?

      4. IMHO, Fam is absolutely nothing like Claus and gender is only a tiny part of that. The only thing they have in common is they’re both teenagers and pilots.

        As for HxH, it’s a fair point – but then, that’s a show I’ve been covering mainly as a curiosity and alternating between one-paragraph digests and short blog posts. It’s a limitation of a lot of shounen series that they tend to have all-male casts. I also think it’s fair to say that a straight-up genre series should be held to a different standard than a series like this one.

        And FTR, I knew with biblical certainty that someone would respond to that comment with a “romance” charge. For me romance has nothing to do with it, and I don’t consider the original LE either a romance or even a harem series the way some viewers do. I simply find it more interesting, on average, to see a cast where guys and girls interact with each other as well as with people of their own gender than a cast where they don’t.

      5. Also, just for the record, I’m all for balanced casts, and I’m all for het romance (christ, one of my all time favorite shows is fucking Clannad), but there have been way, way, WAAAAAAY more shows of this sort that have predominantly male characters, with a token female love interest. Making the core cast female “closes off some interactions” but its also different, its not done very often!

        I certainly wouldn’t have complained if Fam were male (and honestly, you would have to change precisely zero dialog thus far, or really any of the scenes shown, and boy!Fam would probably have been wearing even less during the impromptu skydive in episode 1!), but not every show has to have a male and female lead, who end up getting together romantically. We did that last time!

      6. IMHO, Fam is absolutely nothing like Claus

        Well obviously, I didn’t say they were the same, just fulfilled the same role in the story.

        Fam is slightly handicapped at this point because her first two episodes were devoted to setting up the world and dealing with a fairly large scale invasion, and most character development in those episodes went to the “female lead” character, Milia. So as of episode 3, Claus has an advantage of having had 2 fairly slow character focused episodes, while Fam was caught up in aerial battles, which Claus didn’t start getting involved in until later on.

      7. If the cast were ALL male? Yes, I would say the same thing. Heck, I wouldn’t even watch it. And I don’t want romance in there. Sure, it would be good if done well, but I wouldn’t care even if there wasn’t. I still stand to my point to have an more balanced cast. But well, so far, it is DIFFERENT for an all-female cast anime. Maybe, in a good way. Who knows, we will have to wait and see ^^.

      8. @Fencedude GE merely said he had a preference for male-female dynamics, I don’t see what you’re arguing for here.

        I certainly wouldn’t have complained if Fam were male, but not every show has to have a male and female lead, who end up getting together romantically. We did that last time!

        You make it sound as though someone stating their preference is a complaint. I personally prefer my anime with a prominent male lead like Tomoya from Clannad and thus agree with Leokiko/GE’s sentiment.

      9. Well, my ultimate point is that something like 95% of all anime (or hell, fiction) has that dynamic to one extent or another, and if it doesn’t then its almost always slanted heavily towards the male side of things. There is nothing wrong with Enzo’s preferences (and I know he would not agree with a number of my preferences, and I’m fine with that), but I’ll always commend a show that at least tries something different. No.6 from last season, for example. I actually didn’t finish it because it ended up not interesting me, but I do commend it for what it did. I almost picked it back up just because of that, but I simply lacked time.

        Anyway, I don’t really buy the argument that not having a male lead was done as a “cynical move”, a very large portion of the anime fanbase really does buy into the “self insert” concept, and removing their natural avatar is not going to help sell the show. Not to mention that a lot of the fans of “cute girls doing cute things” aren’t going to buy this regardless. This was I think a slightly daring move, with just as many potential downsides as upsides, and I’m curious to see why they did it.

        Sure, there are shows with predominantly (or even entirely) female casts, but almost none that are shows like this one. They are almost always fluffy slice of life or comedy shows (which I like a lot!). Having a show like this arrange its cast in the way it has is unusual, and…different. Different is good. It may or may not work, but its always worth a shot.

      10. I completely agree that any show that attempts to be different deserves a chance. OFC a lot of these shows fail =S but that’s not to say it shouldn’t be viewed just in case you get epics like Gurren Lagann xD

        Hah. If only you’d made this response earlier I’m sure there would have been less drama going around. ;D

    2. I have to agree about having a male character amongst the main characters. I don’t mind having a mostly female cast, but to me a male character would simply add something to the mix. Romance isn’t really the key to this, it’s more that you can add a different perspective to things, simply having that presence makes a difference in how the series feels, it doesn’t seem very realistic in this world to have all the main characters for the “good guys” be female. I thought the first LE had a good mix of characters both male and female.

      I also can’t shake the disappointment in how it seems like Gonzo is pandering to segment of the anime watching crowd by giving us a bunch of cute girls, I doesn’t really feel like cute girls doing cute things, but it does feel as if the decision to only have girls was very well thought out in terms of attracting dvd sales.

      1. I may have to disagree with you on that one. This is Gonzo we’re talking about, not some petty studios like Satellite.

        The old Last Exile, even without an almost-all-girls cast, managed to get a lot of dvd sales.

        You seem to think that having girls will get lots of sales. If that’s the case, Gonzo would’ve continued Saki, a pretty successful anime in the sales department, not Last Exile.

      2. Thats sorta…not really understanding the realities of how anime is made. Calling Saki a “Gonzo” show is also…not entirely accurate. Saki is actually getting a second season, animated by Studio Gokumi, which is made up of a lot of ex-Gonzo staffers. They did A-Channel a few seasons back.

      3. Imo, Gonzo is trying to cash the new Last Exile as a ‘masterpiece’ or as a great anime. The semi-moe factor is probably just there to add a little boost in sales.

        The new Last Exile is carefully thought-out anime to propel their company to the top. It wouldn’t be surprising if were gonna have a decent number of wtf-that-was-f***ing-crazy-in-a-good-way episodes

      4. Yes, I know Saki is getting a new season, and that its being done by EX-Gonzo staff members. Those ex-gonzo staff members have nothing to do with Gonzo anymore. Therefore, it is not a Gonzo anime.

        how is Saki a “Gonzo” show not entirely accurate? It’s made by Gonzo during the years when they had to rely on many not-so-good girly shows to get money …just sayin.

      5. Saki was actually a co-production between Gonzo and Picture Magic, and in fact Picture Magic did the majority of the work on the second half of the series.

        I also would not consider it a “Gonzo” show the same way I’d consider something like Last Exile or their other original productions. Much like how there are shows animated by GAINAX, and then there are GAINAX Shows, there are shows that were animated by Gonzo, and Gonzo shows. Last Exile was very much a Gonzo Show, while Saki was merely co-animated by them.

        To an extent people assign far more meaning to animation studio than is really warranted, but there are some studios that have their own…well, they do things a bit different. Gonzo was one, as is Gainax. But not every show they did qualifies.

    3. “This show lack a male character that is actually good”

      For now, that is the case. To me, I don’t really care if we have a good male main character or not. I just want the main character to be interesting, and so far, Fam has proved to be interesting.

      The previous Last Exile had diverse male characters with Claus, Alex, Mullin, Dio, and some other characters. The same thing can be said to the female cast too.

      Would I have preferred a male main character? probably so, so that they can involve some romance in it, just like what it did in the previous Last Exile . But imo, if that was the case, the new Last Exile would become just like a clone to the old Last Exile (just me).
      Gonzo wanted to take risk and do something different. And so far, they are doing pretty darn good job.

      I’m with fencedude in this one.

      1. Oh yeah, I know that. ‘Romance’ is a huge word. Allow me to change that to ‘interaction with the opposite sex’

        I can see the bonuses of having a male lead character. But that does not necessarily mean that I want that to be the case. I’m just saying I see its pros. I mean, if weren’t for that we probably wouldn’t even see that certain random scene with Sophia and Claus.

      2. It was forced and unnecessary. One of the notable low points in Last Exile’s writing. They could have accomplished the same development without having Sophia do something so bizarrely out of character. I understand why they did it, but I think they should have found a better way of accomplishing the same thing. Or built it up so it was less out of the blue.

        I found the Tatiana diversion entertaining, if only for Alister’s incredibly low key smoldering jealousy. And it all got resolved neatly and Tatiana went back where she belonged.

    4. There are plenty of interesting dudes amongst the Ades Federation. For all we know, they won’t all stay villains all the way up to the very end. Remember how Disith were the enemy until Sophia forged the Anatoray-Disith alliance? There may very well be a third party that is a greater threat than the Ades Federation, just like the Guild was in the first series. Besides, why don’t you like Dio? Is it because he isn’t interested in girls? Christ, if I had a sister like Delphine, I’d probably swing the other way too.

      Shows with strong female leads are rare enough as it is without people trying to start some kind of backlash against them. If you want to see manly dudes doing manly things against a backdrop of weak, useless housewives, go watch Fist of the North Star or something.

      1. Actually, come to think of it, this is playing out quite a lot like a gender-flipped version of its predecessor. For all we know, the lead ace pilot of the Vanship squadron stationed aboard the Silvius is going to end up being a dude, essentially giving us a repeat of the Claus/Tatiana dynamic from the first series.

        If there’s one knock I have against this series, it’s that it’s almost the same plot as its predecessor. Two nations are at war. A little girl was delivered exactly where she needed to be by two doomed Vanship pilots (dude up in the pilot’s seat even has a freakin’ goatee and everything, just like Ralph), only it’s the lead character instead of the living MacGuffin. A third party has a devastating warship that everyone’s afraid of, and the lead protagonist fearlessly runs straight into their clutches towards the end of the first quarter.

        I expect the plotlines to diverge somewhere halfway through, when we hopefully discover what the real cause for all this fighting is. Though Luscinia’s a sinister sort, I have a sneaking suspicion that he’s not the real big bad. Such characters are rarely introduced so early. There has to be someone really evil pulling the strings behind it all. Luscinia strikes me as the kind of villain who ends up pulling a Redemption Equals Death at the end in a futile attempt to take down the real big bad, which is, of course, a task better left to the actual protagonists.

  8. Next time the Syvius is back!, I love that ship, it´s the representation of death sailing through the endeless sky. It´s nice to see they are introducing different points of view for the current situation of the planet but it´s still too early to tell how everything is going to play out. As for Dio, I don´t think he has change much, he´s as carefree as ever and doesn´t seem the type to plot anything behind everybodys back.

      1. It’s hard to say how much is an act with him. Especially when you see his face when he’s not the center of attention. It’s very different from the happy-go-lucky face he puts on when he’s the center of attention.

        Oh, he’s always had a childish core in the first series, but I wouldn’t be surprised after all the events there at the end, that the childish side might not be quite as natural as it once was. Most people certainly wouldn’t come through all that all sunshine and rainbows. 😀

        Due to his reference to Sophia in episode one, I am going to predict that he’s actually working for her in a highly independent manner, and that this upcoming meeting many of us are eagerly awaiting in the next episode isn’t really a coincidence. 🙂

      2. GE: I can see this Dio as someone who has, well, found his balance.

        He’s not as manipulative (or crazy!) as his sister. And I’m willing to bet he’s at least connected enough up there to keep his happy self but at the same time, I saw it in episode two, that he has grown up alot. He to me can be considered a close confidant or even a troubleshooter for Sophia.

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
    1. I can see it now honestly. Dio as Xanathos. Except he works for Sophia? I’m interested on what he will be doing. Showing him combat with the aide in the opening was the first clue to me that he has matured.

      Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
    1. Still, you cannot deny the design similarities. Rear flight deck (?!), keel mounted main rudder, conning tower + mast and multiple listening posts, . It’s easy to mistake one for the other. I’m guessing that now Guild cores are much more free and in the hands of the combined Anatoray/Disith Empire, the effectiveness of the Silvana-class vessels would eclipse those of the Guild mandated warships.

      It’s easy to see that many of the old Anatoray and Disith warships to be slowly decom’d and scrapped, but their cores are now integrated into smaller, faster, heavily armed and armored hybrid cruiser/carriers and/or battleship/carriers. (There is a difference!)

      And if I’m one of those people that was directed at in the comment, I have a defense! 1) I was lazy and writing that post as I watched. 2) I consider it this season’s Silvana, because the Lasas was broken up. (Which made me gawk at the speed the Sky Pirates did it, Hot Damn! They’d give ship breakers over in India a run for their money.)

      Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
  9. Enzo: regarding your trepidation about expressing your honest opinion, whether you like it or not, just let the haters hate (if you’ll forgive the meme).

    You’re not blogging anime to please a crowd, you’re blogging anime to give honest, intelligent analysis of a series that, while I am enjoying immensely, does admittedly have its flaws. Even if I sometimes disagree with what your positions, I’d much rather read a well thought out opinion than one of the pieces of simpering fanboy whining that most anime blogging these days seems to have devolved into.

    In short, if what you write forces people to consider new perspectives and new ways of looking at what they’ve already watched, you’re doing a damn fine job. Don’t worry about the people who are so attached to their opinions that they’ll do anything to avoid having to consider the relative merits of someone else’s.

    1. Exactly, who wants to be in a world where everyone agrees? I read Enzo’s posts (both here and on his own blog), precisely because I frequently disagree with him, but don’t think he’s a raging idiot. I find his posts thoughtful and insightful, and I enjoy engaging him in discussion.

      These last three Last Exile episodes have been some of the most entertaining discussion about anime I’ve had in a long time!

      If I really hated reading Enzo’s opinions, and thought that he was just mindlessly bashing, I wouldn’t read him! Just like I do with any number of bloggers who I do hold that opinion of. I don’t read their stuff, since it just pisses me off.

    2. Obsidian, thanks. I’m kind of used to the disagreement and as Fencedude says, that can be fun. What surprised me last week was the extremely personal and vicious nature of some of the bitching. I never for a moment considered soft-selling my opinions about this show, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel a little trepidation when I hit the “Publish” button.

      Alec, thanks, and I think all of the guys here spice up their posts with honest criticism. That’s one of the reasons I was so happy to join.

  10. I missed all the crazy comments as I read the episode 2 review just after it came out and actually mostly agreed with it. I thought some more emphasis on the characters would have better enabled me to emphasise with them and appreciate where the story was going and what was happening. Still, you need to strike a balance of many things in the kind of series that LE and probably Fam will be – more epic in scope. Beyond characters and their development, there is the overall plot and politics, the setting and other background detail, also music and animation to a lesser extent and perhaps even the general ambience of the series. I think the first two episodes were useful for the ambience – to help get a feel for the setting (or a reminder for most of us ^_- ) and to bring us up to speed with what was going on. But I agree that they didn’t help make the viewer really get emotionally invested with what was going on. The balance was too in favour of exposition over characterisation. This episode has started to remedy that more. I really cannot see why you received such strong and unfair comments.
    Sure, I agree the view was a little more negative in tone than many others here but it was as equally critical as others and all of it was honest and meant to be constructive. Critiquing, as you said, is both inherently positive and negative. It is meant to be constructive though and I did not feel you were unfairly putting the series down. Nor do I feel after this episode that you are unfairly more optimistic about the series.
    Carry on Enzo and don’t let the odd disparaging commenter get you down – some people cannot see reason in regards to certain topics, especially those that they are close to. Others are just not used to hearing comments that aren’t on the whole more positive in nature. RC is great because the reviewers choose series they are interested (blogging a series you absolutely aren’t keen on makes little sense afterall, unless you are a masochist!) and so the reviews tend to be full of conviction and enthusiasm. I think this tends to make the reviews more positive in nature. You don’t review every show from every season and if things get too busy or if shows start to completely lose their appeal then the reviews here quite rightly drop them. However, in this case, when the series was still a little too early to be sure about and even you said you considered it a mixed bag by episode 2 – then I think the general way of doing things here at RC – the tendency to be kind to series as you were positively biased towards them enough to want to see them and review them – went against you. People were just not expecting such a review that did not sound so enthusiastic about the way the series was being shown/handled. Nonetheless I think your points were all valid.
    Still, I am happy to see that you and I are both pleased with the shift in focus this episode has brought about. Please don’t lose heart though. We can both look forward to this big episode 4 that is planned, right? 🙂

      1. I don’t think it’ll be as bad as what happened in SEED Destiny. They’ll be influential yes, but I believe they’re going to be used properly. Or so i hope.

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
  11. You’re expecting too much progression in such a short amount of time. In your last post you mentioned why should you root for the main characters, why this and why that. This episode gave us a fairly good flashback on Fam’s past and an explanation on why people become sky pirates.

    If you take a look at character development from the original series, you’ll see that all we have to go on are pictures of Claus’s and Lavie’s parents and infer they were orphans. It wasn’t until episode 14 that we got the full story on those two characters. We were getting and piecing information at the rate of an IV drip. Fam has already progressed way faster than the original has.

    1. I agree Ginyoku no Fam’s is doing a better job at pacing. The plot is unraveling nicely and we already know quite a bit about the war and the characters in a mere 3 episodes.

      Seishun Otoko
  12. I’m just excited for next episode. The preview showed the sylvius, and some of their crew members. After considering their uniforms, it’s highly probable that it’s the sylvana crew. Also, the ending preview showed a red vanship which I’ve confirmed to be tatiana’s vanship. Time for a few of the old characters to make a showing!

  13. The style may be different due to timeskip or due to a change in background, but still i don’t see much difference between Last Exile and Ginyouku no Fam. (except maybe the OST style)

    If I remember, right? It took about 5 or 6 episodes to unfold the true story in the first time, and there were still things that you couldn’t understand (Al been taken in to Silverna, but you don’t know why or what’s going on between Anathoray, Dusys and the Guild)

    This series is maybe slow-paced like Gundam was, just like there aren’t that flash fights like in Gundam, but instead a deployment of aerial battles aboard battleships and vanships. For starters, that’s good to see. It was a different approach… but well, i’m a die-hard RPG fan, if you know what i mean.

  14. Anime Grading, lesson #71

    There are many series that I’ve enjoyed (and some not so). I’m a babe in Japanese,
    but I was so interested in this episode that I watched it the 1st time w/o subs.

    This was a good thing, IMHO.

    I think I forgot some of the basics in any story telling, and the most basic is that
    each episode should tell a story, i.e. there should be a point made. Not all series’
    manage this or even all episode in a series (or sometimes I’m too dense to see it). A
    good story starts with a storyboard. Without subs, I had to focus on the animation itself.

    So, even though I couldn’t pick up all of the details, I could understand the jist by
    the different scenes – taking apart the ship, the glass being sold, her trying to fly
    to get it back, Fam helping Milla find the pirate that bought the glass (think about why
    the animators chose not to show her face), the flight over the funeral rite, all against
    this huge backdrop of this struggle of two groups of people vying for the same limited
    resources on their planet, who (fundamentally) don’t know “share”. Watching it like
    this gave me a different perspective and when the subs arrived, a better understanding.

    I don’t know how many other series that I can take away so much with so little. In
    hindsight, elegance like this in a story looks so trivial and obvious – but I disagree.
    Dolls had good writing and execution, too.

    I know it’s taboo, but consider this against Guilty. This series is really adding depth
    to its characters and this episode was very well written and executed; it did well by its
    featured characters.

    I kinda suspect (and secretly hope) that all of the meca/yada yada stuff is far less
    important than the potentially beautiful character development between these girls and
    how they’ll ultimately play a part in the larger struggle around them.

    I really look to the next episode.

    Enzo – did you mention that this series will be more than 13 episodes (I can’t see it as
    anything less)?

  15. A very slow but very worthwhile episode and a touching one as well. I’m glad with the direction they took with Milia’s character. See, she’s not so stuck up after all.

    Next up will be seeing…
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Can’t wait for next episode.

  16. I’ll probably give it to Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam the award for the best visuals amongst the Fall season lineup at least for its first 3 episodes, the question would probably be “Will Gonzo stay consistent with the visuals till the end since this is a 2-cour series?

    It could be Fate Zero but the beauty of its visuals is heavily reliant on the dark background/ night time visuals which allows the animators to give extra quality to the character in focus while lessening the details of others, and the lighting certainly aids that. In Last Exile, it was able to produce impressive visuals despite its mostly daylight setting which arguable is more difficult to produce in quality, but the fight scenes in Last Exile speaks for itself – it involves a huge number of ships exchanging fire – granted it was a mix of 2d and 3D but the mix was very seamless, it was beautiful. The quality does not end there either.

    As for the episode itself, I like how they gave a little background info on the main character I’m very interested with Fam or like how the princess admitted her weakness and is will to change herself, the cutting of her hair symbolizes that. Also, the bad guys aren’t really the bad guys after all, there is a reason for the conquest. Thanks to that, I don’t know whom to cheer anymore.

  17. I was surprised at how much background we got this episode, but it was a welcome change. Having had dogfights and airship battles more-or-less non-stop in the previous episodes, I think the timing was right for some character development.

    It’s not surprising that the bad guys see themselves as righteous, but the fact that they’re repatriating Earth natives to areas they’d been displaced from by space colonists is surprising. It makes them a bit more sympathetic. Even if their solution to ethnic cleansing is more ethnic cleansing and genocide.

    I’m eager to find out what’s happening with the Sylvius (Silvana Mark II, presumably). Giselle warns her little bro to behave or the “ghost ship” will get him, which makes me wonder how long the Sylvius has been prowling around the skies of Earth. It’s obviously been a thorn in Ades’ side if they’re sending their First Fleet (with what I assume is their most experienced Admiral) chasing after it.

    I also want to learn more about the relationship between the “ghost ship” and Dio. Perhaps he’s been detached for some intelligence-gathering. It’s a bit convenient that Dio’s the one who tells Fam the news that Sylvius has been sighted at such-and-such location.

    1. An additional point: I really like the all-female cast we’ve got so far. There’s no really anything a mixed cast could do that they can’t, and it’s a nice change from the mainstream.

  18. Finally got a chance to watch,

    Silvius… Man, something got lost in Translation … ;).

    Semi Spoiler: Relates past to present.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Comon Last Exile, you’ve got me hungering for an epic story. Prove to me you’ve really got it >).

  19. It is quite horrifying to watch people, even a little girl, sit around and talk about mass genocide like it’s nothing. At no time did they decide to try and talk to these people. They just decided that they, as the first to return, deserved the land and that everyone else should die. In fact, that isn’t even right since they clearly say that they stole their land as well. What makes them so special? Is there something about these settlers that deems them worthy of playing God and deciding who deserves to settle on this planet and at the whim of kid no less? Whether or not the earth can support everyone, does not give one group the right to simply begin killing everyone to preserve it for themselves. This isn’t a conundrum to be figured out. Without even looking at the main characters and only looking at the federation, it is clear that they are in the wrong and are only rationalizing it in their minds so they can feel better about their clearly wrong actions. I understand that there may be more to this that we discover later but there was nothing in this episode which made me sympathize with the federation and believe they are just. They are no different than the other settlers. The only difference is that they are murderers and the others are not.


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