「Touch and move」

We’re five episodes in, and Last Exile is starting to settle into a comfort zone. It might not be exactly what I’d like it to be, given the choice, but at least the series is establishing a clear (if somewhat bipolar) identity.

It’s worth noting that the fifth episode is just about when Claus and Lavie first encountered The Silvana and its crew, so it’s sort of ironic to see some of the complaints I’ve seen after this ep, that “Fam” has become too slow. Well, for me the best thing the series has done in the last three episodes was to slow down and devote most of its time to exploring the characters. We’re not talking about Seirei no Moribito or even Fate/Zero (or the original LE for that matter) here – the characters are not deeply layered, and their interactions are painted in pretty broad strokes in primary colors. In many ways they’re more archetypes than individuals, but that’s fine – for this to work they need to be able to carry the show, and for that to happen we need to see them going about their daily lives as we have the last few weeks.

The Silvius is a decidedly happier ship than The Silvana was, at least so far. Even Tatiana and Alister seem to be in a better mood. And she’s got a whole bunch of bishounen grease monkeys below decks, led by the grizzled maintenance chief Olaf (Terasoma Masaki). All of the pretty boys are suitably agog over the three new girls in their midst, though it takes a demonstration of Giselle’s Kit Cloudkicker-like navigational skills to endear herself to Olaf (who seems to barely notice Fam’s alive). Also of interest on-board is the fact that Dio was indeed working with Tatiana, at least unofficially. When the crew members salute you, you have some cachet on the vessel.

The two threads of the episode’s story are both exceedingly silly, but agreeably so. If the plan is for Fam and Gisey to steal 15 Ades ships (“It’s going to be hard with just the two of us”? You bet it is, Giselle.) it’s a darn good thing the Ades crews are apparently dumb as stumps. Using nothing more than some of the wardrobe of bishie crewman Elio (Komatsu Mikako), a sewing machine and one vanship, Fam and Gisey manage to steal an Ades vessel with the help of Olaf, hidden below decks and trying not to peek up Giselle’s skirt. The sheer absurdity of their plan seems somewhat at odds with the seriousness of the overall premise, but one assumes that not all 15 heists will be that easy.

Meanwhile Millia is adding cosplay to the mix, dressing up as a maid to try and use her feminine wiles to get herself a little chunk of The Silvius to claim as the capital of the new Turan Empire. Just where Millia got the idea that maid cosplay is irresistible from in this mythology is probably a question you’re better off not asking, but everyone from Tatiana to stone-faced ship’s cook Leonard (Nakata Kouji) is quite unmoved at her her efforts (doubling her shame is the fact that Teddy is furiously documenting every failure on his notepad). Finally Millia takes matters into her own hands and claims the galley and shower room while the crew are at battle stations. It’s one of the cuddliest terrorist attacks ever, but this thread has more emotional punch that the silly ship-heist – for all the incongruity of maid cosplay in Last Exile, there’s at least the pathos of seeing a proud and highborn girl willing to do anything just to make a totally symbolic gesture on behalf of her homeland, about to be annexed by the Ades Federation.

Next week’s ep looks as if it may focus a bit more on Sara, Luscinia and the Federation, who still preach the gospel of returning displaced people to their homelands (One nation, one planet, one people, glory to us. Catchy!) There is a somewhat odd dichotomy to “Fam” in that the underlying plot is rather dark and unpleasant, with entire kingdoms wiped out in one fell swoop, but the interactions with the main cast are extremely upbeat and light. I’ll be interested to see if and how those two halves get reconciled. In the meantime I’m hoping old pal Dagobert gets a speaking role next week instead of just a cameo, learning about Luscinia’s Sleeping Beauty and looking forward to seeing who those new faces in the preview might be. I’ll also be interested in seeing if the noticeable detail loss in the character and background animation this week is an aberration or a trend.

Thinking long-term, it looks as if the climax of the series is going to be the restoration of the Turan Kingdom and the revival of the Grand Race. I wonder what original LE characters might possibly be good candidates to compete in such an event…

 

Preview

77 Comments

  1. The maid cosplay bit was pointless, something the original never wasted time with. Then again, Gonzo needs the money this sort of stuff sells.

    Other than that, it was a fairly decent ep. Have to admit that I’ve started enjoying this series a bit more thanks to the appearance of some of the older crew. That’s probably bias talking, but whatever. Dio’s still my favourite. He seems to have grown a lot, his old whimsical core now just seems to be an external layer (not quite a facade, since it still comes naturally) engulfing his current “true” self.

    Props to Gonzo for bringing back the engine room geezer.

    Litho
    1. LOLZ.. Typo my own name:

      Question: How is a message that your mom wants you back home be so believable? Ades crew should all go back to military school, what a bunch of dumbass.

      The Moondoggie
  2. We’ve seen the idiocy of the non-Reinhard von Lohengramm admirals are in our intro to Fam capturing the Ades ship earlier in the series. It seems that LE:GnF has taken notes from LOGH.

    All the incompetent people are those not featured in the OP/ED.

    Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
      1. Well, if anything, the admirals featured around Luscinia are basically the competent ones.

        Also I doubt they’ll pass muster in any respectable modern day military…or high school for that matter.

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
    1. One important thing to keep in mind is that the Ades Federation is composed of a central governing body with multiple states underneath it. Those dudes that Fam and company just captured a ship from are not wearing the gray uniforms with red trim that the central authority of the Ades Federation does. Plus, their ships are of the older design. In other words, they’re probably from one of the lowly vassal states, and are basically obligated to lick the boots of anyone wearing a gray uniform with red trim.

      Allanx
  3. Adding to the “not so good as the first series”s was the characterless hanger crew. Having one of them collecting cos-play clothing was again something the first series wouldn’t bother with.

    As the “Your mom asked you back home” is actually a Chinese internet jargon. A slightly politer way of saying “p*ss off” (by indicating that your opponent is still under his/her mother’s wing, your are saying that they are not exactly worth arguing with). I wonder if they picked that jargon, or this kind of grass-root humour is more universal than I thought.

    Again, I am still worried about whether Tatiana etc. would have their own storyline arc or they are just there to provide some sentiment and convenience for the Fam group. After all, LE (especially Silvana Class) Captains are not the sort of backstage prop captains you get in Gundams (and even the Arch-Angle captain in Gundam Seed got her own story arc of sort, albeit a short and cliche one).

    hoh
  4. One of the most interesting parts of this episode was the Augusta’s speech. She announces the annexation of Turan, declaring there to be “One nation, one planet, one people. Glory be to us!” with rather convincing conviction. It seems to me that she isn’t just being manipulated by Luscinia and the others like some people thought. I wonder how they will explain why such a small girl hold such heavy and dark ideals.

    I also like the fact that “Fam” is developing the antagonists a lot more than in the original. My only complaint about the old series was that they never really gave Delphine convincing motivation.

    Good Ep.
    1. I’m not sure I see how those ideals are dark, on the face of it. The premise of what Ades is fighting for may be a sham, but as a premise it sounds perfectly valid. That’s one of the more interesting elements of “Fam” so far, and one of the few real subtleties we’ve seen.

  5. Really, Dio is fast becoming the only redeeming point for me in this series. The scene where Dio seems to be enjoying a game of chess with his old mate Recuise Dagobert was the highlight of this episode for me. I hope all the old characters won’t be sidelined as mere cameos, and that they hold a significant role in the overall plot in this series.

    gandalf8
  6. I’m already doubting the reason why Gonzo chose the important characters as an almost-girl cast.
    I’m starting to believe that they’ve stooped low.

    Cosplay, let alone the word “MOE” has no place in Last Exile!

    Alec
  7. The average age of the characters in the new series is significantly low compared to the older one, which is perhaps one of the reason why their episodes shows flashes of silliness.

    Alec
  8. This episode was good enough, albeit some parts are really weird…
    The cosplay stuff was kinda turn off for me, but then again, I guess it’s Gonzo’s way of trying to attract a new audience.

    I liked the Dio and Tatiana interaction, as well as the Ades speech. Kinda answered some questions on stuff that happened or might happen…

    That incompetent Ades captain reminded me of Charles Knowles from the first series. Probably they gained their positions from connections rather than competence…

    I find the Silvius crew a bit laid back compared to the Silvana crew, though they seem to be serious business when they need to… Why do they have to look bishie though? Hehehe…

    I find it funny that being on Earth makes people more upbeat and jolly, compared to the Prester where people seem to be more serious… Nah, it’s just probably because Fam, the Silver Wing has a different presentation compared to the first Last Exile! 😛

  9. I’m just copying something someone said in another site, but I agree with him, so whatever: “The characters are behaving as if they are on a playground or something, hard to believe this is all happening in light of a kingdom that practically got wiped out by a falling Exile.”

    I read this and rewatched Last Exile original, first episode…. I now realize: the atmosphere in this one sucks. It’s like watching the new HunterxHunter, which is supposed to be an dark shounen, which with all the bright/beautiful colors, it’s hard to take seriously.

    leokiko
    1. Well, the same thing can be said with Strike Witches and other war anime, like SoRaNoWoTo, that features young girls as the main casts.

      Basically, we have here children trying to get by and live their lives while there is a war going on. Sure they’re serious on what they do. But that doesn’t mean that they should have grim and angry faces all the time.

      If they weren’t serious, would a person walk amidst the enemy with a hogwash of a story that YOUR MOM wants you back home?

      The Moondoggie
    2. I think that if I were in their position, I’d try and make the most of it too. What? Do people honestly expect these characters to spend the rest of the series sulking over something that happened at the very beginning?

      Allanx
      1. Well no, of course most wide sweeping generalisations aren’t 100% true, there are almost always exceptions, but I think you have to agree the general male populace don’t exactly have a very strong backbone. I mean, the mechanics were begging to be ordered around by Millia! I have no problem with gender equality and strong female leads, but c’mon! I hate wimpy male characters just as much as doormat female characters, which is why Teddy is pissing me off so much. Of course, I foresee him standing up eventually and making a difference at some point later in the show, but that’s generally how the trope goes I guess.
        And Olaf’s just a BFG anyway (again, no problem with that, just pointing it out).

        KayDat
      2. (Continuing from before, hit submit by accident)
        Godwin was a softie inside, but his brusque exterior made him more endearing, since his “manly-man” exterior contrasted with his softie emotional side.
        Again, I have nothing wrong with general softies and BFGs, but in a show, I find they’re only interesting when they have different characters to contrast with; in a show like “Fam” where the only real strong male character I see so far is the primary antagonist (and maybe Dio, but he’s quite a whimsical fellow), Olaf just doesn’t seem that interesting to watch, he’s just a bit too “nice”.

        KayDat
      3. KayDat, I think you’re forgetting that all of the mechanics in LE were like that. They were all super helpful to Levy (at least after the initial rough patch) all refered to Titiana as ‘Princess’ and adored Sophie. And they were all kind and playful with Al too. Basically, this trend of being submissive to the females on board is nothing new. It seems worse here though, because we don’t have a main male they can play off to. Thankfully that was offset by at least 2 guys on board not having any of it

        Ashaman
  10. Couple things I noticed:

    1. So Fam didn’t know Dio was a spy after all? Interesting. But it seems like he may be helping Tatiana on a whim more than anything else.

    2. If you pause at 12:48 and look at the blueprints on the wall, you’ll see that the Silvius has a pair of GIGANTIC RETRACTABLE GUNS.

    Allanx
    1. Of course, for those who have watched the first LE there’s no doubt that the Silvius is a huge shout out to the Silvana. As a matter of fact I had the two confused until after reading Enzo’s post today, even though I had actually marathoned LE all Saturday! It certainly answered my question of why the Silvius looks so different to the Silvana, being that they’re different ships and all, and why it was nicknamed the 死神 as opposed to the みんな殺し. As an aside, I feel a bit better now, knowing they didn’t butcher the Silvana. =]

      KayDat
  11. The conversation between Dio and Tatiana was fascinating. I initially thought Ginyoku no Fam was supposed to be a re-imagining of the Last Exile universe but these few episodes showed that it could actually be a direct sequel. Wonder if we’ll get to see Claus and Lavie again at some point.

    Seishun Otoko
  12. Great….the slogan that the Ades queen said is starting to sound more and more like a certain nation that went to war with the entire world 60 years ago……they also had the “One ______ , One ______ , One ______” crap……

    Hakarum
  13. It’s hard to take a show seriously when it doesn’t take itself seriously.

    Everything is a joke, including the villains. Two pubescent girls manage to steal a battleship with ease…

    The strangest thing is that sometimes the show apparently tries to be serious. So we go from genocide in Turan to… horseplay. The writers must be bipolar or something.

    Random
    1. They’re just going for cheap viewers, I’m sorry but this is really beginning to lose me as a viewer. From the bishie flight crew to the maid cosplay, it is really disappointing to see Gonzo simply go for the otaku viewer instead of trying to create something with substance. It’s not that Last Exile was serious all the time, or that they didn’t have some cliches, but they didn’t try to beat you over the head with cuteness like Fam does.

      bluth
    2. They’re not going for the distance now like what they did in the first Last Exile. I’m still hoping that is not the case. I have never doubted the series until I saw this episode.

      Alec
    3. That shows just how stupid the enemy army is: It’s not the children’s fault that their con would be taken seriously and walk out with one ship. You forgot they prepared for this con very carefully. These are not your normal bunch of kids: They’re capable and experienced Sky Pirates.

      Take SoRaNoWoTo for instance: They could still smile knowing that their experiences and duties are serious and heavy.

      Or Strike Witches, where Minne could still smile AFTER her lover died in the war.

      The Moondoggie
      1. It would be one thing if Last Exile: Fam was a new series that had no connection to the original Last Exile, but because it uses the title Last Exile I expect it to have a similar tone, similar moods and settings. I don’t expect it to be the same, but I also expect it to not have stupid stuff such as maid cosplay or shining angelic faces, it doesn’t fit in the Last Exile universe.

        bluth
      2. >but I also expect it to not have stupid stuff such as maid cosplay or shining angelic faces, it doesn’t fit in the Last Exile universe.

        Ok your doing it wrong.

        This isn’t the world the original explored. This is a world where there are more type of people, culture and experiences than in Prester. I was wondering where the meido uniform came from, until I remembered there was a cosplay otaku onboard. In Prester, you won’t need a collection of uniforms: there were just two.

        Nor would there be kids trying to make a living out of stealing ships due to war.

        Alvis is moe and token loli for the original. Claus ALMOST gotten his own unwanted harem. Dio was just pure nuts. Mullen(?) was a Badass Normal who was a scardy cat from the start.

        Still think the original was serious?

        Just because it used the name Last Exile, doesn’t mean its the same one from before. If you were dissapointed, its your own fault since you were asking for it.

        The Moondoggie
      3. The original is serious! Just think about chivalry, which led to meaningless deaths to the foot soldiers and almost killed Mullen. There were a lot of serious characters like Alex Rowe the awesome guy who stayed a fool in the end. There’s also Sophia who was real mature (She’s probably gonna appear in the series).

        In the old series though, there were some silly looking adults who acts silly, but can be serious when needed. Take, for example, the mechanics who all have distinct appearances . They are way more better compared to the young, bishie mech squad, whose faces almost look like the same. The silly-looking characters who stayed silly in the end were all likable. Take, for example, Claus & Lavie’s friends or race mates who also have distinct appearances. They’re far more better compared to Fam and Giselle’s friends and teammates who pretty much say the same lines and all look almost the same.

        Alec
      4. >Just think about chivalry

        Chivalry where? They’re all just paid cannon fodders out there! Chivalry is honorable and done melee. Not in the cowardice of long ranged guns. Real men/heroes use swords.

        >They are way more better compared to the young, bishie mech squad, whose faces almost look like the same…

        …just like the characters and soldiers not named in the original Last Exile.

        >There’s also Sophia who was real mature…

        …because she’s 19. Millia’s 15 – 16. And is kissing some guy you don’t even like just to lessen your sadness mature?

        The Moondoggie
      5. “Real men/heroes use swords”
        Really? it comes to that? Cannon fodders or not, It does not change the fact that chivalry is still chivalry. The end result… people die.

        “just like the characters and soldiers not named in the original Last Exile”
        The thing with the old Last Exile is that they don’t keep on reusing non-distinct characters. They either just don’t matter at all, or they’re only meant to show up in single episode.
        In the new Last Exile, however, those non-distinct characters really have their own roles to play and they are more likely to show up multiple times, which is already evident in the anime.

        “because she’s 19. Millia’s 15 – 16. And is kissing some guy you don’t even like just to lessen your sadness mature?”
        You forgot to mention how she got over it maturely without even beating around the bush. The creators felt that there was no need to prolong something like that. Normally in a series, that kind of thing would’ve been a highlight of a series.

        Alec
    4. As I said before, the Ades Federation is just that; a federation. It has multiple self-governing entities and a central governing body. Olaf and the kids were wearing federal uniforms. The guys they stole the ship from were not. The balance of power is unequal to begin with. If the transfer was denied by the ship’s captain, it would be like Vichy France personnel turning down instructions from the Waffen-SS. Most viewers won’t catch that little detail.

      Allanx
  14. Oh hey, there’s moderation or +/- or whatever on comments now, interesting.

    I miss Claus, and by this I mean I miss the type of story you tell with a Male lead, butting heads with Alec Row compared to our (bumbling?) trio of heroines. I will have to watch Last Exile after all this for nostalgia’s sake. Not saying this is horrible, just idly mumbling about gender differences that’s all. <> <<;;;.

    On a Certain Role:
    Show Spoiler ▼

    KumaKaori
    1. Yup. Everyone thought that Last Exile was going soft, and then Luscinia earns mad villain points by Show Spoiler ▼

      I thought he might have some good left in him somewhere, but I was wrong. Dude’s got ice in his veins.

      Allanx

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