October 16, 2011

Last Exile -Fam The Silver Wing- Pilot: Back Into the Blue Skies

Posted in Last Exile - Fam The Silver Wing - tagged , , , at 9:00 pm by meotwister5

(Screenshots from the best RAW I could get my hands on.  Content itself is based on the Animax simulcast.)

6 years.  I first watched Last Exile 6 years ago when I managed to snatch some copies from my friend.  I am glad to admit that Last Exile was one of the first anime, alongside Escaflowne, to show me that the realm of epic adventures is not an alien concept in anime.  When I first read that Last Exile was getting it’s sequel, spiritual or direct, I was ecstatic.  For me very few anime series holds the same degree of grandiosity in storytelling and presentation that shows like Last Exile and Escaflowne did, and thus the story entitled Fam The Silver Wing holds a hefty pedigree as the successor to what is considered studio GONZO’s best work to date.

High hopes were placed.  The question is, were high hopes met?  The moment the airships took flight as kingdoms go to war, the moment Vanships flew and weaved through the cloudy skies in an effort to save what was dear to them, the moment a young (and now female) pilot too it upon herself to place herself in the middle of it all, I new I was back into the skies I flew in as well as I stared into the TV, feeling the skies for myself 6 years ago.

Back into the blue skies.

Fam and Giselle are pilots and navigator, sky pirates to be exact.  What would an anime about modes of travel be without pirates?  Anyway they work as Vespa pilots (this shows equivalent of vanships) aboard a pirate ship piloted by Giselle’s father.  As any pirate does, they steal the booties of the skies by capturing ships for loot and plunder.  The pair have just captured their skyfish of the day and are on their way back home.  Some distance from them a treaty is supposed to take place in a place called the Grand Lake, between the nation’s of Turan and the Ades Federation.  A holy lake for both nations, it was supposed to be a scene of peace and prosperity.

But it isn’t, as any story will tell you.  The alarm sounds in the sky pirate base and Fam and Giselle are off with their ship, arriving there to see both nations going at it.  The princesses of the Turan nation, Liliana and Millia, are in near resignation to their fate in the middle of Ades’ treachery when the sky pirates arrive to save the day.  Suffice to say that in the middle of sky combat littered with smoke, ammunition and wreckage, Fam and Giselle somehow manage to save the ship as war breaks out.

It begins again.

Now if this all sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s very much similar to the start of the original series.  The show begins as political relations fail and war once again threatens the land, and the protagonists are in the middle of it.  This time, rather than being hapless pilots forced into this world by circumstance, Fam and Giselle are already in the middle of it as their job already entails a lot of danger and probably even intrigue.  Perhaps it is to be expected as both a way to grab the viewers attention and an ode to it’s predecessor.

By starting out like this, the show loses a bit of introductory characterization.  We don’t get much of a feel for the characters as of yet, but on the other hand the pilot episode manages to put the tale into high gear that pulls in the viewer with a mix of style and substance.  As the series went on the original managed to deliver both a genuine plot with characters you could connect with in a world that immersed you.  For a first episode that is excellently animated, it manages to deliver and open up a lot of potential.

This is a new world after all.  As of yet we don’t know how this relates into the Last Exile time line, but if the first few minutes and Dio’s words as he looks towards a golden ship into the sky are any indication, there is much, much more than meets the eye, and perhaps this is not the end of humanity’s trip aboard the Exile.

Fam is… a character both very similar and different from Claus.  One thing of note is that she’s a girl, and a girl that portrayed very different from standard girly girl heroines.  Recent years have shown us how strong willed girls can drive a show (Matsumae Ohana, Tsukishima Aoba, Akashi) and Fam seems to be part of this crop.  She is… well… a tomboy.  Sleep walking in your underwear so much that you have to be tied to your ship so as not to fall overboard and unknowingly flashing your unmentionables wide-legged is her style.  More than the tomboy type, she’s also a sassy and brash type of girl, probably expected for a wrench head pilot.  We don’t know much about her for now but we can easily see the fire in her that makes her pilot these ships like Claus did, even in the middle of of combat.  She doesn’t say a lot in the pilot content wise, in fact it seems the characters of the opposing nations have more important lines than her for some reason, but her piloting and her courage are the center stage and ultimately steal the episode.

So much so that it has Dio’s attention.  The way Dio reacts to her and admires her piloting it very much reminiscent of his bear pathologic infatuation with Claus.  Immelman turn aside, assuming this is even the same Dio we know of, Dio knows a lot more about Fam that we are led to know, but of course this is the pilot.  The intrigue does not begin and and for just the story, but also for the characters themselves, with Fam in the middle of it all.

One thing that intrigues me about the show and it’s setting so far is how it relates to the original.  Assuming again that it is a sequel, then humanity has not yet learned from it’s mistakes it seems.  At the end of the original members of humanity, including much of the main cast, were chosen to be brought out of their war torn world into a world without war, aboard the very ship that brought their ancestors there in the first place.  If this world where two nations once again wage war with Fam and Giselle is this world, then clearly the dream that Clause and Lavie have not been fulfilled.  War again looms in the horizon, and war will continue to rage in any world they choose to go as long as men start them.

There is, of course, a growing theory that this isn’t the world of their origin.  The theory goes that there are multiple worlds that humans have been set on in their expulsion from paradise, and this world of the Silver Wing is one of them.  Simply put, one could say that Exile is here to bring humanity out of this world to join them in their journey back to paradise.  Exile then is on it’s way, picking up members of humanity from the worlds it has placed them in, to bring them back to where they once belonged.

A world without conflict.

The show has a very high pedigree to live up to, an original series that is considered the studio’s best work and among the favorite shows of many people.  I consider myself one of them and I too have high hopes for the show.  So far the pilot episode has managed to dispel my fears and surpass some of my expectations.  Here’s to hoping that it continues to.

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1 Comment »

  1. imiriden said,

    Concerning this series relationship to the previous Last Exile series you should look at the raw for the other new Last Exile manga: http://sukebei.nyaa.eu/?page=torrentinfo&tid=68309 . As for where the new Last Exile takes place this link may be of interest: http://overthesky.livejournal.com/122488.html


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