December 4, 2011
Last Exile – Fam The Silver Wing – Ep8: Jetstream
The concept and practice of rocket propulsion has been in use even during the ancient Chinese eras, but it was during the second world war that jet propulsion really came into being. I forget who was credited with the original basis for rocket propulsion, but the first widely publicized use of jet engines was under the Third Reich. Upon the defeat of Germany during WW2 their most talented scientists fell into the hands of the Americans, British and the USSR. These countries benefited from the rather advanced technologies they captured, and this helped form the weapons of war the would ultimately shape the Cold War.
The jets and rockets in this series look pretty basic, as opposed to the rather thick Russian accents, but presents even then just how different the techs between countries really are. Ades may have the number, but Glacies have the obviously superior technology.
Fam and Giselle have some unwanted gifts to bring back to the Sylvius in the form of an entire Ades fleet. Dropped in the middle of the proverbial shitstorm the crew readies for battle like they had done so many times in the past. The crew readies battle stations as fighter wings scramble. Fam on her part, feeling guilty for inadvertently leading the the Ades fleet to the Sylvius, asks to be allowed to sorty as well despite not having any combat experience. The Ades admiral has but one condition, and that’s for Millia’s surrender, and he promises safe passage to the ship when she is in their hands.
Naturally Tatiana would have none of that and initiates combat. Millia in her own guilt suggests that she surrender, but Tatiana ultimately tells her that doing to would be betrayal to her people, and she should continue on if she is to rebuild her country. Fam herself convinces Tatiana to be allowed to go out and capture her 15th ship, and with Giselle unable to come, Millia instead becomes her Navi in what is probably the biggest aerial fight in the series to date.
Fam’s gung-ho attitude has probably gotten her and Giselle into more trouble than we’ve seen, though it’s not entirely her fault that the Sylvius is forced to stare down an entire armada. It’s one thing to be the cause of another’s trouble, and another entirely to realize it and make amends for your actions. It’s probably rather obvious that despite Fam’s desire to rectify her mistake by going out and capturing a ship, her actions would likely have minimal impact on the battle to come. In the end it was after combat that she actually managed to capture the flagship. Even if, at least at that battle, her actions would have had little to no effect on the outcome, it’s the intention to do something about it that counts. As I have said before, it’s easy to just sit down and wallow in your mistake. In her case, negativity probably didn’t even register, or at least not enough to bring her down. She just got up, requested a chance to assist, and did it in her own way. In a medium where heroic BSODs are fairly common, her action stands above the pack.
Giselle’s cold feet and inability to act is reminiscent of Lavi’s own incapacities in the original series. Here I presume it is the shock of watching the people she grew up with nearly getting slaughtered by the Ades military. I won’t call it PTSD, but clearly she is unable to handle the stress of the real face of war, so much so that Fam had to look to Millia for her Navi. That is not to say that Giselle is weak or feeble, far from it, but she shows a very human reaction to the horrors of war. Her tears at the end, probably due to being (temporarily) replaced by Millia, is understandable but you have to consider the fact that she was to an extent out of action by the recent events, and Fam cannot simply wait it out for her to come around. Perhaps Fam’s decision to recruit Millia was brash and ultimately a disservice to Giselle, but again looking at the bigger picture here she did it because she had to and not necessarily because she wants to.
Thick Russian aside, it might not be surprising that the Russian Exiles have the more advanced technology in this battle, equal or probably even greater than that of Sylvius and Anatoray. Tatiana calls them a rather isolated country that is fiercely defensive of their territory regardless of the enemy or the enemy’s enemy. It would seem they have no real loyalties or supports for any other country as long as they can hold their own. A very… Iron Curtain-ish approach if I recall my history right (and I probably don’t). We can consider them the “third force” of the conflict, if Sylvius and Anatoray take the mantle for the nations being subjugated by the Ades federation. Gaining Glacies as an ally against Ades would be a major help against their war of (re)conquest.
Ades for their part is shown to be far from the ultrapowerful military they have been portrayed in the previous episodes. They aren’t almighty either and also have their limits. Getting their asses kicked by the Sylvius and the Glacies fighters show that this is not some dominant empire on the verge of world domination, but an empire that is still getting back on it’s feet and desperately trying to find a way to regain what was once theirs. They too are a nation looking for a way to reclaim what they believe to have lost with whatever resources they have. In a way many of the countries in this conflict are on similar footing in one massive power-play: no single country is clearly dominant.
Speaking of Anatoray, Tatiana’s speech may as well have confirmed that Anatoray exists on this home planet. At the end of the original a good number of inhabitants have started their journey back to Earth, and Exile may also be ferrying people back forth the planets. A poster on Animesuki managed to locate Anatoray on the map of the series, proving that the Exiles of the original series now have their own country. Sylvius as Tatiana says is a ship of the nation, which implies that the crew are part of the nation’s military, also suggesting that many, if not all or most, of the original characters are in some way involved with the governance of this new nation. I assume that the ship isn’t the only ship of Anatoray, though it’s probably the most advanced.
Fam captures the Ades flagship, which is also her 15th ship and thus completes the deal with Tatiana. Of course we can be sure that she will stay on the ship on some capacity. Giselle’s future… well that’s still up in the air at this point. For me the biggest excitement exists in the Sylvius possibly going back to Anatoray, which gives us the chance to see the old gang again.