January 22, 2012
Last Exile – Fam the Silver Wind – Ep14: Scorched Earth
It’s one thing to conquer another country, and another thing to want to burn it to the ground. It’s honestly hard to gauge what Ades really wants to do, and given the level of control Lusciana has, makes me question whether the child empress even fully aware of the actions of his subordinates. Glacies for one doesn’t look to be a very hospitable or even arable land; it looks much like how I imagine Siberia to look like, and yet the Ades fleet thinks that carpet bombing the hell out of the land is their best bet to counter Glacies’ high tech weaponry. This is the scorched earth tactic often used by many armies.
What you can’t have, you burn to the ground.
War has come to Glacies in the form of the vast majority of the Ades fleet. Or it looks like it, as the Ades fleet has included it’s provincial fleets to bolster it’s forces as… decoys. Decoys don’t last long as we all know, as the Glacies Winged Priestesses make short work of the provincial fleets, completely eliminating them. Fam and co. return to warn that the real Ades threat is on it’s way with a possible new weapon. They manage to warn Dian and her forces just before the main fleet arrives, saving them from a complete slaughter. Much of the Glacies forces go down to the new anti-air weapons, but enough survive to fight another day. Fam and her friends are forced to withdraw, a trio without a country, only to encounter a pirate outpost that has been attacked.
As for Glacies, they pull out their trump card: their own Exile. As their Exile wreaks havoc on the the Ades fleet, Liliana pulls out the Turan Exile as well, preparing for one big Exile vs. Exile showdown.
So what, exactly, is Lusciana’s real intentions? We’ve seen in previous episodes that he might be very close to the previous empress, and her assassination left a very deep and profound scar on her as well as losing his left eye in that encounter. Looking at the way he’s approached each country so far, it makes me question whether land reclamation in the name of historical entitlement is all he really wants. It’s one thing to attack and evict people, and it’s another to raze it to the ground. His strategy with Glacies looks markedly different than his approach with Turan. While he did effectively destroy the capital, Turan eventually surrenders and gets annexed, and accepts the heir apparent into his ranks. It could be because he wouldn’t get Liliana’s cooperation otherwise, but it might be more than that. He may as well keep Turan and its people alive as long as Liliana is of use to him. On the other hand, scorched earth seems to be is method of choice for Glacies, a land rather barren to begin with. It looks as if he cares not much for the land or its people as long as it is effectively conquered. Ethnic cleansing perhaps?
Looking at the way he allowed the complete and utter annihilation of the provincial fleets, race may be a factor. Aside from being a tactical maneuver, he seems to care little for Ades’ conquered outliers and it’s inhabitants. They may fight under the Ades’ banner, but to him they’re cannon fodder. He places importance of Ades’ main inhabitants. As it stands, I’m inclined to think that his intentions lie somewhere between revenge for the previous empress and genocide.
Even more questionable is Liliana’s apparent approval in this tactic. She ends up willingly calling upon Exile to combat Glacies’ own Exile, in a clash of titans. Again the irony that the very same ships used to grant some sort of salvation to humanity would be used for it’s own mutual destruction. We’ve seen in the grand race episode that in such a short amount of time, Liliana became close with the late empress and had come to learn and accept her ideals, the very same ideals the late empress thought were turning her into a tyrant. One man’s tyrant is another’s savior, in a sense. It may be good to conclude that Liliana shared a part of the dream the late empress had, and wishes for the same things to come to fruition, but through a massacre. It looks like she didn’t even lift a finger when the provincial fleets were massacred, and willingly decides to use the Exile against Glacies.
She says so herself that her hands have been stained, partly of what she’s done as a puppet of Ades, and probably also because she carries some sort of guilt since she was saved by the late empress from being shot herself during that fateful day 10 years ago. Whatever the case may be, one has to ask if this justifies all the deaths the Ades Federation seems intent on causing.
I would be lying that Fam is more often than not somewhat disconnected from reality. There have been many instances where Fam had to look at reality straight in the face, but still managed to smile. This doesn’t mean she’s unable to realize things happening around her. We can see that she knows and understands what’s happening everywhere else in the world, but I think that’s precisely the problem here: so far it’s happening everywhere else, and hasn’t hit her personally where it counts. The losses felt by the sky pirates in a previous episode did hurt Kartoffel, but no one she really knew died as a result, and in the middle of battle she found a way out of the ambush. She has yet to experience a no-win situation that resulted in losses to lives close to her, in events that would directly alter her life, if not literally put her in a real life or death situation. In other words, she has yet to experience the horrors of war on a personal level. When she does, perhaps her overall attitude might only shift a little, but her approach will change a lot.
Smothered Mate is a chess move where the king is mated by a knight because the king is trapped by his own pieces in his own space in an attempt to protect him. Because a knight is the only piece who can move over other pieces, he mates the king by going over the king’s own protection. For the next episode, it will likely involve Glacies own fall, with the Exile wall proving to be poor defense against a Ades’ knight.