Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 14

Fam, Gisey and Millia return to Kartoffel to find it in ruins, but the people were unharmed, including Gisey’s family. But now that Lily has dropped two Exiles, Millia is resolved to stop her sister or die trying. To that end, she prepares to gather what strength Atamora has left and join it with Anatoray’s for a counterattack. Fam disagrees with her plan, and won’t believe Millia would kill her only sister; she gets upset and challenges Fritz to a vespa race. As Millia watches it, she changes her mind. When the race is over, a Federation transport delivers a message to the princess from Augusta Sara herself: by Vasant’s counsel and for the sake of peace, she will move against Luscinia.

Should Lily be opposed for her actions? Absolutely. Should Millia have to kill her own sister? Preferably no, but Millia at least acknowledges it may come to that, and starts to plan accordingly. But Fam won’t have it. As an orphan who was taken in and gained a family, she understands how important family is. She considers Millia a part of that family, and by extension Lily. She doesn’t want Millia to go down that same path as Lily did. Blood hasn’t solved anything up to this point, and Lily isn’t beyond redemption. There’s a flaw in Fam’s reasoning, though – several, actually – in the form of those Exiles that hang in the sky. Lily commands them and can still cause massive death and suffering with them if she isn’t stopped.

At the episode’s start, the Chaosian General Vasant makes contact with what’s left of Glacies’ defenses, including Dian. By the episode’s end, she’s back at the capital with Augusta Sara, whom she protected with her person back when Sara’s mother was assassinated. Like Fam, Vasant is tired of the bloodshed. Luscinia sees the people under his boot as nothing more than military assets or liabilites. Fam told Millia not to think of her allies like that, and clearly Vasant is done allowing of all the myriad peoples to be thus subjugated. Luscinia has proven he’s willing to pay far too much for his version of peace, and so she’ll oppose him. But he won’t go quietly.


Rating: 3.5

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Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 07

As Ades prepares to attack the isolationist stronghold of Gracies, Fam plans to swoop in and steal eight ships being transferred to the Federation from surrendered nations, thus completing her contract with Captain Wisla. When they approach the ships, the fleet from Kartoffel is there as well. Both parties took the Ades bait, as a huge fleet descends upon them and lays waste. Fam and Gisey manage to guide the remains of the fleet out of danger by making use of the shockwaves caused by ice falling into the sea, but the damage is done and the mission is a failure. Fam and Gisey return to the Sylvius, only to have been tailed by the first fleet, who demand they hand over Princess Millia or be sunk.

Hmm…something tells us “Your Princess Is In Another Castle” won’t work on these guys. Also, with all the Ades traps being sprung this week, we was looking for a certain Mon Calamari admiral to pop out of the woodwork and yell “It’s a TRAP!” (Wrong franchises; we know). Most importantly, it was about time things stopped being so easy for Fam and the sky pirates, and here they finally run into some serious trouble. The surprise attack on the pirates meant we were treated to a ginormous, epic sky battle in which the bad guys got to let out some of their frustrations. Fam and Gisey don’t crash, but they come about as close as you possibly can. And that water looked cold.

This whole episode, Gisey was down in the dumps and just…weary that they were about to five Ades just one too many pokes. Fam rushed into battle full of optimism like she usually does, and was totally blind to the possibility things wouldn’t all come up Fam Fan Fan. We wish Gisey learned to speak up for once, but as Fam’s Navi, she feels obligated to do whatever Fam wants, regardless of what she wants. She’ll probably blame herself for not sniffing out the trap, but the fact of the matter is she had A Bad Feeling about the operation before it even got started. Ah, no matter. We got to see absolutely fantastic sky combat…and birds! Grand Birds!


Rating: 4

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 05

Fam and Giselle lead the assault to capture their first Ades warship under their contract with Captain Wisla. Due to proper intelligence and preparation, they manage to snatch a three-towered battleship from its docking by without spilling a drop of blood. Meanwhile, having talked with Fam about starting her kingdom anew, Princess Millia establishes a Government-in-Exile aboard the Sylvius, starting in the galley.

One reason we’re really liking the dynamic duo of Fam and Giselle, besides the fact they’re frikkin’ adorable, is that they depend on and complement one another. Fam is perhaps a once-in-a-generation flying talent and a charismatic figure, while Gisey is a genius with encyclopedia technical knowledge and intelligence. Yet neither can exploit their gifts without those of the other. They’re very much like Tatiana and Alester, or Claus and Lavie, before joining the Silverna. This week they showed their fair captain the fruits of that collaboration.

Was their first capture of an Ades ship too easy? Did everything go too smoothly? Perhaps, but we’ll give them a pass; the first should be the easiest, after all, with each progressive ship providing a unique and greater challenge. This week all they had to do is look and sound and act the way the Ades crew expected them to without rousing suspicion. And while Millia’s cosplay failed to move hearts, her desperate barricade of the galley combined with Wisla’s tolerance/pity, led to the modest re-establishment of Turan. ‘Cause hey, you gotta start somewhere.


Rating: 3.5

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 03

With Iglasia destroyed, Turan is quickly falling to Ades. Luscinia returns to the capital to convene with Augusta, the young leader of Ades. In Kartoffel, Millia is upset that the Lasas is being cannibalized for parts. When she sees someone bartering for her sister’s silver water goblet, it’s the last straw. Fam agrees to track the sky pirate down and retrieve it. Millia learns how Fam was orphaned as a baby, and owes everything to Gisey, her family, and all the sky pirates who got her where she is now. When they return, goblet in hand, the village releases balloon lanterns to honor the dead that fell in the recent battles. There are murmurs on both sides about the Reaper Ship Sylvius, Fam’s next target.

This week, Millia took steps to transform from a spoiled, helpless, headless chicken to the potential queen of her people. With her father dead and Lillia’s wherabouts unknown, she may already technically be queen. And a queen can’t get all indignant after the people who saved her claim payment in the form of the Lasas. We were with her, however, when she wouldn’t let one thing stand: someone making off with that goblet. It may just be a silver cup, but if her flagship, her capital, and her kingdom are to be torn to shreds, one has to have something to hold on to and maintain hope.

Fam is her usual strong, cheerful good sport in helping Millia get it back, when combined with the gorgeous, moving Okuribi service, seem to inspire her to buck up, shear off her girlish locks, and portray a more regal bearing. The scenes with Teddy at Gisey’s house were a nice snapshot of a very warm, loving family; you can see why Fam is such a happy girl. This episode was a needed resting point after lots of battle, death, and destruction. But with both the brass in Ades and Fam keen on restoring the “Grand Race” and Fam’s interest in capturing the Sylvius for Millia, big things lay on the horizon.


Rating: 4

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 02

Lillia raises the Lasas and the Turan fleet regroups to intercept the Ades fleet, while she sends Millia ahead to Iglasia, care of Fam and Gisey. The city is evacuated of civilians, but the ailing king is staying. Lillia attempts to ram Luscinia’s flagship, the Impetuous, but fails when Lukea steals aboard, kills her crew, and captures her. Dio is aboard his vanship at the time, and informs Fam of the situation. Millia orders Fam to rescue her siter, so they join the battle and fly into the Impetuous from a gap in her hull and travel the ventilation shafts to emerge right on the bridge. After a brief standoff, Luscinia utters a spell that puts Lillia in a trance and send an immense shard of Exile careening into Iglesia. Fam, Gisey and Millia are forced to retreat.

Any concerns about whether the eye candy would be ratcheted back in this, the second episode, after the feast-for-the-eyes first episode, were quickly dismissed. If anything, there was even more cinematic majesty this week, including a phenomenal scene of Fam flying into and through the big bad Impetuous. The sheer visual complexity and intricate detail presented at such a breakneck speed makes for a most engrossing experience. And even things like light and sky are just so incredibly gorgeous. On looks and production values alone, this series is quickly running away from the Fall pack.

But with all the airship battles and cresent moons falling on cities, the show doesn’t forget about the little humans. Fam and Gisey are once again game, valiant, fearless, and adorable at the same time. We are fully invested in these go-getters as they find themselves in the middle of a conflict much bigger than they might’ve imagined. Even Dio, who was a little too comic-reliefy last week, settled down and got serious when shit started hitting the van. Luscinia is still a bit stiff, and his right hand man is downright scary. On top of that, Turan is in serious trouble; it’s king is dead, the crown princess is who knows what, Iglasia is a ruin, and the fleet is in tatters. But hey, their luck can only improve from here, right?


Rating: 4

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 01

Young, fiery, and talented vanship pilot Fam and her copilot Giselle are members of a band of sky pirates who race to the aid of the two princesses of Turan, Lillia and Millia, who have been ambushed by the treacherous Ades Federation led by Premier Luscinia. In exchange for their rescue from the battlefield, Fam demands the Turan flagship, the Lasas, in return. Her colleague Dio Eraclea boards and feints a scuttling in order to escape the battle, but as Turan’s capital is vulnerable to Ades attack, the ship will have to be quickly mended.

It’s been eight years and a month since Last Exile concluded, and even as the Fall 2011 Season started, we had to wait a little longer. The first series wasn’t perfect, but it was (and still is) one of the best-looking we’ve ever seen, had a lot of ingredients that really got out juices flowing, and indeed stoked our passion for anime that strives to transcend its medium. If ever a universe deserved a sequel, it was Last Exile…and here we are. Studio GONZO returns in force, Koichi Chigira is back to direct, as is our favorite character designer, Range Murata, and Hitomi Kuroishi, who composes a haunting and exciting score. The voice cast is excellent, with Aki Toyosaki (Railgin’s Uiharu, Hanasaku Iroha’s Nako) providing the voice of Fam, who kicks ass every which way, and her more tranquil partner Giselle is voiced by Aoi Yuki (Shiki’s Sunako, Puella’s Madoka). The princesses are Ai Kayano (AnoHana’s Menma, Memo-cho’s Ayaka) and one of our favorites, Miyuki Sawashiro.

This opening episode quickly re-establishes the crazy steampunk world of floating armadas, sky pirates, and gorgeous cities. It’s attention to detail is impeccable. Last Exile’s CGI was ahead of its time, but Fam manages (unsurprisingly) to surpass it, fully utilizing the widescreen HD environment and all the other new tech. From the quiet nighttime opening to the fantastic aerial battle on a clear blue day, this episode has all the scale and epic-ness of a full-length, big budget film combining all the best elements of Miyazaki and Final Fantasy. With everything that went on, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to get into the myriad characters, who occupy three distinct factions so far (warlike Ades, peaceful Turan, and opportunistic pirates), but we like the Fam/Giselle duo so far, and their blue-collar tomboy lives should clash nicely with the pair of princesses. We’ve looked forward to this series for a long time, and all it took was the opening episode to propel it to the best of the season so far.


Rating: 4