Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 21 (Fin)

Fam and Gisey confront Luscinia as the Grand Exile continues to deteriorate and the fleets within it do battle. Luscinia cites the failure of the last Grand Race to refute Fam’s insistence a second one will succeed, but Fam vows to “keep flying” and believing in her dream no matter what. Moved, Luscinia hands Sara over to them and goes down with te Exile. The Silvius and most of the other ships manage to escape, while the Exile crashes to the earth after clearing the sky. A new era of peace is then ushered in by a second Grand Race.

Luscinia tells Fam he’s glad she’s come, as she’s ultimately able to get Sara to safety. It would seem that in the end, his motivations to use Maestro Sara and the Grand Exile were more nuanced than he led on. Bringing the world to heel wasn’t his sole intention: he wanted to change the world, and apparently, the Grand Exile’s destruction did the trick. Satisfied with how things turned out, Luscinia was content to check out. Did he plan this all along, or was it a sudden change of course, necessitated by his being cornered? Whatever the case, the Last Exile sequel comes to a close with a very happy, almost ideal ending (with a few gratuitous cameos for the fans).

Of the franchise we can say this: when we first saw it, the first series provided some of the best visuals we had seen in anime.This wasn’t quite the equal of the first series in some areas (neither series is perfect), but it was still a visual feast that was great fun to tune in to every week. We can argue about the impracticalities of airship battles or the tremendous luck required for Fam and Gisey’s vespa to dodge every single bullet fired at them, but at the end of the day, it’s good clean fun with a simple message of peace. Overthinking is to be discouraged.


Rating: 3.5

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Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 20

With Maestro Sara and Grand Exile under his control, Luscinia demands an immediate end to the fighting. Millia ignores his threats and prepares to face the Exile and the First Fleet head-on in the Silvius. She sends Fam, Gisey, Dian, and Alvis to rescue Sara. A huge battle ensues, in which both an Anatoray fleet of reinforcements and the return of Sorush’s fleet help the Silvius draw nearer. After Grand Exile’s weapons blast holes in its own fuselage, the Silvius enters the ship itself and launches vanships. Fam, Gisey, Dian and Alvis negotiate the pipes and tunnels of the ship, and finally find Luscinia and anunconscious Sara at its core.

We were operating under the assumption the episode count exclued the two recaps, where 21-2=19. Then, we counted the recaps, making the total episode count 19+2=21. But there are 21 total non-recap episodes, so 21+2=23, with a final epilogue the week after next to technically make it 24. Okay; we’re all good now, this is the second-to-last episode. Whew. With that out of the way, we feel like this is Last Exile stoppage time. Obviously big, bag ol’ “cower to my power or die” Luscinia isn’t going to have his way when all’s said and done. It all comes down to whether he’ll have to be defeated and will die for his ideals, or if he’ll have a change of heart and stop trying to conquer everything.

As of this episode’s end, the odds are somewhat against him. Grand Exile isn’t nearly the indomitable ultraweapon he was making it out to be. Sure, it can destroy another Exile (Millia’s, courtesy of Dio) with one shot, but the cannon that fires it is also destroyed. The tentacles are scary fast and powerful, but they can’t seem to neutralize all the allied fleets that amass. The Exile itself isn’t even complete, and it seems to be deteriorating as the battle progresses. Fam, Gisey, and Dian are right up in his business, and Maestro Alvis is their ace in the hole. So, the question Luscinia needs to ask himself is: does he feel lucky?


Rating: 3.5

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 17

Boreas is in allied hands, Dio and Alvis have arrived, and things seem calm, until Admiral Sadri’s first fleet arrives. He takes advantage of the patchwork nature of his opponent by sending orders to Orang’s third fleet to initiate a pincer attack, something Orang has no intention of doing. Even so, the Glacies pilots take the bait, and it takes Fam intercepting them to end the infighting. The Silvius reappears to help win the day, but the first fleet is back that evening with a sneak attack. Sara sends Millia to Vasant and Fam to Sadri with her decree that all hostilities cease. Dian goes after Fam and Gisey, but they evade her and deliver the decree to Sadri, who agrees to abide by Sara’s wishes.

Fam makes herself surprisingly useful this week, preventing a continuation of friendly fire that would have torn the allied fleet apart, and even successfully delivers a call for a ceasefire that is accepted. As the oldest of the Adean admirals, Sadri knew Sara’s mother well, and knew her ideals. But perhaps more importantly, Fam herself reminds him of a girl named Raha with the same color hair and eyes. Who is this Laha, and is she indeed related to Fam? A mother? A sister? Intriguing. Finally, how could he say no to a couple of cute girls who risked their lives in the name of peace?

This week it was Millia’s turn to falter. She sent out a preemptive strike against a far more experienced opponent with a far more cohesive and disciplined fleet at his command. If it weren’t for Fam and the Silvius perhaps too magically appearing when all hope seemed lost, both Millia and Vasant would have been in real trouble. The alliance showed how shaky it is, though the key belligerents seem to be Dian and the Glacian sky goddesses, who have lost everything and won’t settle for this ceasefire. They want their enemies dead, period, and even Fam may not make them see reason.


Rating: 3.5

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 16

As plans to attack Boreas are finalized and the day arrives, Fam is unsure of whether she can be a soldier. The Allied fleet meets the Third and Foruth fleets of Orang and Sorush, who are now faced with attacking their own Augusta, as Vasant brought Sara to the battle. Heavy losses occur on both sides, Fam can’t pull the trigger, tries to use harpoons on Orush’s ship, but fails. Unable to harm Sara, Orang switches sides, and Sorush is killed in a desperate final advance.

This was a weird episode, in which the enemy – Generals Orang and Sorush – got the most facetime, while Fam was shown barely four minutes and had little or no effect on the battle. When she said she’d be Millia’s wings, she really meant only her wings. Not her gun or sword or any other weapon, save a harpoon (and that’s for ships, not people). The way she is now, Fam cannot help win the war that needs to be won. She refuses to pilot a real vanship, choosing to go out in a lightly-armed vespa, and empties her clip at air after hesitating. Unlike Dian, Tatiana, and even Millia, there’s a line she won’t cross, and that’s spilling blood to achieve peace.

Of course despite her consciencious objection, there’s still a sizable battle on a very intriguing battleground. Boreas truly is a sight to behold, vast in scale and with battleship-swallowing hi-altitude crevasses. It’s a rousing battle, with relatively even odds. But let us not neglect the stars of theshow, the passionate, loyal Orang and the logical, opportunistic Sorush. Unlike Luscinia, neither are drunk on power or somewhat touched in the head, but merely bound by duty. But when it comes to choosing between his Premier and his Augusta, there’s no choice for Orang, and we have ourselves a nice ol’ turnin’ o’ tables. A triumphant end, but Sara does not approve of the means.


Rating: 4

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 15

The Anti-Luscinian rebel movement is in full swing, as Vasant amasses a fleet to defend the fortress city of Boreas, which assures dominance of the entire region between Ades and Glacies. Without Boreas, the rebellion stands little chance of surviving. Sorush and Orang are ordered to attack it. Millia, Fam and Gisey meet Augusta Sara in the Adean capital of Morvarid. Fam chides the rebel forces for being so hungry for killing and revenge, while Millia sees how her actions have and will affect the common people, and is shunned by Dian for being Lily’s sister. Augusta is entertained by Fam’s stories of the Grand Race. Deep in Glacies, Luscinia unlocks a sleeping goddess.

So yeah, we’ve seen Luscinia’s past. We know he let his empress die, and he feels bad about that and really raw at the people who assassinated her. Still, what is it with this guy and his mythical superweapons? It’s kind of hard to sympathize with a guy whose idea of peace is the quiet achieved from every living thing on the planet being killed. That’s the only peace we can see superweapons achieving, frankly. Which is why, despite Sara’s misgivings about killing him, we’re firmly on the side of General Vasant. No matter who makes the global peace omelette, it will require a great many eggs.

That being said, they have an uphill battle to fight. Even without Luscinia’s goddess in play, there’s still Exiles up there in the sky, and two huge fleets headed for a key strategic asset in Boreas. Luscinia is going to make Vasant, Millia, and the rebels spill a lot of blood in an attempt rid of him. Maybe too much, muses Fam. Fam was a little out of her element this week; in the desperate situation the rebels are in – up against an utterly ruthless foe – they can’t really afford to “calm down.” Her idealism has limits. A Grand Race can’t solve all the world’s ills…the last Grand Race proved that, fer cryin’ out loud. And there can’t be any race as long as there are still baddies with superweapons and evil maniacal laughs like Luscinia loose.


Rating: 3.5

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

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 12

Dio saves Alvis from Federation assassins as the grounded Urbanus is attacked. Ades means to hit Glacies with an enormous aerial strike. Meanwhile, Fam, Gisey and Millia are guests of Dian, a respected Glaciesian “wing maiden” paying them back for saving her comrades earlier. Millia, who speaks her tongue, interprets for her, and they repair the vanship. Fam tries to instill in her her own ideal of what the sky should be: fun, freedom, and peace, not an eternal battlefield. Dian is dubious, she was at the last Grand Race and doubts another will make any difference. After letting Dian try out their vanship, Fam, Gisey and Millia take off for home, but when Gisey spots the Ades fleets approaching Glacies, Fam turns around to warn Dian.

It’s far easier – and to some more satisfying – to wage war than it is to prevent it. Many philsophers argue that humans are always going to branch off into factions and fight each other about something; it’s just in our nature, and that of other animals. Glacies is a cold and remote land full of surprisingly warm people, but they’re extremely weary of outsiders, because they feel the best way to avoid war is to simply avoid contact of any kind with other factions. It’s worked so far for them, but at the cost of isolation. Aside from loving her sexy Russian accent, we really liked Dian’s character for her unique perspective on the world.

She cannot fathom why a vanship would lack weapons, any more than she can fathom why Fam would help people in need – even potential enemies. Fam would say it’s the right thing to do, but for Dian, the right thing to do is the thing that keeps you alive. While Dian may still be confused by such foreign ideas, a seed was definitely planted in her head: not all outsiders are out to get you. Some are cute girls who just want to be your friend. More takeaways: Fam may be a good pilot, but Dian demonstrates rather hilariously that she’s not much of a fighter; and when you crash in a foreign land, it always helps to have a princess who is fluent in the native language!


Rating: 4

Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 04

Millia bonds more with Gisey and Fam’s fam, when Dio shows up with a photo of the mysterious Sylvius, the ship Fam vows to steal for Millia. It’s easier said than done though, as all the pirates’ usual skyfishing tricks prove ineffective, and they’re all taken into custody. Fam makes a deal with the Sylvius’ captain, Tatiana Wisla, to steal fifteen Ades ships, as many as there are years in her life.

Ah, Tatiana. She was one of our favorite characters from the first series. Once the proud, stuck-up, spoiled little princess ace pilot of the Silverna, she’s now captain of her own ship; one that can fly, float, and dive underwater no less, which is pretty sweet. She projects a more seasoned, Alex Roy-like bearing, and the kind, soft-spoken Alister remains by her side as first mate. Tatiana seems mildly impressed by Fam’s cojones – maybe sees a little of herself in her – so rather than killing her, she plans to put her and Gisey to good use.

One beef with this episode is that it took a while for it to get going. We wanted to see a longer sky battle, but the one we got felt almost rushed after the entire first half was spent on more family slice-of-life at Kartoffel, though we’ll grant that perhaps they won’t be back there for some time. Gisey’s ability to use a fuzzy photo to draw up a detailed schematic of the Sylvius (and be able to time maneuvers inside her based on Dio’s vague descriptions) also struck us as a little too clever even for the very able Gisey. Finally, we’re rather amused by Fam’s need to wear garterbelts and stockings to bed.


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 – 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