In February, Gonzo Studios in Japan announced they would be producing a new show – Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing. In July, Funimation announced that they had acquired the rights to bring the show the the United States. The show is going to be a new tale in the world of a previous show, Last Exile, which came out in 2003. Since the news seemed well-received and Last Exile was well rated, I figured I’d check it out before the new show premiered. This is how it went:
The show starts with Claus and Lavie, two message carriers delivering a letter to the commander of a warship. This attempts to introduce us to the world of Prestor, where nobles battle in airships desiring to strictly follow the rules of chivalry. While the two are on board, the ship is attacked and the Sylvana is introduced. This ship, which flies to bring “free skies” becomes the show’s highlight.
The show has quite a few things going for it. Visually it’s captivating. It combines 3D with traditional anime art. While this can look cheap at points, most of the time it looks pretty cool and provide great eye candy. Secondly, most of the characters are pretty interesting and there is certainly a wide variety. The crew of the Sylvana is especially enjoyable. Their chemistry reminded me somewhat of the crew of Serenity in Firefly. The ship’s higher-ups obviously hold interesting pasts, but also a connection that’s intriguing. Also, Claus’s passion and compassion make him interesting to follow.
Regardless, come episode 20 I still wasn’t horribly impressed. Considering there’s only 26 episodes, this wasn’t promising. I certainly wasn’t hating the show, but I was rather apathetic toward it. The plot seemed non-existent. Certain characters had personal objectives, but that was about it. On top of that, I was clueless. There had been no explanation of why the two armies were fighting, what the Guild was, or even what Exile was. It was almost as if the writers expected me to have grown up in Prestor and understand how their system worked – they certainly weren’t going to tell me anything.
However, the last 6 episode surprised me. They brought a plot that flowed from previous developments, a good amount of information, and an all-around exciting ride. All this coupled with continued character development really gave the show a great boost.
The last few episodes aren’t perfect, though. They still leave many questions unanswered. Yes, they left me wanting more, but only because it seemed incomplete, not because it was spectacular. The show really expects you to be content with being lost for a while and to go along for the ride.
The show’s biggest weakness, however, is the character Lavie. Being one of the main characters, you’d expect her to be enjoyable and well developed; but she really just seems pointless. Her character fluctuates to fill whatever gaps the writers need – causing tension at some points only to sudden shift to become the peacekeeper. All in all she’s basically useless.
All this being said, I did enjoy it, and if you’re in the mood for a shorter show to keep you occupied, I suggest it. It was different from most other anime I’ve seen, and I do plan to watch its successor when it comes out. However, the show’s slow start and underdevelopment keep Last Exile off of my “must see” list.
(all images property of Gonzo Studios)