The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing

Title: Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Gonzo
Format: 23 episodes
Date: 14 Oct 2011 – 23 Mar 2012

Synopsis: Four years after the events of Last Exile, our story begins with a group of Sky Pirates who routinely steal ships on Skyfish Hunts. One day a member of the group, Fam, leads a rescue mission to save two princesses of the Kingdom of Turan from attacks by the Ades Federation. The Federation believes that Earth should not be inhabited by anyone who left during the Exile and abandoned Earth as it fell into chaos and ruin. Now caught amidst large scale conflict, Fam dreams of ending war by re-instituting the Grand Race as a symbol of peace.

The Highlights
Sequel: A sequel in name, but hardly feels like one.
Plot: Overly simplistic treatment of mature themes makes the plot feel stupid.
Visuals: Stunningly animated battle sequences.
Fam Fan Fan: Horrible main character who drags down the show single handedly.

Studio Gonzo‘s revival of the Last Exile franchise nearly ten years after it first aired was always going to be a suspicious proposition; the company had just underwent financial restructuring and there was little reason to believe that they would ever be the same. Moreover, Gonzo‘s reputation for creating vast quantities of mediocre anime still remained and their attempt to reach out to a previous success seemed more desperate than smart. In the end, what was ultimately clear to me about Last Exile Fam was this: it was a train wreck from the word go.

Since the beginning there always seemed something fundamentally wrong with Last Exile Fam. Maybe it was the fact that almost none of the original cast was present at the start to help tie in the sequel into the Last Exile universe. Perhaps it was the fact that while Last Exile was often a more subdued and atmospheric work, Last Exile Fam felt much more direct, blatant, and campy. Or possibly, it could have been the fact that this franchise all of a sudden seemed updated for modern mass appeal – who are they kidding by turning most of the cast into females? If this was supposed to be the sequel to Last Exile, it really only felt like it in name.

These points could have remained minor, but the severely amateurish writing turned this affair into an embarrassing spectacle.  The story of Last Exile Fam largely revolved around a war, but the treatment of it was much too childish and immature. Conflicts were sooner solved by friendship speeches rather than anything remotely more contemplative. War was terrible simply because the loli princess had declared so via a crying outburst that people should stop fighting. In actuality, people do not get along because they simply cannot forget about the cycle of hatred and let bygones be bygones. Such oversimplification of matters were all too characteristic of the story’s simple minded and infantile outlook.

And if these sorts of trivializations of the various conflicts in the war were not mind numbingly stupid enough, the point of view of our main character Fam Fan Fan just added fuel to the fire of stupidity. Fam is like the individual at a dinner party who didn’t know when to shut up; she was literally painful to watch in some scenes. Her lack of thoughtfulness and consideration for the other characters, her grand delusions about what she personally thought was best for her was also best for everyone, and her stubborn naivety made for a rather annoying character. Suffice to say, she was ill fit for the story and a more grounded protagonist would have gone a long way.

What made this even more frustrating was that despite Fam’s glaring character flaws, she is never forced to undergo any serious character development. Rather than Fam having to adjust to the harsh realities around her, the world is instead warped to suit her character. Her lofty ideas of peace are constantly shoved down everybody’s throats, and even when the show tries to approach this issue with her character, it backed off simply with the notion that everything was fine so long as Fam was being Fam. Not only was this annoying, but it utterly crippled the story by stunting any potential growth she could have had.

I would try to point out the positives here, but upon reflection there is practically nothing good about Last Exile Fam. The plot only ever seemed to get worse, and the characters are entirely forgettable.  It was somewhat watchable because of impressive visuals here and there, particularly the battles, but nothing else is worth noting. It fails as a sequel, and fails harder as a story on its own.  If you value your time you’re better off avoiding this altogether.

The Rating: 3

Reviewed by: Reckoner

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