Awwwwwww, yeah. My most highly anticipated show of the fall season has finally arrived, and I must say, it has definitely earned its place at the top of my shows. It may even be the first anime ever for me to blog by episode–if not with episodic posts, it will probably get the most editorial-type posts during its airing. Buckle up guys, and prepare yourself for one roller coaster of a ride.
Though it is the last of my shows to air, Fam has officially settled in as my priority for the fall, blasting past Fate/Zero, Ika Musume, and Chihayafuru, all of which are some of my current favorites. Be it with character, plot, setting, background music, and/or art, Fam proves itself more than capable of tackling the above and creating an end product just as successful, if not more, than its predecessor, Last Exile.
One of the main aspects to Last Exile that made me love it so much was its characters, Lavie and Claus. They were passionate and stubborn, and knew how to grab their viewers’ attentions. Fam and Giselle, likewise, exhibit zero stage fright, jumping into the light even more quickly than the prior duo. Fam’s tenacity and prowess as a vanship pilot, as well as her delightful cheekiness, make for a combination bound to endear herself to her audience. Navigator Giselle balances her nicely, as she is much calmer, though none the less skilled. In addition to our protagonists, we are also rewarded with a pair of female rulers who rival Sophia of LE in strength of character. Princess Liliana commands Turan’s forces in her father’s stead, and her little sister, Milia follows along–for a purpose still unknown. Where Sophia donned a mannish military uniform for the duration of her time on the battleship Silvana, Liliana opts instead for the feminine clothes of her official station. I like the juxtaposition of a dominant role usually reserved for males taken on by a woman in a flowing dress. And a character perhaps even more intriguing than all the rest is Dio, who hails from LE and whose fate in that story was left unknown. Did he lose his memory, only to take refuge with the sky pirates of Fam? That it’s the same Dio is undeniable, given his signature Immelmann Turn, physical appearance, and unique personality. I’m excited to see just how much screen time he’ll take, and whether or not we’ll discover if it really was him at the end of LE.
The opening plot of Fam is nothing new, since a very similar set up is used in LE. Instead of the main military forces of each nation, we attack with the sky pirates, who exist outside of military jurisdiction–even more so than the Silvana, I believe. The Ades Federation’s betrayal of the peace treaty with Turan is, again, not surprising given the amount of political betrayal on LE. Anyone familiar with matters of war will not be surprised at their attack on Turan’s sacred waters, nor their using of a supposed signing of a peace treaty as an opportunity for attack. Despite the similar set up, the flow of events and characters had my adrenaline rushing. I cheered Fam and Giselle on in their defense of Turan, which consequentially landed them the bounty of the flagship, the Lasas.
Much like the similar plot set up, the setting feels familiar to anyone who has seen LE. The nations and characters may differ, but the world is the same, complete with its military tactics and steampunk-inspired technology. The duration of time spent in the sky is also nothing new, since that’s where LE spent the majority of its time. All of these familiarities don’t bore, but instead create feelings of nostalgia and coming home. I want to see what else Gonzo can do to twist what we know into this fresh story.
Both the background music and art are again, superb. Unlike LE, the colors of Fam look more varied and vibrant. Wealth in Fam also seems to be more widespread, since our main characters have not yet shown any stinginess with water and food. I loved the little twist on the typical schoolgirl toast-in-mouth scene with the addition of the potato pancake that Fam carries in her mouth as she jumps into the vanship. With the exception of the OP theme, the music, and most especially the ED theme, work well with the art style and story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like the OP music–it just feels too upbeat and pop-y. The lyrics, however, suit the Last Exile franchise perfectly. Maybe it’s just that the OP music brings to mind a vision of dolled up J-pop girls dancing on a stage, which is not an image I would ever pair with LE. The title screen’s accompanied sound clip and voice over, as well as the low throb of the vocals in the episode following the title screen, both, again, hail back to the original LE anime. They make me appreciate Gonzo even more for adding these small details to please ardent fans.
One of the great things about Fam arriving so late in the season is that it is able to stand out against the previous rush of fall anime. I am also slightly amused at the difference in space allotted for initial thoughts here compared to what I allowed the other fall shows. I’m just a bit biased, though I wholeheartedly believe Fam deserves it 🙂