For those viewers who complained about the archetypal characters that lead the cast of LE: Fam (myself included), you’ll be pleased to note that it looks like these cookie-cutter roles may change along with the darker turn of events in “Fool’s Mate”. Not only do we learn something new, though familiar, about the capable, older princess Liliana, we also witness the complete destruction of Turan’s capital, Iglasia. I previously lauded Fam for its brighter colors, only to have the second episode blast me back to overcast scenery reminiscent of the original. Right now, I’m at a bit of an impasse in regards to my earlier unequivocal belief that this show would be the best of the season. While a ton of aspects about Fam still excite me, I’m also starting to worry over some areas that I hope are ironed out as soon as possible.
Just as quickly as the Ades Federation was duped at the end of “Open File”, so also did the Turan forces lose in the battle of Iglasia. I find it interesting how quickly events have switched sides, first having the audience believe that there may be hope for Turan, then swiftly robbing us of that hope the moment Princess Liliana is abducted and used to summon and control the long lost Exile. A couple of revelations have also been made clear:
First, this world is not Prester. The entirety of Last Exile took place on Prester, but Premier Luscinia Hāfez explicitly informs us that Fam is hosted by the original homeworld, the same world from which the Exile fled before we encountered the epic ship in the original anime. This makes me curious about distance; exactly how far apart are these worlds, and how did Dio leave Prester and enter this new one? I also wonder about the time frame, about how long the world had been re-occupied after the migration to Prester.
Second, Alvis (of LE) is not the sole means of controlling the Exile. Maybe I completely missed something before, but I thought that after she released the Exile into its true form, that it was free of committing any further destruction. I guess she was just the key to re-starting it. Somehow, the Exile has appeared in this world and follows a new set of requirements.
“On the blue water’s surface, that which is born shall be one word, one feeling.”
The lines recited by Luscinia are different from the Mysteria in LE, and Princess Liliana seems to claim Alvis’ previous role. After going over the lines of the original Mysteria again, I now know that I should’ve seen the return of the ship, but somehow I didn’t. It came too soon, and with little grounds for understanding the conflict between the Ades Federation and Turan, or for any of the given characters’ motivations.
Both of these truths slapped me hard in the face, and I’m still reeling from the impact. While I think that adventure anime can definitely do well by starting in the midst of conflict, I’m not so sure if doing so worked out for the best in Fam‘s case. The audience is supposedly expected to feel something for the loss of Iglasia and her rulers, as well as for those responsible, but all I feel at the moment is confused. I desperately want some backstory for how our main characters came to be who and where they are now.
But don’t get me wrong, I still had plenty of fun with this episode. I feasted on the large battle scenes, which looked infinitely better than some of the sub par art quality of close up visuals of Fam, Giselle, and Milia. I also couldn’t help but enjoy the background music–the music suited the paired scenes very nicely, and didn’t jar the viewer from the story like the OP and ED themes did. I also have a bit more respect for Milia’s character, as we witnessed her very human struggle to save her sister and exact revenge on Luscinia. She succeeded in pulling on my sympathy at the end with her ugly sobs and facial expression, which contrasted greatly with the majority of the flat faces that graced her surrounding cast members. Here’s to looking up.