On Revelations and Confusions in Last Exile: Fam, Ep. 2

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.

13 thoughts on “On Revelations and Confusions in Last Exile: Fam, Ep. 2

  1. I don’t know what to think…it seems that this episode is the beginning of an unfolding of complex and interesting events (please!) or a reflection of what could be a disappointing series (no!).

    Btw, I loved the air fights – they looked very cool – reminded me of the opening scenes from episodes II and III of Star Wars and of Sky Crawlers.

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    • I, too, am really pulling for the first option :p And yes, Exile has always done a great job on aerial fights, be they with the massive battleships, or vanship dogfights. And you’re not the only one who picked up some Star Wars vibes with this episode.

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  2. Handy-dandy timeline, translated straight out of the art books.

    http://lastexile.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline

    Also the official Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam website mentions that Fam is set about two years after the first Last Exile.

    At this point in time we can already assume several things:

    a) Prester’s Exile is not the ONLY Exile out there, and is just one of many colony ships created to carry people from Earth to the Prester colonies and (eventually) back to Earth once it had recovered fully. So those other moons are likely other exiles whose ‘passengers’ had already been unloaded back to Earth.

    b) The people of Turan are likely descended from emigrants brought from one of the Exiles back to Earth, at least a hundred years or so prior to Fam.

    c) The people of Ades are the people who elected to stay behind while the world was recovering. If we take what Luscinia says at face value (and we can’t), then they’re obviously not happy that they’ll have to eventually surrender the lands they’ve watched over for hundreds of years to these newcomers who pretty much ran away once things went pear-shaped.

    d) The royalty of Turan, or at the very least the mother’s side of the Princesses, are likely related to Guild (note the slightly pointy ears), much like Alvis (remember, she was part of House Hamilton, one of the four Guild Houses on Prester), and are genetically predisposed to control (their particular) Exile, much like Alvis was.

    Don’t you love intertextuality?

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    • Either the subber I watched missed the line where it states that there’s more than one Exile ship, or I just somehow overlooked it. I already read in several other blogs that there are what, six or seven other ships? Whatever the case may be with the points you raised, with which I agree, that doesn’t change the fact that the information dump was poorly executed. As pretty as the aerial fights are, and as excited as I am about the world and re-living my Exile love, I cannot overlook the awkward flow of events.

      Also, on my first viewing of an anime, I prefer to take what’s given to me at face value and not use outside information as a crutch to better understanding the show.

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      • Actually most of the points I listed were cooked up just by using the previous series as a background and the episodes so far. It’s somewhat easy to connect the dots if one is predisposed to stuff like this.

        I mean, seriously, the speculation surrounding Fam is child’s play when compared to the madness that surrounded each episode of Madoka Magica; this time around we have a previous series worth of material to work with with.

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      • Again, like I said before, I’m trying to watch this show as if I had never seen the original Last Exile; what would this show feel like without any knowledge of Prester/Dio/Exile, etc.?

        And as easy as it is for some viewers, including yourself, to connect the dots, I would appreciate some tact with others who aren’t so inclined. Though understanding the events may seem like “child’s play,” it again doesn’t lessen the confusion for new viewers, or old viewers who can’t quite remember the original. Take away the background and what’s left is a cast for whom I currently care little, despite Gonzo’s attempt to pull at my sympathy, and a war between nations that still has yet to be fully fleshed out–at least with JUST these two episodes.

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  3. I’m still enjoying this quite a bit. Some shows take a little longer to make sense and I have just as many questions about what’s going on. As long as we get proper, sensible backstories and I do hope more info on how far in time/space we are from the more familiar world of the original Last Exile, I think I’ll be satisfied.

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  4. 2 episodes in, I’m enjoying the show and it’s characters. Although I also felt confused during episode 2, I expected it was because I didn’t watch the first Last Exile. I didn’t watch Last Exile first because was busy and thought their connection wasn’t as big as it seems now. Personally that isn’t a problem to me cause seems a pretty interesting universe, which means needs more material to explain itself fully, but tend to be worth the effort. I will try marathoning the first season soon and also reading those extar information that was posted by Myssa.

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