Following a fairly heartwarming episode 5, sixth episode “Overstep” is aptly named. Despite the named chess move referring to a breach of time limits, several variations of overstepping occur here: young Sara’s attempts to protect her kingdom, the alliances made between other immigrant nations with the Ades Federation, Luscinia’s push to power, Fam’s dominance over Gisey, Fam’s dangerous overconfidence, and Millia’s re-establishment of a Turan-in-exile. The results are mixed and not as sunny as you might think.
Some of the most interesting scenes in this episode, and in those preceding, take place in the boundaries of the Ades Federation. Portrayed early on as the leader of the “enemy” nation, young Queen Sara brings an innocent and somewhat tragic face to a conflicted sovereignty. Her ignorance of the darker actions of Luscinia, and probably the entirety of the Ades Federation’s military branch, is assumed, since I have a hard time imagining such an honest face, one who looks up to the rosy afterimage of her deceased mother, handing out death orders. Instead of taking a closer look at the present truth of Ades Federation’s prosperity, she fixates on the past achievements of the former Queen Augusta. Admittedly, it’s hard to be too tough on Sara given her tender age and personality, but I can’t help but expect more out of a ruler, no matter how young. I also fear for her, since I expect only further blindfolding in the forms of Luscinia and Vasant.
Taking Turan’s demise to heart, the other immigrant nations have started pandering to the Ades Federation in hopes that their nations, their own lives in particular, will be spared. Overseeing the Conference of Allies is Lady Vasant, a General of the Ades Federation and a former heir to an enemy nation of the AF. Though beautiful and reassuring in her talk with Sara and the allies, she gives off just as much of a dangerous vibe as Luscinia. Her nickname, “The Amethyst of Chaos,” doesn’t improve my thoughts, either. However, I can’t help but view the attempt at peace by the surrounding nations as anything else but cowardly. They seemed to have learned nothing from the failed peace treaty with Turan, thinking that they will somehow be exceptions in the bloody purge of immigrants.
This purge is headed by none other than Luscinia, who has almost completely proven himself devoid of any glimmer of humanity (nevermind the short glimpse of tender affections for a mysterious no-name woman, Liliana?). His quick and vicious group execution of those responsible for the losses of the now EIGHT battleships to the sky pirates came as a surprise, since it seems over-the-top for a man acting without orders. Calling it a purge of traitors in the name of the queen and publicizing it as so may bring an interesting conflict between him and Sara. Hopefully she’ll be able to see past the blatant lies. What will he do with the likely addition of seven more missing battleships? Claim further treason?
Enough of the AF and back to the sky pirates and the Sylvius:
Though the boundary between light and dark has been pretty consistent so far between Fam & Co. and the AF, we’re starting to get a hint of dissension within Fam’s strong front. Starting off is the friendship and partnership between Fam and Gisey, one that was seemingly equal. But as many other bloggers have pointed out, Gisey is pretty non-talkative and willing to let Fam take the reins. Enter in Alis with a bit of warning advice: a navigator shouldn’t let herself be trampled by the desires of the pilot, even if that pilot is her friend. Gisey wasn’t too keen on accepting this advice, but I full-heartedly agree. Fam looks to be getting a tad too big headed after the successful snatching of eight AF battleships.
This overconfidence is perfectly displayed in Fam’s quest after the ninth battleship, the Nahid. Under the guardianship of Baroness Roshanak Babar, a former leader of an immigrant nation and now loyal to the AF, the Nahid goes up in a gamble between the Baroness and Fam. The playing field: a vanship race; the opposing stakes: dressed-up “boy” Millia for the Baroness’ shota harem. Fam makes the bargain without Millia’s prior knowledge and consent, and goes in without Gisey’s usual thorough background check. Expecting an easy win, she finds out that triumph won’t be so easy with the Baroness’ Grand Race finalist pilot–Yashbal Anand–in the mix. I have a hard time forgiving Fam for placing Millia in such danger, especially without informing her of the plan beforehand. The move felt extremely selfish at this point in the episode, since it seemed to stem more from her desire to win than to actually take a step closer to achieving Millia’s goals.
What follows is an exciting race reminiscent of the original Last Exile, and one that reminds us that Gonzo can do some pretty fabulous animation when they want to. Old fans will recognize some Claus and Lavie racing tricks, and new fans will hopefully feel and enjoy the thrill. I know that this was exactly what I needed to revitalize my previous passion for the franchise. It was a nostalgic moment, and one that I hope will only be improved upon. We were also rewarded with an inner look at Fam’s point of view of past events, shown through flashback images in the heat of her race. Through it all, Millia’s face is the number one recurrent image; what I once took for selfishness had been transformed into a desperate act for the sake of another. It was here that I started to somewhat get over my anger at Fam, though I’m sure if she had lost the race, I probably would not have been so forgiving, as good as her intentions were. Their win lands them the ninth ship in their fleet, and bodes ill for the Baroness. But given her discussion with Millia during the race, filled with some insightful information, I bet she’ll pop up on the radar again. Millia’s declaration for Turan’s national status seems all the more realistic as the battleships increase, and I admired her backbone when defending her nation and ideals. And though the tone of the scene tried to support the validity of Millia’s resistance, I couldn’t help but find some of the Baroness’ statements spot-on. To fight or not fight for pride and nation, to live cowardly instead of die fighting: as admirable as one sounds, you can’t belittle the other’s desire to live, though that life may be miserable. I like these kinds of internal and moral conflicts, and hope Fam will continue to address them, though perhaps more subtly.