Pride and Responsibility in Last Exile: Fam, Ep. 6

The themes aren't so sweet this time around.

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.

5 thoughts on “Pride and Responsibility in Last Exile: Fam, Ep. 6

  1. An excellent analysis, especially considering all the different characters and events in this episode. And I see we’re starting to feel similar about Fam, especially after this episode. I’d like to add a few thoughts on Sara and Alis after reading your post. For Sara, you said you expected more from her as a leader but I wonder if she is even a leader or more a figurehead for the people while the military runs the government. With the loss of Augusta, the greatest Queen in the history of Ades (probably), the nation probably wanted someone similar to run the nation and who better than her own kinship? The military seems to be the ones with all the power in this nation, so I’m not sure what kind of ruler Sara could possibly be. She seems to be powerless against the military and only loved because she is a living memory of Augusta.

    And for Alis, I think the advice she gave Giselle was advice she could’ve used during the original Last Exile. She allowed Tatiana to do whatever she wanted as a pilot and Alis merely stood back and accepted Tatiana’s orders. I think Alis sees a bit of her former self in Giselle and wants to give her advice that she wishes she had heard. It’ll be interesting to see how she follows up on Giselle, if she presses her thoughts on her steadily or if this is her only help and will let Giselle make a decision. Will show not only how much Giselle has grown but Alis, too.

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    • Yes, I’m not so sure how much power little Sara actually wields. Almost none? Though, I think we shouldn’t underestimate the power of the masses; from what little I’ve seen, it appears that she is well loved. She could potentially use that to her advantage. Considering her personality so far, I think she would actually like Fam and Millia.

      And your thoughts on Alis and Giselle are exactly what I was going for. I remember the episodes in the first season where Tatiana and Alis went head to head and Tatiana tried piloting without her navigator. Maybe we will see a similar conflict between Fam and Gisey later on in the show (one can only hope).

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      • I wouldn’t be surprised if a conflict between Fam and Giselle plays out that way, especially since this season has borrowed heavily from the original series in terms of themes and such. They’ll need to develop Giselle more before that because she’s not strong enough a character to survive without Fam yet.

        Sara seems to control the masses with her influence but I noticed she wasn’t the one meeting with the delegates from the foreign nations. It was the military, again. I’m guessing once she finds out about the atrocities the military is committing, she’ll try to intervene, fail, and then be removed from power for whatever reason the military/guild can think of. Just my thoughts.

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  2. I can’t feel bad about Sara because her naivety seems to come not just because of her young age, but also because of her kind nature. Also I think one of the main reasons she is manipulated as such, it’s because the ones who are doing it are people she has a great trust into, likely who have taken care of her for a long time.

    I agree Fam is too reckless often, but I feel the situation calls for it. Like how someone comment on the Baroness pilot risk turns, If you want something big, some risk is needed. And what could be bigger than retaking a country against a very strong empire.

    The Baroness discussion with Millia made me think back about something that been bothering me. While in part for the pride of being royalty, I’m sure Millia also is thinking of her remnant citizens when trying to retake their homeland. But would her people also be willing to do so? Maybe they’re been able to live a happy life where they’re now. Or even if they’re not been treated well, at least they may be able to live, and in peace. Are they willing to sacrifice that? Are they willing to sacrifice some of their family members, who will fight as soldiers, as there is always causalities in both sides during a war.

    I think there will come the time where Gisey will have to argue with Fam, but this episode actually made me feel that while it may seems like it she just isn’t being pushed around by Fam’s whim. The scene where she reassures worried Fam about they’re going to restore the Grand Race, makes me feel she really wants to help her. Be it for a mix of her own care for Fam, her sympathy to Millia’s plight, and also because she may also wish for a future of peace, one that seems unlikely with the direction Ades is going to.

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    • Yes, I am conflicted in how I feel about Sara. She is young, and kind-hearted, but blind to the true intentions of those around her. I’m looking forward to a moment when the show might unveil the lies around her.

      It’s funny reading your later comments on these earlier episodes since my opinions have gone up and down with the later ones. It makes it hard to know how to reply without going off topic for others who might read these entries and haven’t seen anything past episode 6. :p I do love that you take the time to come back to my blog and post your thoughts in comparison to mine, though.

      In regards to Millia’s situation and her countrymen, those are all very valid questions. I’m just assuming, as is she, probably, that the people of Turan will happily go to war for their lost nation since some backstory revealed their hard won fight for the country’s independence and establishment in the first place many years prior.

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