Confrontations and Distractions in Last Exile: Fam, Ep. 8

Starting immediately where the previous episode left off, “Distraction” opens up with the unavoidable confrontation between an Ades Federation fleet, led by one of their most experienced commanders, and the Silvius.  Due to this show’s penchant for miracles, I expected the Silvius to completely annihilate the AF fleet; thankfully, they barely manage to escape with their lives in their battle with AF and the following confrontation between AF and Glacies.  And the confrontations don’t stop there–we get a much needed moment when Fam finds herself temporarily useless and realizes that the blame is all on her.  Giselle, in turn, sees her best friend drifting further away from their bond, and fears displacement by Princess Millia.

In one of the most heart racing battles of this show yet, the Silvius is completely surrounded by Sadri’s battleships.  I had previously thought that the Silvius would pull some sort of rabbit out a hat and reveal a hidden weapon that could turn around the odds of this fight.  However, the show does a great job crafting events and atmosphere in such a way as to create a believable feeling of doubt–will they make it out this time? Will they surrender Princess Millia as requested, or go down fighting? It’s clear that giving Millia over to AF also means the capture of the Silvius, which we now clearly know is a valuable ship of Anatoray.

Despite the battle experience of Sadri, there is a huge difference in open-air combat between his obsolete battleships and the more maneuverable Anatoray vanships.  It wasn’t too difficult for me to imagine the odds of victory completely switching over if AF had about half the number of ships.  What surprises me even more is the AF’s lack of vanships.  You would think a nation of such power and military capability would harness the undeniable strength that is the vanship fleet.  If each of their battleships was equipped with its own vanship fleet, the war would probably progress a lot quicker.  Heck, even isolated Glacies is smart enough to use vanships!

This particular fight takes place very close to the Glacies border, and actually spills over into the nation right at the end.  The Russian-inspired country is isolated, and prefers to stay this way.  They carefully guard their borders and turn away any attempts at an alliance.  It will be interesting to see how far the parallels between Glacies and Russia go.  I’m highly interested in seeing the meeting between Glacies and Anatoray, as headed by Vincent (a character of the first season).  I hope that that is a scene they’ll give to us, instead of just tell us about it.

The ensuing battle between the AF fleet and the Silvius had me on the edge of my seat, and as I said, I was actually worried that our friends would lose and be captured.  In a fantastic moment of creativity, Tatiana blasts a opening through the mountains, uses an AF ship as a ramp, and charges into Glacies, effectively pulling the AF ships into combat with the Glacies pilots at the border.

The all-woman pilots of the Glacies vanships look pretty cool, and extremely polished.  Dian, the leader of their squad, reminds me a lot of younger Tatiana of the first season of LE.  She’s cool-headed and seems to base her judgments on pure logic–opting to temporarily ignore the obviously fleeing Silvius and turn on the invading AF fleet.  They do, however, make sure to delegate one vanship to the Silvius.  In the process of trying to flee back over the border out of Glacies, both the battleship and vanship plunge downward when a flying rock (yes, random, I know) cripples the Silvius.

Let’s rewind a bit back to our protagonist, Fam.  Like I mentioned earlier, she feels, perhaps for the first time, the consequences of her actions, and maybe even a sense of regret.  I’ve been yearning for these past episodes that Fam get a “slap to the face,” and here we may have hit the first step of that downward tumble.  She’s in this uncharacteristic doubt for a good portion of the episode, a welcome change from her constant cheer of which I’ve feel subjugated to lately.  She doesn’t stay down for long, but I didn’t really expect it to last too long the first time around.  As the Silvius suffers from several blows, Fam has a revelation of sorts, one that again points to her doing what she does best: skyfish hunting.  One of the most interesting character moments in this episode is her decision to take Millia, and not Gisey, with her.  I can understand taking Millia out of her assumed location, but not so much taking her right into another hot spot.  I especially don’t understand Fam’s choice to not bring Gisey, her valuable and irreplaceable navigator.  Perhaps it was simply because the two were not near one another when the choice was made, or perhaps the implications are much more serious–is Millia the one and only concern on Fam’s mind? Has her importance grown so much that Fam no longer yearns for home, or concerns herself with the feelings of others, including Gisey?

Fam is able to earn back a bit of her lost dignity by not only disabling Sadri’s battleship, but also by helping the Glacies vanship stuck to the sinking Silvius stay upright just long enough for it to be disconnected.  Never mind the fact that Millia closed her eyes right before firing at the AF ship’s claudia, or that it’s mighty ridiculous that GONZO thought that two girls and their tiny little ship could keep a much larger vanship in place.  The drama worked well, and it looks like their act of heroism will help Anatoray in the attempt at an alliance with Glacies.

Although things turned out pretty nicely for the Silvius, Fam, and Princess Millia, the show promises to amp up the drama on the Giselle-Fam friendship front.  As relieved as Gisey was to see Fam and Millia back alive and successful, it’s not difficult to see the fear in her eyes and voice.  I used to think her fears were a bit over-the-top, but after Fam’s earlier decision, I, too, am worried that Giselle is losing her spot to the princess.  If Fam isn’t careful, she’s going to lose Gisey and an awesome navigator…and if Gisey isn’t careful, she’ll just end up hating herself more for not staying firm and confronting her best friend.

7 thoughts on “Confrontations and Distractions in Last Exile: Fam, Ep. 8

  1. Awesome, awesome episode – I’ve been drifting back and forth between enjoying the series and not (sometimes within the same episode), but this episode was pure enjoyment. It was fulfilling not only for the great battle scenes (Rarely has an anime had me at the edge of my seat during an action sequence – I was this way throughout most of this episode, though!), but also because of the character and plot development. I’m doing an end of year list for Kiddtic’s awards series, and I’ve moved this show moved up a spot or two with just this one episode.

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    • It seems like the majority of other opinions I’ve read about this particular episode were all positive. They finally got the suspense just right with this battle and how terrible the odds were for them for most of it.

      Oh, and thanks for sharing about the award series. I had never heard of it previously, though I did know the quite a few bloggers had a habit of doing awards at the end each season/year. Now you’ve got me interested in trying one of my own🙂

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      • Marina, I always appreciate the depth of your episodic posts (along with your others, of course!). I’d really pay attention if you did some sort of “best of” list – whether as part of Kiddtic’s awards or your own! I hope you write one!

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  2. It did seem to me that Fam went with Millia was just because she was near at the time, while she didn’t knew where Gisey was.

    Hopefully either Fam will notice how Gisey is feeling about the current situation, or Gisey will talk to her about it. It would be sad is such a close duo was to break up.

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