Uncertain Allies in Last Exile: Fam, Ep. 9

A bit late on the response, but this week’s Fam was definitely an interesting one, though the confrontation was a long time in coming and I found its resolution too easy on our protagonist.  In conjunction with Fam, Gisey, and Millia’s relationship issues, we also have an insightful view into Vasant’s worries about her role as a “sword” for the Ades Federation.  Titled “Connected passed pawn”, episode 9 of Fam questions the strengths and weaknesses to an alliance, be it the friendship between childhood playmates, the bond between a pilot and navigator, or the loyalty between vassal and ruler.

The anime pulls yet another limited AF scene right at the beginning with a discussion between Vasant and Kayvān, where they consider their positions as generals.  I often find these short scenes just as or more interesting than the main stage with Fam and Co. since they always highlight surprising nuances amongst various AF officials.  Vasant is an intriguing and mysterious figure who I constantly seek to learn more about each week.  That she voices her misgivings about the ways in which AF wields its military and how it may stain or break its subjects gives me some hope about her eventual position against Luscinia.

Moving onto the the main cast, anyone should have seen the split in feelings between Gisey and Fam and expected an argument of some sort, but the anime couldn’t have chosen a more awkward way of acting it out.  Despite the recent attack and hard knocks on the Silvius, the contract is now complete with Fam’s fifteenth and final battleship capture; however, she finds herself caught in loyalty between both Gisey and Millia.  Gisey clearly wants off the ship as she has had difficulty coping with Fam’s seemingly stronger ties to Millia.  This dissatisfaction with her own “poor” performance and their friendship has simmered for a few episodes now, and finally boils over the moment Fam voices her interest in staying on the Silvius and continuing her support of Princess Millia.  Some people have considered the suddenness of the conflict unlikely, but I don’t argue so much with its timing as I do with its forced drama.  Normally this wouldn’t be such an issue for me when considering their ages and remembering how dramatic everything felt when I was that age, but everything in Fam has pointed to our protagonist’s complete lack of hesitation.  That she is suddenly glum seems odd.

The direction the conflict started in was a good one, as it was compared not only to Tatiana and Alister’s relationship, but also to Dio and Luciola’s.  In both of those cases, the “wrong” (pilot) parties realized that they were taking their navigators for granted.  It appeared that Fam would follow suit when she realized how much she didn’t understand Gisey’s feelings–instead, the show works in, once again, a no-blame situation for Fam.  Everyone around her centers her feelings and somehow justifies her actions as the right ones.  Fam’s birthday, several flashbacks to Gisey and Fam’s childhood, and a makeshift hockey game for the Silvius crew all overshadow the true issue of Fam’s faulty leadership and turns it into a cheese fest.

The hockey game itself works as a patch of some sort since Fam, Gisey, and Millia form an attack against the other team and work together to score a goal; instead of taking all the glory for herself, Fam makes the final decision to pass the puck to Gisey, who in turn scores a goal.  As fun as the hockey game was, I would have preferred some real discussion between the involved parties and a verbal confirmation of Fam’s apology for they way she has treated the pilot-navigator bond.

Regardless, it looks like Fam will be moving on to a bigger setting with the arrival of Vincent, who announces himself as the Supreme Commander of the united forces of Anatoray and Disith.  He takes the spotlight from Fam when he interrupts her birthday party, and I hope that he continues to do so for quite a while until she gets her act together.

4 thoughts on “Uncertain Allies in Last Exile: Fam, Ep. 9

  1. Well, it does look like there’s going to be a shift after this, especially with the reveal of the next few episode titles:

    # 10 “Illegal move”
    # 11 “Backward pawn”
    # 12 “Block”

    All sound remarkably ominous for Chess terms, and at the very least their definitions (go on, read up on what they mean) foreshadow ‘interesting times’ for everyone.

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    • Even without your prompting, I always look up the explanations for the various chess moves for each episode. But, thanks anyways. I’ve always enjoyed Last Exile’s use of chess metaphors.

      And I went ahead and read up on the Wanderers from the Hourglass chapters. Good stuff.

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  2. Maybe because I see Fam on a better light, but I really loved this episode. The tension and action of last episode, and the sweetness of this one, together made this show turn from very good to great for me. Hopefully it will continue that way or become even greater till the end.

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    • I’ve read quite a few others blog reviews that also look positively on this episode, but I just can’t get past its forced cheesiness and dodging of any real conflict. They all forgive Fam! She doesn’t get much of a slap on her hand and I’m not so sure if she really grew from her fight with Gisey. One can only hope.

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