20 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing episode 1

If my Fate/Zero and Persona 4 posts had to start off with a disclaimer about my lack of experience with each respective franchise, then it’s a given that I have to do likewise for a franchise where I do have previous experience. Make no mistake, what you are reading here are the impressions from a hopeless fanboy for the original Last Exile and shall spend most of this post comparing my sparkly yet fading memories of the original with this latest rendition.

There is a bit of a change of tone for this Last Exile. You know that one scene from the first episode of the original after the two sets of musketeers finished decimating each other (‘Disseth bullets will avoid Mullen Shetlends body’ and all that) and there was that shot of all the dead bodies, offering a rather stark contrast to the fancy pants chivalry commanders on board the ships? There’s none of that in Fam, the Silver Wing (just calling it Fam from now on). Not exactly that scene, but there’s a lack of the darker edge the original had. This version is definitely more upbeat and light-hearted, while still keeping the same adventurous tone the orignal had. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as I’m sure many of you will argue, but the characters are a bit too…how shall I put this…thick headed? They’re stock characters with a single motive that they stick to for every line of dialogue they spout. I guess it’s the first episode so they’re just setting the scene, but everything was very black and white.

They did keep the heart of Last Exile though. The one thing that Last Exile does, better than any other anime I’ve ever seen, is the sense of adventure. There’s a thrill in discovery and flight that Fam captured brilliantly, most notably in that opening sequence with them being pirates and capturing a ship. The music helps here, taking a note out of the original series soundtrack. I’m convinced the song playing during that scene was a remix off the original series opening song. Although, since I’m on the subject of the opening song, this new one just pales miserably in comparison to Cloud Age Symphony. But yeah, that’s just me being the insufferable fanboy for the original again. Not that I want everything to remain the same. As much as I loved Dio in the original, I can’t for the life of me see why he’s in this series, apparently not ageing a day between the two. Is this even the same world as the original, or did they create an entirely new world and just carted Dio over because he’s just that fabulous?

Fam does do one thing better than the orignal. The animation is absolutely fucking glorious. Not only that, but it’s glorious in the Last Exile style, so that all the ships are that highly detailed CGI style that somehow matches up with the character designs. There’s something about the flat faces of Range Murata’s character designs that blend in well with CGI. I always liked how Last Exile used its CGI, keeping only the ships in CGI and the characters hand-drawn, rather that flicking between the two depending on the whims of the animators at the time. There’s a beauty to the absolute classic steampunk design of Last Exile that, again, lends itself to the sense of adventure that the series is so good at.

So, verdict from a Last Exile fanboy? It’s pretty good. I don’t mind that they’re going for a lighter tone, so long as the characters gain depth (and preferably stop being moe, although the moe factor was thankfully lower than I initially feared). If that happens, then I’m on board with this season.

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  1. First
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink


  2. Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m so glad to be back in this universe :D
    Wonder if they have any more cameo plans.

    • Posted October 19, 2011 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      *points to post below* Alvis was confirmed in the OP, plus what looks like Vincent, while Sophia was already mentioned. The manga also brings back Tatiana with a brand-spanking-new Battleship. Mmm.

  3. First
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Permalink


  4. Posted October 18, 2011 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    A group of us recently re-watched the original Last Exile series, so it’s fresh in my mind.

    And as a Last Exile recidivist fanboy, I’d have to say I agree with your assessment: I haven’t had as much fun watching an opening episode of an anime since, oh, the first time I saw Last Exile. Though I could have done without the sleepwalking, stripping lolita bit at the beginning, it did get the point across that Fam is full of cheerful enthusiasm: Aria’s Akari after too much espresso.

    “I’m con­vinced the song play­ing dur­ing that scene was a remix off the ori­ginal series open­ing song”: I wasn’t reminded of Cloud Age Symphony, but I did hear music that reminded me heavily of the old ending song (and reminded me of other music from the old series’ soundtrack).

  5. DarkEnergy
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    God, I love the tags haha. Is this the return of Gonzo!? I hope so… As long as they can make stuff like the Count of Monte Cristo again.

  6. Posted October 18, 2011 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    I’m pleased to see that you, too, are looking forward to this show after the first episode. I’m also a helpless fan of the LE franchise, and I fucking loved the opening episode. And you’re right about that throbbing vocal music at the start, which I immediately recognized from the predecessor–that, and the sound effects to the title screen. Delicious.

    One thing I didn’t like? What was with the naked women in the OP credits, as well as that way too upbeat theme?

  7. John Madden
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Do I need to watch the original Last Exile to get this one, or would it be fine to jump into it?

    • mcm38
      Posted October 18, 2011 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      It probably doesn’t matter. You could choose to do either. This story is not a continuation. But I still didn’t watch it yet, so I’m not sure if it’s set in a similar world.

      • Posted October 19, 2011 at 1:11 am | Permalink

        Interviews and spoilers from the Last Exile Japanese media says this is a direct sequel, set two years later from the previous series.

  8. Kai Yeo
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    The first scene fan service gave me flashbacks to the bad old Gonzo. The last time I saw Gonzo open an anime with a service scene was Shangri-la. Good grief that was bad. That aside the rest of the episode was beautiful to watch. I’m praying Gonzo doesn’t mess this up.
    And as a Maaya fan I have mixed feelings about “Buddy”. It sounds too upbeat especially when they got Hitomi back to sing the ED.

    Btw, I think Tatiana and Alastair will also appear in Fam.

    • Posted October 19, 2011 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      Alvis and what LOOKS like Vincent can be seen in the OP, Sophia is mentioned off-hand by Dio, and it looks like Tatiana will come in as well with the ‘Silvana’ of Silver Wing, the Silvius.

      Yeah, a LOT of the old cast will return. No word on Claus or Lavie though.

  9. luffyluffy
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    To watch or not to watch…

    Tbh, I’ve already got 14 shows and the Gundam I’m watching so I think I’m gunna pass.

    • Kiseki
      Posted October 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      …As in 14 of the currently airing shows?

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

        14 currently airing shows and…

        Double Zeta Gundam.

        I’m almost finished with that though, so after than I’ve got Char’s Counterattack and all I’ve got to worry about is Unicorn which comes out every six months.

  10. Anna Ki
    Posted October 18, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    This post makes me want to watch the original Last Exile instead of this one.

    Also, I can say that I find it hilarious that you hate on fans who compare adaptations to the originals while doing the exact same thing yourself here. -snerk-

  11. Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Pretty late, but – would you suggest any similar shows to Fam with this same sense of adventure? I don’t think I’ve ever had such a feeling of huge world-building, ever. It’s not even regular shounen adventure with action and battles, but it’s… how would you put it, fantasy adventure?


    • Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Ahh, never mind, Joojoobees got it; space opera’s what I was looking for.

2 Trackbacks

  • […] fly through the skies as part of a pirate group, and have an adventure with princesses and stuff. Scamp has already commented on how this latest installment seems lighter in tone than the original. I agree, and I also agree that Last Exile supplies something that recent anime hasn’t […]

  • […] “They did keep the heart of Last Exile though. The one thing that Last Exile does, bet­ter than any other anime I’ve ever seen, is the sense of adven­ture. There’s a thrill in dis­cov­ery and flight that Fam cap­tured bril­liantly, most not­ably in that open­ing sequence with them being pir­ates and cap­tur­ing a ship.” – The Cart Driver […]

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