Thursday, 29 March 2012

Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing - Episode 21 (Completed)

Despite the action switching from outside of the Grand Exile to within its caverns and tunnels, the level of danger is as high as ever in this pitched, final battle between the Allied forces and Luscinia.

With the focus upon rescuing Sara from Luscinia's clutches, it's Fam and Gise who get a jump on the rest of their comrades in this department, tracking down Luscinia and Augusta within the bowels of the craft while the rest of their allies have to deal with the various threats presented by the Grand Exile.  This particular face-off is more verbal than physical however, as Luscinia relates the origins of the Grand Exile and its original purpose, before letting them take away an unconscious Sara without any intent of fighting at all.

It's at this point that Luscinia's true goal becomes clear - to act as a lightning rod for the emotions of the rest of the world so that they might unite behind him.  This is, truth be told, a pretty dumb plan given the massive loss of life it's brought about, and it would be hard to suggest that it's a "righteous" path by any stretch of the imagination, but there you have it.  With the Grand Exile collapsing around itself and Sara safely in the hands of Fam and Gise, it's time to make good their escape before the entire craft crumbles into ruin - something that all of the major parties involved manage to do in the nick of time.  Just as Luscinia hoped, the net result of this is a new era of peace for all concerned, with Fam's dream of another Grand Race becoming a reality in final scenes that even heavily reference the original Last Exile series.  And they all lived happily ever after.

Although it hasn't exactly roused the anime community into an outpouring of praise for the series, Fam, the Silver Wing has actually turned out to be pretty good for the most part.  Okay, perhaps Luscinia's final logic as demonstrated in this closing episode is rather "weird", but that's set against plenty of solid story-telling that was well-paced and generally cleanly and clearly delivered.  While its traditional animation was pretty forgettable, perhaps the real star of the show here is its use of CG, with some fantastic battle aerial scenes that really brought the grandiose nature of the series to the fore and served as the obvious highlights of Fam, the Silver Wing.  It might be a stretch to call it the best CG we've ever seen in TV anime, but its impressive nature can't be underestimated as it did a lot to bring the vast scope of the series to life in memorable fashion.

It's rather difficult to compare this series to the original Last Exile given how long it's been since I watched the original (and given that the inevitable "rose-tinted spectacle effect" is likely to kick in), but as a whole I'd say that Fam, the Silver Wing has quite a bit to be proud of in its own right.  It hasn't been an unqualified or outright success, but it's a brave and ambitious affair that has kept my attention well and downright wowed me from time to time, which seems like a suitable legacy for the this sequel to leave upon its viewers.  I doubt it'll be remembered as fondly as its predecessor, but such is the harsh mistress of anime nostalgia.

No comments: