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REVIEW: Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing Episodes 1-12 Streaming




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Stark700



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:37 am Reply with quote
I have not started this series but was a fan of the original Last Exile. I heard that Dio is also in this series so looking forward to it as he's my favorite character.

Anyways, interesting review by Carl. I'm expecting just as much as fun and action in the original series when I marathon this when it finishes airing.

With an overall grade of: B+, I will certainly give this series a try soon
Cool
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Ingraman



Joined: 07 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:40 am Reply with quote
There are so many interesting story elements for LE2, but they just weren't assembled very well, and the animation is often pretty poor. The new characters aren't terribly interesting, and while the series brightens up a little when some of the LE1 cast shows up, they don't improve their scenes enough... I'll keep watching it to see if Gonzo can salvage something at the end, but I can't see any reason to buy a video release on either BD or DVD.

The LE1 recap episode is my favorite LE2 episode so far...
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Hypeathon



Joined: 12 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:38 am Reply with quote
This was a really nice and actually better praised opinion towards the show than what I've seen elsewhere in certain anime sites.

When I heard the announcement about the sequel to this show, I was super-excited. Then I saw the character designs for the new characters on the Japanese website for the show and my thoughts were "huh....?" And then I saw the trailer for the show and regained some excitement again, but still couldn't shake off the observation at how moe as a "theme" seemed to take an influence on this show moreso than the first series. Every time there's a criticism towards moe, someone says, "there aren't that many pure moe shows, it's all in your head", or "you just want anime for Americans only like Cowboy Bebop" or other counter-arguments like that.

To simply put my point of view on moe, all I want is a compelling story and compelling characters. I want the characters who know they either want, care about, or are passionate something and have developed a certain skill that helps reach them towards their goal in the story. They go through conflicts and emotional doubts, but they get back on their feet and attain a certain growth. That's all I want out of a character and it doesn't have to be in a plot-heavy show either. From my experience with a couple dozen shows I've either seen or have been aware of, the problem I have with moe in a show whether there's a lot of it or some of it based on what fans in anime blogs or forums point out is that it tends to more often than not distracts from the idea of making a female character compelling. There's more of a focus on finding various subtle ways to add innocence, insecurity, or being cute that add up to the moe element being more noticable, and less of expressing signs of strength and confidence based on that character's passion.

I've seen that often enough in a good number of shows I've seen that around the time Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing premiered and I was waiting for Funimation to simulcast it, I couldn't help but browse the comments of the show on ANN and Bamboo's thoughts on The Stream column and on some other parts of the internet and thought, "uh oh! It seemed that everyone is getting bored of this show and are finding the characters cute and nothing else." That actually made me avoid the show for a little while. Then 3 weeks ago, something (I wasn't sure what) made me want to see the first episode just to see if this was really as bad as something people were saying. I watched the first episode, then watched the second and I got caught up to episode 18 earlier this week.

This show is REALLY amazing and if this show was suppose to have traits of moe in it, then this as well as Idolmaster are the best shows with moe in it that I've seen yet. And that's saying a LOT! I'm having a hard time understanding why this show was getting so much flack at all unless people were being so attached to the first season by expecting Lavie and Claus to appear or Dio, Tatiana, Alvis and Alister to get more significant roles than they really do. The first season was definitely awesome, don't get me wrong. But I feel that people are not giving the main characters this season much of a fair chance at all to let them grow on them. Fam Fan Fan is just about EXACTLY what I've been wanting out of a female anime character. And it's not necessarily due to her being tomboyish or a thrill-seeker. It's just that she's passionate about what she does, which is being a sky pirate. She knows what she cares about and is willing to pursue her goal which is hoping for the revival of the Grand Race. And she expresses moments of self-doubt between the opposing war factions and the heavy antagonzing towards Princess Lillia. And Giselle while not as compelling as Fam, she knows what she wants too which is supporting Fam who's her best friend and what-not. She also sometimes prevents Fam from getting into trouble which those moments I find hilarious. And I'm not sure if anyone else has thought this, but I keep finding Millia to be very similar to Princess Vivi from One Piece. Heck even their situations are practically the same.

I mean yeah, I would like to see more of Claus and Lavie than in the 2nd recap episode, but it's not like the main characters in the sequel don't capture my interest either. So again, I don't see where the lack of interest towards the characters is actually coming from. Also regarding what Carl said about the plot pinballing instead of going from one point to another, maybe it's because I'm further ahead in watching the show, but I'm honestly finding the point behind what the characters do to be more clear. I will admit that some of the war-strategic details from minor characters I don't know well-enough distracted me from fully figuring out what was going on in certain episodes. But ultimately I felt that as long as I prioirtized paying attention to what Fam, Giselle and Millia want out of all of this, I wouldn't feel too confused.

And one more thing. while I do feel that the animation isn't the most expressive and the CG isn't ideal, I find to be a vast VAST improvement from season 1. In fact in the 2nd recap episode spoiler[we briefly see some of the vanship manuveuring in seaosn 1 and then towards the last couple of minutes in the recap episode after we briefly see Lavie and Claus and then Dio and Alvie talking, the way they piloted the vanship manuveuring seemed faster and more intense. It made the vanshiping piloting in Last Exile seem somewhat slower in comparion.]
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TD912
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:02 am Reply with quote
This new Last Exile series is a *really* ambitious project by Gonzo. While a lot of effort went into the design of all the different ships, and the tons of different environments and settings, and all of the original character designs, Gonzo seems to be having a very hard time putting this all together.

The story is bouncing around all over the place, and they unfortunately seem to have a very limited animation budget. A world this huge, with this many characters, and only an odd number of 21 episodes to include all of this in?

I already suspected Gonzo was having trouble animating the series, after seeing lots of later episodes in the series taking many animation shortcuts. All-CG filler scenes,  seeing characters not move around much on-screen, and using lots of pan and zoom (I'm looking at you, episode 9 hockey match), and constant transitions between 2D and 3D character models make the series feel awkward.

After reading those "Anime Economy" articles, I'm even more sure they're running into budget and time constraints, as they made 2 recap episodes, and aired only a mostly-complete opening sequence for the first few episodes.

There's lots of great ideas here, they just didn't execute them very well, in my opinion. It's an OK series. Not spectacular, but decent.

At least it'll help Gonzo fund whatever their next project is, if DVD/BD sales are decent.
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Asterisk-CGY



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:29 am Reply with quote
definitely agree with the pinball plot. I had to usually go back an episode to check where I left off after starting a new episode to make sure I didn't miss anything.
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zensunni



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:27 am Reply with quote
Thanks for the review Carl. I agree that the plot tends to "pinball" around, but I don't view it as being that different from the original Last Exile. Frankly, if I hadn't had Wiki articles to read on the original, I don't know that I would have understood much of what was going on, and "Fam" actually explains what the Exiles are in a clear and concise manner, which the original never did.

I look forward to the rest of this fine show!
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DangerMouse



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:39 pm Reply with quote
Thanks for the review, it was a great read and it's great seeing you also are enjoying it despite seeing some flaws.

Personally I'll take this kind of ambition anytime. One of the many reasons I've always loved studio Gonzo.

Huge fan of the original LE and I've been really enjoying this great show. I've really liked the overall story and characters though I certainly agree it bounces around more than it should have considering how well executed, exciting, and timed/paced the main story and conflicts and world-building and timing of reveals about the Exiles and settings/countries have been, which is a shame as a smoother flow probably would have hidden some of the flaws even more. Even with that it's quite impressive how they get you invested in characters both on Fam's (the heroine's) side, including the returning LE1 characters ofcourse, and a bunch of the enemy side's characters (which is not always easy to do). And I agree on Chigira's execution (and Kuroishi's music) really adding to everything balancing out some of the flaws.

I agree on the 2D but I hold the CG side of visuals even higher than I think the review implied IMO. To me, the ships, vanships (like Fam's and it's flight moves, and spoiler[the Glacies advanced ships]) and fleet battle/Exile CG and the effects on them is some of the best TV series CG yet IMO. I pretty much agree with the review on the 2D animation which indeed fluctuates from stunning to mediocre likely due to budget and time constraints, and despite that thanks to Murata and Kobayashi's excellent work regardless I love the character designs and art style of the 2D animation.

Also of particular note, the background art is simply some of the most stunning and gorgeous stuff, on par with a lot of movies IMO.

I totally second the review's really strong praise of the music and excellent job of when to use the various tracks, what an utterly fantastic soundtrack! Her soundtracks for both LE's are probably two of my favorite soundtracks ever.

Stark700 wrote:
I have not started this series but was a fan of the original Last Exile. I heard that Dio is also in this series so looking forward to it as he's my favorite character.

Anyways, interesting review by Carl. I'm expecting just as much as fun and action in the original series when I marathon this when it finishes airing.

With an overall grade of: B+, I will certainly give this series a try soon Cool


He most certainly is and Dio's just as awesome as ever, or I'd say even more awesome.

Hypeathon wrote:
This was a really nice and actually better praised opinion towards the show than what I've seen elsewhere in certain anime sites.

When I heard the announcement about the sequel to this show, I was super-excited. Then I saw the character designs for the new characters on the Japanese website for the show and my thoughts were "huh....?" And then I saw the trailer for the show and regained some excitement again, but still couldn't shake off the observation at how moe as a "theme" seemed to take an influence on this show moreso than the first series. Every time there's a criticism towards moe, someone says, "there aren't that many pure moe shows, it's all in your head", or "you just want anime for Americans only like Cowboy Bebop" or other counter-arguments like that.

To simply put my point of view on moe, all I want is a compelling story and compelling characters. I want the characters who know they either want, care about, or are passionate something and have developed a certain skill that helps reach them towards their goal in the story. They go through conflicts and emotional doubts, but they get back on their feet and attain a certain growth. That's all I want out of a character and it doesn't have to be in a plot-heavy show either. From my experience with a couple dozen shows I've either seen or have been aware of, the problem I have with moe in a show whether there's a lot of it or some of it based on what fans in anime blogs or forums point out is that it tends to more often than not distracts from the idea of making a female character compelling. There's more of a focus on finding various subtle ways to add innocence, insecurity, or being cute that add up to the moe element being more noticable, and less of expressing signs of strength and confidence based on that character's passion.

I've seen that often enough in a good number of shows I've seen that around the time Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing premiered and I was waiting for Funimation to simulcast it, I couldn't help but browse the comments of the show on ANN and Bamboo's thoughts on The Stream column and on some other parts of the internet and thought, "uh oh! It seemed that everyone is getting bored of this show and are finding the characters cute and nothing else." That actually made me avoid the show for a little while. Then 3 weeks ago, something (I wasn't sure what) made me want to see the first episode just to see if this was really as bad as something people were saying. I watched the first episode, then watched the second and I got caught up to episode 18 earlier this week.

This show is REALLY amazing and if this show was suppose to have traits of moe in it, then this as well as Idolmaster are the best shows with moe in it that I've seen yet. And that's saying a LOT! I'm having a hard time understanding why this show was getting so much flack at all unless people were being so attached to the first season by expecting Lavie and Claus to appear or Dio, Tatiana, Alvis and Alister to get more significant roles than they really do. The first season was definitely awesome, don't get me wrong. But I feel that people are not giving the main characters this season much of a fair chance at all to let them grow on them. Fam Fan Fan is just about EXACTLY what I've been wanting out of a female anime character. And it's not necessarily due to her being tomboyish or a thrill-seeker. It's just that she's passionate about what she does, which is being a sky pirate. She knows what she cares about and is willing to pursue her goal which is hoping for the revival of the Grand Race. And she expresses moments of self-doubt between the opposing war factions and the heavy antagonzing towards Princess Lillia. And Giselle while not as compelling as Fam, she knows what she wants too which is supporting Fam who's her best friend and what-not. She also sometimes prevents Fam from getting into trouble which those moments I find hilarious. And I'm not sure if anyone else has thought this, but I keep finding Millia to be very similar to Princess Vivi from One Piece. Heck even their situations are practically the same.

I mean yeah, I would like to see more of Claus and Lavie than in the 2nd recap episode, but it's not like the main characters in the sequel don't capture my interest either. So again, I don't see where the lack of interest towards the characters is actually coming from. Also regarding what Carl said about the plot pinballing instead of going from one point to another, maybe it's because I'm further ahead in watching the show, but I'm honestly finding the point behind what the characters do to be more clear. I will admit that some of the war-strategic details from minor characters I don't know well-enough distracted me from fully figuring out what was going on in certain episodes. But ultimately I felt that as long as I prioirtized paying attention to what Fam, Giselle and Millia want out of all of this, I wouldn't feel too confused.

And one more thing. while I do feel that the animation isn't the most expressive and the CG isn't ideal, I find to be a vast VAST improvement from season 1. In fact in the 2nd recap episode spoiler[we briefly see some of the vanship manuveuring in seaosn 1 and then towards the last couple of minutes in the recap episode after we briefly see Lavie and Claus and then Dio and Alvie talking, the way they piloted the vanship manuveuring seemed faster and more intense. It made the vanshiping piloting in Last Exile seem somewhat slower in comparion.]


Very good post.
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walw6pK4Alo



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:46 pm Reply with quote
The pinballing plot only gets worse as it progresses, some episodes with almost no progression at all, and others with too much that you have to interject transitions and events mentally.
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Stark700



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:53 pm Reply with quote
Hypeathon wrote:
This was a really nice and actually better praised opinion towards the show than what I've seen elsewhere in certain anime sites.

When I heard the announcement about the sequel to this show, I was super-excited. Then I saw the character designs for the new characters on the Japanese website for the show and my thoughts were "huh....?" And then I saw the trailer for the show and regained some excitement again, but still couldn't shake off the observation at how moe as a "theme" seemed to take an influence on this show moreso than the first series. Every time there's a criticism towards moe, someone says, "there aren't that many pure moe shows, it's all in your head", or "you just want anime for Americans only like Cowboy Bebop" or other counter-arguments like that.

To simply put my point of view on moe, all I want is a compelling story and compelling characters. I want the characters who know they either want, care about, or are passionate something and have developed a certain skill that helps reach them towards their goal in the story. They go through conflicts and emotional doubts, but they get back on their feet and attain a certain growth. That's all I want out of a character and it doesn't have to be in a plot-heavy show either. From my experience with a couple dozen shows I've either seen or have been aware of, the problem I have with moe in a show whether there's a lot of it or some of it based on what fans in anime blogs or forums point out is that it tends to more often than not distracts from the idea of making a female character compelling. There's more of a focus on finding various subtle ways to add innocence, insecurity, or being cute that add up to the moe element being more noticable, and less of expressing signs of strength and confidence based on that character's passion.

I've seen that often enough in a good number of shows I've seen that around the time Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing premiered and I was waiting for Funimation to simulcast it, I couldn't help but browse the comments of the show on ANN and Bamboo's thoughts on The Stream column and on some other parts of the internet and thought, "uh oh! It seemed that everyone is getting bored of this show and are finding the characters cute and nothing else." That actually made me avoid the show for a little while. Then 3 weeks ago, something (I wasn't sure what) made me want to see the first episode just to see if this was really as bad as something people were saying. I watched the first episode, then watched the second and I got caught up to episode 18 earlier this week.

This show is REALLY amazing and if this show was suppose to have traits of moe in it, then this as well as Idolmaster are the best shows with moe in it that I've seen yet. And that's saying a LOT! I'm having a hard time understanding why this show was getting so much flack at all unless people were being so attached to the first season by expecting Lavie and Claus to appear or Dio, Tatiana, Alvis and Alister to get more significant roles than they really do. The first season was definitely awesome, don't get me wrong. But I feel that people are not giving the main characters this season much of a fair chance at all to let them grow on them. Fam Fan Fan is just about EXACTLY what I've been wanting out of a female anime character. And it's not necessarily due to her being tomboyish or a thrill-seeker. It's just that she's passionate about what she does, which is being a sky pirate. She knows what she cares about and is willing to pursue her goal which is hoping for the revival of the Grand Race. And she expresses moments of self-doubt between the opposing war factions and the heavy antagonzing towards Princess Lillia. And Giselle while not as compelling as Fam, she knows what she wants too which is supporting Fam who's her best friend and what-not. She also sometimes prevents Fam from getting into trouble which those moments I find hilarious. And I'm not sure if anyone else has thought this, but I keep finding Millia to be very similar to Princess Vivi from One Piece. Heck even their situations are practically the same.

I mean yeah, I would like to see more of Claus and Lavie than in the 2nd recap episode, but it's not like the main characters in the sequel don't capture my interest either. So again, I don't see where the lack of interest towards the characters is actually coming from. Also regarding what Carl said about the plot pinballing instead of going from one point to another, maybe it's because I'm further ahead in watching the show, but I'm honestly finding the point behind what the characters do to be more clear. I will admit that some of the war-strategic details from minor characters I don't know well-enough distracted me from fully figuring out what was going on in certain episodes. But ultimately I felt that as long as I prioirtized paying attention to what Fam, Giselle and Millia want out of all of this, I wouldn't feel too confused.

And one more thing. while I do feel that the animation isn't the most expressive and the CG isn't ideal, I find to be a vast VAST improvement from season 1. In fact in the 2nd recap episode spoiler[we briefly see some of the vanship manuveuring in seaosn 1 and then towards the last couple of minutes in the recap episode after we briefly see Lavie and Claus and then Dio and Alvie talking, the way they piloted the vanship manuveuring seemed faster and more intense. It made the vanshiping piloting in Last Exile seem somewhat slower in comparion.]

Excellent post. As for the recap, I will be watching it as well to refresh my memories a bit.
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TG72



Joined: 28 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:44 pm Reply with quote
It took me a while to get on board with the main characters but finally did thanks to the fine-tuning in episode 9. While I can't say it's on par with the original, I've enjoyed seeing the next step in the story and how spoiler[Tatiana, Alister, Dio and Alvis]have grown and changed.

I have to agree with the person who writes ANN's 'Streaming' feature: this show would work much better as a marathon. I'm looking forward to the dub.
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Hypeathon



Joined: 12 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:30 pm Reply with quote
TG72 wrote:
I have to agree with the person who writes ANN's 'Streaming' feature: this show would work much better as a marathon. I'm looking forward to the dub.

I'm also looking foward to the dub, however I have to wonder who would be casted as who for the recurring characters like Dio, Tatiana, Alvis, Alister, Vincent, Claus and Lavie if say whoever will voice direct the dub won't look to Bang Zoom who did the previous season dub. Though even if whoever the voice would be could get Bang Zoom to do any dubbing, they would have to get a whole new actor for Dio since Joshua Seth quit voice acting years ago. It's a shame too, I really liked that guy's role as Dio as well his other roles. I can't help but keep thinking either Greg Ayres or Todd Haberkorn could play the role of that guy. But maybe those choices are too obvious or something.
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eyeresist



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:06 pm Reply with quote
zensunni wrote:
"Fam" actually explains what the Exiles are in a clear and concise manner, which the original never did.


Wow!
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MaxSouth



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:46 am Reply with quote
Not sure how this poorly structured, poorly paced, incredibly naive for-eight-year-old-girls plot deserves a B for story.
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discoun7



Joined: 19 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 8:37 pm Reply with quote
How can you not see how contrived and disappointing the plot is.

There are plotholes everywhere and at this point I'm hoping the series will either get a good direction to it or just end it soon.

I don't really care to explain what's wrong, but come on where has the show taken us. All it seems like the show has done is talk about the lives of a few of girls with some sort of war going on that barely seems to make any sense. Come on, a dictator who goes around conquering cities so that everyone can be unified and live on in peace? Why not just raise a giant communist flag over the Augusta's ship and paint Stalin's face on its side. It's completely ridiculous that a person who goes around stealing away peoples governments could ever be respected among her people unless Machiavellian tactics are used to subdue the people.
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MaxSouth



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:13 am Reply with quote
The plot is farce on every level.

One could spend pages and pages describing how ridiculous the episodes are.
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