On Tuesday, September 10, 2013 anime publisher FUNimation released "Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing" in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and we took the opportunity to review this entertaining sequel to "Last Exile".
Taking place after the events of the first "Last Exile", as humanity once again settles back on Earth after generations of absence, the series follows a young sky pirate named Fam, who along with her best friend and navigator Giselle, spends her days capturing battleships and selling them off. Their relatively peaceful life of plunder is changed forever though, when the Ades Federation, the only nation that stayed on Earth when the rest of humanity left, declares war against the Turan Kingdom, putting an end to a tentative peace.
Looking to turn a little profit, and also to help the Turans; Fam, Giselle and their sky pirate companions rescue Liliana and Millia, the princesses of the Turan Kingdom, before the Ades Federation can capture them. This only delays the Ades Federation’s plans however as Liliana is eventually captured and the Turan king is killed.
To help Millia get her kingdom back and to hopefully realize her dream of holding another Grand Race, Fam drags Giselle along on a quest to capture enough enemy ships to build Millia a fleet to regain the Turan Kingdom and restore peace to the world. The plan doesn’t quite go as they would have hoped though, when they try and capture "Silvius the Reaper", a ship the pirates often try to catch but have never been able to. Instead of gaining their first ship they are captured by the crew of the Silvius and tasked with capturing them 15 ships instead.
On board the Silvius, as Fam and Giselle work to capture the required ships, Millia founds the Turan Refugee Government. This sets in motion a new battle for Fam, as she and her friends must stand at the head of a conflict against Empress Sara Augusta and her Premier, Luscinia, who will stop at nothing to conquer all of the free kingdoms of the world, no matter how many people must die, to achieve his idea of peace.
"Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing" offered an entertaining story that had some great action early on. Even before all of the political drama kicks in, which definitely made for some of the best moments of the series, Fam’s carefree nature made the anime interesting to watch. As the series shifts to a more serious story and characters are dying or betraying one another there is always so much going, but the story still manages to remain easy to follow. Fam doesn’t grow a whole lot as a character, it was sad to see her lose some of that naive and hopeful attitude as things develop, but she still retains that same carefree nature throughout, which can feel out of place sometimes but also keeps the series from becoming overly dramatic.
Visually "Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing" has a nice look to it, this review is based on the DVD version of the series so the Blu-ray version may better picture quality. If you’ve seen other anime titles from the anime studio Gonzo, especially "Shangri-La", then you should have a good idea of what to expect. The many ship designs where incredibly detailed and the many aerial battles and sky filled scenery looked great.
The English voice cast did a quality job in matching with their characters and personally I was happy with much of the cast. The Japanese cast is still a preferred option for many though and it goes without saying that they are likely the best option, but watching the English dub version isn’t a bad choice either. The subtitles read well and had nice flow, they also remain on screen for a fair length of time.
"Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing" was released in a two part Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. The first part included commentary for episodes 1 and 11, a bonus episode (9.5), trailers for other FUNimation Entertainment releases, the textless opening and closing, a commercial collection, a FAM event opening movie, the first part of footage from Anime Expo 2011 and the first 7 episodes of "Friday Night", comedic shorts starring the anime’s main characters. The second part’s extras include commentary for episodes 17 and 21, a bonus episode (15.5), the textless opening and closing songs, FUNimation trailers, promo videos, the second part of the Anime Expo 2011 footage and episodes 8-13 of "Friday Night".
I’m a fan of sky pirates and steampunk-esque designs, so "Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing" definitely grabbed my attention early on. With so many different countries and characters involved you would think that the story would suffer, but it felt like everyone fit in with the story well and having so many people involved allowed for the ability to add some nice plot twists. There were moments where things felt like they moved a little slow, but overall the series kept a nice pace.
Fam made for an interesting main character, her kindhearted approach and willingness to try and help everyone, no matter the side, made her a strange character given the nature of the story and seeing her as she is forced to deal with the trials of war made for some dramatic moments. That same carefree nature did seem to make light of what was happening at times though, and that hurt the experience a bit for me.
Part 1 - 3.5
Part 2 - 3.5
Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Runtime: 575 minutes (300 for part 1, 275 for part 2)
Number of Episodes: 21 + 2 bonus episodes
Number of Discs: 4 DVD (2 for each part)
Languages: English, Japanese with English subtitles
Age Rating: TV14
Release Date: September 10, 2013
(A review copy of "Last Exile, Fam The Silver Wing" on DVD was provided by FUNimation Entertainment.)