Ginyoku no Famu
Eight years ago, I dreamt of a second season to Last Exile. I still remember little bits and pieces of it—Lavie and Claus went to rescue Alvis from a monster at a water park, and Alex Rowe came back…fortunately not in swim trunks. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since the first season ended, because I remember it like it were yesterday, and I still love it just as much. When the real second season was announced, I was both shocked and extremely excited. Did it turn out to be like my dream? Well, not exactly, but it’s still a delight in and of itself. Plenty of eye candy and nostalgia!
Unfortunately, a lot of old fans don’t feel the same way towards the sequel as I do. They immediately thought it sucked because the new main character, Fam, is moe and starts the series by sleepwalking her way into trouble. Her personality is similar to Lavie’s because they’re both impulsive, but she’s much more happy-go-lucky, silly, and innocent. Point taken, she does get a little annoying. She rants about her dream to bring back the Grand Race, says inappropriate things without thinking, and she’s rather immature about politics and social class. At the end of her scenes, her childhood best friend and navigator, Giselle, just shakes her head with “Oh Fam.” But you see, that is what we have to do too. We just have to accept her quirks and move on. She’s nowhere near the worst, and I’d take her over a tsundere any day. And she’s certainly no reason to look down on the whole series with hatred. Come on, Last Exile isn’t ruined. Besides, I thought her relationship with Giselle was rather reminiscent of Claus and Lavie. ^^
I must admit that the plot hasn’t been Last Exile’s strong suit, for it’s much better at world building and strategic airship battles. After S1, I was confused as heck about what Exile was, where it came from, why Alvis was the “key” to it, why the war existed at all, and so on. The sequel seeks to provide some of these answers, as well as establishing a fascinating story that is much easier to follow. I had even called it “brilliant” in the beginning. By halfway point, things get pretty heated up to the point of thrilling. The only problem is the execution of it. Some episodes feel unnecessary, out of place, or are just not focused enough on other important characters. The finale is definitely not to everyone’s liking, making some plot elements and character deaths feel utterly pointless. I understand all that, but if you can, just try not to take everything too seriously. After all, the heroine is a teenage girl. Last time, we had a teenage boy.
The new villain, Luscinia, is in many ways improved over Maestro Delphine. He actually has a history, interesting relationships with other characters, and is not pure evil. I’d say that the more interesting new characters are on his side–the five generals and a poor little girl who’s being manipulated in her decisions to lead her people. In fact, I wish that the series spent more time fleshing them out than Fam. And on Fam’s side, we’ve got a bunch of the old characters back–Dio, Tatiana, Allis, Vincent, and more!
In the end, what really made this series for me was the nostalgia. It was great fun to see the old characters and hear the old music again. I also liked that they kept the old title screen. Of course I prefer season one, as it has had eight years to sink in. Back then, it was new and fresh and left a great emotional impact on me. As interesting as the new characters are, I won’t be missing them nearly as much. But still, I can’t deny that the animation, story, and villains are improved here. There’s much to appreciate if you can get over Fam and other nit-picky flaws, especially if you’re an old fan like me. To the skies, everybody~ =D
Mimi’s Score: 8 Meeps out of 10 (Very Good)
Alex’s Score: 7 Meeps out of 10 (Good)
Doofus’ Score: 7 Meeps out of 10 (Good)