Saturday, May 12, 2012

Fam - the Silver Wing

This post is about the series Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam.  I decided I liked this series enough to blog about it, although I will say I probably overall liked the first Last Exile (LE1 in this post) better.  This series is a sequel to the original.  It takes place on the homeworld where the peoples from the LE1 world actually originated.   Apparently many centuries before the current story, people from this world emigrated to the LE1 world because this original world was too small to support the population, and the Guild led that emigration. 

Like LE1, this series centers around airships and battles and the exploits of a young pilot.  In this series that young pilot is Fam Fan Fan and she is accompanied by her friend and navigator, Giselle or Gisey for short.  Fam was an orphan raised by Gisey's family who are members of a group referred to as the Sky Pirates.  These folks live mainly by scavenging other air ships, until Fam involves them in worldwide politics.  Fam and Gisey fly a small vanship called a Vespa.  If you've seen LE1, a Vespa compares to a vanship from that series as a motorcycle would compare to an SUV.  Vespas are small!  One day going about their pirating business, Fam and Gisey rescue a princess named Millia when a treaty effort is betrayed and her older sister is kidnapped.  They begin to help her and become involved in affairs of the wider world.

The back story here, which you don't get until late in the series, is that the previous Empress of one of the major nations tried to unite the whole world in friendship, and held a vanship race to commemorate the unification.  Things went wrong and she was killed by assassins, despite the presence of her Guild guards who were unable to protect her.  The role of Empress devolves to her baby daughter, and at the time of the series, young Empress Sara is guided in her rule by a number of generals of different nationalities.  She intends to follow her mother's wish of a united world.  Sara's main general is Luscinia who also happens to be one of the two Guild guards who couldn't protect her mother.  Luscinia also wishes to unite the world for his former Empress, however he plans to do it by slaughtering all the nations that don't agree with him. 

As it turns out, the Guild on this world is almost gone, many of them having immigrated to the LE1 world, however as a remaining Guild member, Luscinia believes the world is too small to support its current population plus the returning peoples from the emigration.  His way to deal with that is to slaughter whole races, and he's pretty good at it, using Millia's older sister to control pieces of this world's Exile, and drop them from space onto resisting populations. 

Like LE1, this series has a small battle ship which holds itself separate from the affairs of the other nations.  This battleship is called the Sylvius (instead of Silvana) and it is captained by Tatiana Wisla, a vanship pilot in the first series.  The Sylvius and her crew aid Princess Millia and try to stop some of Luscinia's excesses. 

Dio Eraclea from LE1 is also a main character in this series.  It feels great to see him, not only sane but really useful in this series, especially since at the end of LE1 he was insane, lost in the Grand Stream and assumed dead (at least by me).  In this series he first appears as a friend of Fam among the Sky Pirates, but later proves to be involved with and perhaps of member of the Sylvius crew.  He brings a pre-teen Alvis Hamilton with him to help deal with the Exile on this world and acts as her guardian, demonstrating that the fighting training he received previously stands him in good stead against this world's Guild.

Little Empress Sara has only good intentions, but her generals begin fighting each other and siding with the various nations when Luscinia wipes out 4 different races, including one that is the nation of one of the generals.  Sara tries to bring peace and stop people from fighting, but nothing works.  Eventually, after much destruction and killing, Sara is taken by Luscinia and the rest of the world unites against him and his plots.  The 'rest of the world' includes the Sky Pirates, the Sylvius and crew, all Sara's remaining generals, Empress Sophia and Vincent from LE1, representing the nations of the new world, Millia's remaining people, and others.  In the end Fam and Gisey rescue Sara, Luscinia dies, and the world has peace.

I liked this series for a number of reasons.  Foremost was probably Dio being alive and well, and surviving this series too!  It also has wonderful music and although I waited a long time to figure out the back story, I did figure out that they hadn't just taken characters from LE1 and dropped them into this series.  They mostly explained or gave you a sense of how they could be there.   Plus most of the characters survived the series.  Along with Luscinia, two other generals die, as does Millia's sister.  And of course the four races Luscinia effectively   wipes out.  Overall, it was worth watching, even if I do still like LE1 better.

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