Somewhere, amidst the absurd disappointment that has been this Fall anime season so far (Chihayafuru aside, of course), the sequel of one of my favourite series ever popped its head out of nowhere, gently reminding me that I still love steampunk and everything that goes with it. Fam, the Silver Wing is no exception, and is just as beautiful as its predecessor in both its visuals and story.
Peace talks between the nation of Turan and the Ades Federation break down, and during the peace treaty ceremony, Ades declares war and underhandedly invades with an armada of airships in an attempt to capture the princesses, Liliana and Millia. The Turan royal flagship, Lasa, is rescued by a group of Sky Pirates, led by Fam and Giselle, who commandeer the Lasa in an attempt to deceive the Ades armada by feigning its destruction amidst the ensuing chaos.
My preparation for watching this series was minimal. I recently watched the series again at the beginning of the year, but enough time has passed since then that I don’t remember too many particular details about the show. Having seen the first episode again, I can safely say that watching the first series is not necessary for the enjoyment of this one. There are some blanks that could otherwise be filled in by having watched the previous series, but one of the strengths of Last Exile is its storytelling. I’m confident that all the details will be addressed as the story progresses.
As far as first episodes go, Silver Wing does an incredibly good job introducing everything, while at the same time, giving just enough information for the audience to understand the situation. There’s a war between Turan and Ades. The treaty failed. The princesses of Turan are in charge because the King is sick. It doesn’t feel like a huge info dump like Fate/Zero was, and unlike Fate/Zero, Last Exile dives head-first into the action right away, with a fast-paced skirmish scene between the tiny vanship pirates and the dreaded fleet of the Ades Federation. And boy what a skirmish it is! The tension is high in this David vs Golliath encounter, with the smaller vanships using smokescreens and deceptive signals to trick the Ades fleet into firing at each other. The battle takes place during the entire second half of the episode, after the eyecatch. It’s fast-paced, it’s riveting, and there’s plenty of bridge-speak and barrel rolls to be had.
I personally love the return of Dio. He played a major role in Last Exile, but other than him ordering the princess around after the battle, his presence in the plot is lessened, but to the right amount. Either way, his personality is as I’ve always remembered: childlike, whimsical, a cloud cuckoolander, and a badass pilot. His big moment in the show was when he pulled off an immelmann turn on his vanship. Dio’s declaration of the immelmann turn was highly nostalgic, but still a remarkable sight for people watching it for the first time. He truly captures the essence of the freedom of flying in the air.
The two main characters are your typical tomboy and girly girl pair, but Fam and Giselle were written interestingly enough through their interaction with each other. One scene before taking flight had them sharing a meal while reading the news about Ades and Turan. Giselle is fascinated by the Turan royalty and has fantasies about being a princess, whereas neither of the girls can’t see Fam playing such a role. The other two introduced characters are the princesses themselves, Liliana and Millia. Millia is the bratty younger sibling, while Liliana is mature and responsible. I can’t wait to see how these characters are developed and contrasted from each other.
The only new character that irked me was Millia’s servant, Teddy. He’s a butt-monkey, and a somewhat annoying one at that. It’s not so much his incompetence, but rather his relationship to Millia that rubs me the wrong way. He’s not self-respecting enough, though it could be because of his young age. I don’t want this dynamic to remain as is, so I wholly expect their relationship to improve as the series continues, and the direness of the political landscape gives them both perspective of their roles in the upcoming events.
Either way, I’m already liking the portrayal of Fam in particular. She’s headstrong to the point of stubbornness, which allows her to immediately make a choice regarding her participation in the war. She answers the call eagerly, but does so in a magnificently pirate-y way by capturing the Lasa in the exact same manner as she did with the other “skyfish” from the beginning of the episode. Brilliant stuff.
The next episode is called Fool’s Mate, which not only continues on with the chess theme in the series’ episode names, but also provides a bit of a teaser for the next episode. Fool’s mate is the fastest checkmate sequence in the game, meaning that the next episode could spell disaster for the Turan nation, despite the Lasa’s minor victory and escape. I’m very excited to see what will happen next.
Welcome back, Last Exile. I’ve missed you.