Now here is a surprise: Last Exile returns with a flashback episode. This episode is actually entirely dedicated to showing one moment in the past of the main cast: the point the fathers of Fam and Giselda participated in a vanship race, which seemed to be a national holiday, and the point at which they died. I did not expect that, but it definitely was a welcome addition.
What I especially liked was how the creators found a way to show everyone’s past at the same time. By making this a national event they tied a lot of those backstories together, because everyone had his or her own reason to be there, plus it would also make sense for, if you’re planning to assassinate a queen, the best point is where she’s out in the open (this actually also happened once in the Netherlands, although the attempt failed there).
It’s a shame that the animators were clearly forced to rush though this episode, because there was a lot of heart put into it. And heck, we already had seen Fam’s younger versions, but there were so many characters here who also showed off who they were when they were younger, ranging from Milia, to all of the villains, to even the Gracies girls. It’s a huge amount of character development here, and even though it’s a bit dramatic, it did give quite a few hints to how they would grow up, and why they made the decisions they made. Plus, the small Fam, Milia and Giselda were really adorable together.
And yeah, the animation. What’s interesting though, is the way in which Gonzo decided to compromise. This episode forcefully borrowed some animation from the OP directly, even though it didn’t fit at all, there were a ton of distorted faces. There also wasn’t much fluidity in the animation. And yet the one thing that wasn’t compromsied on is the attention to detail. There still were a ton of character designs in all sorts of different shapes, colours and styles. There still were a ton of screens with a ton of different people on it at the same time. The backgrounds still are gorgeous. And yeah, that’s gorgeous: they’re really bad at one thing, and yet really good at the other.
Rating: ** (Excellent)