Posted by psgels on 17 March 2012 with categories: Last Exile - Ginyoku no Fam

That was actually much better than what I expected it to be. As the penultimate episode (not counting that epilogue that seems to be scheduled for this series in two weeks), this episode was meant to take down the giant doomsday machine. This machine is this giant flying monster with impossible fire-power, being controlled by just two people who are hiding in the center of it. The episode finally ends up boiling down to trying to get inside, reach those two and stopping them. And yeah, that’s something that Fam is really good at. I really feared that when they pulled the princess card a few episodes ago, they would do something similar here, but really: it’s been established that she is a very good vanship pilot. It makes sense for her to be the first to reach Luscinia when you take this build-up into account.

Also, Koichi Chigira really did it: he really made the battle against this giant flying monster work. The Grand Exile really feels HUGE. Even when Fam gets inside, it takes ages for them to get from one side to the other, while in a flying plane, of all things. The build-up to this also was great. They made the Grand Exile a really formidable foe, while also giving it its weaknesses that come with being so big.

When looking at the big picture though, Ginyoku no Fam in the end did not live up to the original Last Exile. I still like it, but nowhere near as much as with its predecessors. Let’s take Luscinia, the main villain. In the end, he is pretty poor, and I can only hope that the final episode at least redeems him. There’s very little to set him apart, and as for being a threat… he seems more like this angsty guy who can’t get over one death and therefore upholds a plan that just can’t be sustained in the long run, and he just pales in comparison to the villains of Shangri-La and the first Last Exile, who had much more confident and smug personalities that actually made them feel a threat.

Also, I do think that the first half of Ginyoku no Fam is better than the second half. It’s because there, it was doing something that it was actually really good at: world building. The second half put much more focus on the war and politics, and to be honest it doesn’t really stand out. It’s solid, don’t get me wrong, but beyond the gorgeous graphics I’m missing something to set itself apart. The Gracies idea was nice and probably the part that stands out the most, but the grand scheme of things still seems a bit… simple.

I mean, it’s essential for a show to change over the course of its time, but the change itself needs to be good. The second half of a series, especially of the 2-cour format, is something where the creators can really go all out, but Ginoku no Fam missed the mark a bit in trying to be too epic, while ignoring the parts that they also should have paid attention to: the characters and setting. things were added to them, but I feel that this was not enough.
Rating: *+ (Great)

Yeah, this is a new rating, between 8 (Good) and ** (Excellent). I found myself more and more in the need of one. While running this blog I got to spend a lot on various kinds of ratings. Tkae my reviews for example: I started out with using numbers as 82/100, 74/100, etc. At one point I simplified those ratings to 80/100, 82,5/100, 85/100, etc because I found myself unable to explain the difference between a show that I’d rank 85/100 and 86/100. Afterwards I started to use the same kind of philosophy for rating episodes.

I’ve often been criticized for not having an evenly distributed rating scale, but honestly, I don’t care about that at all. I just want something that I’m comfortable with, and the current rating scale mostly evolved from rating countless of series and episodes. However, now that I’ve used this system for a few years, I’ve noticed that I run into more and more episodes or series that belong inbetween two ratings (like this episode for example: it was better than the episodes that I usually label as “Good”, but at the same time I didn’t consider it to be “Excellent”). I’m going to try and refine these ratings at the points where they need to now.

15 Responses

  1. Sahara Frost says:

    If you ever feel like the star rating system isn’t working for you, you could always try the school grade system. That will give you an option of being broad or specific, as you can just use the plain old letter grades (A-F), or you can tack on the +/- if the letters alone don’t meet your needs.

    • psgels psgels says:

      Hehe, the thing is that the letter grades are something I’m entirely unfamiliar with. I’m dutch, and the system we used in school ranges from 1 to 10, with 6 being the minimum requirement. I actually used this system for a while, but I switched over to stars because it was too similar to the rating that I used for my series reviews.

      • Bass.EXE says:

        Oh, that’s pretty much like the letter system. An A is 9-10, a B is 8, C is 7, D is 6 (the bare minimum to pass), and F is 1-5.

        • Tomato says:

          Yep. And just to elaborate using a 100 point scale:

          A: 90-100
          B: 80-89
          C: 70s
          D: 60s
          F: 59 and below

          + is for X7 to X9 (i.e. an 87 is a B+)
          no +/- is for X4 to X6 (i.e. 75 is a C)
          – is for X0 to X3 (i.e. 90 is an A-)

          There is no F+ or F-. Very often there’s no D- either (and in college, A+ often doesn’t exist).

  2. R says:

    I didn’t like the episode.

    [spoilers + ranting]
    I didn’t like the way they threw in the ships, characters, and music of the first Last Exile. They’re ruining things that they got right before.

    – Compare the Exile in the first Last Exile (or even the Turan or Glacies Exiles) to the Grand Exile. The first were much more fearsome. The Grand Exile, no so much.
    – The Guild star ships are now cannon fodder even for the sky pirates! And they’re dumb enough that even when it’s a many-on-two fight, they let one of the two through to the control room just because the other one headed in the opposite direction.
    – How did Anatory get all these ships to this planet?
    – Since when can the Urbanus cut through a ship-sized Exile tentacle? Didn’t smaller tentacles in Last Exile destroy the Urbanus and its sister ship?
    – Why does Sophia not look like Sophia?

    Even the elements of the new series are being sacrificed on this altar of desperation: Why bring back dead characters? Why are all these fleets that were smarter before just static and dumb now? And finally, if your enemy has a huge doomsday cannon, why would you concentrate your fleet, and connect the ships with communication cables instead of fanning them out.

    The first Last Exile also had a problem with the ending, but not to this degree.

  3. DangerMouse says:

    “How did Anatory get all these ships to this planet?”

    Anatoray’s Exile has been making repeated trips back and forth between Prester and Earth, bringing people and ships to Earth. In the S1 materials it was specifically mentioned in the specs for the original show’s Exile that it can fit at least 2 Claimh Solais class ships (Anatoray’s most common battleship) in it’s hold at a time.

    “And finally, if your enemy has a huge doomsday cannon, why would you concentrate your fleet, and connect the ships with communication cables instead of fanning them out.”

    The cables were only used at the very beginning then they disconnected. They did that at the very beginning in order to issue orders to the massive fleet, remember there are no radios. After that they separate from the cables permanently. As for concentrating the fleet, there was little escaping it, there were a lot of ships and they spanned much of the sky, plus other fleets came from other directions so they weren’t all concentrated, plus they also needed to be at least partially concentrated because I’d imagine compared to what they expected to need their firepower is rather weak hence the need to partially concentrate their fire and they still rely on manual targeting systems.

    “Compare the Exile in the first Last Exile (or even the Turan or Glacies Exiles) to the Grand Exile. The first were much more fearsome. The Grand Exile, no so much.”

    The Grand Exile is pretty damned fearsome, it levels fleets of ships and even blows away another Exile in a single shot, however it’s got it’s own weaknesses being so big but more specifically being so old, also it makes sense as it appears quite clear now that the Anatoray-Disith Exile is the newest and hence most advanced, whereas the Grand Exile is seemingly old and has been on Earth underground and unmaintained for quite some time, maybe even constructed before the various Exiles hence it’s relatively fragile state despite still being capable of doing massive damage.

    “Since when can the Urbanus cut through a ship-sized Exile tentacle? Didn’t smaller tentacles in Last Exile destroy the Urbanus and its sister ship?”

    Upgrades most likely.

    “Why does Sophia not look like Sophia?”

    I dunno, she looked fine for Sophia with her hair down.

  4. flamerounin says:

    ok, i like how the episode went, but the whole story still feels a bit more wanting. for one, the whole “princess fam” plotline could have actually worked if they had used it to explore her character more. but now, it feels more like “oh i know. let’s make fam a princess,” quickly followed by “the audience didn’t buy it. let’s just forget the whole thing.”

  5. Myssa Rei says:

    I don’t know about you, but I actually liked Luscinia (and the Ades generals as a group really) more than Delphine, because of the fact that the former was a man with a plan (albeit a twisted one), while the latter was pretty much doing it LITERALLY for “shits and giggles”. Delphine was very one-dimensional, and not really compelling, while at least with Luscinia we can understand his (very human) motivations. Also it’s easier to be intimidated by a villain who (outwardly) knows what he’s doing, rather than a simple nutjob, at least in my opinion.

  6. gandalf8 says:

    So in the end, Luscinia’s big plan to achieving world peace basically boils down to threatening everyone to stop fighting or he’ll blast them away with his big cannons. Looks like we have a big fan off Schneizel el Britannia and his Damocles plan in the house. And we all know how THAT plan ended.

  7. tktym says:

    oooooh, the fanboys of “fam” are out in force today, all over the net, and blogs, defending this show from anyone that might think it sucks.

    guess thats why there’s only a handful of the same posters that post tl:dr books that nobody cares about.

    funny.

    • psgels psgels says:

      Please don’t get “nobody cares about” and “I don’t care about” mixed up. ;)

    • Hello there. says:

      Okay, I lied. I do have something to say, just to pre-empt your counterargument: I may not freaking know what a good show is, but I do know what arrogant behavior is like, having encountered it in various forums and sites. I do not freaking care if your stuff is comparatively tame or if I don’t have a thick skin. All I care is that you are a person who holds himself superior to other people and sees it fit to condescend to them to make yourself feel good.

      You can prove to me that Fam is a bad show, but that does not change the fact that many people here secretly dislike you and I’m only airing their views. Those who agree with you are only a minority and rely more on loud voices than actual sense. And before you ask, I’m deliberately exaggerating my moralizing. It’s more fun that way.

      Adieu.

  8. dm0 says:

    Goodness, when Gonzo decides to do action, they pretty much get it right (setting aside the silly Silvius-windmill a few episodes ago). This was a thrilling episode. Dyan’s was the best Immelman turn yet.

    As for the Guild Starfish being no match for the pirates — these are drone Starfish, not Starfish piloted by Guild-ninjas. Further, this Grand Exile is unfinished — and it also may have been built with deliberate limitations to force its users to use it wisely (or else it was the only way they could achieve such firepower — rather like a nuclear-bomb-pumped X-ray laser).

    I do think the Urbanus taking a full-on blow from one of the Exile tentacles is a dramatic inconsistency. And I think that bringing Sophia in for a few shouted orders is a bit of a cheap trick (I did appreciate the Silvius’ sonar-operator’s delighted cry of “Wina-sempai!”, though). I may feel differently after the next two episodes.

    A deeply flawed series, but an ambitious one. I think we’d all rate it higher if it didn’t stand in the shadow of its predecessor.

  9. Lukia Fan says:

    Where did you get the information of an “epilogue that seems to be scheduled for this series in two weeks” ?

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:20 PM)
    Decided to marathon Giant Robo, I think this was mentioned by someone on here before. I guess it was fairly entertaining, great action direction, looked good for its time, you don’t notice the hour long episodes go by, adequate characters, nice retro artstyle also, not sure if I got excited over this as big O and Mazinger however but still fun enough nonetheless.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.

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