Posted by psgels on 24 March 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews, Last Exile - Ginyoku no Fam




It’s a bit hard to recommend Last Exile – Ginyoku no Fam, because it had to live up to the expectations of the original Last Exile… and it didn’t. Still, I still consider it a series worth watching, and it is the proof that Gonzo isn’t dead yet.

But yeah, go into this expecting a war story that just happens to take place in the same universe as Last Exile. The mood and tone of this series have some signfiicant differences, and mots of all this series lacks the refinement that its predecessor has. The character animation often is sloppy, there is much less time spent at believable acting and realism, and the charactes too are a lot closer to caricatures.

The big difference is in the plot, though. It’s here where Ginyoku no Fam lacks creativity. It’s all just too average and straight-forward, and it tries too much to center aruond cute girls… in the middle of a war. Too many episodes are just dedicated to “war is bad”, without much refinement to it. To me, the creators seemed very conflicted on what they wanted to do with their main character, Fam. First they establish her character as a delivery girl, and there are times where she really does well to keep true to that role, in particular the ending. At other times though, they want her to be more involved in the actual war, and that’s where this show leaves the most to be desired, as we’re treated to a very whiny teenager who keeps preaching peace over and over again, and who gets shoehorned into politics that she doesn’t belong in.

So yes, be warned. Those who give it a chance however, will be rewarded by some absolutely gorgeous aerial battles, an excellent sense of world building and a pretty engaging atmosphere here. It’s especially the setting int his series that stands out, because the creators created a ton of interesting locations, with some of the most gorgeous background art and architectures. They dabble a bit in different cultures, and the creators really managed to bring the overall world to life, especially in the first half of this series.

The characters are a bit of a mixed bag, but there also is enough good stuff among them. Fam has her moments where she gets really annoying, but she also has a vew moments where she redeems herself, and the cast of side-characters has a number of interesting people walking around who do manage to spice up the story. It remains an unbalanced production though, but I do think that it gets too much flak. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s got enough reasons to make it worth watching.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Could have used a bit more ambition and gets distracted often, though its atmosphere is good.
Characters: 7/10 – The creators were conflicted in how to use their main character, and thefore she tends to get in the way of everything. It’s got some good moments of characterization, though.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Amazing background art, the action scenes in this show look gorgeous. The 2D animation… not so much.
Setting: 9/10 – Excellent and intriguing setting. This series has a lot of fun with its world building.

Suggestions:
Shantri-La
Guin Saga
Simoun

14 Responses

  1. tktym says:

    Good Balanced Review. You took all of the elements of the show and commented on them in a way that made me feel a little better about the show even though I still hated it…mostly because I assumed that it would be better than the first installment, seeing as they had 8 years to improve upon it. Hope you got thick skin because I’m sure the fangirls of this series are gonna passive aggressively bash you for not giving it 100/100.

    • Myssa Rei says:

      On a scale of 100, I’d give it a 75 myself. There are a LOT of good ideas, particularly with regards to the setting, but the execution didn’t really come together. Fam aside, there were some hilarious logic jumps in the last two episodes alone (Sorush surviving is one of them), and while the ending tied things up tidily enough, there were still a lot of lingering questions left behind.

      Still, this seems to have been a moderate success. Wasn’t perfect, but was liked enough. Hopefully this means we’ll see the Hourglass stories animated in OVA form in the future, to REALLY bind the two series together.

  2. Litho says:

    Considering the best episode was that recap of what happened in the first series (recycling old footage), I’m not even gonna rate this one.

    Was hoping this would restore some of my faith in Gonzo. After all, this was the same studio that gave us the Gankutsu Ou, Bokurano, Saikano and the original Last Exile.

    Sadly, this sequel, Last Exile: Jar Jar Binks & Sky Girls Refugees has the same stench as all the other mediocre anime that put Gonzo in it’s financial predicament in the first place.

    I see Gonzo going the way of RIM/Blackberry in the near future.

    • Litho says:

      Then again, studios like AIC continue making money with their usual ecchi drivel, so maybe Gonzo has a future after all …. just not on my TV/hard-drive

  3. DangerMouse says:

    Good review.

    Sorry Litho, you’re comparing Fam to Jar Jar makes any future points meaningless as that’s pure BS, she may not be a great lead but she wasn’t that bad either, and CERTAINLY nowhere near a Jar Jar, talk about hyperbole.

    Also, to compare a show with this much work and pre-production and atmosphere and strong design to crap like some of Gonzo’s (and other studios for that matter) lazy cash-in dips into ecchi crap is ridiculous, as the review pointed out there’s a lot here reminiscent of the classic Gonzo that made those great shows, this was nothing like the drivel that most studios somehow get away with making butt-loads of money off of for cute girls doing nothing.

  4. Nope. says:

    Nope, sorry.

    Your view that this series had some redeeming elements, isn’t enough to excuse Gonzo’s decline in quality since the first Last Exile series.

    These are worse than cardboard cutouts passing for acting…

  5. Taara535 says:

    Sorry, I couldn’t watch this. Fam was abominable. She completely ruined the series for me. Nope. and Litho tell the truth.

  6. Armpit says:

    Just finished this myself and wow just wow. I can’t believe he rated it this high. I can’t see how this got rated higher than GC. At least GC was original material so it didn’t ruin anything. This Last Exile is a slap in the face to the original series. Fam is horrible , and most of the other characters aren’t much better. There are a few really intriguing characters, but none of them are much more than fodder who don’t have much screen time.

  7. skyhack says:

    Pretty typical Gonzo. Outstanding visuals, weak plot, average storytelling, and little character development.
    Not as good as the original, but it was… o.k.

  8. Xziled says:

    this review has lessened my hate for the sequel to last exile, if only a little. it has changed my perspective though, maybe if they gave her less screen time and gave it to other characters where it mattered (like the characters from the first season)then maybe she wouldn’t seem as annoying…

    at least the ending didn’t disappoint me as much as I thought so thats a plus.

    still wish gonzo hadn’t decided to use LE as a means to keep themselves afloat if I had known that they’d throw fam or any other pubescent girls at us for +14 episodes =.=

  9. gandalf8 says:

    My main gripe with this series was definitely their decision to focus the story on Fam and her 2 girl friends, Giselle and Millia. Her naive idealism and all-talk-not-much-action behaviour really ruined this sequel for me. The very interesting background and setting could have saved this series, but unfortunately they wasted too many episodes showing “A Day in the Life of Fam” while the setting was only fleshed out in intermittent bursts between the more important “Fam” scenes.

    I also think I’m one of the few who didn’t like the battle scenes in this one. Sure, the scale and sheer numbers far outstrip the battles in the first Last Exile series, yet none of them managed to convey the sheer awe and exhilaration of battle like the fight between Alex’s Silvius VS Vincent Alzey’s 6 Urbanus-class ships at the Dragon’s Fangs or the Mad-thane led Anatoray fleet VS the Disith fleet in the first episode. Besides that, I think that Dio was sooo CRIMINALLY underutilised when I find him to be one of the most awesome character in this series, with his rad piloting and fighting skills and his ever present underlying sadness for the loss of Luciola even after all these years.

    Overall, I have to say I’m really disappointed with this series as a whole. Even with its addition of the setting on Earth to the Last Exile lore couldn’t salvage this series in my eyes, what with it being underdeveloped due to all the “Fam slice-of-life” scenes and pointless recaps. After this, if anyone asks me about this Last Exile sequel, my answer is gonna be – “What sequel?”…

  10. Famhater says:

    Hated it enough to not ever watch a Gonzo Anime again. How dare you ruin Last Exile. Last Exile is one of my favorite anime series, this imposter of a anime does not deserve the title. WHY?

  11. Jay says:

    I liked Ginyoku no Fam better than the original Last Exile series, mostly because I found the characters more likeable. It had points at which I felt left down – with the outcome of Giselle’s character development episode, the ep with the maid fanservice, and Liliana’s character development in general – and the first few eps were a bit slow, but after that I found that it became much more interesting and I liked it much better. I think that Millia ended up the most interesting character and was in some ways carrying the series.

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 06:09 PM)
    *our
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 06:08 PM)
    The single main issue I have with the newer series is the style. I absolutely dug the classic, more realistic character designs, environment and movement. They also tended to be more dark and edgy. Now they whiplash back and forth between camp and violence which generally undermines both. Kids can have all these moe shows, but can we get are characters with regular-sized heads back as well?
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 06:03 PM)
    Regarding writing the anime industry has always been a mixed bag, so that depends more on the production than the era (although they tend to be mostly bad or inconsistent).
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 06:00 PM)
    @Ninja: No they were quite terrible, but at least they had the decency of making them concise and so gratuitous that it became pretty fun to watch. One main gripe back then was that given 2-3 disjointed OVA episodes the shows didn’t really get anywhere, nowadays you watch two full seasons to realize that a lot of these new shows also don’t go anywhere.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:54 PM)
    @Bam Sure, I agree with you, but that’s a taste judgement. In terms of quality I think it’s unfair to suggest that something like Violence Jack or Mad Bull 34 is quality writing. The writing in a lot of old anime is extremely dated and just not that great.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:51 PM)
    @Emma lol, sorry. I wasn’t trying to cut off your point. I thought you were done talking about it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:49 PM)
    I’ll take anime like Violence Jack or Genocyber over SAOII anyday.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:47 PM)
    @Realist: Got there first before I said it =< =D
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:34 PM)
    @Emma Yeah, people who say that anime has gone down the toilet have just not watched very much old anime. A lot of the stuff that came out during the “classic” anime era was just terrible.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Sep 21. 2014 05:15 PM)
    Urotsukidōji always wins.

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