The plot of Fam was for me much the same as the original Last Exile: I was deeply confused in the beginning, but became quite attached to the characters in the end. As with the first season, there are a number of different factions vying for power through the use of various airships with a 19th Century feel. Thrown into this conflict are the semi-mystical giant ships called Exiles which have star-traveling capabilities.
Basically, in the past the world descended into chaos and the various nations inhabiting it constructed these Exiles to flee to other planets. But now things have settled down back on Earth and these same nations are returning, much to the displeasure of the Ades Federation--the only nation to have remained. The main characters from the original Last Exile are one of the groups returning. I found this dynamic between Ades (basically the antagonistic nation throughout the series) and the nations that "abandoned" Earth to be interesting.
There are a great number of airship battles throughout the show, but just as important are the political maneuvers behind the scenes. The large cast of characters and their various motives combine to create some good conflict. Wound into this is the quest of the idealistic main character, Fam, whose adventures I will admit drag at some points. I also abhor the two recap episodes, one which inexplicably covers the original Last Exile and one which recaps the events of Fam up to that point.
The 21-episode length is atypical, but I think it was a good choice on the part of the writers. They wrapped up the action nicely during that time without dragging out the climax.
Gonzo always has superb animation, and Fam is no exception. The admittedly large number of juvenile characters have simple, round faces and relatively large eyes. Proportions are otherwise relatively realistic. I particularly admired the use of colors in some characters, such as Vasant (purple) and Admiral Sadri (green).
For the high number of ships present in the series, they have surprisingly poor design. The battles make good use of CGI, but it just doesn't have the same punch as hand-drawn material.
I particularly liked the OP, "Buddy," as it has some strong instrumentals to back up the singing. The soft ending song produced little effect on me.
Voice actors are all fine, except for that of Augusta Sara--she started to get on my nerves. I tip my hat to Takaya Hashi, who voiced Admiral Sadri.
The three main characters--Fam, Giselle, and Millia--are all teenage girls, which irked me immensely at first. I was afraid that the three of them would blur together and ultimately end up as one bland mess. Thankfully, their personalities and actions differ enough through the series to make them at least slightly memorable.
There were some characters, like Millia's sisted Liliana, whom I terribly wanted to smack. How can someone be so stupid?
The villain, Luscinia, has a somewhat bland personality but he does his job.
It's a good series. Perhaps not quite as good as the original Last Exile, but still well worth watching.