Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing

Alt title: Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam

TV (21 eps)
2011 - 2012
Fall 2011
3.536 out of 5 from 2,268 votes
Rank #5,613

Years ago, humanity abandoned the ruined Blue World. Generations later, with the planet again capable of sustaining life, mankind returned. In the skies above the reborn world, rebellious young Fam and her best friend Giselle make their living as Sky Pirates. Atop sleek Vespa Vanships, the girls dart fearlessly through the clouds, capturing and selling airborne battleships for profit. It’s a life of care-free swashbuckling – until the Ades Federation attacks. The only nation to remain on Blue World during humanity’s exile, The Ades Federation wages war against those who returned only after the planet’s darkest days had passed. When Fam and Giselle rescue a princess from the clutches of the rampaging Ades armada, they join the young royal’s battle to save her Kingdom from destruction – and undertake the impossible mission of uniting humanity in peace.

Source: Funimation

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In 2003, Gonzo made “Last Exile”: a neat adventure story with gorgeous visuals set in a fascinating world inhabited with some intriguing characters and, most importantly, a genuine sense of adventure and wonder. That said, it had its problems: the main characters were bland, the story pace was uneven and the ending was a rushed mess. Fast forward to 2011, Gonzo is diving into the world of Last Exile yet again with “Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam” (TL: Fam, the Silver Wing). A sequel that's only loosely tied to the original, both in story and, sadly, in quality. Set an unspecified number of years after the original, “Ginyoku no Fam” is an adventure story starring Fam, a spunky young pilot who dreams of a free and peaceful sky. Said wish is brutally shattered when the powerful Ades Federation declares a war of global conquest. Fam gets involved in the conflict when she rescues a runaway princess from Ades' one of Ades' first conquests and vows to help her get back her kingdom and end the war. Sounds familiar? That's because it is. It's the same basic story that you've seen in a hundred fantasy books, children's cartoons and role-playing games. Being derivative is not a dealbreaker in and of itself seeing as even the most formulaic story can become riveting when injected with interesting concepts or explored from a fresh new angle. While “Ginyoku no Fam” makes a few decent attempts at the former, but it's undone by haphazard storytelling that focuses on all the wrong things.  The titular character herself is actually one of the shows biggest problems: Fam is obnoxious, naïve, pushy and prone to get herself involved in affair that she knows nothing about. It wouldn't be bad if the narrative actually acknowledged these qualities as a bad thing or tried to somewhat realistically depict the downsides of having such a personality but it's all too obvious that the makers of this show wanted the audience to be charmed by Fam's unyielding optimism. Worse yet is that the creators' infatuation with her extends to the way she manages to charm and influence every character she comes across. Hell, at one point the main villain even expresses his admiration for her even though they never had any meaningful interaction up to that point. The problems created by the constant focus on Fam actually seep into and corrupt the overall story. Part of what actually made the original series so captivating was that the main characters were part of a much bigger world. Their presence and influence on the grand scheme of things was minimal, as one would expect from a bunch of adventure seeking kids. This hint of realism made for an adventure story with a fresh twist. “Ginyoku no Fam”, however, is very clear about how we're supposed to see Fam: a messiah whose energetic demeanor is the solution to all the world's problems. It's a real shame seeing as the story had elements that could have made for a great watch. The Ades Federation initially seems like the typical evil empire but are quickly revealed to largely consist of sympathetic individuals whose firm conviction is borne from desperation more than anything. Other bits of world building such as the tensions between Exiles and Natives, both of whom are convinced that they are the world's “rightful people” (allegory, anyone?) are similarly intriguing, as is the brief glimps we get of the seemingly theocratic and secluded nation of Glacies. But hey, who cares about things like that when you can watch girls walk around in maid outfits or lecture about how people should just “get over” feelings of mutual resentment that have existed for decades? The production values are all over the place. The visuals in particular range from spectacular to absolutely awful. Anyone who's a bit knowledgeable about animation will tell you that anime series are no stranger to saving their budget for lavishly animated sequences while other scenes have considerably less effort put into them. “Ginyoku no Fam” is no exception, but I can't recall another series where the quality of the visuals fluctuated so massively. And that's not even the worst part: the series renders the airships in CG and it looks terrible. Which is all the more shocking when you realize that the original series looks fantastic despite being one of the first series to rely heavily on 3D computer animation and CG. The final visual insult, however, is that many of the big battles that are fought over the course of the story look absolutely terrible. All of them are absolute clusterfucks that are devoid of any sense of urgency seeing as the main characters always find a way to turn the tides no matter how badly the odds are against them. Ultimately, the only conclusion I can reach is that this series is a failure both as a standalone adventure story and as a sequel. Correction: it fails especially as a sequel. Very few of the original series' characters show up and the ones that do just get completely sidelined in favor of the “fun” adventures of Fam and girlfriends. The only character from the original series whose role comes close to anything substantial is Dio and he flat-out disappears for large chunks of time. There's also very little connection to the original series in terms of themes, atmosphere or world building. A cynic might even suspect that Gonzo simply took a tried-and-true storyline, mixed it with currently popular character archetypes and slapped the label of one of their older and best received series on it. It would certainly explain the creative bankruptcy on display in this mess of a series. “Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam” is a huge disappointment. I can reach no other conclusion.


The first Last Exile (LE) is considered by many as one of the best anime GONZO ever made. Which doesn’t mean anything since it never made many great shows to begin with. In fact, for me the only great shows it even made are NHK and Kaleido Star. Anyways, the years passed, GONZO went almost bankrupt because of the shitty shows it was making, and now all of a sudden tries to make a comeback with a follow up to LE. Impressions? IT’S SHIT!The first LE wasn’t ever super great but at least retained a basic feeling of maturity and seriousness. Fam, the Silver Wing (FSW) though makes a drastic change and turns to something far worse. IT BECAME LOLI MOE CRAP! You don’t believe me? Think of the first episode of LE. Two armies clashing in the sky. Motivational screams, dread, fear, and death. Nobody is certain of who will win. And then a third ship appears from above and with its superior technology trashes them, proving how this is a cruel world where ideals and sacrifice mean nothing before raw power and cynicism towards life. Amongst this chaos was a pair of kind hearted boy and girl mailmen, trying to earn their living while delivering important messages. I never liked most of what followed but the basic concept of the show was there and was clear from the beginning. The tragedy of war, the unjust ruling of the nobles, and the loss of innocence. Now let’s look at the first episode of FSW. It begins with an underage girl undressing while sleepwalking and jumping off the airship she is on. Everybody comments “Man, she is totally stupid.” Then the scene changes to a lake where a naked woman bathes, and a cute kid slips and falls in the water. “Man, he’s totally stupid.” Then a fleet of airships invade and try to capture alive that said woman and her sister, because they are important princesses. The stupid girl, along with a group of immature and annoying kids intervene because she feels like stealing ships for the lulz. After using the most snotty and vulgar behaviour to her elders, she creates major damage to the invading fleet with a few childish tricks and even fool it to think the princesses died. All of which happen in 10 minutes, while using tiny ships, and their tools being nothing other than a few smoke bombs and flashlights. After that, as if it was all a game, they laugh and she hangs like a monkey from the window and shows everyone her underwear. WTF did I just watch? The few shreds of decency the show had are now gone. This is not the follow up to LE; it is closer to a goddamn Strike Witches spin-off! The lolis wear clothes with animal ears and tails for crying out loud. And I’d be damned if all the characters ain’t a rehash from their earlier total failure that was Shangri-La. Awful, tasteless, immature, fan catering BS! Well done GONZO, you prove how you will never improve if all you do is replacing decent characters with shitty ones. You deserve your fate. I didn’t drop the series right there; I wanted to see how they will handle this catastrophe. 2. (ep.2) People have superpowers that magically stop bullets and summon moons to drop on the planet. OH MY GODS, THEY TURNED THIS FROM A WAR DRAMA TO A MAHOU SHOUJO! 3. (ep.3) They try really hard to convince us there are battle tactics in this show by making the naval fleets performing weird formations. Well tactics my butt if most of it happens out-of-screen and we don’t even see the outcome of all this mess. Seriously, you hardly see how they fight; all they show is bullets and explosions. Plus, a thousand warships can easily be fooled, infiltrated, and destroyed by an animal-themed loli holding a flashlight, so all that are pointless from the get-go. Jeez, I have seen ten times more tactics in the otherwise naval space battles of Legend of Galactic Heroes. They barely felt this retarded. 4. (ep.5) The lolis do cosplay to move the hearts of men, steal their ships by using your mother as an excuse, and demand a new kingdom while dressed as maids. I WAS PULLING MY OWN FEW REMAINING HAIR WHILE WATCHING THIS!5. (ep.7) An enemy fleet is chasing after the good guys. They claim they gather information on how to improve their technology by copying that of others. So after they see the good guys’ fleet getting their asses kicked, they decide they have gathered all they can from them and throw a volley of shots which will destroy them. Since they have gathered all they needed, that volley should have wiped them out entirely. But no it didn’t because the loli heroine tells the fleet to duck and all the ships easily avoid the attack. IF IT WAS SO EASY THEN WHY WEREN’T YOU DUCKING BEFORE? AND IF THE ENEMY GATHERED ALL THE INFORMATION ABOUT THEM THEN WHY DIDN’T THEY KNOW HOW EASY THEY CAN AVOID ALL THEIR ATTACKS?6. (ep.8) The heroes’ flagship is chased by the enemy fleet. They reach a mountain which blocks their flight. Instead of going higher to pass over it, they decide to blow a hole through it with their super weapons. So the question here is WHY ARE THEY BLOWING UP MOUNTAINS IN ORDER TO ESCAPE AND NOT JUST USE THE SUPER WEAPONS ON THE ENEMY? WHY ARE THEY EVEN RUNNING AWAY FROM THEM IF THEY CAN WIPE THEM OUT EASILY WITH THOSE? 7. (ep.8) The lolis sink a humongous warship by firing a single shot with a hand pistol at its weak spot, the belly. IF WARSHIPS SINK SO EASILY THEN WHY DON’T THEY USE A FEW TINY SABOTEUR UNITS IN EVERY BATTLE? Jeez, and then some say the Death Star which was destroyed with a simple torpedo was far-fetched.8. (ep.8) A tiny ship is stuck on the heroes’ flagship and the pilots inside are unconscious. The lolis decide that the best way to save them is to risk their lives by lifting the ship with their own hands and hope for something completely random to happen instead of just CUTTING THE ROPE AND SAFELY TOWING THEM AWAY. 9. (ep.10) Dio can apparently teleport anywhere he likes because he popped out of nowhere and blocked that lightsaber aiming at the lolis… Nah, I’m kidding, it is clearly BS of the storyboard for the lulz. 10. (ep.11) Terrorists attack the empress and everybody are standing still and watching them idly for minutes instead of running away or trying to help. Clearly, the director had no skills to show more than two people walking around at the same time. 11. (ep.11) When one of the bodyguards kills the terrorists in an aircraft, he jumps out and lets it crush anywhere it randomly drops onto. Even if he didn’t care about the hundreds of spectators near by (who all this time are standing still and watch the battle instead of just running away or at least taking cover) but it could have easily dropped on the empress and anyone on board the platform. Retarded! 12. (ep.12) It could have been great if we would get an epic battle between Dio and the assassins but this is GONZO we are talking about. The battle ends in a few seconds and without letting us see anything. The rest of the episode is tired loli fan service and bad Russian. 13. (ep.13) The battle in this episode is another desperate attempt to make us think there is strategy in this show when it is all random weapons that nobody saw or could defend against, unless they have more random weapons. It reminds me of the games we were playing as little kids (My laser kills you. – No, my shield deflects your laser and kills you. – No, I teleport and kill you instead. – No, I block your teleport with my magic talisman. – No, I order my invisible dragon to eat your talisman). 14. (ep.14) At this point you realize Fam and her lolis no longer have a role in the show. They are looking idly at events, just like those spectators. Despite being the protagonists, they are doing nothing but offering retarded moe slice of life. So you end up watching a completely random war and boring lolis.15. (ep.15) All the nations gather around to talk about ending the war. At the same moment, the villains find the ruins of some new super weapon. Yeah, screw politics, and dialogue. The only thing that matters in this show is random superpowers. 16. (ep.16) Two fleets are fighting in the sky and the battle ends when the flagship of the heroes just appears out of nowhere in the middle of the enemy fleet and uses its super weapons to destroy it. See what I meant by random superpowers? And why the devil doesn’t anyone try to copy THAT technology? 17. (ep.18) The security during ceremonies still sucks, despite losing their important leader some years ago. Anyone with a pistol can still kill anyone he wants. 18. (ep.19) The loli princess faints (conveniently when the villain must carry her around) and wakes up (conveniently when the villain must talk to her) numerous times. And the lame part is that it always occurs out of screen. As if he was secretly knocking her unconscious and then waking her by making her sniff ammonia or something. 19. (ep.20) Oh the age-old cliché of mortal enemies cooperating in order to defeat a greater threat. Too bad all they were doing is storming the enemy ship without any strategy at all. I mean they knew they had that super beam so why didn’t they just spread out their forces to minimize the damage? And don’t let anyone say anything regarding strategy such as “They wouldn’t be able to support one another if they were scattered.” They never supported anyone in the whole show, ok? All we see is them doing is storming in, that’s it.20. (ep.20) And what a surprise, they manage to block the super weapon with another super weapon. Great tactics as usual GONZO. So much for teamwork and cooperation; all it took was to have a loli princess with superpowers. 21. (ep.20) GONZO, you even contradict anything you showed us so far regarding its use. The falling moon needed several minutes to come down from its orbit and towards its target but now all they do is making the loli princess magically teleporting it in an instant right in front of them, without even having the slightest clue of how she did it. So cheap!22. (ep.20) Hey you idiotic villain general. Don’t tell me you never thought the loli princess wouldn’t try to do that. You went to all the trouble of getting all the other loli princesses but you just left this one? Nicely going. 23. (ep.20) Physics anyone? You cannot ram and pierce to pieces a mechanical tentacle ten times your size, density, and speed, without being pushed back a single meter from where you are standing in the middle of the sky. That ship should have been kicked back a thousand kilometres. 24. (ep.20) At this point one wonders what was the villain’s plan all along. “To unite the world through the use of weapons” is the easy answer. Well, if that is true then why didn’t he just use the Exile superweapons all along and wasted tens of thousands of soldiers in pointless battles? And don’t tell me it was because they could be used only a few times; they had infinite fuel and those tentacles and laser guns could be repeared easily. Thus you realize he deliberately alled his army to be decimated for no reason. Even if he thought a cooperation of fresh fleets would be enough to destroy even the Exile weapons, we still know that is not true since an Exile can be defeated only by an Exile. And just look at the last battle; all the fleets were down to a fraction of their original power and still kicked his ass. SO WHAT WAS HIS PLAN? To die as a tyrant and make the others form an alliance? He could have done that since the very first episode. 25. (ep.21) Nothing extremely wrong with the final episode. Other than being anti-climactic as hell, that is. YOU CALL THAT A CONCLUSION? Nothing we couldn’t guess from the earlier one. And now some mistakes that happen throughout the show, so they are omnipresent and can’t be marked in a single episode. 26. No matter how many cities or ships get destroyed, we never see dead people or even have a clear picture of how many died or survived. One episode a fleet is damaged severally, the next one is again ready by the thousands. One episode a whole nation is wiped out, the next one we get thousands of survivors. Also, the male/female analogy makes no sense since we either see men or women (or lolis) but never both. All the devastation this war is causing never manages to mean anything since we never see any actual or lasting damage. People and ships seem to regenerate overnight, so why bother to feel sorry for anyone? 27. As a follow up to the above, the directing is so sloppy that it constantly takes out lots of action and war scenes. Battles, pursuits, mass destructions, most of them happen out of screen and we just have someone telling us afterwards what exactly happened. And even when he does, it still means nothing since by the next episode people and ships have magically re-spawned. Do you know how stupid it looks when you are told an amazing battle took place without ever seeing anything, only to see the exact next day it had no significance at all? 28. As if that wasn’t enough, there is absolutely nobody taking things seriously in this show. You will get people doing some really atrocious acts and are not punished, or even as stupid as it sounds, they are instead rewarded. Such as in the case of the main lolis constantly causing havoc but are just rewarded afterwards by the very people they damaged and even joining their cause. Or a female pilot killing the leader of a nation and the next day is forgiven and even allowed to join the war with the very people who massacred her whole nation and whose lovable queen she killed as revenge. Or a general who just out of nowhere decided to betray his superiors without any foreshadow at all for that. Or the villain boss trying to present himself as a good guy in the end and the lolis forgive him despite the fact he massacred millions of people with the sole reason being “I want to bring peace by killing everyone”. And are we supposed to just accept there is peace and happiness for everyone in the ending after all this mess? Have they all forgotten how many of them were killed by other nations without ever doing anything bad or does it not matter because they all re-spawned by the next day? 29. The reason for the above is because the retards over at GONZO tried to combine two genres that simply do not combine. How the devil do you expect to mix retarded moe-moe that is meant to be silly, light, and aimless, with a war drama that is supposed to be the exact opposite? One second they are killing people, the immediate next they are eating cake with the very people they killed (and who have magically regenerated by then). And mind how it is supposed to be a serious scene and not comedy. Do you see it working in any way possible? OF COURSE NOT! I mean can you imagine a cute loli named Fam Fan Fan (seriously, that is her name) taking part in a war where people are constantly killed out of screen and still like it? 30. Continuing from above, try to imagine how most of the show is wasted on moe fan service and light everyday moments instead of fleshing out the characters and the setting. Over half of the events in the anime have absolutely no importance in a huge and seemingly complicated world. You hardly see the motivations of the characters or the style of life in each nation. You mostly see retarded bath and cooking scenes and wonder what the devil is going on with the war on the other side of the continent. 31. There is another thing which indirectly counts as a mistake. Why is this show a sequel to begin with? Where are the connecting points with the first season? We are told it happens a few years later and there are some recurring names and terminology but other than that there is absolutely nothing to see this show as a sequel. It happens on an entirely different world, with an entirely different cast of characters. And the few recurring ones from the first season are there just as cameos, since they have absolutely no significance over the events of the show. Fam and her lolis are less important that Dio the assassin from the first show, and even he is doing nothing but stalling time by not allowing the attackers to kidnap or kill someone, which will happen anyway later on but the makers of the show needed to somehow fill 21 episodes. But I bet GONZO thought it would increase the sales if they threw the name Last Exile on the cover instead of making a completely new title. And thus they didn’t even bother to try having some actual continuity in the show since the fans of the first show would just watch it for the same names and a few cameos. Nice trick you greedy bastards. Yeah, ok, artwork and animation look great. SO WHAT? No amount of quality visuals can save this abomination from trashing one of the few remaining decent (but not great by a longshot) anime this ridiculous studio ever made. Watch it only if you are a 2D petafile or still enjoy brain dead shows with coocoo lolis. The rest keep away.Oh, and GONZO? DON’T YOU DARE MAKE A SEQUEL TO NHK OR KALEIDO STAR! Please, you only made TWO great shows in your life span. DON’T trash them as well.


Some eight years after season one of “Last Exile” landed such a smash hit for Gonzo they revisited the same universe in this, its 2011/12 follow-up. It is very visibly the same space opera universe with its vanships and vast aerial battle fleets and it even boasts several key characters from season one. Yet fans will note that the storyline is disjointed in seemingly being completely unrelated to anything that happened in season one. What is missing here is the manga “Last Exile: Travelers from the Hourglass” that tells the story of what happened in-between the two seasons. The key characters that pop up in “Fam, the Silver Wing” have all returned on the Last Exile to Earth. The reason why none of the empires or events depicted in this show bear any direct relationship to those on Prester is that this is literally a different planet. The fact that the ex-colonists have returned to Earth is actually a key-plot point and trigger for the conflict that season two depicts. If you aren’t clued up on this then it is hinted at quite late in the story but it all seems a little mystifying if you didn’t know the background. This irritation out of the way then we have something that is basically Last Exile-to-the-max, on acid. Everything is bigger, better and far angrier. Earth is torn asunder by enormous empires fighting over limited resources. One such empire – “The Ades Federation” has decided to fight one last war of complete annihilation to create a lasting peace. To do this they will command super-weapons of mass destruction that only it can control. This new story again focusses on two young protagonists who fly a VanShip. This time it is two fifteen-year-old girls Fam Fan Fan and Giselle Collette flying a miniature VanShip known as a “Vespa”. They are Sky Pirates and make a living hijacking warships from the warring empires. They become embroiled in a plot by the Ades Federation to kidnap a princess who can command the Exile weapons. “Fam, the Silver Wing” is available in 2023 on Crunchyroll in high definition making it altogether a far more comfortable viewing experience than the old season one. As of 2023 it is also freely available online in Blu Ray format across multiple regions. It has a slightly odd number of episodes (21) making it a few short of the original’s marathon 26. The mood of the story telling is also slightly different. The good guys seem to lurch from one disaster to another in their seemingly fruitless attempts to win a lasting peace. Lead character Fam seems hopelessly naive in her drive to get a new great VanShip Race whilst global events spin out of control. A lot of screen time is taken up showing vast battle fleets blasting the shit out of each other. Yet there is still a lot of story here to tell even if most of it is pretty down-beat. The story line is unrelentingly depressing and grim. It lacks some of the humour we saw in season one. It depicts an Earth descending into barbarity and savagery where you cannot even trust your own allies. All the childish bleating of the many youngsters in the story cannot really change the utter hatred the adults have for each other. All-in-all it is more dystopian sci fi than space opera. As much as we welcome any anime follow-up to the incomparable genius that was 2003’s “Last Exile” this is a much sadder affair. It has shifted up a gear to be aimed at a more adult audience. Despite the appearance of several familiar characters, it is hard to feel the same enthusiasm for it. It is very much the same kind-of show but it follows a different dramatic philosophy that sets it apart. It is a worthy successor but the fact that we needed to read the in-between manga to understand what the heck was going on is hardly a plus point. Still, this is “Last Exile” – the anime equivalent of the “Star Wars” saga set in a Diesel Punk universe. Blimey, what is there NOT to like about this? It remain adorable and beyond compare. We loved everything about it.

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