I never really found Gonzo to be all that incredible of a production house, in relation to other anime production companies. I mean sure, they were responsible for things like Blue Sub No. 6 and Hellsing, which I’ve certainly enjoyed, but I always found that their productions always took a nose dive in the later half of a series. That was until Last Exile, a series that managed to win me over with its well defined characters, mysterious storyline and steampunk setting. Its the only Gonzo show that I actively tell people to watch and honestly feel that it has the total reverse reaction to most of their shows, in that it gets better as the series progresses. Back in 2009, Gonzo had announced that they were finally doing a follow-up, titled Last Exile -Fam, The Silver Wing, which contained new characters and a new storyline, but still within the same universe. I’ve been excited ever since I had heard about it and after sitting down with Funimation’s first boxed set for the series, I can honestly say that I am both underwhelmed and ecstatic after viewing the first 13 episodes.
The series takes place about 2 years into the future, where we follow Fam Fan Fan, a sky pirate that steals battleships, that they either scrap for parts or sell the ships on the black market. While they typically hold no allegiances to anyone, they eventually get into the middle of a war between the Turan Kingdom and the Ades Federation. The Federation leads an attack on the Turan Kingdom, after they were supposed to agree to a peace treaty between the two countries. The sky pirates eventually come in and end up saving the Princesses of the Turan Kingdom, Liliana and Millia Turan. With the aid of the sky pirates, the Turan Princesses vow to attack the Federation and find out why they wiped out their country in the first place.
First and foremost, lets start with the things that Fam, The Silver Wing is doing right. It retains the overall look and steampunk aesthetic, that made the original series appealing to me. The battle sequences are really well crafted and there are much more of them in this series than the original. There’s different types of vanships and Range Murata’s character designs are even cooler in this series. Now, the bad news is that a good chunk of this series feels much like a simple cash grab for Gonzo. From the writing, to the extremely lazy animation, there are just points that make me wonder why this is even happening. Granted, the pacing in the original show was extremely slow, but the payoff in character development and the overall storyline was really worth every second of sitting through its sluggish pacing. It also maintained a level of mystery, in the vein of Lost, that made audience members continue watching, as they found out more about the world of Prester. The first few episodes did a great job bringing me back into the world, there’s a really terrible middle and the very last episode is a flashback, that manages to give an understanding of why the Federation has sought out to destroy the Turan Kingdom.
While I’m still planning on continuing the series, I’m still certainly in the camp that Gonzo has made a crappy cash grab with one of my favorite shows from the 2000’s. Here’s hoping that the final 13 are very much worth while.