Last Exile – Fam 13 boils down to a battle where one side whips out a new weapon, the other side whips out a cooler weapon, and over and over until they’re throwing exiles at each other. It’s simplistic, but in spite of the show’s remarkable animation and art, not to mention the odd backstory, Last Exile Fam really is little more than an adventure series that younger viewers can watch. And most adults shouldn’t mind watching it either, when it looks as good as this one.
The telling of the battle is so sophisticated that it’s easy to forget how simple it is, and there are other things going on that add depth, such as the Federation’s use of provincial fleets as cannon fodder to absorb the first blow, followed by the commanders’ cynical comment that they will avenge their deaths. And what this means to the provinces’ loyalty can only be guessed. Not to mention that of little Augusta, who shows her first moment of doubt, even though it’s only a look. Such events are big enough that I for the first time almost forgot about Fam and her friends’ situation, flying around in their little vanship, the Free Turan Air Force, wondering what to do next.
Episode 14 is sort of the reverse of 13. A lot of momentous stuff occurs, but apart from Vasant’s surprise appearance before what’s left of Glacie’s military force, or country for that matter, and another surprise at the end, all of the events are offscreen. Instead, it’s time for Fam and Gisey to connect with their families, and the only drama is Millia’s decision to kill her sister and the effect that news has on Fam and the others. The battles are all personal this time, and as usual, Fam wins one, perhaps inadvertantly, by challenging Fritz to a race just so she can blow off steam, ironically, losing because she can’t stay focused after arguing with Millia, while at the same time inspiring her with the Grand Race vision. But meanwhile, what we didn’t see! What pawns must have been pushed forward! What politiccians hands must have been wrung! And what did Vasant say to Sara for such a complete turnaround to happen? Another show might have spent a lot of time showing this, but, after all. we’re watching an adventure show for younger viewers.
Three episodes in, there’s only one thing that Another is not doing well. We’ve heard the Misaki story before. In case you weren’t paying attention, Mei gives it to us again this episode, practically word-for-word. And Mei’s name is Misaki, the person who died was named Fujioka Misaki, etc etc. I must keep in mind that Kouichi has heard little if any of this. He’s working from fragments of the story, and he’s doing his best to get more, but every time he does his phone rings or there’s a moment of eerie silence and averted eyes among his classmates. Still, when revelations are made this episode, such as why no one reacts to Mei being around (though, oddly, the poor, doomed Sakuragi seems to notice her), or the name of the dead girl, we get Kouichi’s reaction shot when I want to say “You didn’t know this already?” I suppose we have to see him getting the story, so to speak, but it sucks some of the shock out of it. On the other hand, he’s pretty much caught up with us now, and we can now start to wonder why his buddy wants to tell him all about it–next month, or why everyone in the scene starts saying “first year”, whether Sakuragi indeed spotted Mei, and why Yomiyama umbrellas are so damn sharp. Once again, the show sucks you in, and that soundtrack, continues to work its way into my brainstem. When I finished watching and took out my earbuds, I heard all the noises in my house as if they were amplified.
Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai! 3 has the three girls all moving to Yuuta’s house, and they’re sparing no expense in having the show as sad as possible for what might otherwise be a slice-of-life comedy, what with the parents dead (or missing, a word fraught with possible story twists later which I don’t want to think about). The two older girls adapt to the deaths (or whatever) awfully quickly, just a quick tear here and there, but there’s an emotional trainwreck in the making: little Hina hasn’t figured out about the deaths yet, or cannot understand it, so expect lots more scenes like the above pic followed by pained looks and glistening eyes from the others. We also get the older girls’ reaction to moving from a comfortable suburban home to a single-room in the city. And as for Yuuta, how is he not only going to manage, but how long before all those shrill voices drives him to murder? I suppose it could be worse. Everyone puts up a brave face and there’s no outright bawling–yet.