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Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing parts 1 & 2 (anime review)

Last Exile: Fam, the Silver WingLast Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing parts 1 & 2

U. S. Release Date: Sept. 10th, 2013

Director: Koichi Chigira

Studio: Gonzo

U. S. Distributor: FUNimation

Format: Blu-ray / DVD / 575 minutes / 21 episodes

Age Rating: TV 14

Personal Grade: A-

 

Synopsis:

Years ago, humanity abandoned the ruined Earth. 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 Earth 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.

Commentary:

I have been waiting for almost two years for this series to have its full release because Last Exile is one of my favorite series of all time. Not only is the original beautiful it is also well written, well acted and well developed. Of course my expectation for Fam, the Silver Wing are very high indeed. By the end of the first episode I gave a great sigh of relief, I was not going to be disappointed or at least I thought so. The opening salvo was strong and wonderfully conceived. We are treated to a reunion with a character whom I thought was dead and very happy to see him back in his usual form. We are also given a glimpse of the ship that everyone left on for the return to Earth. It wasn’t long before even more of the original cast started showing up and this helped the plot become even more interesting and somewhat baffling. None the less, I was still very happy with what I saw.

As the series develops it slightly looses its way and I gets a little convoluted, but it doesn’t take too much time for it to right itself and get back on track. As it concludes the story it does become a little heavy handed and somewhat overly sympathetic toward the main characters I still thought it managed to close itself out rather nicely. I still wanted to understand what happened to some of the more beloved characters from the first series. I guess that I will just need to read the manga to get the full story.

One aspect of Fam, the Silver Wing that I did really enjoy was the bright colors that were present though out the series. In the original Last Exile the color pallet was more muted and stayed in a much more monotoned or even a somewhat antiqued look. For Fam, the Silver Wing the color were much more vibrant from the very beginning. It may have to do with them being back on Earth or possibly it was deemed necessary to set the two series apart. The simple truth is that the series maintained the beautiful edge that the original had plus a punch of color to top it off.

 

Overall Grade: A-

Most of Last Exile; Fam, the Silver Wing was a pleasure to watch and I had even more fun being re-united with many of the old favorites. If there wasn’t a tendency to get a bit melodramatic and off track in the middle of the series, I think Fam, the Silver Wing would have joined the original series as a classic. Unfortunately I think it felt a bit short, but none the less it is still a fun series that has plenty to offer.

Review By Andy

Future Diary: The Complete Series Parts 1 and 2 (anime review)

Future Diary: The Complete Series Title: Future Diary: The Complete Series Parts 1 and 2

Director: Naoto Hosoda

Studio: Asread

Author: Sakae Esuno

U.S. Distributor: Funimation Entertainment

U.S. Release Date: September 17, 2013

Format and Length: DVD / 26 Episodes / 650 Minutes

Genre: Drama, Action, Mystery, Romance, Psychological, Thriller

Industry Age Rating: 17 and up (Mild Nudity and Violence)

Overall Personal Rating: B

Similar Series or Titles to Check Out: East of Eden, Death Note, ChaoS;HEAd, and When They Cry

 

 

Synopsis:

This psychological thriller, based on the manga written and illustrated by Sakae Esuno, is about Yukiteru, a loner who’s not very good with people. He prefers to observe all he sees, and writes about it in a diary on his cell phone. He also talks to his imaginary friend, Deus Ex Machina – The God of Time and Space. Reality quickly unravels for him when he finds Deus Ex Machina is actually real, and calls him into a death match to determine the new god of space and time, a battle royale with eleven other contestants. Each player, with a sordid past, possesses a prophetic device tuned to his or her personality disorder, giving them control over their future… and the fate of their opponents. It’s their strongest weapon – and their greatest weakness. Within the next 90 days, the contestants must try to survive until there is only one left standing. The winner will become the new God of Time and Space. Within hours, Yukiteru begins abusing his future diary’s predictions, and this does not go unnoticed by a classmate named Yuno. He quickly finds out that Yuno is obsessively stalking him with her own future diary. She’s cute, really clever, proficient with bladed weapons, and has many skeletons in her closet. As the remaining ten begin hunting, can Yukiteru cheat death under Yuno’s maniacal protection or will this path lead to “DEAD END”.

 

Commentary:

“This must be quite an interesting anime, and I can’t wait to see it.” I said to myself after reading the Future Diary’s box and opening it. And it did not disappoint, for part 1 (first 13 episodes). A battle royale for the ultimate prize of being a god, mixed with horror, and all held together with romance (don’t kid yourself, this anime is all about romance). As unique as the combination is, it hardly is what makes this what it is. The strength of Future Diary’s plot is not about the originality of the premise, but about the originality, and insanity of the journey itself. There is an excellent mix of action, slashing, deception, backstabbing, detective work, plot twists, and craziness. Also a great part is the characters. Each character has had something, or many things that have scarred them in the past, or even happening as the story is told. The development of the characters is extensive, but they spend little time diving into each individual character. Instead you tend to find you are on a need to know, or as you go basis for development. Sometimes it does cause a little confusion. Also part of the issue is the number of characters this anime has, each with separate, unique histories that are brought to the table. You find yourself sometimes having difficulty keeping up with who is who. It’s a full buffet of every character archetype from the classifiable like tsundere or yandere, to those so complex, a generic term cannot be made to fit. So you can imagine it’s an all you can eat character archetype buffet!

Yukiteru is your standard loner with few to no friends. Dive a little deeper you find that he is a beta, coward, who prefers to watch rather than participate in society. Dive deeper and you find out he struggles with family issues at home, and an incessant desire to make his split family whole once more. Yuno is a girl who can definitely be classified as yandere (if you need a definition she is almost a perfect specimen). She also loves to stalk her love interest, and him loving her is all that matters above all else (including family, society, or becoming god herself). They took a long time to get there but eventually you will see what it takes to make a psychopathic yandere what they are (parents take notes, unless you want a yandere, they heed the warning of what will happen to you). I found myself conflicted in my feelings for her. At first I liked her, then she would do something that made me hate her. Then she would slowly redeem herself, just to do it all over again. In the end I have to admit, I liked her and felt sorry for her. There are many characters which I can elaborate on but that takes the fun out of figuring out what they are, what they do, and the motives behind their actions. And the simple fact is, for the story line to advance, the plurality of them must die.

 

The plot was great, often ending with a good surprise or unforeseen twist, and consistently adding to the profound experience a great anime will allow you to have.  I found that I quickly blew through Future Diary Part 1 (episodes 1-13) in one sitting, I could not break away. Part 1 Grade A+

 

Everything was going so great, and then someone had to throw a wrench into the gears. This was no normal wrench that would break a few teeth on the gears, but a giant wrench of destruction that would completely destroy the machine, ensuring the rest of the time was spent rebuilding what they once had running at peak performance. Future Diary Part 2 (episodes 14-26) were nothing like the first 13. I actually paused it once to make sure I put the right disc in. The story took such a turn that I was left scratching my head, wondering how we got here. The plot twists went from “awesome” to “aww-what”. Sometimes the plot twists seemed forced by making characters act completely out of character, just to advance the plot. When you take the time to build a character, they can’t just wake up one day and say, “Today I am going to do exactly the opposite of what I would normally do.” That only happens to bald losers who live with their parents in early 90’s sitcom comedies now played to kill time late at night. In an anime like this you do tend to get frustrated when favorite characters are killed off to push the story further, but unfortunately it seems a requirement. But sometimes it seemed that killing a certain character off was not necessary to advance this plot. This later resulted in plot twists that were too absurd to be believable. They also spend a lot of time explaining stuff that normal people could figure out on their own, but also again, making it beyond mind-numbing. This all caused the plot to slow to a crawl. They manage to begin to recover towards the end of Future Diary Part 2 disc 1. They got somewhat back on track, now giving more back-story to both Yukiteru and Yuno. Luckily that was just enough to salvage it as they proceed towards their goal with heightened desire. The ending was a bit psychological. I have to admit, even now I am questioning its meaning and how it affected the storyline. Future Diary Part 2 grade C-.

 

 

Extras:

Future Diary includes the following special features: Select Episode Commentaries, Text-less Opening and Closing Animations, Funimation Trailers, and Bonus “Omake” Short. There is also a very cute mini-episode after each normal episode that the character Murmur directs.

Review written by: Katie and Andrew