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DVD Review

DVD cover

Last Exile
Fam the Silver Wing
Part 1


Starring (voice): Ai Kayano, Aki Toyosaki and Aoi Yūki
Distributor: Manga Entertainment
RRP: £29.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 02 December 2013

Fleeing a planet wide calamity, most of mankind took to the stars, until the planet could once again support life. Now returned, Fam flies the skies of the renewed planet, plying her trade as a sky pirate. But not everyone is happy with the situation. The Ades Federation, the only humans who stayed behind, sees the returning refugees as unwanted interlopers and attacks them, trying to drive them back into space. When Fam rescues a princess, she is propelled into a quest to save the princesses kingdom and bring peace to all of mankind...

Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing - Part 1 (2011. 300 min) is a science fiction anime series, directed by Koichi Chigira. The show is presented on a two disc DVD set, containing the first seven of the show's twenty-six episodes. Episodes one to six are held on the first disc with episode seven and the extras on disc two.

The story follows on from Last Exile (2003) and Last Exile: Travellers from the Hourglass, moving the story from the colonised planet of Prester, returning the colonists to Earth. This also means that we have a new heroine in Fam. The visual concepts have been carried over to the new show, with wonderfully realised CGI ships, based on nineteenth and early twentieth century battleships. The air battles are particularly impressive although this does create some problems.

The show was made by overlaying the 2D characters over the CGI. For most of the time this works fine, but there are occasions when the two elements don’t gel as well as they should, leading to the occasion stark contrast between the detail of the ships and the relatively simple representations of the characters.

The main protagonists are Fam, a Sky Pirate pilot, and her navigator, Giselle. Together they spend their days capturing battleships which they then sell. Their lives are presented as pretty idyllic, although the show does not address how the crews of the captured ships feel. Their perfect lives are disrupted by the declaration of war.

The show uses a bright and vibrant palette making it visually impressive; stylistically little has changed from the first show, although with the advances in animation and CGI the newer show looks more contemporary. The show is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, both vocal tracks are engaging although the English 5.1 works better in an action show, than does the original Japanese 2.0, with the added bass.

There are a number of extras in the set, with a commentary for episode one. Disc two has a further commentary for episode eleven. Anime Expo 2011: Part 1 (6 min, 49 sec. Japanese with Subs) with a presentation by the shows director, Koichi Chigira and producer Hiroyuki Birukawa. They discuss the show and some of the ways the characters are viewed.

Spinoff Anime CM Series, Friday Night # 01 – 07 (Kinyo No Toru (3 min, 32 sec) it’s not really a show, but rather a set of comedic vignettes designed to advertise the release of the show on DVD and Blu-ray. Fam Event Opening Movie (2 min, 03 sec), it looks like an extended promo, showing a lot of the CGI from the series with the orchestral music from the show. Commercial Collection (45 sec) consists of a single advert for the show.

Textless Songs, you get three in this collection, Buddy (1 min, 48 sec), Starboard (1 min, 28 sec) and Starboard: Silky Wind Version (1 min, 05 sec).

Overall, the time between the new and original show has allowed the makers to not only update the graphics, but also to streamline their story telling techniques, Exiles could at times become impenetrably confusing, a problem the new show does not suffer.


Charles Packer

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