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Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing – “Light Square” Recap

by on October 31, 2011

Ah, now that’s more like it. As if on cue “Light Square” takes this
series in a direction I’d hoped it would go, altering course to get away
from the relentless barrage of one event after another and into the
business of telling a story. After we witness the close of a battle
meant to illustrate that the Ades Federation is battling on other fronts
against other nations, we witness a lengthy scene where Premier Hafez
and two other high-ranking officials confer with Ades’ Sara Augusta,
“Augusta” seemingly being their title for an empress. She is only a
child but she makes governing decisions nonetheless, and the ensuing
dialogue with her underlings adds useful context to the core
conflict going on. We learn that one Turan city after another is surrendering after the fall of the capital, but more important is the idea that the aforementioned “Exile” ships of legend brought “unwanted” people to this world, in Hafez’s words. Generations ago the people occupying Turan today supposedly displaced its original inhabitants, who are citizens of the Federation today; Augusta intends to restore these exiles to their native lands. While this history shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value, it certainly suggests a just cause and adds much-needed depth to a faction that was largely characterized by cheap and transparent villainy up until this point.

The slim majority of “Light Square” opts to focus on Princess Millia, Fam and Giselle. Millia is distraught at their failures in the prior episode and takes it all out on Fam, blaming her and saying that her sister was the important one to save. She only feels worse when she notices the wrecked flagship Lasas being disassembled for spare parts, and witnessing a belonging of her sister’s being pawned off to a departing pilot rubs salt in the wound. Despite having no flying experience Millia moves to take an aircraft to get the memento back; fortunately Fam steps in to take the helm and gives chance at top speed. During the trip Fam and Millia bond, while Giselle introduces Millia’s servant “Teddy” to her family and talks about their lot in life. Thanks to this we finally learn something about the sky pirates in this world; for the most part they are essentially nomads displaced by the actions of the Ades Federation, constantly moving from one temporary hideout to another to evade their military might, a fact that handily explains why they sided with Turan in the pilot episode. It’s also clarified that the “grand race” was an international vanship competition, a grand event that commemorated peace and involved all nations. But that ended ten years ago, when some sort of incident sparked conflict anew. For her part Fam is revealed to be an orphan rescued from a plane crash and taken in my the sky pirates, but she considers the collective group a family and believes there will be a day that peace returns and she can fly in the grand race herself. In the end we also see Millia working through her despair, which is far preferable to seeing her wallow in self-pity overmuch.

Interesting new plot points and issues have been presented here, such as exactly what happened ten years ago that provoked the current era of strife; it’s implied in the first act that this event claimed the life of the previous Augusta. Meanwhile, the motives of the Ades Federation and the justness of its cause remain an issue in the best case scenario. Even if it is in fact fighting to right past wrongs we’ve seen it do so through the sword alone and through merciless trickery at that, and via the sky pirates we see that they’ve created an entirely new class of displaced people through their actions.

All in all, “Light’s Square” is just the deep breath this show needed to
take. We’re finally getting to know these characters at last, and the
series’ world seems to be opening up before us.

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