A lot happened this week on Fam, including the long-awaited first appearance by yet another legendary character from the original series. But in introducing her, a new mystery was created involving two even more important characters via the passing words of Dio.
I’m not crazy about the re-casting of Alvis E. Hamilton with Kana Hanazawa, though a new seiyuu may have been inevitable since the original, Shiraki Anna (who was only 13 at the time of the series) hasn’t done any voice work since. Still, using KanaHana hints at the kind of otaku pandering that has infiltrated the series in many ways. She’s certainly a capable actress and I’m sure she’ll do fine, but it still feels a bit off to me. Be that as it may, it was nice to see Al again, though I’m not crazy about her new outfit. She should be about 13 now, and she appears in the company of Dio, who introduces her to the others as a controller of “The Anatoray Exile”. The implications are clear, and if there were any doubt the fact that she was the one thing Vincent fled the Sylvius with later in the episode – tucked under the arm like a loaf of bread – proves she’s of massive important to the future plans of the Alliance.
Of most interest to me, though, was Dio’s offhand comment about “all the people she’s lost”. If you’re following the “Hourglass” manga at all that line should have at least made you a little nervous, and it’s Claus and Lavie who remain the elephant in the room – curiously absent in both word and deed (and then there’s Holly Mad-Thane as well, though she’s of lesser interest). I don’t know how long this is going to continue to be teased, though I hope it’s addressed sooner rather than later because it feels a bit of a stunt to leave it hanging the way it currently is. For now Al appears to be a side player
, though she was conspicuously added to the intro montage of the OP.
It was nice to see Vincent given a meaty role to play, bringing some legendary Urbanus coffee to the feast to celebrate the official union between Anatoray-Disith and Turan (though the younger set didn’t seem to care much for the “adult taste””). Alas this party was crashed by the Ades Fleet, headed by no less than Luscinia himself. But it was his passenger that made the biggest impression – no less than Princess Lilliaana herself. She appears to torpedo all of Millia’s efforts by announcing an alliance with Luscinia (and later even orders her flagship to fire on the Sylvanus with her sister on board). Something is obviously off here, though just what – brainwashing, body-switching, hidden motives – isn’t clear at all. With the remaining Turan soldiers willing to take orders from Lilliana – who is their rightful leader after all – The Sylvanus is under attack, and all those ships Fam and Gisey scrounged up as well. But at least Millia resists the temptation to go along with her sister’s plans, so in addition to having its land stolen Turan now appears to be in a state of civil war as well.
Civil war looks to be a Guild issue too, as Dio recognizes Alauda – on-board The Sylvanus with his death squad in a stealth attack – as a fellow Guild member. With Ades attacking, Fam flees with Gisey and Millia (what – you’re just leaving Teddy behind?) to try and go into hiding, but they fall under attack from Luscinia’s forces. It seems obvious that the Glacies forces, who’ve been watching but not participating – are going to step in and save them, likely as an act of repayment for their rescue earlier. Vincent has been advised by Atamora that Glacies is his most important potential ally, so you know that’s going to be a major factor going forward. Ades has put the sky pirates under attack as well, taking the fight to their home base with potentially disastrous results.
After last week’s recap episode, I continue to be a bit nervous about Gonzo’s financial wherewithal to finish this series in high style. The cel animation was quite a bit off this week – character faces lost a lot of detail and accuracy, not just in background but even in a few close-ups as well. The CG looked a bit less fluid as well. Dio’s light sabre duel with Alauda looked very good, but the rest of the ep not so much. If it were another studio I wouldn’t worry so much about a little normal fluctuation, but it isn’t another studio – and Last Exile is a series that’s pretty dependent on visual impressions to create its magic.