This seems to have been the episode that Gundam fans were waiting for, and it’s easy to see why. You can look at the first 12 eps as pure build-up, in a sense, and this one (and the next, by the look of the preview) as the payoff. With the Diva reconfigured into a weapon using the AGE system and the Federation off their backs, there’s no reason anymore for Grodek and Co. to hesitate, and it’s off to war they go with all the requisite refection, speeches and death flags. Largan reflects on his unrequited love for Millias, Woolf says cool stuff and Emily declares her desire to watch over Flit.
The battle itself is full of requisite flash and thunder, and it’s very well-produced. It’s Flit’s heroism (recklessness?) that allows The Diva to get close enough to the UE warship to use it’s photon cannon. Rast’s attempt at heroic death is thwarted by a Deux ex Madorna. The UE warship, The Fa Bose, is destroyed – but Yark Dole and his Mini-me Arabelle Doi (Hirata Mana) don’t seem too concerned. Desil is licking his chops at the prospect of doing battle with “Onee-chan” Flit, and poor Yurin is held prisoner and looks likely to be used as a weapon against Flit in the next episode. Apparently the hard-core fans have seen Yurin’s death as inevitable for a while, but the prospect still saddens me as she’s the best character on the show. I don’t know if we’re headed for a “Cats, Girls & Spaceships” scenario, but it seems likely from the dramatic buildup and the preview that this battle sequence is going to conclude with some serious heartbreak, specifically for Flit.
Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam – 11
Last Exile is back after a recap episode and a holiday break. It seems an odd narrative choice to follow up a recep ep with a flashback ep, but this one at least was new footage and managed to fill in a few gaps in our knowledge of the Fam-verse. One of the more interesting elements is the philosophical split that exists in the Ades hierarchy, and we get a look at how it developed. As suspected, Luscinia does seem to have a higher goal of a sort but he’s a hard-core relativist, prepared to use any means to achieve the end he seeks. There’s also some political background on how the current geopolitic formed, and some background on the Grand Race with requisite footage of cute-cute mini versions of all the girls in the cast.
As always, “Fam” is better with the big picture than the executions. The notion of Luscinia’s troubled past is interesting – the Ades are generally more compelling than the “good guys” here – but the execution was clumsy and as so often happens, the meaning of what we were seeing was somewhat muddled by mediocre writing. Generally speaking, the story seems to be treading water and has been for a while, and stagnation is never a good thing. Frankly, I don’t much care about Fam and Gisey’s childhood and I don’t really feel as if we’ve been given any reason to care much about the Grand Race either. I want to like this show more than I do, but the clock is ticking.