What They Say:
In the skies above the sacred Grand Lake, the Ades Federation declares war on the kingdom of Turan. Just when the Turan flagship’s destruction seems inevitable, a Sky Pirate named Fam boldly states, “I’ve made up my mind! I’m going to steal that ship!”
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With it being quite a few years since the first Gonzo series, Last Exile, going into Fam, The Silver Wing is definitely a bit of a disconnect. In a way, it’s a show where I hope the lack of knowledge (or memory outside of the cool designs) helps in watching it because after all these years, I’ve got little that I remember from the original other than enjoying it and the music. Coming back to this world again is definitely one of the highlights not only of the season but of the year for me since it is generally rare to revisit something like this after eight or so years. With the original being well regarded at its time and one of the better Gonzo series, it’s a natural to try and bring into the present as well.
The series revolves around its namesake, Fam, a Sky Pirate who is definitely good at what she does but also has a rough edge about her and some comical aspects as well. The fact she has to be tied at the ankle at night because she’ll walk off the flying airship a few times a month makes you grin but you can see why it’s worrying as well. A good bit of her personality shows through in the first action where they manage to take out one of the military ships in the area from someplace with surprising ease, though most of the fun comes from the way they taunt him through the signals. We also get a quick look at the crew through this, from the pliant but timid Gisey to her father who runs things back on the main ship while they’re out taking down their prey. She’s a crafty young woman to be sure to achieve this at the age she’s at.
While this opens things up, we also see an action taking place over a lake that Fam gets caught up in when the Ades Federation is there to declare war against the Turan nation. Details aren’t exactly given here and the only reason we know one side is “better” than the other is because the Ades Federation has a distinctive dark look about them that paints them easily as the bad guys against the Turan that come off as a bit more harmonious with nature and quasi-religious. The draw to it all is the action and designs, which stand out beautifully here as we get some intriguing ship designs that show some real thought to it all and simply work on avoiding the norms (though fitting in with the past series as well, of course). The combination of the action, music and the movements of the characters throughout it keeps it all moving very fast and is thoroughly engaging, but admittedly superficial since we don’t know much about anyone at this point.
While this would be a decent episode of a new series, one with some great animation but an unclear plot, it’s largely getting a pass to some degree I can say with ease because it comes from an established property that has proven itself. I have little doubt that much will be explained in short order and that we’re pretty much getting an episode here that’s meant to sell the show in terms of animation, scale and quality. And it succeeds very well with it, giving us some really engaging battles, great character designs and costume design and a sense of fun and adventure about it while bringing in the harder military aspects as well. The CG animation is definitely excellent here and had me really looking at the details of it all, the designs of the ships and how they operate, something that few shows manage to accomplish anymore since most designers come across as bland.
Streamed By: FUNimation
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.