What’s it about ?
In a steampunk world where everything of note happens on airships, the eeeevil Ades Federation invades the peaceful kingdom of Turan under the pretense of peace talks. Also, pirates !
This is a sequel to a 2003 series, although I’m pretty sure the two sides and the conflict between them (not to mention most of the cast) are new. Anyway, it’s decades later and the events of the first series hopefully aren’t required knowledge (because gods know I’ve forgotten most of the plot by now).
Fam, our protagonist. The kind of reckless moron who regularly sleepwalks out of a flying airship (fortunately, her sidekick had the presence of mind to tie her down beforehand). We get some blatant foreshadowing when it’s stated outright that someone as crude as her can’t possibly be a princess, heavens no ! Anyway, despite (or maybe because of) her recklessness, she’s somewhat in charge of the pirate gang’s field operations (and pretty good at it, too).
Giselle, her sidekick. She has no personality whatsoever besides shuddering everytime Fam does something stupid (which is most of the time).
Dio, a major character from the original series, is inexplicably tagging along with the pirates. He manages to outshine Fam in recklessness and outrageous stunts, and he’s got more charisma too.
Liliana and Milia […] Turan, the two princesses governing the kingdom for now. Liliana is level-headed and an awesome leader (hello again, Ms. Sawashiro !), while Milia’s just an annoying brat who bullies the help. Guess who’s probably gonna get more screentime ? Anyway, their airship gets surrounded by scores of eeeevil Ades ones, but they get rescued by the pirates against the odds (thanks to Fam employing tactics that make the Ades captains look like chumps for falling for it).
We also get a short glimpse at the people in charge of Ades, who at least look actually competent.
Welcome to a world populated with CG airships and architecture ! And, well CG anything, really (did they really want to make that newspaper look like it’s printed on a plank on wood ?). It’s quite well animated indeed, although the style does nothing for me.
This series continues the tradition of Last Exile having terrible OP songs that sound like crap. In general, the soundtrack is quite dire, not because the score is especially bad (although some pieces are decidedly uninspired), but because the sound editing is horribly subpar : the music starts and stops at random places, sometimes drowns the dialogue out, or is just ill-fitted to the scenes it plays over.
What did I think of it ?
Disclaimer : I didn’t like the original series. This makes me overly sensitive to every little flaw in this… and they’re many. The production values, one of the major selling points here, just don’t impress me, because of the shoddiness of the finish. The characters are quite generic indeed. The setting has lost whatever depth it used to possess, leaving us with a black-and-white conflict with no ambiguity whatsoever. And I just don’t care.
If this was an entirely new show, I might have given it a couple more episodes to change my mind… but I just don’t trust it to improve, having been badly burned by the original series.