Yesterday, FUNimation announced that they acquired the domestic rights to Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam. The company acquired both the home video and streaming rights to the series, which will premiere at this year’s Anime Expo. The series was originally announced by Gonzo in February, to celebrate the company’s twentieth anniversary.
Normally, I don’t comment on license announcements. However, I had to make an exception in this case. It’s fairly rare for companies to announce a license to a show prior to its Japanese release nowadays. It was certainly common during the bubble, but has become far less so in recent years. Back in the bubble days, western companies were locked in bitter battles for licenses, and prices for new shows would often reach obscene levels. Some companies tried to forego the licensing game altogether. Instead, these companies opted to aid in the financing of shows, in exchange for first crack at a license. While this did help get a wider variety of anime to market, due to companies being influenced by American funds, it also took the licensing frenzy to a completely different level that was far more dangerous than one can imagine.
But I digress. It’s good to see Last Exile get licensed sooner rather than later, in this case. The original series was a highlight of the early 2000s. The show’s incredible characters and strong story were brought to life by slick animation and a strong sense of style. It entered countless top 10 lists, and has become a staple of many fans’ collections. If the new series can capture a fraction of that magic, then Gonzo will have a winner on its hands.
It’s unlikely that lightning will strike twice in this case, but it certainly won’t stop many fans from hoping it will.