Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Silvana is the Safest Place In The World

I can't shake it. I love Last Exile. There is a lot to talk about but for right now I want to talk about one of the most fascinating character's in a cast of fascinating characters. Sophia Forester, Empress-First Officer of the "Kill 'em all" Silvana.

Range Murata, Last Exile, Sophia Forrester taken from

Okay let me back up.

The one of the great things about Last Exile are the character designs. Characters generally fit within families and the design of those families are relatively consistent. Courier pilots all look like interwar aviators, because they are. The flight deck crew all look like mechanics because they are. The bridge staff all look like naval officers, because they are.

And that consistency allows the story to visually communicate the gist of who these characters are without a lot of spending a lot of time. It can then focus smaller less obvious aspects of their personalities. In Sophia's case she's the team mom. Apart from the technical proficiency her uniform informs the audience of her establishing character moment is that she's the first member of the crew to really comfort Alvis, who looks to be about 4, has transitioned from everything she's ever known. And to do so she utters the words that sum up her character.

"The Silvana (her ship) is the Safest Place in the World."

It took me a while to realize it but her role as the executive office is an outward manifestation of that personality. Everybody on that ship save her captain perhaps are her adult children, and she will do everything in her power to make that ship safe for them both physically and emotionally. It's ironically enough the home she's made.

And that's really interesting. In a lot of military and even non military dramas the feminine is something that detracts from strength but here Sophia's strength as a military officer is portrayed as an extension of a traditional feminine role, the home maker.

That's why it's all the more heart breaking when for a time she has to leave the home she built for herself.

But the change in design allows for her more matronly personality traits to be made more visually explicit as she rocks a Lady Capulet gown as her regalia when she takes up her country's throne. And the show makes implicit that this is the same woman. That behind the trim is still the Vice Captain of the "Kill-em all" Silvana.

That coronation wasn't some sort of transformation into a new role but a confirmation of all the old ones as the show rockets into it's third act where she's leading a war council.

They are the same coin. All of that skill and silent ferocity is there to protect who and what she cares about and what she cares about is the Silvana and her crew.

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