The first series came out 8 years before the second, and the fuzziness of my memories kept me confused for many episodes before I discarded any attempt to reconcile the characters and storyline. Ginyoku no Fam (the second series) takes place in a different setting, though the continuity is the same, and characters from the original slowly turn up. Halfway through there’s a recap of the first season.
The story is like one of the flying dreadnaughts – ponderous and predictable, yet grand and very pretty. You’re better off enjoying the races, the different aircraft (the deadly Glacies rail-launched craft are great), the animation, and the production design. The Immigrant Ships have a much more prominent place in the storyline, and there are some clever tactics and fantastic battles (particularly later in the season).
A few incidents contest the Utopian “let’s all be friends” moral common to anime, but Fam is the archetypical ever-optimistic heroine with friends who stick by her through thick and thin. The opposing side features several characters whom you get to know, but ultimately they’re not a cohesive challenge.
While not a retread, Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam is similar in ambition to the first series and will likely elicit a similar response.