Synonyms: Rasuto Eguzairu
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 7, 2003 to Sep 29, 2003
24 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.011 (scored by 35973 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action adventure fantasy sci-fi
SynopsisIt's the dawn of the Golden Age of Aviation on planet Prester, and retro-futuristic sky vehicles known as vanships dominate the horizon. Claus Valca, a flyboy born with the right stuff, and his fiery navigator Lavie are fearless racers obsessed with becoming the first sky couriers to cross the Grand Stream in a vanship. But when the high-flying duo encounters a mysterious girl named Alvis, they are thrust into the middle of an endless battle between Anatoray and Disith—two countries systematically destroying each other according to the code of chivalric warfare. Lives will be lost and legacies determined as Claus and Lavie attempt to bring peace to their world by solving the riddle of its chaotic core.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Last Exile: Sunadokei no Tabibito
Sequel: Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam
Summary: Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam Recaps
Characters & Voice Actors
Every anime studio has their ups and downs, their highs and lows, their hits and misses. There's not a single one that hasn't produced a decent title without producing something ... less than average (Manglobe came close, until they made a certain show about a Blacksmith). Surprisingly, many anime fans consider Gonzo to be one of the worst offenders, as while they have made some excellent shows, they have a catalogue of average to sub par (or worse), titles to their name as well.
Thankfully Last Exile is a one that, for the most part, they got right, but then again, the series was made to celebrate Gonzo's 10th anniversary so it's understandable that they made the extra effort.
The show follows the adventures of Claus Valca and Lavie Head, two childhood friends who are determined to follow in their father's footsteps, and become the best vanship couriers around. Like their respective parents, Hamilcar Valca and George Head, Claus is the pilot and Lavie is the navigator, and their entry into the Norkia Cup race signifies the beginning of their journey, one which will change both their lives.
One of the things that people complain about with Last Exile is that the first half of the series offers very little explanation about the events that occur while adding more and more layers to the plot. However, the more patient viewer will be rewarded as the answers are forthcoming in the second half of the show, and while there is a nice amount of complexity to the story, this is nowhere near enough to confuse people. In truth, I found the show was pitched in a manner that would appeal to many viewers as there is always enough going on to keep one interested.
What is most interesting about the show though, is that it is one of the few steam punk themed anime available. There are a number of aspects and designs that are clearly influenced by the Industrial Revolution and Germany during the time between the two World Wars, and more references are forthcoming when one looks closer at the series. There is also a clear influence from two classic Ghibli movies, Nausicaa and Laputa: Castle in the Sky, although neither of those titles is as heavily steam punk as Last Exile.
With regards to the look of the show, it's interesting to note that the visual production of the series relied heavily on CG. In particular, Gonzo used non-photorealistic rendering as a method to combine traditional hand drawn animation and CG, and the benefits of this technique are clearly visible throughout the anime. The quality of animation is extremely good throughout, and together with the designs of the characters, ships, equipment, and scenery, affords Last Exile a look and feel that is superior to most anime around.
That said, one of the issues with the series is that the rare colour clashes can sometimes be a little hard on the eyes.
The overall quality of the series extends to the music and effects too. The various tracks used throughout the series are often well chosen, whilst the numerous noises and sounds are well choreographed, and pitched at a level that rarely overwhelms the viewer. The OP, "Cloud Age Symphony" by Okino Shuntaro, is a strange piece of music that may not sit well with some viewers due to its more experimental approach. This is also true of the ED, "Over the Sky" by Kuroishi Hitomi, a track which is far more melodic than the OP, but retains the same off-kilter feel.
As for the acting, both Asano Mayumi and Saito Chiwa are in fine form as Claus and Lavie respectively, whilst Morikawa Toshiyuki is suitably taciturn as the enigmatic Alex Rowe. Each of the seiyuu portray their characters well, although there are one or two moments when the delivery seems a little forced, something that only really occurs during heavy action sequences.
One of the things that really sets Last Exile apart is the quality of its characters. Many people talk about things like "realism" and "believability" when it comes to characters, but in truth this is simply an attempt to explain how well the characters work in the context of the story, and also how well the characters follow certain patterns of behaviour that many know to be the average for people (and by this I mean how would the average, real world person react in a similar situation).
Its nice to see then, that Last Exile uses the characters very well. Both Claus and Lavie behave in a manner that is reasonable and understandable, and both are allowed to develop rather well over the course of the show. This is also true of a number of other characters, including Alex Rowe, who is akin to a modern day Harlock in some respects.
That's not to say that every character is great though, as there are on or two who don't seem to serve any real purpose, and are nothing more than window dressing. While it's true that there are always characters like this in any half decent story, the last place you should see them is on a battleship.
As a fan of steam punk, I found myself warming to Last Exile almost immediately. The plot, pacing and designs are very well handled and presented, and the story is easy to follow while retaining a degree of suspense and complexity - something which isn't easy to achieve. The series would easily appeal to fans of Nausicaa and Laputa, however fans of shows like Sakura Taisen, Steamboy, Giant Robo, or any anime about flying may find this rewarding viewing.
This is one of those rare titles that has something for everyone, but fans of steam punk should definitely give it a try.
Granted there are some minor niggles here and there, but overall Last Exile is well told story that looks and sounds great. A great deal of thought has gone into this series, and it shows in a number of ways. It's easily one of the more imaginative titles to appear in anime, especially as it's one that isn't based on a manga/novel/game/etc. It may not appeal to everyone, but those willing to give it a try may not be disappointed.
I just wish they'd make more imaginative shows like this instead of all the school based pap we're being served these days. read more
With the announcement of a second series, Last Exile has joined the echelon of misleading titles hinting at no other entry in their respective franchises. This category, primarily encompassing the Final Fantasy series, is the subject of many jokes along the lines of “Durr hurr, why do they call it Final (Last, in this case), when they’re making another one?”
On that note, there is no joke in Last Exile. It’s a straightforward fantasy steampunk adventure that ranks as one of Gonzo’s finest efforts. The CG is incredible and still holds up eight years later, the plot is well done if not completely original, and the characters are relatable without being outright pandering.
Despite the criticism that I’m about to lay on thick against it, Last Exile is a very competent, beautiful show that needs more recognition. However, it’s far from perfect and despite its overall high quality most likely won’t make it on anybody’s favorites list for any number of reasons.
The biggest and most glaring flaw is ironically also the aspect which it succeeds best at: Painting a colorful setting. The world of Last Exile is one where the futuristic meets the antiquated, where airships playing host to regiments of musketeers battle it out in the skies like ships on the sea.
The planet’s surface is somewhat arid, due to the limited water supplies, which are doled out sparingly by the Guild and those in power to the common folk.
Outfits are as befitting the early 19th Century as the warfare: Drab yet practical wear for the commoners, vibrant garb for the rich, and flowing majestic robes for the Guild that rules all from the skies. Best of all, the manliest of men all have impeccable facial hair, worthy of respect even in this enlightened day and age.
The sensory details are sublime, but it’s the big picture that fails to really entrance. Most of this is made up for later on, but by then there’s too much activity happening to really allow the world building to shine.
While this is fine and actually preferable in some cases (Learning about the Guild’s coming of age practices and what exactly Exile is), it goes more than halfway before elaborating beyond “They’re just fighting, okay?” on the conflict between the two warring empires of Anatare and Disith. By the time this is made known, it’s too little too late and it just feels like a lost opportunity for some real immersion.
The plot itself moves along at a good clip for most of the series, only really slowing down during one of the protracted air battles at around the halfway point. The story concerns itself with Claus and Lavi, two orphaned longtime friends whose days are spent doing deliveries and participating in races using their fathers’ vanship; essentially a tricked out trashcan modeled after World War II era dogfighters.
During a race one day, the two narrowly avoid getting hit by a crashing vanship and move to investigate the wreckage. While there, they discover a pilot tasked with the delivery of a little girl to the notorious pirate ship Sylvana. In his dying breath he entrusts the two of them with his delivery, which holds a reasonably high danger rating. In the process of bringing the girl, named Alvis, to the ship, the two are assailed by guild attack craft, affectionately dubbed Starfish for obvious reasons and are forced to seek refuge aboard at the mercy of the captain and his morally questionable crew of renegades.
For the first ten episodes, I had great trouble attempting to stop watching. The characters (Especially those aboard the Sylvana) were fun if not all that deep, the skirmishes and races were harrowing, and the general pacing was fantastic. However, it was around episode 12 where my interest started to fizzle out. It was good and certainly watchable, but compared to prior events which involved a satisfying airship duel against a cowardly noble and a suspenseful escape from a rigged auction for the captain, yet another airship battle felt contrived.
My interest was piqued again afterward so everything was just peachy, until the satisfying, if slightly rushed, ending.
The cast of characters in Last Exile is vibrant, to say the least. Alvis is a surprisingly tolerable girl with a sickly sweet disposition, the crew of the Sylvana are generous cutthroats of the most honest kind, and Claus’ Guild-aligned rival Dio is an intimidating foe who definitely feels more than a little unhinged and overly affectionate. None feel out of place, and all contribute in some way to the plot that endears them.
Despite my praise for the varied cast of characters, it doesn’t feel like they get any real development; the only one who comes close is subsequently brainwashed. Stuff just happens, and it doesn’t feel like anybody learns from it in the end. Oh sure, there’s the prickly noblewoman who’s humbled by the feats of her crewmates, but nothing is done past that to change her.
As far as the animation and art direction goes, it’s the equivalent of a fine portrait with a few chips in the paint. The excellent CG, breathtaking environs, and distinctive character models are marred by the occasional bout of laziness. There was more than one occasion when I found myself glancing at somebody talking at a medium distance from the camera, and their eyes looked like Picasso lost his motor skills. It was only a few times, but it took me out of the experience too much not to mark down.
Since all my criticisms have come to a close, I’d normally end a review here with some parting thoughts and a brief summary. However, no matter where I looked, I was forced to watch this dubbed for the latter half. The dubbing in Last Exile is good, if not great. While it has more vocal variety than the original Japanese track, there isn’t nearly as much feeling in the performances. However, the voice actor for Dio, Joshua Seth, deserves special recognition for using this trait of the dub to his advantage.
He doesn’t sound quite as passionate as his Japanese counterpart, but his voice fits Dio a bit better. While his Japanese VA made him sound like an overgrown and excitable manchild, Joshua made him sound crazy, but just as youthful. While I prefer the original Japanese overall, the English isn’t bad, and it isn’t an ordeal to listen to it.
Finally, the soundtrack is superb and definitely evocative of the series as a whole. Special mention goes to the opening, which was a nice electronica piece with a dash of world music thrown in that sounded ethereal.
My complaints for Last Exile are minor and borderline inconsequential. There wasn’t a single problem that ruined it for me, but a lot of small niggling flaws reared their heads more times than I was comfortable with. For this reason alone, I won’t call it anything but good. I recommend it for a delightful romp in a unique fantasy world with a few emotional twists and turns along the way, but not as something that absolutely must be seen.
Both these series has a genuin story, characters you really learn to like and they are flying in both series. Both main characters want to protect those who are close to them, and they both have a female flying with them. There are a huge storm in both series that they have to get through.
Both series are great, and you should take your time watching them both.
They're soo similar it's scary. The overall themes match, with both deal w/ character interactions with the world around them. And in both, the setting is almost like a character in and of itself. And of course, a heavy focus on flying. Eureka Seven is more futuristic, while Last Exile is more steampunk. Both are great series and if you liked one... odds are high that you'll like the other.
Both are excellent series with a focus on flight, and involve the main character(s) joining a rogue aircraft with a brooding leader and a likeable crew. In Eureka Seven the technology is more futuristic, while in Last Exile it's a steampunk-influenced combination of old and new.
These two anime are very similar, although their overall "feel"are somewhat different.
Renton and Klaus are two similar characters both in character and in they're abilities in flying craft.
Both anime deal with flying craft with Eureka seven having a more futuristic design and Last Exile one more 18/19th century / fantastical design.
Anyway, if you like one of them, you will defintaly not be dissapointed by the other.
Though both involve flying, it's in a very different way. Last Exile is very steampunk, while Eureka Seven has a cleaner, more futuristic feel. However, they're still very similar. Alex Rowe and Holland would either be best friends or kill each other. But the crew of the Silvana and the members of Gekkostate would definitely get along. And, unfortunately, they both have very vague (but epic) endings. The only main difference is that Last Exile lacks the romantic story Eureka Seven has.
Both Last Exile and Eureka Seven share adventure and sci-fi genre.
Still, both have a plot evolving around flying ships, war and interesting characters.
Klaus (for Last Exile) and Renton (for Eureka Seven) have to protect whose dear to them and will do it through the whole story.
A note to mention is also the good cast of seiyuus and very good art which both series have. Additionally, Last Exile has a quite nice ost.
As a difference instead, Eureka has a more futuristic technology while Last Exile shows an "oldish" technology on the style of 19th centuary.
For sure if you liked one of those, you'll probably enjoy the other as well!
Both sci-fi and have a boy and girl relationship which also involes flying planes/robots
They both have a couple of children as main characters. They both have as scenario a ship with strange people, that travel around the world.
seems to have a similar setup going on from the first episode i've seen. carries a strange technology in a world revolving around that of airships.
Airspace, adventure, action and a great base story. The main characters have their own ideals intertwining in a world of conflict. The scenery is similar, while the theme is different. Both anime's are easy to watch and have a great adventure in-store.
Last Exile and Bonen no Xamdo share a similar sort of flying-ship style, as well as the broad sky travel theme in general. There are also a few scenes that bear some similarity to Last Exile's universe, such as the group of white-haired children.
This Anime is very pretty similar, to Xam'd.
similar job (message deliverers).
only differents, xamd got mecha's.
flying vehicles; adeventures; great design;
Opening Theme"Cloud Age Symphony" by Shuntaro Okino
Ending Theme"Over The Sky" by Hitomi
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