Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 7, 2003 to Sep 29, 2003
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or olderL represents licensing company
Score: 8.031 (scored by 31510 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top anime page.
Popular Tagsaction adventure fantasy sci-fi
Aug 12, 2010
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
Feb 25, 2010
I've been avoiding this Anime like the plague for a long time only based upon the cover looking like a boy flying a blimp...but randomly i wanted to watch a few episodes of a show that i "wouldn't get very attached to" so i gave it a shot...
Ten episodes later i found myself forcing myself to go to sleep because i had class in three hours....
Story: The story was very good, though i felt it had a few holes in the start making it slightly harder to follow what was going on till you got five or six episodes in. Despite this the story-line was quite creative and by the end i wasn't sitting there asking myself "wait...but what about (insert random aspect of storyline here)?" That is to say in the end they tied everything up and left me feeling like they ended it properly
Art: The art was amazing, creative ships, creative worlds, creative and diverse characters, all put together very nicely and with a modern drawing style to it. i do have one complaint though....CGI...i'm sick of this stuff invading my anime :( this particular anime is stuffed to the brim with the stuff, ships, water, ground, all randomly CGI'ed. I say randomly because its like they never really decided if they ACTUALLY wanted it in there...one camera angle everything is fine, then they switch to the same scene on a different camera angle and BAM! every things CGI...though i'm not sure if they did it really well or really poorly because at times i had trouble noticing the switch....maybe that was the point. Other then the CGI (and again if you like that stuff its not even an issue here) the art was magical.
Sound: The music, though seeming slightly out of place at first really starts to grow on you, giving the act of air-to-air ship combat a sense of epic-ness and even a sense of grace. The voices were really well done too, the bad people sound bad, the good people sound good, the mad people sound mad, the happy people sound happy, there is nothing much else to say.
Character: This little section of the anime is quite well done. how the people look, how they talk, how they act, they all fit their roll very well. by the end you almost feel a genuine hate for the enemy and a quaint attachment to the hero's. though through this entire thing i could only think one thing..."Eureka 7?" the character list of Last exile should almost be ashamed.
Claus:Renton,Lavie:Eureka,Alex:Holland,Talho:Sofia,Mullen:Dominic, and the list goes on and on....that is to say...if you dont like Holland...you wont like Alex...and so on and so forth...(good thing i loved Eureka 7's Characters)
Overall: This anime blew me away, like i said i came in assuming i'd hate it and then i couldn't stop watching it. it really caught me off guard. It feels almost like a Copy paste of Eureka 7, just replace the Robots with Airships, and to me thats a good thing. if you hate eureka i dont see much sense in watching this. story=win, art=win, sound=win, characters=win, overall=win.
Brainless approves: 9/10
Jan 15, 2008
The beginning of the story is nothing special, as there is no real excitement or shocking moments. All this series is to begin with, a series of events with not much meaning to them. It is only till halfway into the series that the story starts to get interesting, with some developments in the storyline. The major downfall is that the major questions are not really answered until the last couple episode, when some kind of meaning behind the show title “Last Exile” is revealed. However at this point the story undergoes a major change which can lead to you asking, “Where is this story heading?”
The quality of the animation is excellent as it is one of the best mixes of drawn animation and CG, giving it a realistic feel. So much detail is put into the cloud and smoke effects only that watching them soar through the skies is amazing. The slightly hazy look this anime has can sometimes distort the images, especially in dark scenes but it really isn’t that big a deal.
The music is alright, with is mostly a bunch of melodies that are the sort of stuff typical heard in anime. The music doesn’t really add anything to the show experience or help set the atmosphere; no real suspense, drama, excitement, nothing.
Overall this is quite an enjoyable anime series to watch however it is so incredibly slow paced, to the point where in half the episodes, nothing important happens. For a kid’s show this was pretty hard to understand, because the major plot related questions were only answered in the last couple episodes. Some people may find the ending rather disappointing with no real build-up to it and too many deaths. However at least there was some kind of resolution, to be pleased with. This show had so much potential to be superb, as there was a lot of effort put into it, however a better story could have helped.
This is a pretty good anime to watch, but it lacks something crucial to make it any special. ^_^ read more
Jun 1, 2008
Last Exile takes place in a marvelous steampunk world of giant hulking airships and smaller faster aircraft known as vanships that seems as much inspired by the industrial 19th century as it was by the 18th. The forces of the neighboring Disith are invading the country of Anatorey. Both nations engage each other according to rules handed down by a technologically advanced group with its own agenda known simply as the Guild that resides in the Grand Stream, a violent storm system that separates the two warring nations. Claus and Lavie, a pilot/navigator team who work as couriers with their vanship, are drawn into the ongoing conflict between Anatorey, Disith, and the Guild by Alex Rowe, the enigmatic captain of the rogue battleship Silverna and a mysterious little girl named Alvis.
The setting is truly one of Last Exile’s greatest strengths and it is aided by wonderfully detailed artwork and character designs from Range Murata who is known for his earlier work on another Gonzo production, Blue Submarine No. 6. Animation is smooth throughout although the presentation is weakened by an at times obtrusive use of computer-generated animation. At its best the blend of the two formats adds an epic grandeur to dogfights and naval battles. At it’s worst it stands out in sharp contrast to the two dimensionally animated elements that surround it like in the Silverna’s hanger filled with CGI vanships. The soundtrack for Last Exile was the only one composed by the group Dolce Triade which is made up of Hitomi Kuroishi, Maki Fujiwara, and Yuki Yamamoto (Kuroishi would later go on to work on the soundtrack for Code Geass). It comes across as appropriate to the epic scale Last Exile was aiming for and is more than a match for the animation in terms of quality.
It is, however, the story and characters that are often the most important elements of a successful program and it is in these two areas that Last Exile suffers the most. It is essentially the same deficiency in both and it is that Last Exile never really goes into any great detail on either its story or its characters. This isn’t necessarily true across the board. Claus and Lavie receive an entire episode devoted to their back-story and others such as Alex Rowe, Dio, and Luciola do receive a goodly amount of attention. In addition the vanship pilot/navigator relationship functions as a very interesting character dynamic. On the whole, however, there are a lot of areas that feel like there should be some development where if there isn’t a vague hint of detail there is only its complete absence. The pacing doesn’t leave much room for this sort of development, moving along at such a rate that when developments do occur they rarely feel natural let alone believable. Characters who were once enemies become allies and two nations that had been bitter enemies for years become friends as though all their previous hostilities meant nothing at all. There is something of a coherent story to be found for the attentive viewer but it is mostly the skeleton of one.
Last Exile’s conclusion only worsens matters by throwing logic completely out the window. Strategies are implemented and character deaths occur for no greater reason than that the writers needed them to happen for the sake of the conclusion they were trying to reach. In the end, very little is explained either. Yes, the true nature of Last Exile’s world is revealed as is the true nature of the mystery ship Exile but the ending only serves to raise more questions than it actually answers. What Last Exile truly needed was more time to flesh out its story and characters than its 26-episode length allowed. As it is Last Exile is still a good show despite its faults and it’s at least worth a look for the prospective viewer. Come for the setting and the audio/visual presentation just don’t expect the story and characters to match up. read more
Oct 30, 2011
The characters feel like they should be interesting, but are not explored in depth enough to make them memorable. All of the characters have some sort of back story, or emotions that seem like they are important, but are not properly explained. Sometimes a character may do something, and you can look at what was briefly mentioned and can assume why they did such a thing, but other times its very difficult to understand their motive.
The story has similar problems as well. There will be a sudden change in events, that everyone will get behind, but it is never explained to why what they do is a good idea, or even what it is they are doing. The main reason for this problem is probably the lack of explanation and presentation of the world of Last Exile. Things are mentioned briefly throughout the series, and by picking up the little things the setting can be better understood and established. This requires more work than it should, and not everything can be picked up in only one viewing.
What can be picked up of the setting, however, is what makes Last Exile worth while. The combination of colonial era uniforms and military structure with steam-punkish airships, and the poor natural resources that makes drinking water a valuable commodity creates a unique and memorable universe for the series to take place in. The freedom of the skies enjoyed by the vanship pilots, who carry out odd jobs and act as couriers gives the pilots a sense of release from the structured rule of the military.
Last Exile is a series worth watching, but is not memorable enough to go out of the way and see. read more
Aug 27, 2011
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.
Nov 26, 2007
In terms of plot, yes there is something of a story, but you really have to pay attention to keep track of things. Besides, to be honest the story is quite inconsequentional. There is a bit of suspense and foreboding of impending disaster to keep you going from episode to episode.
The artwork was excellent, even by modern standards. The "vanships", the equivalent of an aeroplane and the huge zepellin like airships are superbly drawn.
The sound is appropriate and goes well with the visual images of vanships flying the corkscrew at high speeds. Plenty of explosions juxtaposed to arias, it was quite interesting.
The characters, although well explored and given a sense of emotional depth, are quite cliche. A bit of whinying here, a bit of heroism there. very reminiscent of the characters from Full Metal Alchemist.
As far as enjoyability goes it's a great anime to watch over a weekend when it's snowing outside, which is exactly what I did! it's faced paced, with enough action and intrigue to be called a "page turner", and then there's the excellent artwork.
I recommend this anime to all mecha, airware, action buffs, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. read more
Mar 20, 2007
Starting with Story. A science fiction story that at first glance was joining up elements of advance technology (e.g. flying battle ships) and medieval element (e.g. musketeers; honor code from European battles). It reeled me in at first, as the first 2 episodes were intense and interesting. The third episode continued with good pace also ( this time bringing a race and it was not only this element but the junction of others from the first 2 which made me feel that this anime got many inspiration from Star Wars). But it's was in the 4th ep. that I first start seeing plot holes (eg. in character relationship, and background), and it wouldn't be the last time. Even so the overall story was interesting although it sometimes developed faster or even in a slower pace than it should have.
This will depend a bit on people tastes, but I did not enjoy the ending, and especially how some of the plot lines around some characters resolved.
So in resume, the story has its ups and downs, it's pace it's quite irregular sometimes moving fast and other times going slow, it's good in overall but fails in many details.
Like the story, the characters started up promising, but many of them turned out to be disappointing. Especially main characters who got little development whatsoever in terms of personality. In fact the characters that got more evolution were within secondary cast, and at some point in the anime I actually started to care more about the latest then the ones I was supposed to care about. Good examples are Sophia, Mullin and Dio. Being the last one the character that most appealed to me, mostly due to is initial personality and also because he got a good evolution during the anime.
I can't stop thinking a bit of romance would have done wonders to improve character interaction but no moves were made in that direction.
So the strong points turn out to be the interesting secondary cast and the overall character design wich was very good.
Animation is Last Exile strongest point. It combines regular animation with 3D CGI sequences. And this is done quite well making not only battles but also many other scenes very pleasant to watch. The animation level is kept high during the whole anime and no glitches are worth mentioning. The overall ship design is very good and the same goes for character design stated above, background scenarios are also amazing.
As for Sound, it's pretty good as well. VA's do a great job, sound effects are very good and background music is so-so. The opening theme was very good and the ending theme was well done although it did not appeal so much to me.
The Enjoyment you take out will very much depend from person to person. For me personally it had it's ups and downs due to some periods of or indecision, and because I did not identify myself with the primary cast. Even so there were memorable sequences that made this show worth while.
In overall Last Exile is a good watch but not more than that. It has an interesting story, and although not having a really good primary cast, the secondary characters manage to complement this flaw. It has great animation, joining up 2D and 3D Computer Generated Imagery that give action scenes and other ordinary scenes a very good look, which is complemented by good sound effects. I do recommend this one, however don't have really high expectations because apart from the animation, there is nothing of really outstanding nor breathtaking in Last Exile. read more
Jan 11, 2009
I think the art was great, the transitioning from CGI to 2d flowed well and the characters were drawn very well. And the sound matched to fit, my only wish is that some more of the world of Prestair could have been explained a bit more within the story, instead of just the explanation of a forward attack. read more
Feb 24, 2011
Dialogue- boring and stifled
Art and music- both fine, but art is kind of stiff and boring, especially during dog fights
Story and Setting- Cliche, and terrible. I have not been so uninterested in the plot since pokemon. Plus the pacing was just so horrendous. Scenes that should be fast are slow and boring. Scenes which could develop characters are random, misplaced, and sometimes a bit confused. Everything about the pacing is poor.
Comments: I compare this show to stuff like Robotech. But the reason why robotech was so awesome, was because of it's focus on characters. The character dichotomies and relationships were realistic and organic. There was nothing forced. The plot was basic, sure, but it was a character based series, which was surprisingly well written. The development and progression of the characters, relationships, and plot were done perfectly. Meanwhile, this seems like a bad knock off. Here's a comparison to detail what I'm talking about. In Robotech, you watch as Rick excels at piloting over a course of time. He isn't great at first, but he gets better and better and rises through the ranks as he proves himself. In The Last Exile, the main character flies the weaponized van-ship. At first, he does not do so well, but it does show him starting to get used to flying. You would think that he would prove himself in later battles as the show continues, but no. It implies that he got better, but ultimately we only see him fly the damn thing a handful of times. There is NO development.
Enjoyment: despite the fact that there is nothing good about this show, and I would traditionally drop it after the first few episodes, I continued to watch it out of some self hating boredom. I found a mild amusement out of this time waster, which keeps it from getting anything below a five. Ultimately, I don't recommend this series to anyone and I regret watching this pile of shit.
Oct 1, 2010
My viewing experience for "Last Exile" seem to be opposite to a lot of other people's. For one thing, I didn't think the animation is the greatest thing ever. I liked it well enough, with its impressive CG capturing the feeling of a smokey steampunk world very well, but the characters faces often lacks consistency, and as much as the dreary, washed out colours matched the steampunk settings, I didn't find it particularly appealing... perhaps I just prefer bright and colourful things :D And for some strange reason some scenes are very clearly drawn while others seem to be covered by a thin grey veil, even when there's no mist/cloud around. It's almost as if the cloud effect worked so well that the animators got a bit over excited and just started using it on random scenes.
A lot of people seem to find the beginning of "Last Exile" hugely intriguing but the progression of it disappointing, but again here my personal experience is quite the opposite. The first couple of episodes didn't really pique my interest *that* much, but as the story progressed I got more and more into it. One thing I do agree with though, is that the story is isn't well explained, with the ending feeling especially hurried, leaving behind a plethora of questions unanswered. However, despite all of this, the twists and turns along the way are more than enough to keep me devouring up the episodes. A few plot holes aside, I think the story has bundles of potential. While a lot of other series feel like they could have done with a few less episodes, "Last Exile" could have done with another half season or so, and if the extra episodes gets used properly to explain things, I think the story could have shown itself to be something amazing.
What is actually amazing though, is the whole feel of "Last Exile". With a concept that includes unlikely heroes and princesses, awe inspiring battles, and a rogue ship that has a legendary reputation as the invincible battleship, captained by a man whose motives are shrouded in mystery, "Last Exile" is like a fairy tale on an epic scale. The atmosphere owes much to the magnificent music production the series is blessed with. The sweet, angelic vocal harmonies of Dolce Triarde does much to enhance the enchanting, fairy tale aspects of the show; the instrumental tracks shows off a wide variety of sounds, ranging from almost celtic sounding folk that strengthens the humble settings that the main protagonists comes from, to the majestic orchestral tracks featuring brass instruments that often heightens the epic qualities of the battle scenes with their bugle-like calls. Probably the only track that I didn't take a liking to is the rather bland opening theme (which, ironically, most people appear to love).
The dramatisation in "Last Exile" is exceptional. Each important plot twist and development is heavily punctuated for maximum impact, and most of episodes end with a dramatic flourish that had me craving for the next episode right away. The large scale battles, despite taking place in the air, really captures the feel of a proper naval battle, and is one of my favourite aspects of the show. The booming cannons, the billowing smoke and the recoils that rocks the ships as they fire a broadside... these sequences are grand to the extreme and breathtaking to watch. In fact the brilliantly orchestrated battle at Dragons Fang is hands down the best ship battle I've ever witnessed in my years of watching anime. It has everything - drama, twists and some of the most sophisticated of tactics being put into operation. And the climax... WOW! It may not have the brilliant tactics involved at the battle of Dragon Fang, but the high running emotions and the highly stacked stakes made it about as good as anything else I've seen
Though Claus and Ravi make a decently likeable pair of central protagonists, the side characters are far more interesting, as it's often the case. My personal favourite is not actually one of the more popular characters like Dio, but Alex Row, the quiet, mysterious captain of the aforementioned invincible battleship. I know that his type has been seen many times in other anime, a notable one being Amon from "Witch Hunter Robin", who has a similar, brooding demeanor. However, Amon, despite always acting cool etc, never does anything that's actually useful or spectacular, whereas Alex Row, through the course of the series, shows himself not only to be a superb marksman and a brilliant strategist, but also as a man driven towards a single purpose by an unyielding, almost demonic will. I love the fact that his uncompromising personality added a subtly cynical touch to the end of the final battle. And what's more, unlike other silent, mysterious characters, his backstory really clicks with his personality, and so he's not someone who's the way he is just for the sake of being cool... like Amon.
Other side characters, though interesting as well, mostly aren't developed as well as they could have been. Moran Shetland soon disappears into obscurity after making a notable entrance, and when he appears again, his personality turns out to be less notable than his entrance; Dio, who seems to be a crowd favourite, doesn't really interest with me all that much, so I'm not too bothered about him. However I would liked to have seen more of Dio's interactions with Luciola after I saw him feature in an incredible episode called "Castling Luciola" (nearly all the episode titles have references to chess, which is a nice touch). Though I enjoyed the episode immensely, it could have been even better had it been backed up by more character development. For a couple of episodes, "Last Exile" also toys with the idea of adding romance into the story, but what starts off as intriguing ends up as bewildering instead, since they drop the idea after a couple of episodes and it just kind of fizzed out.
"Last Exile" is a work that shows off the best and the worst aspect of Gonzo - the incomplete building of a fascinating world; the incomplete development of an enthralling story; it lacks focus but has brilliant production and dramatisation in abundance. Luckily, this is Gonzo on a good day, where, for me at least, its strengths greatly outshines its weaknesses - despite the flaws I can perceive when putting "Last Exile" under micro scrutiny, I find the overall macro affect to be something truly special. It's a series that seem to extrude this spellbinding, magical element that dreams are made from, and it completely captured my imagination. read more
Nov 28, 2012
Okay, maybe it's a stretch to call Last Exile the best anime ever made. However, I think I might just come out and say that Last Exile just might be the most underrated anime I have ever watched. It is a captivating story with a very likable cast of characters, a beautifully animated and orchestrated masterpiece.
To me, the strongest aspect of this series was the atmosphere and mood. This goes back to the animation and music. They were intertwined so well and gave the series a historical, steam-punk feel. The animation was top notch and unlike most animes, I actually liked that there was very little color integrated into the animation. It had a vintage feel and I loved the vibe I got from it.
The orchestration/music was unbelievable. I've talked about mood so far but the music attributed greatly to that. The OP (Cloud Age Symphony) and ED (Over The Sky) were great examples of how a song should be implemented into an OP or ED. The OP does a nice job of getting your attention and intrigued for the episode and the ED is a soothing end to the show/series.
As far as the story is concerned, it was the weakest aspect of the show, but that's not saying much. Both the story and the characters were great. My biggest complaint as far as the story is concerned is that it is slightly difficult to pick up on the current events of this series. I wasn't sure what the war between Anatoray and Disith was all about at first nor was I sure what the Guild had to do with that. I felt that could've been handled a little better, but at the same time, I felt the writers did a nice job filling in the blanks as the series progressed. I had a lot of "oh, I get it now!" moments as the series progressed. If nothing else, this series did a nice job of creating a "mystery" element with the lack of plot that was revealed during the early stretch. The pacing was also rather slow, but I couldn't really complain too much about the slow pace. I should call it more of a smooth pace than slow.
The characters were great. I thought the three leads Claus, Lavie, and Alvis were fantasic and I loved their realistic interactions. The only thing that I found slightly strange were how quickly the three of them bonded when Alvis came into the picture but I'm guessing it was speaking more from Claus and Lavie's personal experience. I thought one minor weakness was a lack of development with Alvis. For one of the main characters of the series, we don't learn a whole lot about her, even after it's revealed what she really is. The supporting cast was also very sound, from the cast of the Silvanna to the very peculiar, Dio Eraclea. One of the few sub-plots I REALLY enjoyed with this series was the interactions and story of Dio and Lucciola. It was a powerful message of friendship in this series that could go a bit unnoticed. The antagonist, Delphine Eraclea was absolutely fantastic. You want to figure out how to create a very unlikable antagonist, look at the character model for Delphine. Her superiority complex and vulgar actions towards her allies and enemies alike made it easy to hate her.
Overall, this was one of the best animes I had seen in quite some time and probably the best steam-punk anime I have ever seen. I tend not to have the highest opinion of steam-punk animes but this one was top notch. Gonzo produced a gem of an anime and I glad I took a chance on an anime that didn't interest me at first glance. read more
Jun 9, 2011
The story centred around two young children, Lavi and Claus, who are orphans living together and making a living flying their plane which they believed belonged to their fathers. They do jobs taking important documents to various people when the need arises. It is during one of their assignments that they encounter another plane under attack and go to investigate. This action will change the rest of their lives. The pilot was transporting a package, in the form of a little girl and was ambushed by the enemy who wanted the child for their own reasons. He begs them to take care of the child and dies. They now have to drop off the child to the rendezvous point and they will get their reward. It is here that they meet the mysterious captain of the infamous ship named Alex who relieves them of the child. Believing that foul play is involved, they decide to go after the ship in order to save the child. By doing this, they get caught up in a series of events that have the future of the world at stake, which they inevitably take part in to return the place to the peace and stability which it has once known and enjoyed.
It was a joy watching this anime because of so many different things, the animation being one of them. The colour combinations made for an incredible setting and excellent character drawings created beautiful scenery that was captivating.
The opening song was techno based but suited the rhythm of the series which was fast paced throughout. The musical scores throughout the series that highlighted vital parts were more classical based but the speed of the pieces were either fast or slow depending on the action of the scene.
The characters in the series were well rounded and fully developed which added to the advancement of the story and made it worth watching. The main characters, Lavi and Claus went through the most changes but it was because each of the characters in the series was given time to interact with each other and the audience could have identified with what each of them were going through, made them all the more real and excellent to watch.
The series was well written and the characters were also very well developed. There were plenty of pleasant surprises which added to the enjoyable experience of watching the anime.
This anime illustrated that even in times of crisis, the smallest person has a very huge impact on the outcome of any battle; no one should be taken for granted.
An excellent series, worthy of re-watching and action packed with wonderful twists. A thrilling adventure richly blended with those sentimental moments to give the series a humane touch.
Nov 25, 2011
Story: It's about a flight race and there's some politics involved too, but outside the Guild, the politics are sketchy and actually don't make that much sense. But the rivalry of Dio/Delphine vs Claus/Alexander is the main plot theme. Unfortunately the deus ex machina ending leaves a bit to be desired.
Art: By today's standards the CGI looks clunky but at the time it was quite well executed. However, the CGI and regular anime scenes don't really mix well together. This is no longer the case for its successor "Last Exile Fam". But overall the ships, world and cities are a stunning sight.
Sound: I really love "Cloud Age Symphony", the first J-pop song and it stuck with me ever since. The other music manages to get you into the right mood. A minor gripe would be the "cute" tunes which signal some funny or cute scene, but most of the themes make the anime even more exciting than they actually are. So it supports the episodes really well.
Character: The ship captains (except the Sylvana) are really stupid and serve more to provide comic relief. Girls are mostly fit into a cute role.The Guild characters are the ones that are fleshed out and they all have two sides, like a coin. But we'll have to put up with many side characters like an annoying sergeant that only serves to... annoy the viewer.
Enjoyment: Most of the time you don't need to watch it with your full attention. But the end of each episode left me wanting more, I enjoyed the series a great deal.
Overall: There are some minor sticking points such as being too cute and without any blood to realistically portray a war. But overall the series score high on visuals and sound, as well as a plot that keeps the viewer watching. Definitely a series to put on your watch list. read more
Mar 22, 2010
Last Exile is probably the first anime I saw that alerted me to the fact that we were in a new era of animation. I've seen CG work before but it was never as smooth and seamless as it was in this series, usually you could have easily clocked it when an anime used CGI. The CG object was usually big and bulky and of a different shading and texture apart from what was used in the rest of the scene....one of the main reasons why I detest excessive CGI use. But here in Last Exile the CG work is blended really well with the rest of the anime scenes, you can tell it's CG work because the animation is rendered so smoothly in a way that only a computer can create, the way the vanships fly or how the smoke they release slowly diffuses in the air. Only a computer can render art that smoothly. But the art itself is great! I love the design of the vanships, so much detail was given to them they remind me somewhat of those classic cars from the 1930's. Another breathtaking scene in the series is the coronation of the Empress where a lot of care an detail went into the scene, even the train of her regal gown...there was also some good angle-work in that scene as well.
This show has a beyond awesome musical score, most noticeably, the OP and ED themes. Once again this show teaches me not to dislike all things computer generated because normally I greatly dislike all things “techno” and other similar synthetic music with computerized beats yet somehow and for some reason I loved the OP theme for Last Exile. The beat is very addictive and it goes well with the way the guy sings in that very slow almost hypnotic chanting style. The ED song is equally as awesome and it's what made me sit up and take notice of the performer, Hitomi. The way she sings is very soft and delicate and I've found it to be so relaxing that I've even used it on my MySpace page and people were always asking “who sings that song?” and “where can I get it?”
I've only ever watched this show in English and they've done an awesome job. If you're they type that hates english dubs because they usually do such a bad job, then I recommend watching this one in english dub anyway to see that not all English dubs are done badly.
I think it's kinda hard to put into words sometimes how great a particular show is, especially this show, because not everyone desires or likes the same thing....and as much as one person thinks this show is so “awesome” another person could just as quickly brand it as a “lame” series, which I guess neither would be right or wrong, but I most certainly am of the party that think this show is beyond awesome! I guess I could say, that from an analytical standpoint the story has all the right elements to make it a very compelling series to watch. It starts out with these two kids, Claus and Lavie, who virtually have nothing but end up realizing that they possess quite a lot. That's not to say that this is a rags-to-riches story, because it isn't , it's more about surviving, being a survivor, it's also about having dreams and realizing those dreams. Having Claus and Lavie start out as one set of people in the beginning but then evolve and become different people by the ending is really interesting to see especially if you are into having a lot of humanness in your stories. Maybe that's why I love the show so much, because it wasn't just people fighting for the sake of fighting but there were believable human reasons involved: some for rage and vengeance, others for prestige and chivalry and others for survival.
Claus and Lavie are caught in a maelstrom [literally] of politics and war, they're young kids who managed to eke out a meager but honest living as messengers and also as part-time racers by flying their late fathers' vanship. Claus and Lavie are I guess who would be the main characters, but the show also focuses a great deal on the crew of the Sylvana: Alex Rowe the captain of the Sylvana and a mere shell of the great pilot he once was, now consumed by vengeance; Sophia his second in command poised and capable she hides her beauty and many other secrets about herself behind her spectacles and dutiful facade; Tatiana, the dedicated vanguard pilot from a now defunct house of nobility who also struggles with her emotions...these are probably my favorite characters but the best character award goes to Dio the spoiled noble from the Guild, his quirky speech and mannerisms makes him the one that I could hardly take my eyes off of. At first he seems like a spoiled brat and then a gay stalker for Claus but even he too, grows and changes during the series and he eventually becomes someone likable and even a vital member of the team.
There are many other characters in this series that are just as great with wonderful personalities. The character designs were also great. They were all attractive looking but none were made excessively beautiful except for those who were supposed to be beautiful like Delphine, Dio, Sophia [without the glasses], Claus and Alvis. And it's not that they were super-duper jaw-droppingly gorgeous but the art style and wardrobe designs made them so. I really appreciated the great work that went into creating all the various wardrobes. I loved the design of the Empress's gown and the vanship flight suits used on the Sylvana, the fashion for The Guild was very unique as was the military uniforms for the Disseth.
I don't think many people will get why this show is great because it doesn't contain a lot of the standard anime formulas, there are no giant robots, there are no epic battles with super-powers, the world isn't directly in any sort of great peril....the story is somewhat political. But it's a very intelligently written story with a lot of insightful characters expressing a lot of believable human emotion even though it all complete fantasy. It's definitely worth checking out if you've never heard of it or you've run out of anime to watch and are willing to try something new. the perfect 10 score isn't meant to be just me gushing about some show I like, but I do think it critically merits this score for being a truly original, intelligent and well-executed story. read more
Aug 28, 2009
I kept expecting these issues to be resolved but they were never addressed. Lastly, the end was a bit of a disappointment and didn't really showcase some of the cooler aspects of the ships and their crew. Still though, the nice little epilogue at the end really got me. read more
Jan 23, 2013
The story has a little of everything. The flight scenes are mesmerizing, and there's even some incredible fighting scenes (though not a lot. This is mainly aviation based). There is a slow down period about 2/3 of the way through the story, but the finish is so strong it makes up for it. It has plenty of tragedy to offset the heroic moments, and the main character never exceeds his abilities.
This is an anime that is all about the flying, and there are a lot of flight scenes. It reminds me of the video games Skies of Arcadia and Grandia.
In short, you shouldn't skip this one, add it to your short list. Even if it's not your forte you may be surprised like I was. read more
Mar 4, 2013
The premise is quite simple, deceptively so even. There are few animes out there which have managed to grab my attention so early, yet lose it so quickly. Dusis and Anatore, two powerful superpowers who dominate what little land is left inhabitable on the planets surface, are at war. To open the series viewers are treated to a gripping opening scene of two fleets of enormous flying battle ships “sailing” side by side, as teams of worthless riflemen fire at one another from ship to ship. Right off the bat the idiocy of the politics in this world are brought to light (and I mean that as a compliment); the riflemen on board serve no useful purpose, they can’t sink the enemy ship, they are never used for boarding either, are simply forgotten about after their numbers start to dwindle. They really are not good for anything except catching bullets, yet the captains of these enormous battleships insist on sacrificing them by the hundreds in order to fulfill a sense of chivalry, and “obey the rules of war” as it were. We are thrust into the boots of one lonely foot soldier, huddling afraid in the bowls of the ship as they prepare to open the doors and march out into the line of fire. It is a truly harrowing setting that reminded me not only of the battle formations made famous by Napoleon, but also of the charges across no man’s land in WWI. The riflemen fighting all know that their chances of survival are slim, and they know how pointless their sacrifice really is, but they march into the line of fire anyway prepared to give their lives away. It presents a very antiwar message, while also treating audiences to a very beautiful battle scene. Of all the things Last Exile got right, the opening is high amongst them.
Then there are our two main characters, Clause and Lavi who are two orphaned children who’ve taken up Vanship piloting as a means to support themselves (a Vanship being a sort of airplane with anti-gravity technology of the same kind the battleships use). Of all the characters in the show, early Lavi is my favorite (and there’s a big difference between early Lavi and late Lavi). She’s a confident, strong, take charge type of characters with a very close relationship to her best friend, Clause. The reason I liked her most I guess is because out of all of them she seemed the most believable. Whereas other characters go around doing stupid things to save girls in distress Lavi early on makes it clear she wants nothing to do with the dangerous missions Clause gets them into. This may seem selfish to some, but it’s also the most realistic portrayal in the series. Why should she want to risk her life for a mission she cares nothing about, or people she’s never met? No one else seems to have a problem with doing just that, so Lavi’s reluctance stood out in stark contrast to the sometimes baffling illogical decisions some of the characters make. But more on that later.
While taking part of a race in their home town Lavi and Clause unwittingly rescue a young girl name Ai (at least that was her name in the sub I watched) and become mixed in with a plot to destroy The Guild, an almost supernaturally powerful organization which controls the technology to all flight. After an all too brief battle with a Guild starship (literally planes that look like stars) they end up on the legendary Battleship Sylivanna captioned by the personality less Captain Alex, his love struck second in command Sophia, and his head fighter pilot the emotionally unbalanced Tatiana and her (supposedly) lesbian lover. Okay, that last part isn’t really said outright, but it did give me that vibe. When Clause and Lavi deliver Ai to the Sylivanna, which was their mission from the start, Clause for some reason suddenly distrusts the crew and decides Ai needs rescuing.
And this, in my opinion, is where the show starts to fall apart. See, Clause from the very beginning has no reason to think Ai is in any danger, or that she needs rescuing. In fact the Sylivanna crew just saved Ai from being killed, and were taking her on board their ship for protection. Sure, one of the men handles her kind of roughly, but he’s quickly scolded by the Captain for doing so. Despite doing exactly it was he was supposed to do, IE delivering this girl to the Sylivanna, Clause now thinks it a good idea to risk his life, and the life of his best friend, to rescue a girl he hardly knows from the very people he’d risked his life to deliver her to. For no reason.
It’s these kinds of lapses in logic that really hold the show back. Characters have little to no motivation to do half of what they do (especially Clause). What’s more, their goals and what little motivations they do have are in a state of constant flux, changing from episode to episode. For instance Moran, the rifle man from the beginning of the show, decides after the opening battle to quit his job as a rifleman. This makes sense considering the dire circumstances under which we were introduced to this character. However when they make him a mechanic on the Sylivanna all he does is reminisce about the “good old days” when he served as a rifleman before actually going back to the job he’d made such a big deal about leaving. Why does he want to go back? What is so terrible about being a mechanic on a ship where his captain doesn’t useless sacrifice his men? The people he works with are all really cool people, his commanders are descent, and there’s very little danger compared to his previous job. So what’s the problem, Moran?
Now let’s use Clause as another example. First he wants to bring Ai to the Sylivanna, but then he wants to rescue her from it. Then he doesn’t want to rescue her, he wants to keep her safe. But then it’s not about keeping her safe anymore, it’s about “seeing what’s in these skies” or some other nonsense like that. What’s the end result of all this? Characters who have no idea what they are doing, why they are doing it, or what they wish to accomplish. This is the main problem with the show.
Now to touch on what the show does well. The lore and backstory to Last Exile is really quite interesting. It does a really good job in creating a mystery for the viewers to try to piece together with what little info is given us. What is Exile? What does it do? Hoe does Ai play into all this? How is it that the Guild manages to hold such a stranglehold on the world? Last Exile does not reveal too much too early, which gives us the satisfaction of piecing the mystery together as we go along. But the real treats are the battle scenes. Fleets of huge floating battleships flying through the clouds as they fire their enormous cannons at one another. The battles in this series are some of the best I’ve seen. If only the show had more battle scenes and less bipolar characters I might be able to justify a higher rating. I also found the tech to be extremely fun. It’s a steampunk show, so you already know the general idea, but they use it in such inventive ways (such as a giant listening device that acts like a sonar).
The animation, though passible, is nothing to write home about. It’s really quite dull and colorless. A lot of browns, blacks, grey’s, more grey, dark grey, white, greyish brown, you get the idea. A little more color might have helped to liven things up a little bit. The music as well I found underwhelming. There are times I found the music to be quite inappropriate for the scene, in fact, and in other cases it was simply too loud. It’s not very often that the music actually manages to detract from the overall experience, but I found this the case for Last Exile.
So what’s the final verdict? Though I can fully understand why people love this show so much, personally I didn’t find it to be all that impressive. The world was interesting, the battles were awesome, and the tech was inventive, but the most important aspect of any story, the characters, just didn’t resonate with me. They were too bipolar, too wishy washy, too prone to doing dangerous things for unexplained reasons. The pacing was also quite dull; I honestly think they could have made this into a 13 episode series and it would have been the better for it. There weren’t 26 episodes worth of story to tell, so it just seemed to drag at times.
Will I recommend you see it? You betcha. It’s a classic anime series which I think most fans of the genra owe it to themselves to see at least once. Will I recommend that you buy it? Well for that the answer is no, especially at the inflated prices anime DVD’s go for. It’s a good show with many high points and positives that many people will find enjoyable. I personally didn’t, but that does not mean you will not.
Replay value; medium.
Aug 8, 2008
Das Opening hat am Anfang, genauso wie das Ending, für mich doch schon einen abschreckenden Charakter gehabt. Nicht so das Ware, wenn man es mit anderen Serien vergleicht? -aufs erste Hinhören vielleicht. Wie bei vielen Animeserien stellt sich, besonders das Ending, für mich als absoluter Ohrwurm heraus, welchen ich mittlerweile sehr genial und passend finde. Ein wundervoll passendes, stimmungsvolles Lied, welches sich perfekt an das Ende einer Episode anschließt, welche ebenso durchweg mit hochwertigen und gut passender Soundunterstüptzung unterlegt ist. Soundtechnisch steht Last Exile also mit vielen Animeserien an erster Spitze und es gibt nichts zu bemängeln
Dazu fällt mir spontan nur eins ein: ATEMBERAUBEND! Wem diese nicht gefällt, der sollte wohl schleunigst aus dem Animegebiet verschwinden denn die Animationen in Last Exile sind absolute Oberklasse. Ob es nun bei den gigantisch aussehenden Vanships oder bei den extrem hochwertig animierten Schlachten anfängt, spielt dabei keine Rolle! Die Animationen bieten alle 26 Episoden durchweg höchsten Anime-Standard und die, zugegeben wohl recht oft auch PC-Animierten Szenen, lassen sich perfekt in das Gesamtbild einfügen. Alles in allem machen schon allein diese gigantischen Animationen diesen Anime zu einem Top-Anime, bei dem man einfach nur genießerisch zuschauen kann wie beispielsweise gerade eine erstklassige Schlacht auf dem Bildschirm tobt.
Von vielen ist die Story wohl der Hauptkritikpunkt -diese Ansicht teile ich absolut gar nicht! Sicher wird man mal eben in eine Welt hereingeschmissen, wo scheinbar Krieg herrscht und komische Zustände vorhanden sind, doch im Laufe der Serie kann man sich als aufmerksamer Zuschauer doch schon allerhand zusammenreimen und der Fakt, dass keine weiteren Informationen über die gesamte Weld geliefert wird, lässt genügend Platz für jedermanns eigene Interpretation. Außerdem finde ich das gesamte Konzept, dieser fiktiven Welt mehr als beeindruckend und es spricht mich in ganzer Linie an, was sich die Macher dieses Anime dabei gedacht haben. Der Fakt, dass weder moralische Aspekte hier großen Anklang finden und der Anime nicht die ganze Zeit probiert, dem Zuschauer zu zeigen wie schlecht doch die Welt ist empfinde ich ebenso positiv wie die Tatsache, dass der Anime klar bei seiner Story und Sache bleibt und nicht etwa noch tausend Liebesszenen als Fanservice oder sonstigen Genreschnickschnack einbaut.
Fazit: In Punkto Story und Welt bietet Last Exile endlich mal etwas Neues und begeistert mich somit mit einem gigantisch faszinierendem Konzept, in welches man langsam zum Anfang hin eingeführt wird und welches dann immer schneller klarer wird. Dabei begleitet man die doch schnell sympathischen Hauptcharaktere Klaus und Lavie und erlebt mit wie die beiden doch auf die eine oder andere, harte Probe gestellt werden.
Das Thema Charaktere in Last Exile ist wohl der einzige Schwachpunkt der Serie. Man erfährt sowohl am Anfang nicht viel über die Charaktere und dies ändert sich auch im weiteren Verlauf nicht groß. Fragen, wovon die Hauptperson beispielsweise "angetrieben" wird kann man sich zwar noch zusammenreimen aber dennoch ermöglicht Last Exile nicht mal annähernd einen tieferen Einblick in die Gefühls- bzw. Denkwelt der Charaktere und lässt auch in Sachen Entwicklung der Personen so manchen Wunsch unerfüllt. Ein Nachteil, welcher jedoch durch die restlichen genialen Elemente durchaus zu verschmerzen ist. Es kann ja nicht ALLES stimmen ;)
Last Exile bietet mit der überwältigenden Grafik und dem beindruckendem Sound ein wahrlich gigantisches Schauspiel, welches jeder Animeliebhaber mal gesehen haben sollte. Die Story bietet dabei endlich mal etwas Abwechslung, was wohl größtenteils an der wundervoll ausgearbeiteten Welt in Last Exile liegt, welche mich persönlich durchweg begeistert. Einziges Manko wäre wohl die recht oberflächliche Charakterbehandlung wobei ich finde, dass es schon mehr als genug "Gefühls-Geplänkel-Animes" gibt. Wer also etwas Aktion in einer neuen Welt sucht und sich von gigantischen Animationen bezaubern lassen will ist hier genau richtig. Wer tiefgründige Gefühle sucht sollte sich besser nach etwas anderem umschauen. read more
Jul 28, 2011
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
Last Exile is considered by most as the best anime made by GONZO for its very interesting world-building and aircraft designs. I on the other hand say that machinery and GONZO means lots of horrible CGI and thus NOT a good series. It is fine in Kaleido Star for not needing much 3D but here? No efing way; it is plain arithmetics; the less 3D GONZO the better.
On paper the show is pure win because it has an interesting cast, very distinctive setting, very detailed flying ships, a mysterious story, as well as some thought-provoking concepts around war and freedom. In practice though the cons simply outnumber the good parts since the pacing is very slow, the resolutions to any major issue are far-fetched, the finale is rushed, and the whole show is heavy on GONZO CGI so it can’t be good. In fact, most of the fans of the series simply like the theory of it and very few the plot or the presentation.
The artwork is the easiest part to feel attracted to. It has a steampunk feeling to it that makes it captivating. Unfortunately the bonehead animators tried to make even the human models as 3D as possible and the result was characters who look like plastic dolls. Not too fake but the experienced eye is not fooled. NOTHING BEATS THE HAND-DRAWN YOU FOOLS!
The soundtrack is fine in building the proper mood and voice acting is fitting the roles of its characters. There are no memorable songs or voices though; it all felt depressing and dull to pay attention to for long.
The story is amazing in its core themes. While it was about the exposition of the history of the world, the interactions of the two warring nations, or the relationships of the main characters, I can easily say it is brilliant. Too bad the above take up only a small part of the whole since all the rest appear to be some random crap that are either boring, or useless to the plot, or plain horribly presented to bother paying attention to it. What is going on here, did BONES highjack the script or something? Whatever the reason, the overall plot is mostly uneventful, slow, rushed and generally WRONGLY DONE. So as much as I like to give this one a good score, I just can’t because I am a strong fan of proper screenplay.
The characters are fine. Really, they are all great as personalities. They all have interesting backdrops to easily become likable as well as interesting openings for development to keep you yearning for more. Unfortunately the bad screenplay eventually makes most of their development to feel unexcused, out of character, or plain NOT BELIEVABLE causing you to eventually lose interest in them and forget them fast.
The show has value for being considered one of GONZO’s best works (which doesn’t say much since most of what they made is shit) and because it still has a strong fanbase, which is rekindled now with the upcoming sequel of the series. All I can say is that in order to enjoy it you need to be someone who doesn’t care if something has proper pace or makes sense in the longrun, who just likes the cool airships and the funky music. If you are so theoretical then please do watch it; I recommend it to you as a very interesting concept.
If you are not though, don’t waste your time with it. Neither with Bounen no Xamdou; same shit there as well. There has been only one good fantasy anime with airships and that is the Nausicaa movie (the manga is of course ten times better). As for the upcoming sequel, well, 99% of all second seasons are failures so I have no hopes for it. Especially for a heavy on 3D GONZO work. read more