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Last Exile

a.k.a. LastEXILE

lastexile-1
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Gonzo
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 4/7/2003 to 9/29/2003

On the world of Prester, the nations of Anatore and Dusis are deep in a war that is controlled by a secret organization known as the Guild. However, Claus Valca and Lavie Head want no part of it and instead are the pilot and navigator of a messenger vanship. Flying across a sea of wind and clouds, they deliver messages to anyone and anywhere. After a near-death collision with a crippled vanship during a local race, both are asked to deliver a young girl named Alvis to the infamous battleship Sylvana. Followed by a star-shaped craft bent on killing them, these three lives are about to forever alter the face of Prester.

summary by Eek

 

Reviewed: 11/01/2003 by
Grade: 88% av-Eek

Highs: Visual masterpiece; spectacular action scenes; outstanding music

Lows: Slow development; unexplained portions

To celebrate their 10th anniversary, Gonzo went above and beyond the usual to make a damn good anime. Their long hours of hard labor produced Last Exile, a rich saga that easily separates itself from many with a steampunk style and fantasy elements.

Sticking to what Gonzo knows best, Last Exile is the proverbial feast for the eyes. Utilizing the latest technology, conventional art and CGI meld together making it nearly impossible to distinguish where one ends and the other begins. Detailed models of airborne battleships and fighter planes gracefully dance in the sky as they duke it out for supremacy, and it is rare to find characters standing still or having their motions looped for more than a few seconds. The animation budget made this look like an OVA more than a television series. The high-quality eye candy makes the action scenes come alive, and you will be mopping up a lot of your own drool because it looks so tasty. The choreography and action would put Macross Plus‘ midair fight scenes to the test, and the battleship combat seems to only compare to classic space operas as far as sheer magnitude. And if you thought that this series is only visually appealing, you are so wrong. The opening and end theme songs, Cloud Age Symphony and Over the Sky, respectively, are oh so beautiful; I could listen to either for hours on end and never grow tired. In addition, Dolce Triade and various other artists made an incredibly solid background score that is simply enchanting.

It pains me to say, but Last Exile packs quite a lot of style but leaves something to be desired as far as substance is concerned. Plot and character development do not come all at once, and it is not until halfway through that we are finally given some character background that is worth mentioning. While the ending may put a smile on your face, I cannot help but hesitate to shake my head in disappointment; this is an outstanding series, but there is so much of it that is left unexplored and unexplained. Many important questions regarding technology, organizations, and even major characters are left completely unanswered, and extending the series to thirty-nine episodes would have given ample opportunity to fill in the blanks.

Much like Cowboy Bebop, this series is incredibly rich in style, and while lacking a bit in substance, it still manages to be captivating and worth while. If you have not seen Last Exile yet, you need to. You will not be disappointed.

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