Last Exile

Title:Last Exile
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: ASANO Mayumi
Animation - GONZO
MIKI Shinichirou
NEYA Michiko
NODA Junko
R1 License - FUNimation
YUKINO Satsuki

On a lost barren world, during a time of war when nations settle their disputes with giant ironclad battleships of the air and the soldier's honor, the spirit of knight-hood still mandates a bloody Napoleonic mile-high musket battle as a prelude to the devastating barrage of the automated main guns, the spirit of adventure is still alive.

Rafy (Lavie) lives alone with her older adopted brother Kolus (Claus), and they manage to earn a living by doing courier service in the flying vanship. When not working, they fine tune and refine their sleek two seater flyer, and try to win greater honor in local racing competitions.

During one race they end up colliding with another vanship, and in helping the dying pilot, they find themselves involved in a dangerous courier mission in protecting a young child from being hunted down by a non-human enemy.

[TV series, 2003, 26 TV episodes, 23 min. Originally licensed by Pioneer (Geneon), but licensed rescued by FUNimation.]

Great Opening with haunting music and dramatic scenes!
1:32min Series Opening - YouTube Video
5:54min Opening Song - Cloud Age Symphony (music only) - YouTube
Also see series sequel, Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 9 9 8 8 8 8 Dreamer [series:647#2279]
Here's another one I re-watched. This one I initially watched a few years back but didn't get around to adding a review. So here it is.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
The art was amazing. Extremely rich in details and with vibrant colors. Typically, OVAs have a lot better art and animation than normal series, however here, this is on par, if not better than most OVA. The animation was extremely smooth as well. The frame rate seemed ungodly high, which made the motions very silky and smooth. The character designs were good, but not as detailed as the backgrounds and foregrounds.

The OP was really different...... and very modern. It was a modern surreal piece.... almost falling into the category of alternative. The soundtrack is dramatic at times... almost with orchestra-style pieces here and there. At other times, a celtic-like piece would play... which sounded really great. All in all, th soundtrack was good enough for me to pick up the OST... which is pretty rare.

Series and Episode Story
The setting in this series reminds me a lot of Final Fantasy, in that, you have modern aviation concepts and technology in an old world setting, even though it seems to take place in the future. Great mixture. The plot was pretty good however, it was somewhat shallow. I had higher expectations of it after seeing the detailed art and animation. It was still interesting and enjoyable to watch. As noted by some of the reviewers below, there was some plot holes, however, I don't think they were really vital to the development of the story and the series as a whole. By the way, Ravey was uber cute!

Overall, this was a good anime. The plot wasn't exceptional, but it was good enough to mark it a Buy.

Last updated Sunday, May 03 2009. Created Sunday, May 03 2009.
Rent 10 10 8 8 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:647#1552]
Last Exile makes unique use of a number of elements related to the genre of steampunk and 18th and 19th century lifestyles. Of course, some of you might be wondering what exactly I mean by steampunk. Steampunk is a genre that explores a future that could have been which features advanced versions of steam-powered technologies that came into being during the Industrial Revolution and features a Victorian-era English setting. Other well-known anime titles that show off the steampunk genre include Katsuhiro Otomo’s Steamboy and Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky. Some would compare steampunk to the futuristic genre of cyberpunk of a close future that make use of advanced technologies, though steampunk doesn’t dabble into dystopian themes as many cyberpunk titles tend to do. In the world of Last Exile, planes which are known as vanships in the series resemble early 20th century planes that were spectacles for their world-defying feats at intercontinental travels during the time between the two World Wars. Aerial battleships and weaponry are powered by steam, with the musketeers in Anatoray’s armies having clothing and weapons similar to Napoleon-era French and American Civil War-era soldiers. The advanced technology of the Guild shows a retro-futuristic look into how far steam-powered technologies could have gone with video systems that allow them to see their surroundings, the flexible use of their starship fighters for land and air combat and being able to recall at will any of the engines that they supplied to the land-dwellers.

In terms of the time periods used, there are a number of points in Last Exile where focus on differences between class and the concept of chivalry are brought up. Some of the Anatoray nobles in the series make use of both these aspects to the times of chivalry being used as a code of ethics for knights to follow in the Middle Ages and many aristocrats having little respect for those of lower social position which was commonplace for centuries up to the Industrial Revolution. Those within the Guild can also be considered aristocrats with their monopolizing of the technology that they offer to Disith and Anatoray and looking down upon both kingdoms for not living up in the skies. While taking place in a different world, Last Exile’s use of steampunk and historical elements makes it stand out enough where it would appear to be taking place on our world.

On the plot end, Last Exile takes its time at unveiling relevant details to the show’s major plots, which are the crew of the Silvana protecting Alvis from the Guild and Claus and Lavie adjusting to their life aboard the ship as they get caught up in the Silvana’s affairs. Hints are dropped throughout the series regarding the details and motives of major characters which are relevant to the progression of the plot and Last Exile, for the most part, does a good job at build-up over significant elements to the plot that are revealed. The cast features characters with likeable personalities that you can get attached to as you see them behave around others, especially with those who serve aboard the Silvana like the goofy mechanic crew who get joy out of teasing one another and Claus. However, Last Exile does have a problem in deeply exploring many of its plot elements and aspects to the world in which the series takes place in. While featuring likeable characters, a good number of the major ones don’t get much in the way of background and the purposes of certain characters, like how Alvis became chosen for her role later in the series, never get too deeply explored. This is also the case with certain elements of the plot as details like how the technologies on Prester came to be, the formation of factions like the Silvana and how the war between Disith and Anatoray started are never really delved into. Plus, potential plot developments during the middle of the series aren’t really expanded upon as they are pushed to the wayside for developments involving Alvis and the Guild as the second half of the series pushes forward.

On the visual side, Last Exile does well at showing off Gonzo’s talents at rendering CG animation. Renders of vanships and battleships blend perfectly well with the cel-shaded scenery and character designs where it’s hard to notice that they are even made from computers. Even the animation is top-notch as movements from vanships and battleships for both races and battles were quite fluid without any lost in detail. With the high-quality visuals of the Last Exile, it could be comparable to high-quality animation found within an OAV or movie. The soundtrack does well at complementing everyday normal scenes, moments of drama and the aerial battles onscreen with its mix of soft, mellow pieces and intense music tracks.

Overall, Last Exile makes for a decent steampunk title to look into with above-average visuals and animation for a TV title with a build-up in plot and likeable characters that deliver enough to keep you hooked on it for its entire run. However once you look past the visuals and basic storyline and characterization, you will find that Last Exile doesn’t go too deep in exploring its world, characters and major elements to the show’s plot making things one is curious over with the world of the series not really having much to find.

Last updated Sunday, February 20 2011. Created Sunday, January 06 2008.

Avoid 10 10 5 5 2 2 DisFunctional [series:647#863]
God it was painful watching these 26 eps.

The CGI was excellent but a lot of the scenes were wasted on a router turning or something like that. Yes we got the point after 10 eps. stop repeating that s***! Smokes/cloulds lol what can i say. smokes here, clouds there, they're everywhere (look at the pics above - clouds lol). just lots of ships scenes moving very slowly through clouds/smoke (even during fighting scenes). The whole screen was covered in clouds a few times. Most of the time, i'm just scratching my head and asking what the hell is going on??

"Release the K23yo7!" shouts the second in commander. "release the K23yo7!" repeats the 3rd in command. some instrument moves. "Turn towards 234e245w" shouts the second in command. "Turn towards 234e245w" repeats the second in command. The ships turns. Scan 23idikendsk!!!.... And this goes on for 10min. Wow k23yo7!!! What the hell is a K23yo7???!!!! who the hell cares?? There i was watching for 10min every ep some person shouting something I dont even know what it is. so much is wasted on this type of scenes. Just no story at all.

I love a good drama but that's say for an example lavie tells Claus, "I dont know you anymore" and runs off and starts crying. now this was in the first few eps. To me, a viewer, i dont know Claus and lavie's relationship that well because it's only the first few eps and the director didnt really go into details about their relationship. And in that first few eps I havent notice anything different to the way he treats lavie. So here i am again scratching my head and thinking... what the hell is going on??? chick crying and i have no idea why. story badly told.

Lots of crying over nothing, lots of sad faces, lots of cliche silent hero crap (captain), many gay scenes, lots of unnecessary ship fights and i still havent worked out why and who is who. I guess it was just to fill in time. Just painful.

Last updated Thursday, September 27 2007. Created Sunday, September 16 2007.
Rent Forbin [series:647#1573]
Drama : High
Comedy : low
Action : High
Scifi : High
Ecchi : Low

Look at all the BUY ratings below mine. Of course the first question must be 'Why did Forbin Give it a Rent?' Well the quick answer is 'Because the story was a major hack job.'

This really reminded me of Brain Powered a much better job but still just a hack job. This is a 52 episode series hacked into a 26 episode one. Gonzo proves again what a fantasic work of CGI that they can do. The story is incredible. The ending was very powerful. The animation was top notch. But it was hacked.

Which parts were hacked eh?
  • The romance story. Claus has an 'encounter' with a certain female on the Silvana, but we see NOTHING of it later (except for a Boob shot).
  • Dio's story. How in the HECK did he beat Claus to Exile?
  • Tatianae's story. If you see it you will know why.
  • Why is that engineer in the Silvana?
  • Who are those children in the end?
  • Didn't that soldier die at the end? (You know who).
So because they hacked up the plot to fit it into 26 episodes, this suffered. It's not a funny Anime so it doesn't get free points from me, but it is a fantasic anime to watch.

Last updated Friday, March 10 2006. Created Friday, March 10 2006.
Buy 10 10 10 9 9 9 AstroNerdBoy [series:647#436]

Last Exile is a beautiful looking anime and it is hard to believe that something so beautiful isn't an OAV or a movie. This series makes the best use of CG I have seen in an anime title and the best blending of CG with normal art-animation elements. While beauty can certainly fire desire, it takes more than beauty to keep the fires lit. Fortunately, Last Exile does just that.

For starters, the concept of Last Exile is very interesting. What if there were a world where there were flying ironclad ships, looking not unlike their late 19th-Century cousins on Earth? What if there were small 2-man flying machines that were like bi-planes, only without the wings? What if armies fought with muskets, but those muskets were powered with steam? Such is the world of Last Exile and thus I got something else to fill me with awe. There was a dreadful beauty in the way these ironclads of the sky fought in battle. There was a wonder-beauty in the way Claus and Lavie flew their Vanship, so much so that it felt like a tribute to Miyazaki-sensei. It really was incredible.

The cast of characters are ones seen in other anime titles, yet are still likable just the same. While still kids, Claus and Lavie's being able to fly is nicely explained and they aren't superkids, just two people following their father's footsteps to be the best Vanship operators (pilot and navigator respectively). Alvis is so cute and precious! The supporting cast is good, but unfortunately, much of the supporting cast don't get background information. Tatiana is a great example. Things are hinted about her past and why she is the way she is, but these things aren't explored. Her navigator-partner Alister is the same. She provides some hints at Tatiana's past, but what about her own? Why did they join the crew of the Silvana? These are things I like to know, but unfortunately no such answers are to be found.

As to the story, it is a very good one. Again, the unanswered questions rear their head. What exactly is this world they are living on (I have an idea, but I could be wrong)? Why was the Guild put in charge of the world? Why was the powerful ironclad Silvana not registered with the Guild (thus under their indirect control)? And on and on I could go. Still, despite these many unanswered questions, what we do get for a story is more than enough to overcome the lack of answers for certain parts of the series.

Finally, we come to the music. The music really helped the series, which is what music is supposed to do. The opening theme is really good as is the end theme, so much so that I had to import the CD from Japan.

Bottom line: while there are a few problems with Last Exile, there is a lot that is good and great from art, animation, music, characters, and story. This will be in my DVD collection.

Last updated Saturday, February 18 2012. Created Tuesday, January 18 2005.

Buy 10 10 9 7 10 9 Bardock [series:647#1231]
I really liked this one. I can't tell you much except two charectors rufy and Kulos are trapped in the middle of a war. I'm not gonna ruin to much but there also these wierd racing people things. The charector and episode plots are great and well......diffrent from most animes. (Srry i only seen it once). I wish i had more but you know. Last I knew the only way to see this was Tech TV Anime Unleashed.

Last updated Friday, April 02 2004. Created Friday, April 02 2004.
Buy 9 9 8 8 9 Jan-Chan [series:647#967]
Set in the bleakness of a barren landscape, against the apparently meaningless slaughter of war, Rufy and Kolus race their impossibly fast two seater airship through lines of flaming flying battleships, in an air filled with explosions and danger, to complete their courier mission and earn a modest commission. They find themselves entangled by the circumstances of one of their courier missions, and become recruited by one of the flying battleships to help in the war. Their service, while offering the simple comforts of a warm bed and regular meal, also requires that they serve as soldiers and use their skills to fight in a war which is only important to the higher ranking and aloof nobles and royalty, that rule the lands.

The story of Rufy and Kolus, takes them on adventure in which they cross paths with a number of other characters (many of them the nobility), who weave themselves through the story line. It is through these secondary characters that an understanding as to the source and nature of the current conflict can be understood, and also how unimportant these larger issues are to the ordinary folk. It is only when the lords call upon their people to fight on their behalf, do the issues of the honor of nations and nobility come into play and the blood of the commoners begins to flow.

The animation is excellent, the story line is complex and the characters are interesting and intelligent. The series is not afraid to fill the screen flaming battleships or to race down a village street, across a meadow into a valley ravine at high speed. The attention to the detail in the animation is exceeded by the attention in developing (explaining) the different characters in the story. Some of the characters are not quite human, and their actions are not quite understandable, until they reappear again, and time is taken to explain both a different culture and perspective on the events of the story. I find myself being reminded of the novels of ↗Jack Vance, in which the dynamics and continuity of the story are more important than having to attempt to explain all the weirdness and differences of a situation. It is our empathy and understanding of the main characters, travelling in a backdrop of a strange and unfamiliar world, that permit us share in the wonder of their adventure.

I really enjoy this story and feel compelled to give it a very strong buy rating. It has a bit of an epic flavor, in which the events of any specific moment of the story, while being interesting, has no real impact on the larger story that is being told. I would like to compare this to some other series, but I am hard pressed to identify any series that succeeds in telling the story of the main characters, while being distracted enough to follow the other characters and use their stories to explain the greater circumstances and specific situation of the world in which they all live. In any event, I like this series!.......................Jan-Chan (10/03)

Last updated Tuesday, October 28 2008. Created Sunday, September 14 2003.

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