Last Exile Review By Adam Bould
This review is for one of my personal favourite and a regular repeat watch for me, Last Exile
Premise: Set on the fictional world of Prester, mighty airships dominate the air, and small two man aircraft called vanships are lords of the skies. The population is generally quite poor, with water graded by quality and increases in price. The mysterious Guild seemingly controls the ebb and flow of the world, with superior technology and a strange hold on this worlds fuel known as Claudia.
Amidst this situation,we follow two young orphan vanship pilots, Claus Valca and Lavie Head, as their actions, along with the crew of the intimidating airship, the Silvana, alter the fate of the entire world.
Total series length: 26 episodes
Visual: Animation production is by Gonzo. Some people are a little divided on this studio as they have beautiful animation but sometimes go a little CGI heavy. It is not too stark in this series, with only the airships animated in this fashion. Quite a dark colour set, lots of greys and browns, to fit the steampunk styling. Background painting is beautiful, but sometimes the background characters can look a little rough.
Audio: First off, I love the opening, “Cloud Age Symphony” by Shuntaro Okino, not only a great song but it fits really well for an aerial based show. Hitomi Kuroishi is the composer, her only other big series as I could see is Code Geass (entire series), and she does a good job, music fits the tone but I wouldn’t call it ground breaking.
Main character of Claus is performed by Johnny Yong Bosch, but being an older series, the rest of the cast is a cornucopia of veterans in the acting scene such as Kari Wahlgren, Michelle Ruff and Crispin Freeman. Even for subtitle purists I would recommend watching the English language dub.
Delivery: Released in 2003, so at the time of writing this the series is over a decade old, but still holds up really well. It probably struggling to gain attention by coming out the same year as the juggernaut known as Fullmetal Alchemist, and another critical darling, Wolf’s Rain.
I would say it falls under action and drama genres, with science fiction being a sub-genre, and steampunk imagery abound. The ensemble cast stays constant throughout, with a couple of additonal characters joining as the story unfolds.
Storyline wise the 26 episodes are one overall arc, no filler in this one, which is great and I find it so easy to marathon it as theres always something happened. Action scenes are all the aerial based but for a few sparse gunfights, and it is sublime how the create the action in the air.
There is a sequel series; Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, but I confess I have not watched it, might be a good series, but I enjoyed the characters so much that I am anxious to watch as it has a whole new cast (got burned by Dark than Black season 2). It is still one of my all time favourites and highly encourage you watch it, even more so than my previous reviews.