Anime Quick Information
|Average Rating: 7.50|
Paul scored this with 9/10. Disagree?
By combining the lush aesthetics of a Victorian-influenced future with a hard fought, epic war- GONZO’s Last Exile has emerged in the UK with the best of reputations. Beautifully animated and carefully planned, the Last Exile universe (known as Prestale) is fascinating- allowing its viewers to be enthralled by gargantuan air battles and retro technology while also delving deeply into the personal relationships that push this story forwards.
For 100 minutes and four episodes, Last Exile #1 thrills and intrigues in equal measure as we are introduced to the great world of Prestale amidst an awe-inspiring aircraft battle. Above the wispy white clouds, giant air-ships collide, firing cannons and exchanging point-blank musket shots. We know little of the politics of this world, yet it becomes obvious there is a high level of aristocracy running throughout these warring countries. The ship officers proudly boast of their honourable deeds from their safe control deck while the musket carrying grunts are sent out onto the front line (and into certain death).
While all this is going on, we meet Claus and Lavie- vanship (a small delivery aircraft) pilots who are just about to take on their latest job. Claus is a quietly confident and rather stern lad, while Lavie is loud, brash and impulsive. Together, they make a great team and as luck would have it- their next delivery job sends them right into the heart of the aforementioned battle.
Utterly determined to complete their delivery mission, Claus and Lavie risk their lives by entering the battle zone. After finally managing to rendezvous with the ship whose captain they carry a message for, they come face to face with the hard-nosed, pompous attitude that seemingly dominates these skies.
No one could accuse Last Exile of being slow paced. Despite the brief introductury summary above, these first four episodes pack so much story and detail into every frame that I found myself straining to take it all in. Alongside the epic war scenes and beautiful scenery, we are whisked along with life-time friends Claus and Lavie as they race past crumbling cliffs and literally descend into the murky depths of Prestale. Their characterization doesn't seem forced or manufactured, we simply learn more and more about them as the story progresses. As central personalities, I found them both very likable and well balanced individuals- the brash Lavie is a perfect foil for the rather retiring Claus.
The story hasn't moved into a particularly dramatic gear yet and so we spend a lot of time exploring the beautiful landscapes and war-torn peoples of Prestale. As such, the real star of Last Exile #1 is the quite outstanding art direction. Everything from the tiniest of steel gears to the strangely versatile vanships seem to have been afforded the utmost attention to detail, lending the story a real feeling of authenticity and atmosphere.
The soundtrack perfectly matches the retro Victorian atmosphere, while the opening and ending themes feel as though they were inspired by the beautiful white clouds in which most of Last Exile is set.
Exciting and awe inspiring on an epic scale, Last Exile #1 teases us with brutal air-ship battles and enthusiastic van-ship races.
While the story moves along at a break-neck pace, we quickly become familiar with our heroes Claus and Lavie and their small and endearing personality quirks.
While eye candy alone does not make a fantastic anime series, Last Exile #1 is worth your time if just to gawp at the wonderfully rendered, intoxicating world of Prestale. Four episodes down and I'm already engrossed in the universe of Last Exile.
Screenshots (click to pop out)
|Score:||9 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Thu, 9 Dec 2004|
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