Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Last Exile - First Move With Series Box|
Actors: Paul St. Peter, Tony Pope, Mayumi Asano, Chiwa Saito, Toshiyuki Morikawa
Directors: Eric P. Sherman, Kristi Reed, K˘ichi Chigira
Genres: Action & Adventure, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Anime & Manga, Animation
Noted designer Mahiro Maeda gives this sci-fi adventure a striking, muted look that mixes elements of Buck Rogers, Weimar Germany, and Napoleonic France. Childhood friends Claus and Lavie dream of becoming a top Vanship ... more »
Keep on trying, keep on flying. I will be the light
Strategos | In Space above Planet Earth | 08/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What do you get when you apply GONZO's trademark combo of CGI and cell-animation to a steampunk world of flying airships and 1800's mechanical devices? Well, how about you toss in a Harlock-style captain, a stoic ace, an evil organization or two, a cute little girl with mysterious powers, and two of the most likable lead characters you are likely to ever come across? (and that's not describing the half of it)
Indeed, studio GONZO has been hit-and-miss for me for a while now. I greatly enjoyed Blue Submarine #6, while I HATED Vandread. Since Mecha and sci-fi is really my thing, I've been holding tight till now. Stellar reviews made me check out Last Exile. It has definitely been worth the wait.
While much has already been said about the absolutely astounding quality of the animation of this show, really I don't think enough can be said. It's more like an OVA or a movie than an animated series, with few still shots and very consistent quality. The CGI and cell-animation blend better than any other show GONZO has ever made. And the use of light and color is captured just right, being neither bland, nor too flashy. Perfect.
The soundtrack is also quite amazing, making me think of some of the better work of Yoko Kanno. It's a beautiful mixture of old-style European themes, drum rhythms, and orchestral magic. Kind of makes you want the soundtrack...
Of course an anime is ultimately worth watching because of its story and its characters. As I said before, this series has two fantastic lead characters. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. As the show goes on and more main characters are introduced, we come to know them largely from their actions (at least for the first few discs). That is to say, the character devlopment is well done. So is the dialog (somebody give the script-writer a raise). Again, it recalls a well-written novel or a great movie more than an anime series. And the voice-acting is superb. The English dub is quite good, but the Japanese is just perfect.
As for the story, it's largely just another version of "chase the girl" and "find the place" that we've seen over and over again. What exactly is Al? What exactly is Exile? Patience gentle anime-viewer. There isn't really a central plot at first (unless you consider a series of mysteries to unravel a plot) , but the awesome alternate universe and well fleshed-out characters MORE than make up for it.
This DVD is only the first few episodes, and really just sets up the world and the main characters (as well as tossing them together). It's a good start, but if you aren't intrigued yet you might want to stick around for the second dvd. For anime connoisseurs and sci-fi fans this is definitely one to keep.
(Oh, I forgot to tell you, the opening and closing animations for this anime are AWESOME, featuring some breath-taking animation and SWEET music!)"
The Beginning of An Amazing Story
James Laumann | Arlington, TX USA | 06/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Last Exile - First Move is the beginning of an amazing, wonderous tale of truth, deceit, bravery, failure and success. The three main characters, Claus, Lavie and Alvis, are all characters everyone can relate to. They are young, naive, caring and loving, but they must face the real world of back stabbing, betrayal and intrigue.The series starts off a bit slow, but with each episode you begin to find out more and more about the world these three young people live in. It is a world at war with itself. We know very little about the the "enemy", only that they "fight without honor or chivlary". We begin to realize the real "power" behind all that is happening is the Guild, a race of advanced beings who seem to have fun causing problems for the people of this world.Claus and Lavie become involved in the war accidentally when the pilot of another Vanship crashes after hitting Claus and Lavie's Vanship during the "big race". That is when we first meet Alvis, or Al, as Claus and Lavie know her. Al is a innocent child who holds a dark secret that the Guild wants. But we are left wondering what that "secret" is.The animation is first rate and the sound tract is fantastic. I recommend you get the soundtract along with the DVD."Last Exile" is a top notch thriller and first rate example of the Japanese of Anime."
Every saga has a beginning...
Alexander Gitlits | Moscow, Russia | 01/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Last Exile is one of the best anime series I've ever watched. It's not a series really, but one long movie. Meaning, the episodes are not just connected - this is one continiouse story. There are no monsters of the week or such.
The closest thing I can think of is "Crest of the Stars", but with a vast sky instead of the space. And with a top-notch animation and design. The main characters are a couple of kids, working as couriers on their vanship (a kind of plane). They try to earn their living and while delvering a "package" they get mixed-up in the war. There is a race in the second episode, which reminded me of pod race in "Phantom Menace", only it was more exciting.
The weak point of this DVD is that it doesn't yet give you the real feel of the series. This is really only "First Move". It sets the board and only hints at the great game ahead of us. And two months is too long to wait before the next several episodes. If you liked "Crest of the Stars" or books like Tad Williams "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Trilogy" try out this series."
Moves the bar a notch higher...
Marc Ruby? | Warren, MI USA | 04/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There has been so much good anime come to the USA in that past year or so that I'm only now getting to Last Exile. Frankly, my reason for putting this series of was that mech/tech war anime is not my favorite genre. That, and the fact that I had no clue how good it actually was. So here I am one DVD later wondering what dark closet I was hiding in.
About three seconds into the opening animation you are going to realize that this is a no-holds-barred, no dollar left unspent production. Set in an alternate history at a point that would be just after World War One, the settings and machines are fantastically detailed, animated with a classic combination of CGI and artwork that will perpetually amaze you. There are whole sections of these episodes that are so well done that you wouldn't even mind if there was no plot at all.
But a plot there is, and a good one as well. Two young vanship pilots, Claus and Lavie make their living as messengers, trying to win glory as racers. On the morning before a race they accept a mission to deliver a message to David, Duke Mad-Thane, the commander of the Anatoray fleet at Minagith, where a battle with their enemies the Disith is taking place under the auspices of the Guild. The Disith break with traditional warfare, and Claus and Lavie must deliver their messages in the middle of a battle gone wrong.
The story continues with the vanship race, where Claus and Lavie's valiant efforts are wasted when they witness the crash of another vanship and come to the rescue. Suddenly they are drawn back into the intrigue of the Guild as they accept a mishion to deliver Alvie, a mysterious young child, into the relative safety of the great ship Silvana. And thereby hangs another cliffhanger or two.
This combination of artwork, music, believable characters, and interesting plot is hard to beat. In many ways this is one of the most extraordinary works I have seen come out of Gonzo, targeted as it was for their tenth anniversary. Even if this genre isn't your cup of tea, you should look at the first DVD for its level of accomplishment. You just may find yourself compelled to see the series through to the end.