Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Last Exile - The Murata Range Complete Set Edition|
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, Television, Anime & Manga, Animation
Amazing series that non-anime fans would enjoy
Michael Kim | Elk Grove, CA | 01/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I discovered this wonderful anime series by accident. I was watching TV at my sister's house flipping the channels when on Tech TV I saw this anime show with flying battleships and characters wearing 19th century uniforms. After a few minutes I was drawn into this imaginary world, whether its a alternative universe or the future, is left up to the viewer. I am not a big fan of Japanese anime but I found the world being portrayed fascinating. I made the investment in purchasing the whole DVD collection, 26 episodes. This was one of my best purchases ever made. Last Exile takes place in an world divided between two human kingdoms, Anatoray and Disith, which are at war. The society and technology portrayed is a mish mash of different periods of the past. Most people seem to exist in a late 19th/early 20th century existence with hints of industrialization. The political system is an aristocracy with a Emperor ruling Anatoray with feudal lords, dukes, princes, etc. controlling territory and serving as leaders of the military. One of the creators, in an interview in the first DVD, mentioned how he was inspired by Weimar Germany period, 1919-1933. The movie does has a European feel to it. The aristocratic women dress in Renaissance outfits with the puffed out skirts and bodices while the aristocratic men and soldiers dress in military style 19th century uniforms. The nobility place great emphasis on honor and chivalry. But on this primitive foundation the people of this world called Prestar can fly in the skies using some type of magnetic levitation technology and its in the skies that the war between Anatoray and Disith is fought. The Anatoray ships are similar to Dreadnaught or pre-Dreadnaught style battleships, the type that fought at Tsushima during the Russo-Japanese War and Jutland during WWI with their drab color, steel armor, masts, and turrets with cannons. Ship to ship communication is done with signal flares and Morse code light beacons. Also all the instruments are analog, no fancy digital displays. The land dwellers are not alone and are dominated by the Guild. The Guild are a race of highly develop humans who are much more technologically advanced and provide the land dwellers the technology to fly their massive ships in the sky. The Guild seems to decide what technology the human population have access to so they have some electricity but no radios. The Guild reside in the Grand Stream, a region of high speed winds that serve as a barrier between Anatoray and Disith. The Guild sets the rules of the war and are suppose to serve as impartial arbiters but as can be seen in the first episode they decide to change the rules. In this interesting world are Claus Vlaca and Lavie Head, both 15 years old life long friends and orphans, who scratch out a living serving as couriers flying a Van Ship. Van Ships are small personal flying craft that look like roadsters from the 1920/30s with the elongated front section housing the engine, with hood ornaments, and open cockpits. Claus and Lavie dream of crossing the Grand Stream to complete the mission that killed their fathers who tried to cross the Stream to deliver a message from Anatoray to Disith. They lives are fundamentally changes when the meet up with Alvis (Al) Hamilton, an 11 year old girl, who holds the key to Exile although its not clear what exactly Exile is until well into the story. Claus and Lavie deliver Al to the warship Silvana a free agent ship both feared by Disith and Anatoray where they meet up with the enigmatic brooding captain Alex Rowe who has a tortured past and his XO the beautiful intelligent Sophia Forrester who has her own secrets. Chess plays an important role in the story and we see many of the characters play it and the title of the episodes are based on chess and give an indication as to what is going on in the story.
The animation is gorgeous using a combination of traditional hand drawing and CGI. The battle scenes, the scenery, the skies are pure eye candy. The music is great and the sound is wonderful and realistic. The plot is interesting with many elements that all come together in the end. I enjoyed the character development. Most of the main characters are teenagers so issues that young people face at that age are brought up, including loss of innocence especially during a time of war, love and romance, following ones own destiny versus what's expected of you from your family or because of ones social position. The story has a lot of action and adventure but also some nice intimate human elements. Even if you are not a fan of Japanese anime but like a good adventure story with elements of sci-fi and fantasy I would highly recommend this. This series is better than 99% of what Hollywood puts out in terms of creativity, plot, and characters. I find myself caring more for the characters in this anime series than supposedly live actors in a movie or TV show. Perhaps you can rent the first episode on DVD and see if you like it.
Each DVD has some extras although it consists mainly of an art gallery and non-text opening and closing credits. There is an interesting interview with the creative director on the first DVD, First Move.
The sound is Dolby 2.0 which is a bit disappointing although I was able to use all the speakers in my entry level home theater system by switching to the analog input.
The series is rated PG-13. The rating reflects violence during a time of war, you see people getting shot, stabbed, and an strangulation. The language is clean and there is no nudity, scantily clad women or overt sexual references. Except for a few scenes you can probably watch this in front of kids although someone under 13 will probably not understand the plot.
Niko | 07/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The outline of my review is as follows:
- brief storyline
- explanations about the `mysterious language' that is used in the series
- additional facts about the anime
- answer to the question of buying it or not and why
The storyline (Spoilers included).
I will try to give a general picture of the story and its main protagonists so that the reader will be able to grasp the main idea of these series without giving too much away.
The main story resolves around the main protagonists, Claus and Lavie. These are the children who fly a Vanship (an aircraft that resembles more the aircrafts of the First and Second World War) in order to deliver messages across the country; that is basically how the story starts. Their parents used to be best friends and Vanship pilots as well but died on a mission inside the Grand Stream - which was to deliver a ten stars message, so important was the message (and that is what the ten stars mean) that something like this never has occurred before (for obvious reasons I cannot get too much into the story or I will give too much away, I am sorry).
Then both of the main protagonists will get caught in the middle of a war going on between Anatoray and Disith, two nations that usually fight their battles in airships that resemble more the naval ships in the Middle Ages but the difference is that they are airships instead of sea ships. Over them is the Guild, which provides both nations with the necessary technology and makes sure that both nations follow specific rules, in other words they take advantage of all this war. The Guild's Queen is called Delphine and her brother Dio and his bodyguard Luciola will play a great part later on.
In addition, we have a battleship that does not belong to any of the previous mentioned parties, the Silvana, in which captain is Alex Row, after him in rank is Sophia who will prove later on to be a princess. Tatiana, who plays also a main role, is a top pilot in the Silvana.
In the end, everything will resolve around the Grand Stream, the Last Exile, the relationships that all the characters will develop among them and how they will act during the battles. Key to all this will be Alvis, a young girl, that is basically the key for the Last Exile.
The `mysterious language'
If you watch the series than the language that is used in letters or on the battle ships may seem Greek to you; and guess what, it is Greek. To be more specific, it is Ancient Greek. My own personal complain is that although in some parts it was accurate but in others, it was completely inaccurate (referring to the way it was used). I assume that the creators were trying to bring across a mystique of the series. Apart from my personal complain, the creators did achieve in bringing across this mystique.
Additional facts about the anime
- To begin with, the animation is breathtaking. Not to mention the fact how good all the air-battles are done.
- The character development is great and the music is marvelous.
- Also, if you prefer to watch a series in dub than I have good news for you: The dub is so well done that only a few series can match the one of `The Last Exile', like the one of Cowboy Bebop etc.
- A reviewer wrote that some questions are left unanswered. Something that is not correct because some things were implied and not given straight away.
- The story and the plot are not just interesting and solid but ones you start watching it, you are glued on your sits till it is over. Additionally, the plot has many twists and will keep you guessing till the end.
- Moreover, main characters will die and the story gets very emotional as well.
- Last but not least, by watching `The Last Exile' the viewer will be caught up in a romantic, action, adventure, fantasy, retro-futuristic world, or should I say sky ;-)
Buying it or not and why
My personal opinion is that it is worth buying it and having it in your collection (a statement that I do not make very often). I admit, that to some it may seem a little bit expensive but I honestly believe that the specific series is a must buy.Additional, a reviewer said that he or she, did not get what is shown in the picture. Personally I bought mine from Amazon and you GET what you see in the picture (7 DVDs, a mouse paid and a doll, well no comments on that ;-P)
I hope that I could help you and provide you with some helpful information about the series. If so please click on the yes bottom below :-)
The Perfect Anime
Antonio D. Paolucci | Beaver Falls, PA | 02/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To better explain the title of this review, every separate element of the anime Last Exile just works well. And when put together, it made for the perfect all-around anime. The story, the characters, the action, the music, and even this specific collection, the Range Murata edition, all of it is here and done with complete care and excellence.
To start, I'll begin with the story. It follows mostly two vanship couriers named Claus and Lavie, who are chasing their fathers' dreams of flying through the Grand Stream, a wind vortex that blows constant, swirling, hurricane-caliber winds. But because of a young girl named Alvis, who Claus and Lavie swear to protect, they are mixed into the ongoing war between the Anatory and the Disith, whose efforts for peace failed ten years before during Claus and Lavie's fathers' attempt at crossing the Grand Stream. In the background of this war are the Guild, a powerful people who controls the world with superior technology and their ability to move in and out of the Grand Stream at will. One ship, however, chooses not to follow anyone, and that is the Silvana.
During their journey, Claus and Lavie meet many interesting characters, and without all of these characters, this series definitely wouldn't have been as good. After Claus and Lavie, the other main characters are Alex, the captain of the Silvana, and Sophia, the first-officer of the Silvana. Alex's arch-enemy, Delphine, leads the Guild. Also involved is her younger brother Dio, a strange kind of free-spirit, along with his ever-present protector Lucciola. Tatiana and Alistair, Claus and Lavie's compatriot vanship pilots, lead the a raucous group of vanship mechanics, who are definitely meant as comic relief. Also, I can't forget to mention Mullen, the musketeer unhappy with his dangerous life and wanting a change. Everyone of these characters offers their own unique spin to this series, and never once was I overwhelmed by the massive cast (there are a lot more characters who play more minor roles that I didn't mention).
I've yet to find an anime that compares to the action in Last Exile. All I can say is that the air-battles in this series easily rivals if not surpasses the ones found in Star Wars. And none of it is redundant. Have you ever watched an anime that adds action merely to get to the end of an episode? Last Exile doesn't do that. If the plot does not call for action, then it doesn't happen, therefore nothing ever feels forced.
As for the music, there are few anime that so perfectly provided a soundtrack that matched as well as this one did. In fact, I can only name three--Cowboy Bebop, FLCL, and Samurai Champloo. The airy sound matches the theme and the action of the story and plays well to present the emotion of each scene. This is the only anime I've let play all the way through. Usually, I skip the opening and ending credits, where as this time, I put the DVD in and the only time I ever touched the remote was to start the episodes or to pause it for bathroom breaks. That's because of the opening and ending themes.
Last Exile is one of those anime that anyone can enjoy. In fact, I've found only one problem with this anime: it ends. But this is a common problem found in all anime, even the greatest. I can't recommend this highly enough, especially this edition of Last Exile. All of the DVDs have everything they had on their original release (special features, previews), but on the front and back covers of each DVD case is art from Range Murata, and on the inside is a painting and description of one of the seven important ships found in Last Exile. If you haven't already purchased Last Exile, now is your chance."
Ion Zone | Deep Space | 02/01/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Last Exile is a beautiful series, many of its bulky wingless flying machines, some inspired by 50's aircraft, including the silver monster flown by the main characters. But before the first floating battleship rumbles onto the screen, you will find yourself doubting their depth. In a steampunk world pleasantly reminiscent of Skies of Arcadia, they seem remarkably similar to, not only Vyse and Aika, but almost every animé combo out there. Klaus is the "shy sensitive boy with the tough streak and a see-it-through-attitude", where as Lavie is the opposite, and AL is the generic "little girl with probable superpowers who has to be protected but who will win the day".
And, unfortunately, even with the amazing budget and the beautifully ugly flying machines, it is in the generic characters (Though one or two stand out), underdeveloped plot, and lack of anything to help you understand either, where Exile falls down. Few characters have any back-story, the musketeers never really have any fathomable purpose, even after the shackles of the corrupt guild are removed. The skulduggery surrounding the big race is unexplained and seemingly pointless.
I would love to have given this series raves, but I just can't. Even though it is beautiful. And it has its moments. And the designs are faultless. And even though it is six DVDs long. They didn't manage to make what could have been a great series.