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on June 19, 2011
Last Exile is one of those series that is very hard to rate. To my mind, this is one of the best steam punk series around, though I do have a few issues with some of the plot development.

Range Murata's (Blue Submarine 6) art and character designs are fantastic (if you haven't seen his work, do look for some of his art books) and present a visually stunning setting. Everything from clothing, to ships, to towns, cities, mountains and clouds are visually compelling.

The characters are all memorable from the Silvana's maintenance crew all the way up the Alex the enigmatic and vindictive captain. Klaus and Lavi make for a wonderful duo as Klaus' kind, even-keel nature mixes well with Lavi's rambunctious spunk and insecurity. And Tatiana Wisla may be one of my favorite anime characters ever (be still my heart!). There are too many to list, and each comes across as more than the sum of their 2D parts.

Honestly, the only gripes that I have with the series are that (1) Dio's arc is woefully unsatisfactory given the dramatic way it is built up and developed and (2) the wrap up of the story is just a little too fast. There are so many complex and interesting subplots that this was, to some extent, inevitable. But, that doesn't change the fact of it.

Those caveats aside, this series is a must (what ever form you view it in...I am not good at technical comparisons) for any anime or steam punk fan, and honestly would be enjoyable for just about any viewer.
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on January 6, 2012
First let me say that I am new to writing reviews so please bear with me. I will not be giving plot synopses or list characters. I also do not give 5 star reviews lightly. As of now there are only a handful of series and a few more anime movies that I would give 5 stars, and I love anime. I own a sizable anime collection (more than 300 discs and a few VHS) and have watch them all at least once. I have also rented several other anime series.

All that said, this is one of the 4 or 5 best anime series I have seen. I keep coming back to this series over and over. If you enjoy anime for more than the chance to see panties flash, over sized breasts bounce, noses bleed and geeks getting smothered by babes, this may be for you. Mind you I do enjoy some of those types of shows and own several. This however is everything that great sci-fi anime is supposed to be. The animation, music and dub are excellent. The main story is great and the sub plots both compelling and supportive of the main plot line. There are many top notch characters for you to love and hate and some who make you feel both ways before the show is over. There is more than one character who appear to be either weak, unfeeling or even evil who redeems his/herself in the end. I will warn you that everyone you may come to care about reach the end safely, but that's true of most good sci-fi. While there's no real fan service, some mild language and sci-fi violence may make it inappropriate for young children. That said, I give this series my highest recommendation.
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on April 29, 2013
So this one has got an unique perspective with different ariel anime. No standardized mecha, just modified airplanes versus advanced starfish shaped craft flown by the Guild. Looks like 2 sides fighting for limited resources and both have possession of flight due to flying fortresses/battleships from a 3rd party, that is not really neutral, but controls progress of the other 2 by design. A boy and a girl struggle their way through life with each other to one day follow in the footsteps of their father's to beat the Grand Stream. In their journey they meet all sorts of people and even becomes friends with those they thought were enemies. A really great story about keeping your dreams and goals regardless of the hardships and struggles in life.
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on July 25, 2011
Last Exile is about two orphaned children, Claus Valca and Lavie Head, who have a passion for flying, and they even make a living from it. During a race, a fellow pilot crashes into them and turns his mission over to them. Surprisingly, the mission has a seven star danger rating, which scares Lavie, but Claus goes through with it. However, this one mission brings them into a new kind of life, one of danger, as well as good times.

The story had a very nice start and all the characters were enjoyable. In these adult years of our lives, we rarely live out our dreams, but Claus and Lavie definitely enjoy doing courier missions. Claus can be stubborn, but he always tries to help people, the best he can. Also, I actually liked how the lip syncing was right. Now, let me get this straight, the first time I saw this show was on Netflix and I enjoyed it there, but there was a big problem, which was the fact that the audio did not match what I was seeing. That kind of was a bad impression on me, but thankfully, the dub was not like this on the DVD release. Many anime also seem to only have character movement, but I saw birds flying around and even the waves of strong wind move, not something that is encountered a lot in Japanese animation. The start of the story was interesting, the DVD had better audio timing than the Netflix stream, and the movement of the wind could be seen.

I cannot say that there is a whole lot I dislike, but one thing in particular did stand out as a bit annoying. That particular item is something than comes between the episodes. No, it is not the little things for commerical interruptions, which happen during the episodes. This problem occurs after every few episodes and that is the picture of a girl sitting somewhere and a thing that says, "See You on the Next Flight." This appears on every episode that is divisible by four on the first three discs and every three episodes on the last disc, of the four disc set. Okay, this makes sense for the old individual sets from Pioneer (now Geneon), but there are 6-7 episodes on every disc of this set. This makes absolutely no sense as the end of the DVD has not been reached on any disc, with the exception of the third disc, which contains episode 20. It's like they just took all the individual DVDs and combined them into four without doing work on anything, but making sure that audio was good. Doing this kind of thing makes people think that the end of the DVD has been reached, when it has not. However, this does not take down the quality of the show in my book, just the DVD release of it. There should not be anything that suggest the end of the DVD before the final episode of the disc.

Despite the fact that it makes a person think the end of the DVD has been reached, watching this series on DVD was definitely much better than watching it on Netflix. I would recommend people try this series out. It is not for everyone, but if you like to fly, you will enjoy it more.
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on September 27, 2011
I discovered this series on Netflix and after watching it there I really wanted the DVD's. I don't do this for many animes but I really enjoyed this one. I'm not sure what one reviewer is talking about when he says that the aerial combat makes no sense. If you keep in mind that this is basically old sailing/steam ship tactics with similar weapons used aerially, the battle sequences make perfect sense. It's the old chivalric code style of battle which makes no sense to our modern minds but is historically accurate. Granted, some of the vanship maneuvers are not quite right, such as the Immelman turn, which is a half loop with a half roll at the top, but I can forgive that since most folks wouldn't know that anyway. Half the time the Immelman turn is incorrectly shown as a Hammerhead stall or stall turn.
I found the story entertaining and engaging and the character development adequate. I do agree with one reviewer that the ending seemed a bit rushed and there are still some loose ends when all is said and done. but overall, I recommend this anime. It's fairly family friendly in that there is no real swearing and the plot line isn't frightening but some characters do die and there is some blood but it's not excessive. Overall, I really enjoyed this one.
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on March 4, 2016
I really liked the dynamic characters. There were a few over dramatic parts, but done with great humor, so for a Japanese Anime, very well done!

The art is one of my favorite aspect of this series. I also really like steampunk-type stuff, and while this does not match this genre perfectly, it does a pretty good job at fitting the bill.
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on March 21, 2016
Rarely does a studio knock it out of the park after prior failures. It's a tale of people who live in this artificial hour glass world. They have an ongoing war between the people who live on the top and the ones who live on the bottom. The third power is a micro nation that controls the middle territory. Behind the scenes they have been fueling the war. This is mostly told through the prospective of two letter carriers who get involved in this struggle to save their world from the guild.
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While the main story of the series is pretty decent it gets overlapped greatly by so many of the character stories in the series that you can easily get lost on what the plot is as you try and follow all the other subplots in the series as well. Most of the characters have endearing traits though also a little stereotypical for most anime characters too,like with the character Claus who plays one of the main protagonist in the series with the typical hero complex see in so many other anime series that it can get somewhat redundant.Of course you can't have this kind of series without the typical shadowy crusader/hero/rival and a typical villain or villainess and the usual evil monopoly or group that needs to be taken over or destroyed. The animation is unique that it's hard to really describe but the same animation was done with a recent series Shangri-La so if you have or seen that series then animation for this series shouldn't be a surprise for you. The CGI effects in the series sometimes seem overused in some scenes and underused in others a hit and miss half the time as for the soundtrack that's also a hit and miss while it fits the series it's one that's also pretty generic for this kind of anime series.

At the end the series is still worth adding to your anime collection just don't expect an easy story to follow or really much originality in characters but you will still get some entertainment from the series overall if you're patient.....
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VINE VOICEon December 22, 2012
Two nations, Anatoray and Disith have been engaged in a war for over ten years, overseen by "the Guild," a technologically advanced nation serving as referee, or so it seems.

Claus and Lavie are two vanship pilots in Anatoray, working as messengers. They are pulled aboard the "Kill'em All" Silvana, the most l fearsome airship in all of the world, to protect a mysterious child named Alvis. Their new mission will uncover the truth about their world.

Jhonny Yong Bosch plays Claus, using his young boy voice (Renton from Eureka 7), and Kari Wahlgren is Lavie (Haruko from FLCL). Crispin Freeman (Togusa from GitS:S.A.C.) is Alex Rowe, captain of the Silvana. And we have Tai and Izzy from Digimon, Joshua Seth and Mona Marshal, playing the tag alongs from the Guild. It's a little distracting to hear all these voices that I recognize from someplace else, but they quickly blend into their roles. Except, Izzy and Tai. Sorry, Izzy and Tai.

Overall, it's a good series with some captivating drama that I enjoyed sitting through. But there are some problems I had that prevent me from giving it a perfect score. First thing you'll notice is that the airships are CG. Not just in the action shots, every time you see a vanship, it's clearly CG even when they're parked. They don't blend the two art styles perfectly, so when they overlap, sometimes they can look awkward. It's clear they chose to animate the ships using CG to make the airship battles look better (and they succeeded), but they must have cut some corners in the animation. There's one burly mechanic who doesn't look quite right from episode to episode. The characters eyes have irises, and you can spot a few that weren't drawn right, making it look like they're looking in the wrong direction. But that might be just nitpicking.

Secondly, but most damning, the Guild are terrible villains. Boring, uninteresting, boilerplate, opulent villains. They are bad guys, because they're bad guys, and they're bad guys, because they're bad guys. They are the weakest link, in this otherwise, excellent series. All of the Good Guys, really make up for these boring bad guys. I love watching them win, more than watching those guys lose.

Thirdly, I don't like the drama in the middle of the series involving Tatiana. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I don't like what it implies. And I'm happy they dropped it a few episodes later. I might be straight up wrong though.

Also, there's no extras on these DVDs at all. Not even trailers. The Menu is only "Play All" "Episodes" and "Set Up." Weird. Most dvds usually pack some extras like clean opening and closing song, and trailers, but here there's nothing.

Even though I'm not giving it a perfect score, I did enjoy it and I do recommend it for anyone looking for some drama and airship battles. I give it 4-out-of-5 Stars.
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on April 4, 2014
In an alternate time stream on a planet by a different name, you have Claus and Lavie. Two orphans struggling to survive as air couriers in a war torn world in which nothing is ever as it seems. When they enter a race with other couriers, an accident pulls them into a much bigger conflict that they thought possible. Filled with a cast of interesting and unique characters, awkward situations, witty dialogue, and amazing airships, this is one series that comes close to having something for everyone. From temper tantrums to hair raising midair hairpin turns, the action and comedy really sets this series apart from anything else in this genre.

This is one series you will want to watch to its very end, as it keeps you on the edge of your set. This is action and adventure at its finest.
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