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Last Exile Anime – Looking Back at How it All Started

Last Exile Anime

Last Exile anime was one of the most adventurous series that ruled the TV screens in the early half of 2003. 

Written by Koichi Chigira and produced by Gonzo, the Japanese anime series was based on the futuristic sky that ultimately looks back to the fictional adventure dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Running through a 26-episode series, Last Exile anime was originally licensed by TV Tokyo, the eventual entertainment giant behind most of the anime productions. 

But as success progressed, Last Exile anime saw its glorious screening on various English networks, making it reachable to a large number of audiences across the globe. 

Koichi Chigira’s Last Exile is filled with enough elements to grasp the adventure-minded audience who look forward to enjoying an explosion of Dieselpunk stuff. 

A fictional adventure slated back to the 19th and 20th centuries where vanships are mankind’s cutting edge technology, Last Exile anime sure lived up to the chilling fantasy and eventually managed to garner a huge fan base. 

Pushing the plot to both battle and peace, the Japanese anime series is one of my personal favorites that I still look back to watch whenever adventure hits me in the head! 

A Bit Into the Plot and Characters

Last Exile Anime

Getting into the plot of Last Exile, well, the adventure centers around two earthly beings, Prester Claus Vala and his navigator Lavie who desire to cross the legendary Grand Stream, an apparently unpassable air space. 

However, Prester’s desire remains a dream owing to the war between Disith and Anatoray. 

The young pilot’s skills are not only tested but his life changes forever. Will he be able to breathe life into his desires? Well, that’s what Last Exile’s adventurous storyline is all about!

Gonzo studio yet again put forth a fantasy-kissed anime gem through Last Exile. 

If I were to describe this entertaining series, I would rather call it an “Epic”

Basically, Last Exile anime is more of a coming-of-age plot where Claus, Lavie, and the others unite along the way towards a single mission—crossing the Grand Stream. 

Whether it’s the inclusion of floating ships, vanships, petticoat-attired gunners, or their royal chiefs, Last Exile is wrapped with a tale dating back to a fictional past. 

The fusion of historical ordeals and dreams create a kind of epic-themed song of humanity and war. Straying into the world of Last Exile is extremely easy. 

It’s nearly two decades since the original run of the series saw its climax, but the stunning vision of the artsy anime elevates the visual aesthetics of Japanese anime to great heights. 

Unlike many anime titles that released back in 2003, Last Exile certainly bore a look that was quite unparalleled with other anime titles. Frankly, I found it a bit weird when I first sat to watch the initial episode. But the Japanese anime series turned out to be a great genre-defining entertainment series. 

The anime’s synopsis might sound a lot more clichéd than reality. But trying to convey the story without barricading it with deviation is quite difficult, and Last Exile makers have somehow managed to play their part well with each quest of the anime’s storyline. 

Last Exile Anime has Everything in It!

Last Exile Anime

From interesting plots to unpredictable twists, it sure is one of the most alluring concepts that I loved as an anime lover back then! 

Last Exile anime is based on a time of war where chivalry ruled both the forces and their battling style. But instead of going the usual “horse and chariot” way, battleships are used! 

And not just normal battleships, these are “floating” battleships that fly using “Claudia” engines. And interestingly, cannons and musketeers are characterized as armaments! 

Speaking of the anime’s vanships, well, they are given that wingless WWII plane theme but are given great emphasis with their extreme flight capacity. 

Technical aspects in the “Guild” are quite superior to what we could imagine back then. Lasers, holographic displays, and a great deal of technical fantasy are what Last Exile is all about! 

It sure sounds as though the anime’s setting was enough to douse the title, but the series somehow managed to spill an abstract and unbelievable world to the viewers. 

Initially, Last Exile anime’s plot is basically about racing and mail delivery! Though quite slow-paced in its first few episodes, the Japanese anime didn’t last for a horrible lengthy season either. 

The plot follows our heroes, Claus and Lavie, as they begin their quest with mail delivery while simultaneously trying to compete in a race. 

Before making it too late, Claus and Lavie eventually find themselves stranded in the middle of a war zone occupied by the Anatoray and Disith groups. 

The two heroes try to bring tranquillity not only for each other but also for the entire world. And this quest of the young duo is what Last Exile is all about!

This is the initial plot of the anime where the background of the characters is prioritized. But more details start to visually unveil as the plot grows in the later stages. 

As viewers, we needn’t wait for the series’ main plot to kick start with the introduction of little Alvis! She is introduced a bit early and we thus get to see a deeper angle of the fantasy world, the war sequences, and the twists and turns of the sci-fi plot.

Being an anime fan, you needn’t go into great depth to understand the technical fantasy of the plot. The initial episodes might astonish you with all that massive battleship fleet having a face-off with its rivals. 

Gunfire whizzing past and cannon shells piercing through the clouds, Last Exile is a great visual treat if you’re looking back to watching the Japanese anime wonder again! 

And in the middle of all that explosion are our incredible heroes, Claus and Lavie. Having grown up together, both of them were a pilot-navigator team since the death of their fathers during a fateful mission. 

As the plot grows, the duo ends on a delinquent battleship, Sylvana. Eventually, this is where the majority of the plot begins to unwind. 

Both Claus and Lavie are portrayed as very strong personalities owing to their past. Claus is an impulsive being who is also very concerned and protective of his dear ones. On the other hand, Lavie is Last Exile’s headstrong character who’s rational and pre-planned altogether. 

While Last Exile anime’s story is centered around them, it also brings the other crew of the Sylvana to the limelight. 

And there’s Tatiana, the ace pilot who’s also aloof and cold aired; Alex Row, the battleship’s captain and incredible plotter who strategizes all the secrets; Alvis Hamilton, the girl whom our hero Claus pledges to protect. There’s plenty to Last Exile more than just an adventure-fantasy theme! 

Last Exile’s first battle isn’t about just tricks and stunts. 

Through the series, there are typical showdowns between the vanships, battleships, and the musketeers. It’s inclusive of something like a vanship race in Star Wars’ first episode!

Resembling a series from Miyazaki rather than Gonzo, Last Exile anime seemed quite different to me! 

Whether it is the makeover of the characters or the styling of the warships, the Japanese anime series kind of evoked a classic lookout. The warships and vanships are obviously rendered in computer graphics. 

An Entertaining Fantasy Anime 

Last Exile Anime

But I feel that Last Exile has everything it takes to make an entertaining fantasy anime that’s set beyond the imaginary world. 

The anime’s plot is solid and quite intriguing, though it might turn out to be a bit vague during the first half. 

Last Exile is nothing short of a stunning animation adventure with the perfect balance of all the entertaining elements to captivate anime fans. 

Last Exile’s ending was pretty good. 

Having wrapped the 26-episode series with heartfelt content, I felt that the anime ended perfectly. This is one of the most important attributes for any movie or show and I guess Last Exile did a tremendous job with its mindful climax. 

Coming to Last Exile’s animation, it was quite engaging bearing in mind its production house, Gonzo. For those of you who’re unfamiliar with the studio, well, they have had hits and misses. 

But with Last Exile, they’ve managed to captivate the positive reaction of a huge anime fan base across the globe! 

The anime is a tasteful recipe of 3D and 2D, which according to me, never fell out of proportion. Considering awful disasters with various 2D/3D fusion and the production house, Last Exile was somehow exceptional. 

As soon as Last Exile’s main characters are aboard the vanship, the audience gets introduced to other important characters and sequences. 

As the anime’s plot grows to lead the second act, Lavie is ultimately given a lesser portion of the limelight! Claus is shown to garner more focus with the other chief members of the crew aboard the Silvana. 

And during this sequence, almost all of Last Exile’s characters are given enough room to develop and contribute to the growth of the story’s elements and fantasy-themed plots. 

Overall, Last Exile anime makes a great show with its interesting conclusions in the series’ third act.

Koichi Chigira / Gonzo
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