Last Exile Episode 1

Last Exile

"First Move"

Another day, another Gonzo show. Last Exile is steampunk, which in my book means airships and brown, and in many other people's books means cool. For anyone uninitiated on the concept, it's generally a fantastical look at the progression of the Victorian age with technology that involves the use of steam engines.

This was a fast-moving first episode, which made me happy, providing a quick, action-packed introduction to the world of Last Exile and the main characters, Claus and Lavie, two pilots who deliver messages via their vanships.

The animation is top notch, as you'd expect from a Gonzo production, but is slightly heavier on the CG than usual (and that's quite a bit, for Gonzo). While the CG generally works, it isn't a good integration. Whenever a CG sequence (or CG object) appears, it moves unnaturally in the environment, and breaks the immersion of the otherwise gorgeous visuals of the show.

The setpiece of this episode is a huge airship battle that Claus and Lavie find themselves in the middle of. This first episode was light on plot details (other than the details about the setting), and exactly what fate has in store for Claus and Lavie, but given the quality of the animation and the world concept, I definitely want to see more.

Rating: A-

Posted by Kei at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

Last Exile Episode 2

Last Exile

"Luft Vanship"

This episode is a continuation of the first, providing even more exposition and introduction to the unique world of Last Exile, to the emphasis on chivalry in the ship battles, and the adjudication of the Guild.

This is a really good looking show (hi, Gonzo!), even though I'm not fully able to get past the CG integration. The smoke and cloud effects are excellent, and I've never seen anything quite like them in any other series. The music goes well with the setting too, with an airiness that reminds me of the soundtrack to Haibane Renmei, but with more militant parts (given the emphasis on war and battle so far).

These first two episodes have served as a good introduction to our main characters, and the setting. There's some information overload, but the good kind, where you've got lots of questions about what's going on, and can't wait to find out.

Rating: B+

Posted by Kei at 02:09 AM | Comments (0)

Last Exile Episode 3

Last Exile


After a brief, two episode detour bringing Claus and Lavie into the middle of a battle, they've arrived back home just in time to miss the time trials for the big race. They'll be starting in last place, but luckily Lavie was able to purchase a booster for their vanship.

I didn't find the race itself to be all that exciting. You don't really get the sense of speed watching the CG vanships against the hand-drawn backgrounds. Compounding the problem is the unrealistic motion the vanships make through the course, and it just feels a little empty.

Despite being in last place, Claus is able to get them back into contention. At that point, I started to wonder what effect winning this race might have on our intrepid heroes. I really had no idea what was at stake with the race, which I took as a hint they had no way of actually winning it. Luckily, towards the end of the episode, the show gives you another hook to draw you into the next installment.

I'd love to know more about what's going on in this intriguing and complex world, but Last Exile isn't giving away too much right away. Gonzo does a good job in presenting the show, though, so I'm definitely interested to see where it's going.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 11:57 PM | Comments (3)