Last Exile

Also Known As: LE
Genre: Drama/Action
Format: 26 Episodes
Allegiance: Gonzo
Director: Chigara Koichi
Vintage: 2003
Intelligence Agency Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Claus Barca and Lavie Head are two teenagers living in Norkia, part of the Empire of Anatoure. For them, each day is a struggle, but the pair manages to get by as couriers on Claus’ mechanical skill, Lavie’s energy, and their fathers’ vanship. Anatoure’s ongoing war with Deusis only manifests itself to the pair in the form of rising prices… until Claus and Lavie accept a job to deliver a message to David Madosein, Commander in Chief of the Anatoure Fleet, who is currently at the Battle of Minagis. Although no one could have predicted it, their presence in the fire of this critical battle will alter the fate of the world.

Field Agent Report by: Kuzu Ryu Sen
Overall 8.75
(not an average)

Gonzo Digimation has never been known for, well, writing in any real capacity. This reputation stems from its previous *ahem* masterpieces of literature such as VandreadSaikanoKiddy Grade, andi-wish you were here-. Yet in Last Exile, they’ve seemingly done something different, for in this piece, along with its usual strong artwork and animation, Gonzo has incorporated a vibrant cast, an engaging and surprising story and, heaven forbid, even a passable ending.

Without a doubt, Last Exile’s strongest point is its atmosphere and setting. Gonzo’s writers have created a vibrant and, most importantly, detailed world with diverse factions, landscapes and people. This world is accentuated by a wonderful and unique soundtrack, as well as crisp, detailed and accurate animation. To further enhance the experience, the inhabitants of this world are easily as interesting as their surroundings. Ranging from the brash Lavie to the feisty Tatiana to the reliable Silvanna mechanics, each character has unique assets to add, creating great chemistry within the cast.

Atmosphere and chemistry alone cannot build a great show and, for once, Gonzo has interwoven everything beautifully with a well-planned, well-written, and well-executed plot. Each character/faction receives an appropriate amount of attention, something highly remarkable given the size and scope of the cast and setting. Furthermore, the pacing is generally good, albeit a bit too slow in the middle and too fast at the end. Finally, Last Exile is not a completely linear story; there are just enough twists in it to keep the viewer entertained, but not confused.

Unfortunately, Gonzo does slip up a little at the end, in that it was suddenly forced to tie up all the loose ends before the show ended. As a result, the conclusion is rather cliché, where everything that can go wrong, does, and then everything that can go right, does. Not to mention the fact that some characters which previously had faded out of existence pop up in the final sequence without any real explanation. Regardless, the final quarter of the series is still as enticing as the rest of the series. Last Exile, with its captivating story, whimsical message, and breathtaking action, is definitely not to be missed. If you only see one Gonzo show, make it this one.