AniMazing is one of our Periodicals, created because of our love for anime and manga.
What we do with AniMazing is recommend good anime to watch or manga to read, but rather than concentrate on reviewing, we will focus more on the elements that make each work awesome and, well, amazing.
We plan on talking exclusively about completed works, old and new. After all, the worlds of anime and manga are so vast that it’s worth exploring everywhere. We will try not revealing any plot twists, but sometimes we get so excited over a piece that some might slip through the cracks.
That being said, let’s get this show on the road!
Today’s AniMazing: Last Exile
Original Title:Last Exile
Steampunk, Science Fiction,
Thriller, Drama, Action
Opening Theme:“Cloud Age Symphony”
by Okino Shuntaro
Ending Theme:“Over The Sky”
by Kuroishi Hitomi
- All episodes are named after chess moves and describe (vaguely) the events of the episode in question.
- The design of the vanships were based on Germany’s Junkers A 35, a two-seater monoplane primarily used during the 1920s.
- Last Exile has an artbook titled Last Exile Aerial Log published which contain detailed sketches and descriptions about the characters and the world of Last Exile. It also contains a few explanations that tie up the loose ends from the original series before the sequel aired.
- Last Exile‘s sequel, Ginyoku no Fam, premiered in 2011. It is, without a doubt, not as good as its predecessor. It is definitely worth a watch, though, as long as you learn to ignore the three main characters. Which does tend to be a problem…
- Last Exile has had an interquel manga published titled Last Exile – Travelers from the Hourglass, detailing the events post-Last Exile but before Ginyoku no Fam. There is also a manga adaptation of Ginyoku no Fam that is ongoing.
Last Exile takes place in a world shaped like an hourglass. The two nations Disith and Anatoray are at opposing ends of the hourglass, separated by a mess of high-speed winds and storms called the Grand Stream. In a long-running conflict, Disith and Anatoray are watched over by the Guild, a seemingly all-powerful organization with an iron grip over the world. It is this elusive Guild that provides the ways and means for both nations to continue their conflict.
The story centers on two vanship (think: two-seater plane but without the wings) couriers, Claus Valca (the pilot) and Lavie Head (the navigator). They make their living doing simple missions all the while perserving their dream of one day crossing the Grand Stream in their vanship like their late fathers did before them.
However, one day, the two witness a vanship’s crash and, at the behest of the dying pilot, they are suddenly faced with a high-level mission: the transportation of the young girl Alvis Hamilton to the battleship Silvana.
Last Exile is a classic. It has basically everything you want in a good anime: good storytelling, likable characters, and a magnificent world.
And, while it is an anime set during a war, it is really so much more than a simple war story.
Throughout the show, the question Why does one fight? is brought up implicitly. Some fight for revenge. Some for their loved ones. Some to escape. Others for their own selfish reasons. And still others fight to overcome tyranny and for the greater good. But, is fighting ever really justified?
And that brings me to my point: Last Exile is really a show about people, the difficult circumstances that these people can find themselves in, and the choices they make in those circumstances. It’s about making the decision that best suits you, and there’s really no cookie-cutter answer to the question, Is war ever justified?
And that’s what really makes Last Exile so amazing. It’s not an anime that beats you over the head with aesops such as Violence is never the answer! but neither does it, really, encourage violence. It’s a show about fighting the good fight, however you can fight it. Sure, sometimes the answer to a problem is one that can be resolved only through a show of force, but the best solution to a different problem can be a nonviolent one.
There’s really very little else I can say now without risking spoilers, and I’m not even entirely sure what else I can say about Last Exile that hasn’t been said before (and said better, but I digress). It’s really an anime that you have to watch and see for yourself how good it is.
I’ll say this last thing, though, if you started Last Exile but stopped in the first few episodes, pick it up again. It might start off a bit slow, but after episode three, it gets incredibly good. Take my word for it. You won’t regret it.
#3: THE WORLD
Let me just say that the world-building in Last Exile is incredible. It’s one of the best examples of world-building I’ve seen. Not too much exposition but enough to give you more and more of an idea of the world they’re in as you go through the anime.
And, seriously, just look at this beauty.
And, oops, let’s not forget the Guild too.
#2: THE SOUNDTRACK
I mean, have you heard the soundtrack? It’s gorgeous.
OK, for those of you who have watched Last Exile and are going, “Are you kidding me?!” in disbelief right now, just bear with me.
For those of you who haven’t, well, Delphine is the Maestro (a.k.a. supreme ruler) of the Guild. In other words, she’s the anime’s Big Bad.
Oh, and is she BAD.
You know all those anime that have villains who have tragic/traumatic pasts which have led them into joining the side opposite of good? Yeah, no, Delphine is not one of those. Those villains who are just doing evil deeds for the Good of Everyone? Nope, she’s not that either. Those villains who think they’re doing Good but are actually doing Evil? Nada. Delphine is fully aware that what she is doing is Very, Very Bad.
Now, why do I like her so much again? Precisely because she is not a redeeming person.
I mean, so often with villains, shows tend to make them one-dimensionally evil or otherwise in the gray area, but Delphine is neither of those. She’s not just a bad guy who cackles evilly on the throne; she’s childish, capricious, creepy-as-heck, and all around a horrible person. And while she’s not good in the slightest, she also has so much personality that I really can’t just slap the word Big Bad on her and be done with it.
She’s a truly complex character who is still, both on the surface and deep down, thoroughly, well, evil. And that’s really what makes her so amazing.
Oh, and her last scene in the anime? I can write essays on that scene. Essays. It was just so… perfect, in every sense of the word.
Watch this anime if…
…you want an anime with insanely good world-building and fantastic character development. And the soundtrack. Yes, definitely watch it for the soundtrack too.