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The Last Exile - The Complete Series Boxed Set (Vol 1-7)

1 rating: 5.0
Animation movie directed by Eric P. Sherman, Kristi Reed, and Kôichi Chigira

LIMITED EDITION BOX SET CONTAINS: • Vol. 1: First Move; Vol. 2: Positional Play; Vol. 3: Discovered Attack; Vol. 4: Breakthrough; Vol. 5: Grand Stream; Vol. 6: Queen Delphine; Vol. 7: Sealed Move – IN A COLLECTOR'S BOX! • Limited edition … see full wiki

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1 review about The Last Exile - The Complete Series Boxed...

Take to the sky

  • Nov 17, 2005
Rating:
+5
The best stories, the most lasting and meaningful ones, are the stories that reach all the way inside and capture the heart. With a rich storyline, full-bodied characters, gorgeous animation, and beautiful music, "Last Exile" is just such a story.

The depth of storytelling in "Last Exile" is nothing short of remarkable. This is a bold and original effort, creating a world that is familiar in some ways but entirely new and strange in others. It is a world in which two cultures, separated by the Grand Stream, wage war using gargantuan slow-moving airships, while the Guild looks on from above, distant and removed. The two warring factions, Anatoray and Disith, use what technology the guild has given them, largely driven by steam-powered engines, while the Guild itself enjoys the benefits of far more advanced technology and capabilities. From such a rich background, a complex story unfolds with many surprises along the way.

That part of the story is told is broad, powerful strokes, but it is the more personal stories of "Last Exile," told through a few of its key characters, that really make the whole series come together. It begins with Claus and Lavi, friends since childhood, and their efforts to survive in a world where the best they can do is scrape by as a pilot-and-navigator team of a messenger vanship, a small two-person flying machine. They accept missions based on a danger rating and expected return, in the hopes of someday getting the equipment they need to cross the Grand Stream, as their fathers once tried to do. They are soon swept up in the war, though, when they take over a high-risk mission to deliver a little girl, Alvis, to the mysterious warship Sylvana. Other characters they meet along the way, including Alex Rowe, Sophia, Tatiana, and Alis of the Sylvana, as well as Dio, a Guild family member, enrich the story a great deal, and each one is believable and well-drawn. But it is Claus and Lavi's strong friendship that gives the story its main thread of emotion and heart to build upon.

The animation style of the series is a wonderful mix of hand-drawn footage for the characters and fully-rendered computer animation for the ships. If this sounds like it should be a conflicted mixture, trust me, it is not. The two modes of animation flow together brilliantly, giving us a world in which the characters are accessible and each their own personal touch while the scenes of ships in flight and huge battles in the air are given all the majesty they so richly deserve. It is a mix which works perfectly for the show.

And the music...again, with the music we have a perfect mix that reflects all aspects of the story and the characters. The opening theme -- "Cloud Age Symphony" -- relfects the action and the splendor of the epic side of the story, while the closing theme, -- "Over the Sky" -- expresses the more intimate and introspective aspects of the characters. And within each episode is more good music, at times operatic and dramatic for battles and key plot moments, quiet and pastoral for moments of stillness or dialogue. The music alone can touch your very soul, and when combined with the visuals and the story it has an impressive impact. Having watched the series, I have a hard time hearing the song played in the final few scenes without getting at least a little bit misty.

Really, you couldn't ask for much more from a series like this. The animation, music, and voice-acting are top-notch. The concept is original and clever and very compelling, and the story of each character plays out just right, even when it ends on a sad note. The ending itself is so full of portent that you'll want to start right over and watch it all again, and the best part is that it's a series which stands up to multiple viewings very well, where you can see something new each time you see it.

All in all, one of the best recent anime series I've ever seen, and a high point in fantasy storytelling, in anime or anywhere else.

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July 31, 2011
Oh yeah! This was pretty awesome. Seen Sky Crawlers?
 
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"Take to the sky"
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