DVD Review: Last Exile – Season 1

last_exile_review_1The original series of Last Exile will soon be re-released as a complete series boxset, but has it stood the test of time or provide the entertainment we grave? Find out in our DVD Review of Last Exile – Season 1.

Synopsis:

Take flight with Last Exile Studio GONZO presents a richly romantic action-adventure fantasy, set in a world where retro-futuristic vehicles permeate the skies. Against this lavish background are the lives of young and heroic van ship sky porters – Claus and Lavie – who are forced to take on the mission to deliver a mysterious girl, Alvis, to the battle ship Silvana. Before they know it, they become entangled in an aerial adventure between two countries gripped in an eternal war of magnificent air battleships.

Our View:

Last Exile, a TV anime produced by GONZO, tells the story of Claus Valca and Lavie Head , two young vanship pilots who, after a fateful encounter during a hometown vanship race, must deliver a little girl to the war-torn battleship Silvana. This is only the start of the story though, as once their mission is complete Claus, along with Lavie, decide to stay on the ship in hopes of protecting their new found friend. During this process new relationships and enemies are made along with life-changing decisions that spell out danger for the main cast. These decisions don’t go unchecked either as the truth surrounding the little girl’s secret start to spread around the world, the secret being that she could end the war which is plaguing the world.

last_exile_review_4
Last Exile is not a complicated anime, it just can be complicated to explain since so much takes place over a relatively short period of time (the series is only 26 episodes long). For instance during the first few episodes, Claus and Lavie are introduced as young inexperience vanship pilots but several episodes later Claus is not only thrown into battle but becomes a full working member of the Silvana Crew. It’s not all about Claus and Lavie either, as scenes of destructive air battles between nations are also shown, and during these battles new (reoccurring) characters are introduced along with the prospect that the Guild, a mysterious group that watches over the battles, controls the world.

You could say that Last Exile has several stories being told within the series, all of which blend together to form a complete story that is not fully explained until the very end. For example there is the story of Lavie & Claus trying to obtain their dream of flying the Grand Stream, while on a more serious note there is continuing conflict taking place between the nations of Anatoray and Disith, with the mysterious and technologically advanced Guild monitoring every movement from above. There is also the darker story of Alexander Row, the captain of Silvana, who not only has his own dark secrets but is planning to use EXILE in order to create his perfect world, a world not controlled by the Guild. These are not the only stories taking place either, as the series also features some romantic elements such as the troubled relationships between pilot and navigator ,as well as Mullin Shetland love crush with the girls, all of which provide some comical entertainment in a rather serious situation.

last_exile_review_3

In reality Last Exile is a mixed bag of romance, action and science-fiction which each genre being portrayed within the 26 episode series. Romance is provided by the insecure moments with on-screen characters while Sci-Fi styled action is presented with the flying battleships and high-speed racing scenes.

Extras:

Last Exile boasts an impressive collection of extra features, with each of the seven included disc’s having some form of extra content, whether it be an Art Gallery, Promo Trailers or the standard text less opening video .

last_exile_extras

Since there is so much extra content I have decided to list them individually, however some extras (such as Character Profiles) do appear over multiple discs as they explain the new characters introduced during that particular disc.

  • Text Less Openings
  • Original Japanese Opening
  • Promotional Trailer
  • TV Commercial Collection – Collection of Japanese TV Commercials
  • Character Profiles – detailed profiles on the main characters
  • Art Gallery – Selection of artwork from the series
  • Tokyo Exhibition – Gallery of Last Exile themed images from the Tokyo Exhibition
  • Van Ship Guide – Detailed information surrouding the Vanships
  • Battle Ship Silvana – Detailed information surrounding the ship
  • Anatoray & Disith Battleships – Detailed information of the ships
  • Guild Shils – Detailed information on the Guild Ships

It is nice to see all of the extra content (and disc format) being kept from the original US release – not to mention it gives the viewer a deep insight into the world of Last Exile.

Tech Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x4, DVD 5 x3
Running Time: 10:33:54 (7 Disc’s / 26 Episodes)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224Kbps (English & Japanese)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Last Exile is a series that I was expecting not to like but by the second episode of the series I was hooked, mostly because it offers something for everyone. There is not all praise for the series though, as there is some slow bits that left me feeling bored, especially during the middle stages of the series, but if you sit tight the series picks up again and delivers a lot of emotion and action all at once.

last_exile_review_2

In terms of the DVD quality we are not only treated to a ‘rock solid’ performance from the vocal tracks, both of which are in Stereo, but the visual quality has also remained strong with the mix of animation and CGI blending nicely together. In regards to the audio, the English Dub was produced several years ago (as the series is a re-license release) by Bang Zoom Entertainment, so familiar voices such as Johnny Young Bosch (Claus) and Michelle Ruff (Tatiana) are to be expected.

Even when there series is over there is still plenty of content left to explore, thanks to the impressive collection of extra features, most of which provide detailed explanation into the complicated world of Last Exile. Of course if you’re not interested in explanations there is the standard text less videos along with promotional trailers for the series, yet again offering content for everyone.

last_exile_review_5

Last Exile is an enjoyable, interesting show but by the half-way point some viewers may get bored as its slow, mixed-up, approach to story-telling starts to drag on. On the plus side with plenty of extra content and crisp visual quality (considering its age) it’s a series that should be watched by everyone at least once, if not, multiple times.

Score: review-stars-5

Last Exile – Season 1 will be available on DVD from the 17th June 2013.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: