Last Exile ( airships, war, drama)
Set in a world at war, Claus and Lavi live out their lives as Vanship pilots, couriering messages between battleships. Their dream is to fly the vanship they inherited from their fathers across the Grand Stream, a turbulent area of wind that divides the world - Anatore on one side and Deusis (Disith) on the other.
During a race they come across a vanship being attacked by a strange star-shaped ship. They come to the pilot’s assistance who asks them to take on his mission; deliver the message tube and the cargo, a girl named Alvis, to the legendary battleship Silvanna.
What starts out as another courier run leads them into battle with the mysterious Guild and a search for Exile.
What drew me to this series was the technology and the war tactics shown. Imagine what people in the 1900’s thought airships would look like based on their current state of technology and you’d get the battleships and vanships in Last Exile. The battleships are huge crafts made of metal; something akin to taking a modern seafaring battleship, placing strategic cannons al over it and making it fly.
Vanships, on the other hand look like a 1920’s roadster with no wheels flying at the same speed as a fighter jet.
War is fought like in the Civil War times. Battleships line up, face each other and shoot. The time, place and opposing forces in a battle must be registered with the Guild beforehand. The Guild is a faction who took it upon themselves to mediate the battles.
The series has some redeeming things about it. The animation is consistant and high quality. Some time is taken to develop some of the characters so not all are one-dimensional role-fillers. If you’re a fan of planes, aerial battles and battle tactics, this anime is for you.
Some things I didn’t like were the length of the series, and consequentially, the storyline. Last Exile seemed to have been cut of it’s funding midway through the intended plot so the writers were scrambling to tie up loose ends as best as possible. A major, major failing is that it doesn’t fully explain what Exile is. While I wholly enjoyed watching this series, it’s Final Fantasy-esque ending felt like a rip-off.
(Whew, that was long)