Last Exile Review — B+

Claus and Lavi are vanship pilots, flying through the skies for fun and profit. But one day, they encounter another vanship which has been shot down with a child on board. Their lives will never be the same.

Watching Fam, the Silver Wing inspired me to give this a second watch, since I’d forgotten pretty much everything and was missing all the references. And Last Exile was as good as I (vaguely) remembered!

The part I love most about this show is its vast and fascinating world. If there’s one thing anime can’t have enough of, it’s steampunk. The two-tiered technology is fascinating: the vanships and battleships, as well as the  robotic expertise of the Guild. It’s not just the technology, either: the numerous cultures are meticulously detailed as well, to give the feeling of entering a new world. The world of Last Exile even has its own happy birthday song.

The story is exciting and interesting, especially the final conflict with the guild. This show really knows how to build up to an ending: nothing is superfluous. In terms of characterization, to be perfectly honest, Claus, Lavi and Alvis are a bit bland. But the supporting cast shines: Dio and Lucciola are my personal favorites. I’m not sure why Dio appears to be younger in Fam.

Last Exile has stood the test of time fairly well. The animation has aged (the ships and scenery don’t even compare to Fam’s) but it still looks beautiful. The setting it provided was definitely one to remember, and a sequel was much needed.

  • Plot / Script – A – Fantastic setting.
  • Characters – B – Dio, Lucciola, Tatiana and much of the supporting cast are fascinating, but the main trio can get a bit stale.
  • Production – B – A unique, kind of blurred(?) style. I like the ships especially.
  • Overall – B+

Recommendations – Castle in the Sky, Noein, Turn A Gundam

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9 thoughts on “Last Exile Review — B+

  1. I need to rewatch this, too.

    Dio was also my favorite character. I enjoyed Lucciola and Delphine. Heh, I guess I like the guild then?

    I wish there were more steampunk anime. And for its time, I think the CG looks pretty darn good.

    1. Me too. You can never have too much steampunk. Steampunk is probably what first got me into anime, with the Miyazaki films. It’s so cool. I wish there were more.

  2. Ah, Last Exile was one of my first anime. I’ve watched it multiple times, and I think it gets better with each viewing (as more subplots make more sense when you know where everything leads to). I watch it dubbed, as the cast did a really good job (especially Dio!!!).
    I think the main cast (namely Claus and Lavi) work well in how they interact with all the side characters. Alex Rowe, Dio, and Tatiana all act as foils in various ways to Claus’s personality and ambitions, which makes the conflicts of the series very interesting. And the chemistry between Claus and Lavi is great, too. I believe it was this sort of “real” dynamic that’s missing in the Fam sequel (at least in the first few eps I saw, and got bored with)–because in the first Last Exile, I was enjoying all the ways everyone interacted with each other (even minor characters like Mullin, the vanship couriers, and the Sylvana’s engineer team).
    The plot was a bit shaky, especially toward the end, but overall Last Exile was a wonderful experience.

    1. You have a good point about how Fam is different. The relationships don’t have the same depth to them as they did in the original. Fam’s friendships are largely superficial, since, well, she’s a superficial person.

      On the other hand, I do think Fam is doing a better job at presenting the setting.

      1. After finishing, I’m more inclined to say that was bad. Not good story-wise, and an all-female alien race with NO YURI!!!!!!!

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