Sunday, January 22, 2012

Last Exile

I decided to talk about Last Exile today, because I'm currently watching the second series, Last Exile: Gin'Yoku no Fam.  I'll come back to that, but most of this post will be about the original Last Exile, and as usual if you haven't seen it, massive spoilers ahead.

Last Exile is one of my favorite series, although as usual the death count is too high, including my favorite character.  Nothing new there though.  Background first: The series takes place in a world divided between factions.  It is also a world in which most commerce and interaction takes place by air, using flying machines.  On this world, the countries of Anatoray and Disrith are at war.  Over-seeing that war, and the entire planet in general, is the Guild.  The Guild controls almost everything, including the "claudia"-utilizing engines which fly the ships and the weather.  The Guild is ruled by a mostly-insane woman named Delphine.  The sky of the planet has a top, above which is the Grand Stream.  The Grand Stream is composed of gale-force winds and flying debris, and is the domain of a monster behemoth known as the "Exile".  Ships which enter the Grand Stream are battered and usually lost.  Standing outside the Guild's control and mostly outside the various countries, is the Silvana, a warship captained by an anti-social guy named Alex Rowe.  Alex and his second on command, Sophia, are shown in the first picture with the Silvana in the background.  The Silvana's crew is working to free the world from Guild control and bring peace to the warring nations.  And Captain Rowe is working personally to destroy Delphine who watched and laughed as Alex's wife was lost in an attempt to cross the Grand Stream. 

Against this backdrop, enter the main characters.  Claus and Lavie are two kids who fly a small vanship and support themselves by taking on courier tasks with it.  Their fathers were lost in an attempt to cross the Grand Stream (same one that took Alex's wife), so they are on their own.  During a vanship race, they come across a dying vanship pilot running from the Guild and take on his task of delivering a cargo to the Silvana.  The cargo is a small girl named Alvis.  Claus, Lavie and Alvis appear in this picture with their vanship.  After delivering her they worry about her treatment by the Silvana crew, and thus become involved with the Silvana.  Along the way they come to the attention of a Guild member, Dio, who happens to be Delphine's younger brother.  Dio also joins the Silvana as it is the right of Guild to go anywhere.  He does it because of his interest in Claus and his flying ability, but also to stay away from his insane sister.  Dio is pictured below.

In the course of the series, the Silvana's crew manages to bring the heads of the two nations together and starts a rebellion to take over the engines from the Guild of all the two nations flying ships.  Alex also is collecting the secret "sayings" of the four great houses.  With the combined sayings it's possible to control the Exile.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, he only gains three before Delphine catches up to him and attempts to use the sayings he knows to control Exile herself. 

In the end, Alex manages to kill Delphine but dies himself when Sophia destroys Delphine's ship while unaware that he's on it.  Claus and Lavie accomplish what their father's couldn't and cross the Grand Stream to deliver messages.  Dio is lost in the Grand Stream.  The rebellion succeeds in taking control of most of their own ships and the Exile is ultimately tamed by Alvis' fourth "saying".  The Exile turns out to be a starship, which leaves the world and the Grand Stream evaporates away, leaving the planets weather patterns natural and her people free.  

Once again, this brief synopsis doesn't do justice to everything that happens in the series and I've left out a big group of characters involved along the way.  Except for the character death, this series is awesome.  Great character style and animation, great plot, truly outstanding music.  I recommend you watch it if you haven't already.  

I'm currently watching the second series, and so far I'm not as happy about it.  I never decide completely how I feel about a series until it's over and I see how they end it, but this one is kind of weird.  I know sometimes it's hard to watch a remake or continuance, especially from a series you really like because you don't want things to change too much from what you remember.  Still, if I hadn't watched the remake of Fullmetal Alchemist, I would have missed an awesome series, so I always give them a try.  The new Last Exile though has taken most of the minor characters of the first series, put them on a different world (the world our familiar Exile came from apparently) and mixed in new characters, without explaining much.  I keep hoping for explanations, which is why I keep watching it.  I'll let you know if it's even close to as good as the original.


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