Reviews of Last Exile (2003) and related work

Last Exile (2003Moving picture, 10 hours)

A pair of young delivery pilots get pulled into an old war on a harsh world. A constant storm separates two nations, whose “chivalrous” aerial engagements are watched over by a powerful Guild. Great airships hover without wings, employing the mysterious Guild-given element of Claudia to stay off the ground. Down there, even water is scarce.

SF war, adventure. A modern and serious full-length series with strong parallels to the glorious Castle in the Sky (1986). Last Exile does not fail to implement that strong concept. The cuteness and comedy are well done and appropriately controlled (i.e. scarce), it looks great—apart from a few poor designs executed in too-obvious 3D rendering—and it plays much like a very long movie.

References here: Planetes (2003).

moving picture Japanese production animation fiction series

Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing (2011Moving picture, 8 hours)

Seen in 2014.

Sky pirates use unarmed light vanships to hijack larger ships from numerous nations on the world the Exiles came from. War brews between once-exiled “returner” nations and the federation of peoples who never left.

Similar. Shorter at 21 episodes. Injected with moe. There are three (3!) major princess or young empress characters, and pretty much all the protagonists are cute young women who just want everyone to get along, despite large cultural and religious differences and the overpopulation problem.

I like the quasi-Russian faction of Glacies: it’s fanatically religious, isolationist, lives in a cold post-apocalyptic wasteland, uses rocket-powered flight and actually speaks Russian. Even this faction is represented primarily by girls, like the way Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse (2012) represents a long-lived Soviet Union with girls.

A lot of the apparel is designed to look a bit like animal ears to further emphasize cuteness, while the machinery looks like 1920s German industrial design gone mad. Science fiction is clearly in the back seat here. Characters and story are generally less engaging than in the original.

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