Last Exile Vol. #6 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: C+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Last Exile

Last Exile Vol. #6

By Chris Beveridge     October 07, 2004
Release Date: October 12, 2004

Last Exile Vol. #6
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.

What They Say
Claus and Dio return to Silvana from their vanship expedition to search for the Exile, only to find that Silvana had been hijacked by the Guild. Delphine holds Alvis, Claus and Alex Row hostage and takes them to the Guild ship. Delphine attempts to lure Alex to provide all the mysterions open Exile gateway. Dio is declared the official successor of his sister Delphine after he is forced to partake of a series of rite of passage ceremonies.

The Review!
As Last Exile races towards its final episodes, this volume provides all the key setup moments for the end conflict to take place.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. There's a very active stereo mix going on throughout this show with a lot of very distinct throws to the left and right as ships whiz past or gun turrets from one side shoot across to the other. Dialogue is nice and clear throughout it and the music comes across beautifully in filling the entire soundstage, especially the opening sequence. There's some great use of depth and sound design in these episodes that's particularly noticeable once you're on board the ships as characters move about.

Airing throughout the spring and summer of 2003, Last Exile is the latest shiniest show from Gonzo and the first time they've truly warmed my heart. While they've dabbled in widescreen shows for a while now and have used the extra canvas to great effect in giving series a much deeper feel, this is the first time they've gone and made one enhanced for anamorphic playback. The transfer for this series looks nothing short of amazing here with rich, crisp colors, lots of depth to them and very solid darks. Cross coloration is non-existent as far as I can see. The only actual video issue is one that's simply inherent in the show and that's with the digital animation; during some panning sequences where the camera follows the length of a shot, some mid-range ships will almost look like they stutter in the air at various points. It has nothing to do with the transfer but with the actual original work on the computers. Beyond that, this is a transfer that'll just please a lot.

Continuing with the good looking artwork, this volume features a great shot of Delphine taking up much of the cover for an upper body shot set against black which lets the striking colors really shine, particularly that of the rose. The lower half gives way to her ship that we see in the show, but overall the cover really pushes that this volume really will be all about her. The back cover continues with the shiny look to it with a series of images of various ships that are shown in these episodes while on top of it you have the usual materials. The summary gives a brief idea of some of the concepts while there's a good block listing all the basic features and extras. The discs episodes are listed with episode numbers and titles and there are a few shots from the show as well. Being a clear keepcase, the reverse side has something on it, though not much but it works well; it's a two-panel piece of fluffy white clouds in a very blue sky. The insert uses the cover art from one of the Japanese DVD releases with a young Dio and Luciola and opens to a detailed piece on the ships of the Anatoray fleet. The back of the insert has the episodes chapter listings as well as some more shots from the show.

One of the reasons I think I continually come back and praise Nightjar menus is because they simply don't look like every other anime menu on the block. Last Exile is no different, particularly in their ability to take animation and make it look so much more realistic and earthy. Taking the Vanship concept, making selections takes you to other sections on the body of the Vanship where you can do things like setup or extras. The transitional animations are brief and they flow very smoothly from one area to the other. The main menu is nicely done with a backdrop of fast racing clouds across a deep blue sky while you have some of the mechanical aspects laid over it with animation playing in a center scope. The disc also does things right by playing its language settings according to our players presets.

The extras are fairly minimal with really only just the production artwork gallery, but they do provide a separate single page piece to announce that their making a plushie toy based on the Ten-Star animal that Alvis carries around with her constantly and it just looks really cute.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the last volume of Last Exile, the show took a great run and hit a new level with things both visually and with the story. With the heightened appearances by Delphine, more revelations about the Exile and everything that Alex and the others are up to, the show hit that critical mark where everything really started to fall into place to move forward fully into the final arc.

With six episodes to go across two discs, the series splits nicely into its two component halves. This volume lays out all the remaining setup and provides many more revelations, moving at a slower pace overall and letting everything that's going on really sink in with its much quieter feel. The Guild in general has been fairly mysterious throughout and these episodes begin to reveal much of what they're about, at least in a cultish sense as several of their secrets are revealed. Much of the air of mystery is still kept to them as these episodes progress but they also really heighten in the way they're like a religion.

While the Silvana and her crew have done a top notch job in capturing the Exile, it's all for naught when Delphine arrives and simply takes what she wants due to the enormous amount of power that's behind her. But it's not just the Exile she's after but also both Dio and Alvis. At times, it certainly seems like Dio is her real prey though. His fear is quite evident and he does his best to try and get away at times only to be kept completely under the control of Delphine's guards. Taking those that she wants, Delphine heads back to her realm in the clouds and leaves the Silvana adrift in the Grand Stream.

Delphine for some reason really takes to Claus in all of this and seeing the friendship that's apparently grown between him and Dio, she brings him along as well. Serving as our eyes, we get to see a lot of the Guild ships and just the way everything is seemingly built around Delphine's existence, from the way she uses First Water to the way the entire Guild thinks about the flatlanders and those stuck on the ground. What's also interesting is that, at least to my knowledge, we haven't seen any other women inside the Guild other than Delphine. While we know she's vain and very self centered, sure she couldn't have slain all the women. As she goes on to talk about the next generation Maestro and Dio's place within it, things start sounding more and more like a hive mentality and the way queen's are created and chosen.

Throughout the three episodes, there's mostly dialogue and some suspenseful moments but little in the way of outright fast paced action. This small arc is mostly just set up for the last three episodes as we now have a much better idea of what Delphine wants the exile for and just how far she's willing to go for it. There are some really good smaller character moments, such as Alvie trying to figure out how far she'll really go to save Claus and even Mullin gets some really solid moments while they prepare for battle. The cast here isn't huge really but it's diverse enough and spread out enough across different ranks and places that everyone gets some time to reflect on things and to make ready for the coming battle.

In Summary:
Though short, this batch of episodes does a fantastic job of taking the previous volumes movements and building upon it with revelations and the new placement of characters in order to hit the finale. Revelations are abound both in the present and the past, from seeing Delphine's plans for the Exile all the way to when Dio was first gifted with Luciola. Things continue to change from episode to episode here and some key players aren't in the same positions they were previously, being dealt some surprising hands as Delphine makes her will known. This continues to be great material and highly engaging, even as short as it is. Very recommended.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Art Gallery

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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