Mania Grade: B
1 Comment | Add
Rate & Share:
- Audio Rating: B
- Video Rating: A
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: B-
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: ADV Films UK
- MSRP: 19.99
- 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. #7
By Paul Jacques
March 28, 2006
Release Date: December 27, 2005
Last Exile Vol. #7
What They Say
© ADV Films UK
With Lucciola's help, Claus, Alvis and Dio escape the Guild ship while Delphine continues to hold Alex Row hostage and tortures him. Anatoray and Disith continue to wage an all-out war against the Guild and many sacrifice their lives in their attempt to deter complete control of the Exile by Delphine. Under Sophia's orders, Claus, Lavie andAlvis fly through the Grand Stream toward the Exile to complete their final mission in this heart-pounding conclusion.The Review!
As Frank once sang, "and now the end is near, and so I face the final question"... so how will this story wrap up and is this series any good? Let's dip into the final 3x episodes...Audio:
I listened in Japanese and English 2.0 and both are good to go. Not a whole lot of directional sound though, which is odd, as this series just screams opportunities for left & right directional movement, what with all the aerial combat and gunfire. So it's mostly front only sound, still, at least it's crystal clear (224Kbps) with decent bass. As ever, I alternated sound tracks between episodes, no problems detected.
The open theme song Cloud Age Symphony
is a modern techno beat (thank heavens it's not 120 bpm), that'll get your toe tapping immediately. The closing song is called Over the sky
and is a nice and soothing ballad, the kind that reminds me of the ending theme to Z.O.E: Dolores, I
You know how I always harp on about the lack of 16:9 titles? Well it looks like someone has been listening ^_^ Colours are beautiful (a tad pastel though), and you may well find yourself going O-M-G in the aerial scenes. The characters are drawn with pencil sharp lines, with very little artistic skimping, even on the static scenes. Not a hint of transfer loss through the NTSC to PAL transfer process. You may just need to invest in a new wide screen TV to really appreciate the visage.Packaging:
We have a clear box, with reversible covers. On the front cover we see Claus and Alvie chilling in a Vanship cockpit. On the back we have some scene stills from the enclosed episodes, plus the usual DVD information. The reverse cover side is a mini poster of a Vanship Claus uses on his travels.
No insert or booklet, but I'm not a great fan of "frosting on the cake" " I want the meat & potato of the film - so I'm not exactly all broken up about this ;-) And the disc is printed with a graphic of a Vanship's fuselage, which is nothing to get excited about.Menu:
The menu looks like the fuselage of a Vanship, with the menu options in the lower half and some repeated actions scenes of the warship battles and Clause's escape to keep you occupied. All links worked well, and no dead ends were encountered.Extras:
For extras we get; a quick write-up about the Silvana; an extremely quick run down of the Guild ships; textless opening no.2 (surely not again?); ADV previews of PMK
, Chrono Crusade
(please note that content portions of a review will contain some spoilers)
Episode 24 starts with Claus, Lavie and Dio escaping from the Guild in a Vanship just as a large part of the Guild fortress plunges to the earth, threatening to crush all in it's wake. They barely escape the gargantuan collapsing tower, and manage to find refuge in Clause's home town. And so for a few hours they take refuge in what's left of their old house.
Meanwhile the Alliance forces begin to press home their attack on Delphine, only she doesn't seem to be too bothered by this fact, and she sends out her fleet of warships to crush the rebellion. And she is correct to be so blasé, as the Alliance main weapons have no absolutely no effect on the Guild warships which have superior defensive capabilities- luckily the Vanships have a little surprise for the Guild warships ;-)
In the next (penultimate) episode Claus and Alvie set out to rendezvous with the Silvana, as Alvie is needed to halt Delphine's control of Exile. Alas, the Guild get wind of this action and send out their Starfish strike force to kill them before they can link up with the Alliance.
After successfully evading their pursuers, Claus, Lavie and Alvie enter the Grand Stream on the last part of their journey to catch up to the Silvana and reach Exile.
In the final episode Dio pops-up out of nowhere, in Grand Stream of all places, and joins R heroes as they head towards the final showdown with Exile. Only he seems a little confused, and has trouble differentiating his memories from the current situation; sometimes he shoots at Claus; sometimes he thinks he's racing his friend Claus; sometimes he thinks Lucciola is riding shotgun in the back.
At the battlefield the Alliance forces are being decimated as they attempt to break through the Guild line in order to launch an attack on Delpine's command ship. In a last desperate manoeuvre, Sophie risks all so that they might get one clean shot at Delphine's flagship with the secret weapon Alex had installed. At the same time Claus, Lavie and Alvie reach the Exile and are finally able to complete the unlocking sequence (using the Mysteria) and switch Exile "on", with some very interesting results. And in the closing moments, Alex finally gets his opportunity to deliver a very personal message to Queen Delphine.In summary-
The final volume is good (for the most part), with some over repeated battle scenes. Alas, we are left with some major questions unanswered: Did Exile terraform the land AND transport certain characters to another world? And who created Exile in the first place and why was it never used? Was that Dio's voice we heard at the end, onboard the Silvana? Did Wina lie to Sophie about Alex's last words, or did she just mis-hear them? And after 26 episodes I didn't appreciate the vague ending. I understood the message, I just didn't understand that last step of the journey.
The "and they all lived happily ever after" epilogue may be uplifting, but I felt it was slapped on to give the series a feel-good ending. What we really needed was more back plot on what happened during Exile's construction, to often it was hinted that people came or went through a transportation gate, but it was never explained and certainly never capitalised upon.
The series as a whole started extremely well, with very high production values in the early episodes. By the time we got to volume 5 I think production team were getting lax, with very little 3D work and even the still 2D scenes shots looking cheap in places. The finale ending with Exile doing it's thing went off like a damp squib. The ending should have had Gonzo pulling out all the stops in the SFX department, but it wasn't. The whole thing fizzled out a little at the end- disappointing.
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,English Subtitles,Art Gallery
JVC 28" Pure Flat Wide Screen TV, Pioneer 454 Progressive Scan code free DVD player, Logitech Z-680 THX DD/DTS receiver & Speakers. Secondary equipment, 19" SM930bf LCD, ATI X700 & PowerDVD v4, Creative Audigy 2 & HS400 headphones and a duck.