The series becomes shrouded in further mystery as it heads toward the middle of its run. Kev reviews volume 3 of GONZO’s fantasy series, released on April 18th courtesy of ADV Films.
Still onboard the Silvana, Claus and Lavie prepare to enter an eight-hour vanship race. It seems like an easy run until they find out that Dio Eraclea and Luciola are also joining in. Tatiana enters under dubious orders while elsewhere Alex Row is bidding on a mysterious item. Why is the Guild onboard the Silvana and what is Dio doing trying to befriend Claus? Just what is the Exile Door and what part does Alvis play in all of this? These questions and many more are raised in volume three of GONZO’s epic adventure series.
Last Exile is beginning to reach a crucial stage as enemies are brought closer and many more secrets are beginning to surface, so this volume is what I’d like to refer to as being “the messy one”. What we’re beginning to see are several threads crossing over, while entirely new ones are surfacing. It’s not so much a problem at the moment but it sure does get a little confusing at times, especially considering that very little is revealed throughout the four episodes presented on this disc. Alex has some ulterior motives, the Guild are suddenly being too friendly, team mates are clashing and Alvis is some kind of key for the Exile Door.
What we’ve managed to ascertain from the series so far is that the Guild is an extremely technologically advanced organisation, with key leaders being the great princess Delphine, followed by her brother Dio and his navigator Luciola close by her side. The Guild have the means to provide great weaponry and they use this much to their advantage, so it doesn’t come as a shock when they board the Silvana and freely walk around – as authority figures they seem to think that they can get away with it, but not to a great extent. It isn’t long before the ships’ mechanics try to take Dio and Luciola hostage, after all they did attack them in the first place but for some reason Dio is being all too nice with regards to the situation. What we don’t learn however is the inner workings of said organisation. Its motives are not made clear and remain a largely overlooked piece of the series. Aside from the fact they are supposedly the bad figures little else is elaborated on, add to that Dio’s fascination toward Alvis which is a curious one, though he denies having any such interest. It’s clear by the end of the volume that he does indeed have some strange agenda which leaves us hanging for now.
Elsewhere though we get further character development from Claus and Lavie. Like the previous volumes Lavie appears to have the greater mental challenge. As she and Claus prepare for the Vanship race ahead she finds herself feeling down as a result of her previous red out. She’s teased by the Guild as well as Tatiana – the hotshot with a social problem whose even begun to fall out with her co-pilot, Alister. This not only ends up forcing them apart but it also forces Lavie to come to an important decision that will see her move away from Claus in some respects. As a primary focus on this relationship it becomes an interesting aspect as we watch two close friends become torn apart by the absurdities of a war they probably shouldn’t be involved in. Lavie makes some good points and Claus does what he feels he must do in order to protect her but it looks like he’s going to get himself into more trouble than it’s worth. As the focus shifts a little toward Claus more questions arise. Why on Earth does Dio refer to him as Immelmann? And while Dio is forcing names upon people, why is he referring to Alvis as a “genuine”?
If that wasn’t enough then we finally witness the very thing which reflects the series’ title. Alex has been an intriguing figure, popping up at the right time, looking suspicious, getting up to all kinds of mysterious things and we’ve never been sure what he’s up to, but now it all starts to come together. We learn that he has his sights set on the Exile Door – a strange object worth enough to start a war over yet we do not know of its purpose, other than it may well be related to Alvis. This is presumably the last exile, whatever that might mean, I’m not even going to guess at this stage.
These character pieces are far too few in-between here as much of the volume concentrates on actions rather than words. It heeds itself toward ambiguity, GONZO surely know where it’s heading, this is an original conceived anime that has to have a goal when there’s no Manga to rely on. With three volumes past I’m sure things will come together but that doesn’t make the issues here any more understandable. The series had set itself up slowly over two volumes, it’s pace has been perfect and consistently energetic, and now with volume three it puts your brain into overtime while it delivers a barrage of slick visuals over an encompassing arc. If being mysterious is the name of the game then play ball, this is where the real meaty stuff begins.
Episodes – Spoilers ahead.
XO, Sophia informs Claus and Lavie that an eight-hour Vanship race is scheduled to take place soon. The youngsters are welcome to take part, provided they can sort out their own mechanics. Dio and Luciola board the Silvana, much to the surprise of everyone and they’re soon informed that the Guild members are taking part in the race. Meanwhile Alex is off at some auction, ready to place bids on a priceless object.
The race is underway. Claus and Lavie confidently take the lead, with Dio and Luciola in hot pursuit, while elsewhere Alex is still trying to acquire a mysterious item. All is not well as another interested party wants it too and they’ll go so far as to take life if they have to in order to secure it.
The crew of the Silvana take Dio and Luciola hostage. Lavie decides to tell Claus that she no longer wishes to help him fly as long as he takes the Vanship out to fight. Instead she will work as his mechanic, leaving him with a space to fill. Alister volunteers to help, leaving behind Tatiana who has acted cold toward her. Meanwhile Delphine learns of her brother’s capture but decides to let him fend for himself, while Alex and Vincent have a serious talk.
Alvis awakens from her deep sleep with no memory of the events beforehand. Dio tells her that she is a “genuine” but refrains from explaining. Soon Alex announces that the Silvana is about to go into battle with the Urbanus and Sophia gives the preparation orders. Tatiana tells Claus that she will pilot his vanship and he can be her navigator, much to the disappointment of Alister. Soon the attack is underway and while Claus in engaged in battle, Lavie and Alvis seem to be in danger.
ADV presents Volume 3 with wonderful cover art that features Tatiana and Alister. Range Murata’s character designs have been brilliant throughout the series and as you can see here some of the costumes are simply marvellous. This is a very attractive cover, with a reverse sleeve featuring the same image spread across the entire width. One complaint though is that it appears to have been enlarged too much, to the point that it exhibits pixelation.
Last Exile is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 aspect ratio which looks great. GONZO‘s use of hazy sequences tend to highlight artefacts and provide most of the transfer’s problems, though this is slight and not distracting. With the pacing of the series’ action sequences it is good to see them being handled well, with no visible pixelation or blocking, aside from some light banding. Otherwise the series is superb looking, with brilliant colour tones and detail that are finely rendered in amongst its computer generated machinery.
ADV offers a choice of English 2.0 or Japanese 2.0, both of which are excellent tracks, with the latter grabbing my attention. There isn’t much difference between the two, both have clear dialogue and make full use of the score and accompanying effects. Take your pick. Optional English subtitles are included. These are of the usual standard, no complaints here.
Sophia, Mullin and Dio get brief profiles which are spread over five pages.
We have twenty-five pages of artwork, covering character designs for the Guild and Urbanus crew.
Trailers for Get Backers, Ujin’s Sakura Diaries, Gravion, Gad Guard and Neon Genesis Evangelion – Platinum.
Complications have begun to surface with the latest volume of Last Exile as there are more questions being raised than answers provided. The plot has quickly become involving, leaving little clue as to where it is going. Still, it provides plenty of action and some decent, if brief character insights. Volume 4 should be interesting, providing the pieces start coming together.
It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for…
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