Reviewby Allen Divers, Apr 20th 2004
After a successful deliver of their passenger to the Silvana, Claus and Lavi are worried about their new young friend. Shocked at Alex Row's acceptance of the "cargo", the two young flyers chase after the Silvana. Once on board, they encounter the crew of the Silvana and confront Alex Row. Before things can be settled, the Silvana comes under attack. The Guild, the mysterious power that enforces the law of the land, has set their eyes on Alex Row and his crew. Before they know it, Claus and Lavi are in the midst of the battle, fighting for their lives. The tempo of the battle changes swiftly for Claus, when his flying skills draw the attention of Dio Eraclea of the Guild. Will Claus and Lavi survive their first experience of aerial combat?
The second volume of Last Exile doesn't fail to please, maintaining the series' lush imagery and complicated, engrossing storyContinuing to follow Lavi and Claus, the next few episodes introduce many of the remaining players in this large and intricate work. The production values across all the episodes remain high as the animation, artwork and sound all work together to create one of the best looking series to come out of Japan in a while. Last Exile continues to shine as a TV series that has the production values of a theatrical animated film.
Volume 2 contains the next four episodes of the series and the standard amount of extras for a Geneon release. The basic features include Dolby Digital 2.0 versions of the English and Japanese soundtrack, an anamorphic widescreen presentation, English subtitles and scene access. The extras include the textless version of the ending, the original Japanese ending, a collection of commercials, an art gallery and the standard array of Geneon previews. While these are all solid features, the real treat on this DVD are the episodes themselves.
Last Exile features some of the best animation from one of the hottest studios in Japan. Gonzo put a lot of time and effort into the creation of this series, and unlike some of their previous work, the animation and artwork stays top-notch even through some of the slower parts in these episodes. With a television series, it's not unusual for a studio to dump too much money in to the first episode, and then skimp a bit in the next few. With Last Exile, Gonzo kept the bar high, making each episode more intricate than the last.
In both the English and Japanese soundtracks, each cast has adjusted well to their characters; their performances evolve as the series continues. Making his appearance in the first episode of volume 2 is Joshua Seth, who portrays Dio. While a bit less ambiguous than his Japanese counterpart (in Japan, the voice of Dio is voiced by a woman) Dio comes across as playful and slightly menacing.
Last Exile is an epic series. While the full story hasn't surfaced, the majority of the players have been introduced by this volume. While the story seems focused on a young hero, there's more going on in the background. As the story unfolds, more characters are being introduced that help drive the main plot. While the action and story are easy enough to follow for a casual viewer, the more astute viewer can see the plot beginning to build with these four episodes. Character growth is an important part of a story, and Claus and Lavi face some strong challenges as they are thrust into the dangerous world of the Silvana. The plot thickens at a breakneck pace in these episodes; you may want to go back to the first volume and pick up the details you might have missed the first time around.
Last Exile is simply a stunning series. Positional Play builds on the foundation established in the first volume and brings the series to new heights of excellence. Whether drawn in by the beautiful imagery, or an outstanding cast, viewers are sure to be entertained by the story that wraps it all together. While it is still not clear where the story is going, or what lies ahead for the main cast, it is evident that the ride should be quite entertaining.
Overall (dub) : A
Overall (sub) : A
Story : A
Animation : A
Art : A
Music : A
+ A stunning series that leaves viewers craving for more
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