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DVD Reviews:  Last Exile 01: First Move

The Final Say!

Feature Score
Based on this disc:
DVD Extras Score

Feature Score
Based on whole series:
Yet to be reviewed in entirety

Reviewed by Tory Favro
Distributed by:
The AV Channel
Running Time: 100 Minutes

I've had to have a think about this review a bit more than usual when reviewing a DVD. What do you do when a DVD is so good that you know that you must get the next one to find out more, yet are not provided enough information to reach a conclusion with just the one disc? That's the problem I am faced with and thus the score on the side.

I based the review on this disc by itself and if we are lucky enough to go through the whole series, I will then give a score for the whole tale. Now on with the review.

Last Exile is the superb tale of a retro futuristic world caught up in a war. There are three main groups fighting in the sky in huge armadas of sky ships. Whilst we don't get to know too much about them in this disc, they tie into the overall plot. That's the problem with this first edition though, there are so many loose ends as they attempt to introduce all the elements of the storyline into the first disc.

This is one of the first times that I've wanted to score what is an incomplete feature so highly. Why? Last Exile is intriguing to say the least with a gorgeous animation style to kill for. We just aren't really told anything, just quickly shown people and events. We do get to meet our two main characters (I think) Claus and Lavie, two fifteen year old couriers who seem to unwittingly get caught up in something much larger than them.

There are four episodes on this disc and this is where the confusion really kicked in as the first two introduced us to Claus and Lavie and the battle that was taking place in the sky, then the third all of a sudden takes up to a race that they are flying in. Then in the last they are protecting a young girl who needs to be escorted on a seven star mission (the most dangerous type of mission at all - they are rated by stars, one being the easiest and so on). Just when you think that they've lost you again, one of the captains of the battling armadas shows up, thereby tying in the first episode but leaving you on such a cliffhanger that you will kick yourself that you don't have the second disc to put in immediately.

Are you still with me on this? Good as I highly recommend this disc once you get the chance to buy the second installment at the same time as it's too much of a tease otherwise. For those who are curious to know, my first impulse was to score this disc between 9/10 - 9.5/10. It will be interesting to see what happens in other installments, however based on this first DVD, I did have to take a breath and realise that as a single disc, it's not the strongest storytelling experience, however as a whole series, it promises to be something very special.

Putting it simply; I can't wait to review the next disc in the series.


The disc is shown in 16:9 and looks absolutely beautiful with no errors on the disc and all colours being sharp and vibrant. It appears that Team Gonzo mixed computer animation with traditional work to great effect.


The soundtrack is a bit disappointing as I think that it would have enhanced the feature a lot more to be fully surround sound as there are dogfights and races, all of which would have benefited from a full surround mix. What we are left with is a very strong Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that sounds great and it may just be a bit picky of me, but the subject matter lends itself to the surround experience. The theme song and music is great.


The extras on this disc are pretty limited however I would strongly recommend that you look at character profiles to get a bit more of a feel for the characters. There's not a lot of info there however it's more than we get told during the feature.

The extra trailer is of another series that I am currently enjoying called Initial D, all other extras don't really enhance the viewing experience anymore than what you have already seen.

Last Exile 01: First Move Features

  • Non Credit Opening

  • Original Japanese Opening

  • Promotional Trailer

  • Art & Character Galleries


 Copyright 2004