Thursday, April 14, 2011

Last Exile (Episodes 4-6)


My journey through Last Exile continues and with each episode I find myself drawn deeper into this wonderfully told story. One of the things about anime that I find so appealing is the storytelling can be just as amazing as the art. Having watched six episodes now, it's clear that the show is following a type of narration typically found in a novel. As I stated in my post about the first three episodes, the show jumped right into a story, choosing to give little to no exposition and allowing the viewer to the slowly come to speed.

One of the main characters in the show, a little girl named Alvis Hamilton, was introduced at the end of the third episode. Her past is a mystery. Her fate is clearly important, but also a mystery. Clearly, there is a lot of mystery surround Al, but the fact that she is seemingly alone in the world pulls Claus, our young vanship pilot hero, closer to her. The bond between these characters is presented in that great anime way of sustained eye-contact and subtle changes in expression as they stare at each other with lots of mumbled sounds of surprise and confusion--a device I like to use a lot in my own writing.

It's clear from Claus's protective instincts toward Al that once he delivers her to the near mythical ship known as the Silvana, he's not just going to be able to simply leave her there with the shady crew. As a result, Claus and Lavie end up becoming entangled with this strange ship. Where the Silvana's loyalty in the ongoing war lie, and those of it's (yes, you guessed it) mysterious leader Alexander Row, is unclear. But by the end of episode six, the story begins to expand, giving us hints that what we thought we knew, we didn't truly know. The characters seem set in their places and now the bigger story has just begun.

So far, Last Exile takes heavily from the touchstones of an epic quest, incorporating the elements in clever ways. I can't wait to learn what is to become of heroes during their amazing aerial battles, which are as good as any dog fight in Star Wars. Claus and Lavie are perfect character duo. Alvis is enchanting as the child who could save the future. The set-up between the different fractions in the war is very intriguing. I also love how these big events are secondary to Claus and Lavie. And while we still don't know which side are we supposed to be rooting for--we can always just root for them.


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