27 December 2009 | brankoburcksen
A Brilliant Series that Could Have been More
"Last Exile" was a series I yearned for for a long time, a story focused on characters and subtly engaged within a profound and fantastical world. However out of a need to finish the plot, the character development necessary to bring the story full circle falls short.
I loved this series for really taking the time to show who the characters are and really let them take hold of the story. The tone and pacing of most of the episodes reminded me of the HBO series "The Wire" which also let the story fall together one pebble at a time. The series is brilliant for capturing small moments between characters that hint at their growing bonds and frustrations like a scene in a crowded elevator at a casino, a soldier chanting before a battle and when one character puts on the clothes of another in the desert. The two leads Claus and Lavie's relationship portrays itself as a chameleon jumping from comrades to partners, childhood friends, surrogate siblings and repressed lovers. The central bond though lies with Claus and the shy, mysterious girl Alvis who hold and drive the characters and the story together throughout the series.
"Last Exile" seems quite conventional in terms of plot, but it is only when it supersedes the characters that the series falls flat. For most of the show's running time that does not happen though. It bears a unique sense of drama that I find hard to see in other forms. Nowhere but in anime or Greek tragedy could you a see a person fall in love and heart break in the same moment.