Last Exile (2003)

Last Exile is a show that’s initially quite dazzling: throwing interesting plot developments at the viewer at a frightening rate. Another point of interest is the setting: a world that mixes futuristic elements with elements from nineteenth century Europe. Two big countries are eternally at war, divided by something called the grand stream, which both nations cross with air ships. The war is fought using a code of chivalry, which is enforced by a third, technological superior faction: the guild.

Like I said, initially the show is quite cool, but midway I realized that the characters never came alive for me and I had completely lost interest in them. And while the initial pacing of the story was excellent, the second half of the show was big on stalling and delaying the inevitable conclusion. I still like the first batch of episodes, but the rest of the show never managed to captivate me as much. I was quite disappointed with the guild members, who turned out to be annoying instead of interesting. A static aristocracy whose defining characteristic was arrogance instead of smarts, blärgh. I prefer smart villains.

Also too much of the plot was designed around the mystery of what exactly the Last Exile was. The problem with that approach is that it fuels expectation and only a brilliant revelation to that mystery could have satisfied. Discovering that the Last Exile was the colonization ship with whom the first settlers came from Earth just didn’t cut it for me.