Last Exile: Ending

By Shamus Posted Friday Jul 14, 2006

Filed under: Anime 19 comments

A lot of dramatic stuff happened in the last two discs. A lot of main characters died. A lot of stuff got blown up. The world itself changed. There was a lot of drama, but for the most part I never got caught up in it because I was struggling to figure out what in the hell was going on. Oh wait. They blew that thing up? I thought they wanted to capture it? No? But what was it anyway? They captured that other thing? Why do they want that? They must really want it, though. They’ve just sacrificed all their ships to get it. No? They have more? But where are they going now?

In the last battle I was never clear on what their goals were, so when things happened I couldn’t tell if they were good or bad. Part of this may be due to the fact that I took a three-week break right in the middle of the series and watched some other stuff, but I don’t think so. They had lots of flashback moments to earlier parts of the series, and those never really illuminated things for me.

At the start of the series I said:

I love watching [vanships] fly. The sounds and the motions are perfect and really convey the speed and intensity of the dogfighting. It reminds me of the thrill I felt the first time I saw X-Wings and TIE fighters going at it. Seriously, it's that good.

So it was really funny to see them recreate lots of Star Wars moments near the end. There was a scene in which they ripped off paid homage to the Death Star assault. They even had a “stay on target” moment. I don’t think I was supposed to be laughing at that moment, but I did.

I started off really liking Claus, but near the end of the series he became a lot less interesting to me. He stopped taking part in the what was happening, and just wandered around watching events unfold on behalf of the audience. By the end I was more interested in Mullen Shepard and Dio.

What can I say about the plot? I don’t know. Maybe it would have made sense if I was willing to work at it, but I wasn’t. By the end I was just following the main characters around and waiting for them to win. Maybe if I was Steven Den Beste I could come up with a thousand word essay that would iron the thing out and make sense of it. He did that for The Matrix and it retroactively made the movie a lot better. But for crying out loud, explaining the plot is the job of the writer, not the viewer. I wanted to love this show. In some ways, I do love this show. The visuals are top-notch. The characters are wonderful. The world is interesting and inventive. The gadgets are fun to watch. The voice acting is great. (Although they re-used too many voices in the English dub) In short, they had all the ingredients for a stellar show, but it ultimatly fails because the overall story is far too vague.


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19 thoughts on “Last Exile: Ending

  1. HC says:

    I thought the ending cluttered as well. It’s remarkable how much a good capstone can influence one’s overall opinion of the series – in my case, LE went from a must-buy to a may-rent-again-someday very rapidly. The inverse makes for a happier example.

  2. Alex says:

    Now my thesis of “You had too little feel for the characters or stories” will look secondhand!

  3. Acksiom says:

    It was hard, but I kept my mouth shut and didn’t say anything, in the hope that you wouldn’t be as disappointed as I was.

    Oh well, I’m a men’s issues advocate and activist who’s tried to date heteronormatively; I’m already very, very well-accustomed to a diet of false hope. . . .

    What most pissed me off, without getting into spoilers for others: the climax of Lucciola’s story. Man, but that really annoyed me aesthetically. It was right then that I soured on the series as a whole. Just Plain Wrong Ending. Bad animators, no panties!

  4. FlameKiller says:

    Shamus: you said earlier that you hoped the villin would die screaming.

    did that happen?

  5. Shamus says:

    She did die badly, but by the time it happened I was so befuddled I almost didn’t care anymore.

  6. Dominic says:

    The ending was perfectly understandable. Ask me anything about it, I can answer it for you all. Also, the end is meant to conclude everything, not add even more things to be figured out.

    The Urbanis being blown up was awesome. Though I wish that Alex had survived and surprised us all like with Mullin. Also people haev commented about the ending being corny or something like that. Maybe it is but if they made a tv show where a war was ended and everyone saw your life and what you did while enjoying peace, the same thing would be said too.

    And yes the three week break did affect you review of the ending. And by the way here is a list of things to clear up because some people dont understand what all happened in the ending:

    1. Maestro Delphine was killed by Alex.

    2. The world of Prestale was not transformed by Exile into a paradies, they left Prestale for the Blue World, which was the Paradise.

    3. The Grand Stream was done away with by Exile. Most likely this was Exile fixing the weather controllers.

    4. Prestale is a biosphere and a giant hour glass shape. What opened up in Disith was the way out of Prestale into space and to the Blue World(Earth) Exile is a massive colony ship, just like Maestro Delphine said in clear visible words that could be heard.

    5. Exile was not blown up, it was captured. The Mysterium was spoken to it thus resting Exile’s defenses. It was not blown up, its Cacoon was done away with. Exile was within the cacoon. Tatiana: “Do we know what shape the target is?” Alex: “It is covered by a Cacoon.” I guess that three week gap caused you to forget.

  7. Magoo says:

    I have watched all 26 episodes of Last Exile thru at least three times now and I must say that it was one of the best anime’ series I have ever seen. Admittedly, the ending is a bit chaotic but Dominic’s explanation seems to hold up the best to scrutiny. I had imagined that the human race had been ‘exiled’ from Earth due to pollution/war/overpopulation/the usual apocalyptic fare and mankind had gone to an artificial world to survive while the Earth recovered. Some time afterwards there must have been a rebellion wherein the Guild seized the control systems and entertained themselves by pitting each half of the general population against the other.

    The anime’ pays a lot of attention to the fictional technology, which made the whole thing that much more believable, especially the hand-tools used to verify ‘claudia’ operation. I also enjoyed the silly details, such as the much repeated bleating of the toy goat when Alvis fell while out of the screen shot. The soundtrack is exceptional as well. The opening video/audio montage is excellent and the solo trumpet theme for Alex/Silvana throughout makes the experience complete. And most importantly, I refused to even try the English voice-over… The Japanese voicing is so much more in touch with the characters’ emotions. I want to meet Lavie and I want a vanship of my own.

    BTW It is ‘cocoon’ and it is Mullin ‘Shetland’. Also, the subtitles and voice-overs all said Silvana, but the uniform markings read as Silverna.

  8. Musoeun says:

    The plot really doesn’t make sense. It’s okay. The series is still awesome.

  9. Mrlostsoul says:

    I’m late for this discussion. But I agree with Dominic on his key points concerning the ending.

    But I have 1 concern. I watched the whole series on Netflix, I’ll watch Mullin’s death or supposed death again to be sure. But if he died, his girlfriend would’ve walked away. if he didn’t, she wouldn’t have walked away. Unless she didn’t know he died… And at the end, we find out that he didn’t die. I guess that makes sense. I guess what bothers me was another character that looked like Mullin, his name was Ethan. He was one of the mechanics. At the end, I wondered if it was Mullin or Ethan running in the wheat field with the child. They looked allot alike. But I guess it was Mullin, that makes more sense. Ethan was just one of the mechanics.

    Dominic, there is one mystery that was not solved, or maybe they edited out… During the whole series… And I watched the whole series this weekend, in the credits, they showed a woman’s face inside a white block. Almost like a head dress or uniform like the guardians in Tron… Anyone remember the guardians in Tron? The guardian was almost built in a block… I guess that was his uniform. Anyway, in the credits of Last Exile, there was a woman…. I wonder if she was the pilot or AI computer of Exile? Anyone notice that?

    1. Dominic says:

      Came across this site again and saw my post. And yes I know its been two years since I last commented. But I am bored and up late and I dont even know if anyone will see this but here goes anyways… To answer the above question I will say that that woman is Allister. I did notice it.

      Also one more important idea that hollywood needs to hone in on and that idea is to make a Last Exile movie with live actors. Instead of making all these movies based off of cartoons. Plus it would truyl be spectacular seeing the world of Prestale on the big screen and how it would look in real life. Also I dont know if any of you agree but the world of Prestale and the whole story of Last Exile is one that could take a long time to tell so they would have alot of material to go from. I myself am hoping that they make a live actor Last Exile movie.

  10. Peter Warwick says:

    Thanks so much Dominic! Like the others fans have said, I was at a loss too, at the end of the series. I read other peoples theories about how it ended online, and then rewatched the end. I understood it a lot more then. After that, I wanted to see other peoples opinions, and that is where I found yours. I most say I think you are the most spot on person I have found! :) You have filled in the rest of the cracks, and now I love this show even more now.

    I do have two questions/things to point out though. After seeing the ending twice today, I am pretty sure that Alex, commander of the Orbanis, lives. I saw him afterwards in a ship. It might have been the Sulvanna when the queen sollutes it. I could be wrong about that part, but I know I saw him. Also, I thought some people stayed on Prestal? In the end the machinates (sp?) are saying how they will miss them all, and say nothing about seeing them again. Also, some of the giant ships are still there with people in them, and the Queen is never shown on Earth. Anyway, just wanted to know your thoughts if you ever see this. :) Thanks in advance!

    Great show, a must watch! :D Highly recommended!

    1. Dominic says:

      Found this while lookong up about the show, as I decided to revisit it after some years. As Vincent said, “been a long time”, or 11 years. Anyways, at the end of last exile, some stayed and some left on exile. Some stayed because the weather co troller was fixed when exiles defenses were reared and it left. They made a sequel to last exile that kind of covered some stuff, but overall I didnt like it. I still consider last exile to be a stand alone great, even after nearly a two years why of a lifetime, since I first saw it in 2003.

  11. Phishy59 says:

    Peter, you’re wrong about a couple of things. First off, it’s Vincent who was captain of the Urbanis, not Alex. Alex was drugged up on truth serum and then got blown to bits by the Silvana. Second, the mechanics are all aboard the Silvana and probably stayed aboard the ship; they were talking about Claus, Lavie, and Alvis, who were never part of the crew to begin with. The whole series is a story about a couple of kids who fly their way into an adventure and just so happen to run into the Silvana, of which they stay on for a majority of the series we watch.

    I absolutely love this anime, and just about every year since it came out, I’ve always had a personal marathon to watch it over the course of a week or a few days. However, I am rather disappointed with how “rushed” the ending felt. While it is a miniseries with only 26 episodes, I feel like either there were just too many side stories going on, or GONZO just got very lazy toward the end and stirred together a patchwork ending that didn’t live up to what the entire series led up to. For one, the whole idea of gathering vanship pilots together for a revolutionary “aerial combat” role was a great idea with true-life historical reference…but the final episodes only show the pilots flying through a long narrow tube inside of a Guild ship dropping payloads to destroy them, without any resistance or dogfighting. A bit more action here would’ve made the ending a whole lot better. I am also kind of let down by the scrambled significance of Exile, which is the central focus of what the characters are trying to achieve in the entire series. A giant Titan A.E.-esque ship wrapped in a cocoon with tentacles? I can live with that. But what bothers me is that in the end, Exile loses significance. The mission of the Urbanis and the Silvana was to go into the Grand Stream to take Exile and strip her away from Delphine, and Delphine wanted Alvis and the Mysterion to unlock Exile. But after a couple of episodes she doesn’t anymore simply because Maestro Delphine already had its favor without the Mysterion? Then all of a sudden her ship is destroyed by the Silvana anyway? To me, reading that over and over just makes Exile’s significance seem more and more lost to the creators when they were writing the story. The premise should have been established from the beginning.

    The Yuris/Sophia identity mystery is absolutely confusing to me. Perhaps somebody here can help clarify this for me? I’ve searched online for some answers, and all I’ve gotten thus far is that Yuris is the daughter of Marius, and that Sophia only resembles her appearance. I’ve also heard elsewhere that the two are actually sisters, and I’ve heard that Sophia is actually Yuris herself. This is confusing because in the last episode Resign, you can hear Alex say the name, “Yuris” right before the Silvana blows him up. After that, you see Sophia ask Wina what he said, and she replies, “I heard him saying your name.” HE SAID YURIS! Idk maybe he said Sophia’s name as well and we just didn’t see it? If somebody out there has a concrete answer with some evidence to back this up, I am all ears.

  12. Phishy59 says:

    On a positive note, I am rather satisfied with how Dio and Lucciola died. Their story is tragic, and their deaths are symbolic of friendship and what it meant to them. I read this somewhere and I can’t remember where, but Lucciola dies because he is Dio’s friend and refuses to betray him, and this is significant because despite the culture of the Guild, he chose friendship over tradition. Okay maybe I change my mind, the way he dies really sucks, and should have been a bit more epic. Dio’s death, however, was very symbolic and made alot of sense to me. When he is chasing Claus and Lavie in the Grand Stream during the final episode, he is reliving himself in one of the moments before his Guild ascension into adulthood. We watch as he recalls the race he competed against them and relives the moment when he told Lucciola to “jump out.” Finally, in the scene where he dies, we see him look back to an empty seat where Lucciola would have been. Cold and alone without his companion, Dio dies because he can’t live without his beloved friend.

    This series was great, but it had the potential to be legendary in my opinion. Being in the military myself, I absolutely fell in love with the show after seeing all of the historical military references and the concept of an “aerial naval heritage.” The animation is beautiful, and the characters are engaging and very easy to relate to. It may be selfish of me, I admit, but I just feel as if the creators didn’t put enough effort into giving the story any depth. Maybe this is a side effect of leaving it VAGUE, but in all honesty a little bit more closure and clarity would have been more satisfying. Idk, maybe this is what they wanted all along, so that people like you and me could watch it over and over and wonder about it. Either way, this is how I feel and am open for anyone else to give me their opinions.

  13. Peter Warwick says:

    I am sorry phishy59, I got their names mixed up. My bad, and thanks for pointing that out. lol Also, thanks for your answer about the mechanics. So do you think they stayed on prestle to then?

    I loved what you said about the guild boys, especially Lucciola. “I change my mind, the way he died really sucks, it should have been more epic.” lol I agree with you on that one. I can’t help but think that he knew what was going to happen to him. I mean he was guild, I am sure he knew what the ring did, but still he took it. :( I yelled at the TV then, I was sad and mad. Do you think he did not kill her because he knew, or thought, it would make Dio sad?

    I also agree about it being a bit rushed and vague. Still, it was a pretty good show.

  14. Amie says:

    Just finished watching this series on Netflix and I am another confused person. I agree that the ending was simply very rushed so they just did a messy job of wrapping everything up. They could have at least focused more on Exile and what was done about it and the civilizations.

    It seems like they’re on another planet since they have the endless fields and ocean but who did they take with them? The entire planet or only those who wanted to go? The funeral at the very end was for their parents and he just states that they recognise neither countries nor the guild anymore, they would just start a new civilization founded on peace. It’s possible that the Exile didn’t fix anything, the balance of their world was too messed up to live in well and so they took the risk of going to Earth. It’s so hard to know since they only show such a small group of people at the end.

    As for Dio, I don’t think he “died” because he could not live without his friend. Dio was just so overcome with disbelief and grief that he forgot about the fact that he had to pilot his ship and so he was caught off guard. In wikipedia I had read about a hint that Dio had in fact survived due to an official piece artwork. It shows some of the gang on the farm looking delighted at some visitor who is just off to the left, but we see a familiar hand and foot. The picture is here:

    With Lucciola all that makes sense to me is that while he could defy his purpose and fight all the guards it was somehow impossible for him to go againt Maestro and harm her directly. All he could bring himself to do to her was beg. I think he accepted that ring knowing well what would become of him. When Dio had been dragged into that chamber to become an “adult” there were dna patterns on the floor. I’m guessing he could have been programmed or somehow altered to never harm her.

  15. Johnathan says:

    Whatever happened to Cicada going to fetch Sophia?

  16. Silver says:

    lmao at all these plebs confused because the explanation for the last quarter of Last Exile wasn’t handed to them on a silver platter.

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