Anime DVD Review: Last Exile: Breakthrough

Last Exile: Breakthrough is a DVD with four episodes of the Last Exile television anime series that was released by Geneon in 2004.

Last Exile: Breakthrough
English Publisher: Geneon
Format: DVD
Release Date: June 8, 2004

The first episode in this set sees the Silvana sinking below the clouds, while Tatiana and Claus are forced to make an emergency landing. Claus tries to repair the vanship, while Tatiana isn’t sure that they can improve their circumstances. Later in the episode, she learns that Claus and Lavie are the children of the vanship courier duo who attempted to cross the Grand Stream to deliver a peace proposal to Disith ten years earlier. The section with Tatiana and Claus is intercut with an evacuation that’s underway in Disith. Unfortunately, the way this episode was done, it was a little confusing; this was especially true when scenes of the Disith were cut in, because there wasn’t any real explanation or exposition to explain what was being seen.

In episode 14, Lavie is recovering from her injuries on a crashed Silvana, and she dreams of her childhood with Claus. Through this episode, we see these characters’ backstories and learn how they ended up in the situation they were at when we met them at the beginning of the series. I thought this was probably the best way they could have pulled off revealing this backstory in the context of the series.

When Lavie wakes up at the end of episode 14, she is reunited with Claus. He informs her that their hometown of Norkia has fallen to Disith. When Lavie sees Tatiana wearing Claus’ overalls, she becomes upset and jealous. This is exacerbated in episode 15, when rumors circulating through the ship about Claus and Tatiana. Episode 15 also sees surprising information being revealed about both Alex and Sophia. Episode 16 sees some major events take place in the Anatoray capital.

To me, the best episodes in this set were episodes 14 and 15 (“Etude Lavie” and “Fairy Chess”). Like I said earlier, episode 14’s strength was the backstory angle that it provided for two of the main characters. Episode 15 builds from the backstory, and it also hints at the fact that perhaps Lavie may want to be more than friends with Claus.

While the other two episodes on this disc are important for progressing the story forward, they just didn’t leave as strong of an impression that episodes 14 and 15 did.

When it comes to the DVD itself, there are four bonus features. The first is labeled as, “Last Exile Exhibition in Tokyo.” This is a 17 picture slideshow that layers the pictures on top of each other. This from what appears to be a gallery exhibit, which seems to feature production models. Unfortunately, there was no context provided for this feature, so I didn’t entirely understand what it was that I was seeing.

Next is “Art Gallery,” which contains 14 pages of model sheets. These images seem to focus on the characters that appeared in “Etude Lavie,” as well as the royal family that appears in episode 16. “Geneon Previews” includes a menu of three properties that the company was promoting at the time this DVD was released. The fourth and final extra on the disc is the DVD Credits.

If you enjoy Last Exile, then it’s a series that you should add to your home video collection. Unfortunately, this DVD by Geneon is long out of print. However, FUNimation acquired the rights for the series after Geneon went out of business, and released a complete series box set for Last Exile in 2009. This box set might be worth tracking down if you want to own Last Exile on DVD.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Last Exile: Breakthrough that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Last Exile:

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