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Anime: Last Exile DVD #6 "Queen Delphine"
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Age Rating: 12+
Company: ADV Films UK
Genre: Steampunk / Fantasy
Running Time: 75 mins
DVD Region 2

The secrets of the guild begin to reveal themselves as Delphine's plans step into motion...

Another three episode disc (*sighs*) as we enter episodes 21-23 of Last Exile. The episodes in question being "Rook Dio", "Queen Delphine" and "Castling Lucciola". Everything is coming to a head here as Delphine's plans to unlock Exile using Alvis are set in motion, and the war against the guild truly begins. The main thing I found so appealing about this disc is the first look we get into guild life and for the first time real character development for Delphine and in particular here Lucciola. The guild's world is certainly a warped one, reminiscent of a cult with Delphine at it's head and we can certainly see why Dio is afraid of returning to his sisters rather depraved clutches, especially when what is in store for Dio is revealed. Delphine herself steals the disc here, as she plays the role of "Evil Empress" superbly here. Everything she does exudes evil as she exercises her will over all her allies and uses incredibly disturbing torture techniques on the now captured Alex Rowe. You love to hate it's as simple as that and her sheer ability to be one of the most vile anime villains I have ever seen makes this volume all the more gripping.

As I also said Lucciola gets a lot of development here as we finally see what he is like under his normal calm and emotionless face. It's deeply interesting and moving to see as the characters true nature comes to light and for me is one of the highlights of the series so far. The rest of the cast really take a back seat here, but still retain what makes them appealing to fans of the various characters. Whether its Alex leaping about guns blazing looking like a stereotypical "cool bishounen" as usual or Claus standing by his friends the cast do what they each do best. Action wise the volume is pretty amazing too, with some superb fight scenes including one that is done almost like a ballet dance in a bizarre battle to the death set to classical music. It's the first time hand to hand combat as been explored so much by the series and it carries it off so well and it is so stunningly animated its hard to fault. Two of the leads also meet their deaths in this volume (or at least appear to, im guessing they wont make miraculous recoveries) showing how close the plot is getting to its ultimate conclusion in December.

Can I fault this volume of Last Exile? Well, my attention did wane in some extended dialogue scenes, so I can't give it a 9 or 10, but it still has proved to be a stunning volume and one of the best in the series. Completing putting to death the stagnant volume 4.

Animation wise this is of course a top tier GONZO title so it looks stunning, flashy effects especially where Exile itself is concerned melding "almost" flawlessly with the normal non-CG characters. The video transfer onto the disc was flawless and error free as per all previous volumes in the series. Audio wise, I only listen to the dub track for this particular series but it is a stunning dub and the original Japanese seems to be highly recommended by others too. Delphine's English VA here puts in a wonderfully wicked performance. A new background song (at least I think it is) at one point on the disc was a joy to listen too as well. Extras on the disc are decent without being stunning, perhaps the most interesting thing some plans of the ships from the series. Packaging is rather basic, Dio gets the front cover and the back has the usual layout that's been previously used plus the normal blurb. Inside there is a reverse cover image of some ships sailing the clouds,, the disc has the basic design its had throughout. Bland overall.

Overall Scores

Episode Contents: 8/10
Moving, well told, and action packed with a few minor moments where my attention waned.

Animation: 8/10
It's good, its very good but the CG and character blending can at times feel a bit "off".

Audio: 9/10
Stunning soundtrack and one of the best dubs out there.

Video: 10/10
Flawless transfer, no errors to be seen.

Extras: 5/10
Meh, they are ok. But nothing special.

Packaging: 5/10
Decent but by no means as good as a lot of other titles. The UK standard perhaps.
posted by Mangaminx On Tuesday, October 18, 2005  
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