Last Exile (ラストエグザイル Rasuto Eguzairu ) is a Japanese animated television series created by Gonzo. It featured a production team led by director Koichi Chigira, character designerRange Murata, and production designer Mahiro Maeda. The three had previously worked together in Blue Submarine No. 6, one of the first CG anime series. Last Exile premiered on TV Tokyoon April 7, 2003 and ran for twenty-six episodes until its conclusion on September 29, 2003.
The story is set on the fictional world of Prester, where its inhabitants use aerial vehicles known as vanships as a means of transportation. On this world which is divided in eternal conflict between the nations of Anatoray and Disith, sky couriers Claus Valca and Lavie Head must deliver a girl who holds the key to uniting the two factions. Although Prester itself is not a representation of Earth, it features technology reminiscent of nineteenth-century Europe at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Many of its designs were also inspired by Germany's technological advances during the interwar period.
Last Exile was well received in North America, and the series was licensed for the English language by Geneon Entertainment (then Pioneer Entertainment) in June 2003, two months after the first episode aired in Japan. Funimation Entertainment began licensing the series after Geneon ceased production of its titles. It was also licensed for English releases in the United Kingdom by originally ADV Films until its closure in 2009 and is now licensed by Manga Entertainment, and in Australia by Madman Entertainment. Other published media included two soundtracks, two manga adaptions and artbooks.
The story revolves around fifteen-year-old pilot Claus Valca and navigator Lavie Head, who fly their vanship as sky couriers in the nation of Anatoray. Although they usually take up missions of relatively low difficulty, they are one day asked to complete the mission of a dying courier. The mission, rated seven stars out of ten, is to deliver a young girl named Alvis Hamilton to the mysterious battleship Silvana. Despite their fears, Claus and Lavie deliver Alvis to the battleship but decide to remain aboard to keep her safe.
Claus and Lavie are initially treated as intruders but eventually befriend the crew of the Silvana. They learn that the Guild intends to capture Alvis for reasons unknown to them. In the first battle between the Silvana and Guild forces, Guild member Dio Eraclea takes an interest in Claus's flying skills and his signature move, the Immelmann turn. Wanting to learn more about Claus, Dio willingly allows himself to be captured. He reveals to the Silvana's captain, Alex Row, the existence of one of four Mysteria which act as a key to something known as Exile.
When the Silvana's executive officer, Sophia Forrester, is revealed to be the Emperor's daughter and heir, she returns to Anatoray at the request of the prime minister. Sophia assumes the throne after the Emperor is killed during a surprise attack at the capital by the Disith nation and pleads for an alliance with Disith in order to capture Exile and end the Guild's control.Sophia reveals to Claus that Alvis is linked to the Mysteria, but as preparations for the assault are made, Alvis is captured by the Guild.
Delphine Eraclea, the Maestro of the Guild, reveals that Exile is a colony ship used by those who first settled their world, and she intends to use Alvis and the Mysteria to take control of it.However, Claus and Alvis escape the Guild stronghold and are reunited with Lavie when the alliance fleet attacks. As the fleet follows Exile past the Grand Stream and enters Disith, it is able to destroy Delphine's forces. After Claus and Alvis recite the four Mysteria, Exile reveals itself as a starship that will carry people to a new world free of conflict.