About Alex Row

Alex is the legendary captain of the battleship Silvana (Sylvana), and that renegade reputation is enhanced by a "man of few words and even fewer smiles" demeanor. His past is shrouded in mystery and, of course, tragedy. I just love those classic, stoic heroes with a lot of past baggage and a score or two to settle, and Alex's story pushed all my buttons in the best possible way. Although I enjoyed every single character from the series, Alex was definitely one of my favorites.

What draws me to characters like Alex is that they're so complex. Despite an outwardly detatched, uncaring attitude, Alex has a whole story of his own bubbling away just below his surface. There are hints early on that his problem isn't so much that he doesn't feel, but that he feels too much. After all, people who pursue revenge for ten years aren't exactly unemotional. Despite trying to keep people at a distance, he was respected and liked by his crew and inspired varying degrees of love, friendship, and devotion in others. By the middle of the series, the cracks in his icy facade began to show and by the end, he'd found a place among my list of most beloved and fascinating characters from the many books, movies, comics, manga, graphic novels, and TV shows that I've read or watched over the years.

For the sake of simplicity, I use the Geneon and/or Range Murata spellings (from his Spheres character filegraphy books.)


The flagship of Gonzo's 10th Anniversary celebration, Last Exile is an original 26-episode series that aired in Japan in 2003 and was released in the US/Canada by Geneon.

Last Exile tells a classic story of good vs. evil, where the good guys battle a corrupt empire in order to restore the balance of power. The action takes place on an Earth-like world called Prester (Prestale) and is set in the future, although that future looks a lot like a mix of 19th Century opulence, Pre-Industrial Age grittiness, and Art Deco sleekness (i.e, "steampunk.")

The all-powerful Guild, keepers of advanced technology, control the territorial battles that break out between Disith and Anatoray. War is played out as "chivalrous" matches with a time limit — except people die, so it's not chivalrous at all. The battles are waged between air-borne fleets comprised of massive airships filled with troops of musketeers, and messages are delivered by speedy courier vanships, which is what main characters Claus Valca and Lavie Head do for a living.

Or at least that's what they do until they rescue a mysterious little girl named Alvis Hamilton and find themselves onboard the renegade airship Silvana, commanded by the enigmatic Alex Row and his elegant first officer, Sophia Forrester.

As it turns out, Alvis is the key to EXILE, a mysterious entity that Maestro Delphine Eraclea (Elaclaire), leader of the Guild, wishes to control in order to maintain her sovereignty over Disith and Anatoray. In the past, Delphine successfully pitted the people of Anatoray and Disith against each other, but now that conflict threatens to destroy both nations. In order to survive, Disith and Anatoray forge an alliance and initiate plans to force Delphine to surrender -- and possessing Exile is crucial to the success of their plan.

The fleets of Anatoray and Disith team up with the crews of the Silvana and its allied ship the Urbanus, commanded by the coffee-loving Vincent Alzey, to locate and capture EXILE. Also joining this force are two unexpected defectors from the Guild, Lord Dio Eraclea and his bodyguard, Lucciola (Lucciora).

In short, Last Exile is a war story about people from different backgrounds uniting to fight for a common cause, and somehow they nearly all end up on the Silvana or, in the case of Vince and the Urbanus, allied with the Silvana. During the course of the story, the main characters evolve and change as they discover what is truly important to them. They also face challenges and find themselves having to make sacrifices, some small and some large. This is a wonderfully imaginative and exciting series, and if you haven't already checked it out, please consider giving it a try.

LAST EXILE © Gonzo, Geneon