This series is a pastiche of past anime elements reassembled and reinvented in a gorgeous and original way. The vanships and battleships will remind long-time anime fans of the gunships and air fleets of "Nausicaa." Not to mention a crucial image of golden fields and bright blue sky. The kid with hidden powers is a concept older than "Akira." How many times have we seen a cape-wearing captain? The omnipotent Guild (and series plot) has seen many reincarnations in SF (see "Lord of Light" by Roger Zelasny or "Archangel" by Sharon Shinn, e.g.). Having said all that, I think "Last Exile" is an addictive, engaging piece of work. The character designs, ship designs, CG sequences are simply stunning. A cut above most of the cookie-cutter stuff crowding the anime shelves. No whiny teenage characters. No one is high school uniforms. Thank the animation gods.