Noob Reviews: Last Hope (Part 01)
Please be advised that during the review, I have tried to avoid a lot of spoilers. However, there may still be a few included helping explain specific points.
What is Last Hope?
Set in the distant future, Neo Xianglong is but one of a handful of hubs left on Earth that houses and defends the remnants of mankind from the B.R.A.I. that hunt beyond their walls. An ever-evolving and powerful entity that combines wildlife of all shapes and sizes. And artificial intelligence. To create fantastical beasts that can tear through mechanised suits with paw and claw. Conceal themself entirely from view by forming a cloak that bends the very light around them. Or raise their core temperature so high it boils the very water around them and fries electrical systems.
The B.R.A.I. is barely being held at bay and the more the B.R.A.I. evolves - the more humanity struggles to keep the B.R.A.I.’s creations from their door. It is within this escalating conflict between man and organic/machine hybrids that we follow a brave elite unit - known as Pandora team. As they fight to defend Neo Xianglong and put an end to the B.R.A.I. for good.
What type of anime-style is Last Hope?
Last Hope is an official anime, being an animated production released by a Japanese producer, and combines a mix of hand-drawn and CGI anime techniques. CGI, which stands for computer-generated imagery, has seen a significant boom within Netflix original anime productions over the last few years. And has been given mixed reception with some fans loving it and others disliking it compared to original techniques.
How many parts are there?
There are currently only two parts to Last Hope available on Netflix, consisting of a total of twenty-six episodes. However, the manga version of Last Hope is still releasing new adventures to date. So there is a high possibility that additional parts could be released in the future.
What is the first part about?
Part one of Last Hope focuses around the adventures of Leon Lau, a disgraced scientist banished from Neo Xianglong after supposedly being the cause of a catastrophic event that saw the B.R.A.I. released into the world and much of Neo Xianglong destroyed many years ago. However, instead of accepting his fate, Leon decides to work tirelessly to perfect a very unique hyperdrive system that can be installed in special mechanised combat suits (known as M.O.E.V.s). Granting said suits an immense boost in functionality, effectiveness and lethality against the B.R.A.I.
After testing his latest creation successfully against a B.R.A.I. approaching Neo Xianglong, he is drafted back into the military as a scientific advisor who along with several mercenary pilots begin to form the core of the Pandora team.
Unfortunately for Neo Xianglong and Pandora team, the B.R.A.I. may not be their biggest threat as they soon uncover a plot by a mysterious figure known as Mr Gold - who wishes to see Neo Xianglong destroyed. And will go to any lengths to see his vision brought to life, including, the creation of advanced B.R.A.I. that can be controlled by his forces and used as weapons of mass destruction.
But fear not, there are also many different smaller stories to get your teeth into too, such as:
The introduction and backstories of the other Pandora team members.
Pandora team having to track down an elite sniper turned serial killer who is eliminating their targets within the walls of Neo Xianglong itself.
Queenie Yoh (one of Pandora team) taking on a gentleman called Wang who killed her martial arts tutor and slayed their fellow students.
An initial look into Mr Gold’s operations and his team, preparing us for the events to come in the second part of the Last Hope series.
As you may be able to tell a lot is going on, with all of the primary and subplots intertwining in a great web of conflict, deceit and ambition.
Do you have a trailer or trailers to show us?
Unfortunately, there is no official trailer on YouTube from either the production studio or Netflix to display. However, you can see the trailer (even if not a subscriber) on the anime’s Netflix entry here.
When was Last Hope released?
Last Hope’s first part was released in 2018 between April and June. And the second part followed very closely, being released between July and September of the same year.
How many episodes are there?
Both part one and two have thirteen episodes in them, with each episode having a run time of twenty-four minutes.
Who are some of the actors and actresses that we might know?
For a full cast listing, please see the official IMDB page here.
What did you think of the first part of Last Hope?
Having loved older series like Gundam, Neon Genesis Evangelion and many others. The trailer for Last Hope on Netflix really had me curious as to what the series was about and how it would compare to similar animes that have been out in years gone. And I must say it did not fail to deliver on some aspects but was a bit of a disappointment in others.
To begin with, the way the anime balances the various anime styles it uses is done really well for the most part, with beautifully rendered scenery, characters and enemies. However, at times some of the larger B.R.A.I. can appear very disproportionate. And not as visually appealing as some of the other designs in the series.
When it comes to the story, there is just enough to make Last Hope stand out as unique, but you can really feel the vibes for other very similar animes, some of which are also Netflix originals. Which is a shame as at times you can predict storylines, plot twists and events to come before they unfold. At times the pacing for the episodes will also dip and become inconsistent. For example, some can set and keep to a fantastic and action-packed pace. Suddenly the breaks will slam on for a few scenes though, and everything turns into a much slower-paced political drama.
Personally, when it comes to animes too, I find some of the over the top reactions and dark, brooding character types. To be significantly overplayed and dull and Last Hope does have its fair share of what I would describe as ‘generic’ character types. Often put in as fillers that just take up space as opposed to adding meaningful dialogue or content. This often results in a lack of emotion in the delivery of the script, forgettable lines and dull, repetitive scenes that feel very samey where characters (like the Captain for example). Only seem to have one reaction or attitude to every conversation. On the flip side though, I did find Queenie, Leon, Chloe and Cain to be quite enjoyable characters to watch.
Overall, despite its flaws, Last Hope is still an entertaining watch and with only thirteen episodes in each part. And short run times of twenty-four minutes each episode. It is easy to binge-watch through in an evening or two. It may not be the best anime out there, but it is also definitely not the worst and is something I can recommend.
When it comes to the second part of Last Hope, my only wish is that it finds a consistent pace like it did towards the end of the first part, and keeps the story, pacing, and meaningful character arcs on track. Should this happen, I can really see Last Hope part two becoming a four banana or higher rating.
What rating would you give Last Hope (Parts 01)?
I would rate Last Hope (Part 01) as a respectable 3.6 out of 5 bananas.
With just enough to make it stand out from the crowd of similar animes, Last Hope is let down by irregular pacing, dull characters and a story that could have been structured better. However, it does have a beautiful animation style, fantastic fight scenes and the B.R.A.I. are fascinating. Hopefully for the second part now it has begun to find itself and really pick up towards the end, Last Hope will continue to go from strength to strength and increase its review rating second time around.
Thank you very much for checking out the review. If you are interested in the Last Hope anime series and would like to check it out for yourself, to form your own opinion. You can check part 01 out on Netflix here.