Saturday, August 18, 2001

Tenkuu no Escaflowne: Girl in Gaea Movie

Genre: Fantasy / Mecha
Parental Guidance Recommended
2000. Hajime Yadate. Shoji Kawamori (creator). Kazuki Akane (director). Sunrise. Bandai Visual.

Escaflowne DVDs
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Everything Escaflowne

Cover Description:
Hitomi Kanzaki is a typical high school girl, with typical problems, but when a vision of a young man battling a dragon becomes a reality, her life changes forever. Drawn into a strange vortex with the swordsman, Van, Hitomi is thrust into the strange world of Gaea. Van must learn to master the suit of armor, Escaflowne, before he and Hitomi are crushed by the ambitions of the Empire of Zaibach. Van and Hitomi will encounter both allies and enemies in an effort to unlock the secrets within Escaflowne, and Hitomi's heart, stirred by love and adventure, will, at times ache with sorrow. But why was she sent to this world? Her journey has just begun!

(26 episodes)

Watch with Caution: Thou shalt not compare with the series. >>> by firesenshi
Saddened by the world that surrounds her, Hitomi solitarily despairs and wishes to disappear. She hears a voice calling her. Upon heeding its call, she finds herself within an unknown machine. Releasing herself from it, she meets Van Fanel who wonders at how this estranged girl mysteriously got hidden inside what he calls his armor, Escaflowne. There is no time to waste. Falken Fanel and his army are after the control of Escaflowne and the dragon blooded prince Van, who who is assisted by the Abaharaki leader Allen Schezar. It seems that Escaflowne has a secret much more than any dragon blood could know. Can Hitomi help Van to know its secret?

First and foremost, the Escaflowne: Girl in Gaea movie was meant by its creators to be separate from the TV series. Imagine a 26-episode TV series with a fully complex plot and characterization and its own set of mecha design condensed into a 1 1/2 hour movie? Can't be done without alterations. The Escaflowne is all its own. BUT (and that's a big BUT) that is to say that the movie did not work without the premise of the series. That defeats the purpose entirely. Otherwise, they'd just be calling it another thing besides Escaflowne, ne?

That was a long introduction, ne minna-san? But really, I loved the movie. Looking at the visuals, artwork style is different but otherwise outstanding! The scenes were also rendered differently. I actually think that the use of rendering silhouettes to depict scenes amplified the mood and can serve as a metaphor for the personalities of the characters.

But most importantly, the one thing that differed is the characterization. The creators did stress that they wanted to focus on Van and Hitomi's love -- something that was vague in the TV series. I wouldn't expect 'love' as you would define it. Remember, this is anime. Love in anime differs from what the local mush, albeit some anime do share. This one you have to find out for yourself. And that part will make sense! You'll notice how Van's character was added more personality without losing his being mysterious. In an hour and a half, despite the many characters behind Escaflowne, their roles are clearly defined to you. Don't expect number of scenes they did once share. This movie is an hour and a half. However small their appearance may be, the impact of their appearances are marked in the story not in the number of times they appeared. How is that often said, "There are no small parts, only small actors."

One thing, however. How everything was resolved was something that seemed vague to me. But that could have well been part of the tradition that was Escaflowne.

Individual Rating: Art:9; Story & Plot:8; Characters:8; Sounds:10

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