Genre: Fantasy / Mecha
Parental Guidance Recommended
1996. Shoji Kawamori (creator). Kazuki Akane (director). Sunrise. TV Tokyo. Bandai Entertainment.
Screenshots above are courtesy of DVD Emporium.
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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!
All the elements of good anime plus great mecha design. >>> by firesenshi (08.18.01)
Hitomi Kanzaki is a regular high school girl well versed in fortune telling and track. Drawn into a pillar of light upon seeing a young boy in armor, Hitomi is transported in to Gaea, a world where the Earth shines as the Illusionary Moon. Meeting the handsome swordsman Allen Schezar, she finds out that the world is teeming with big armor combat suits called Guymelefs, ready to defend their forces at war. The mysterious Van Fanel wonders at the presence of this estranged girl but as a crisis erupts in Gaea, Van, and Hitomi must be involved to solve it...as well as understand their own true feelings.
I love mecha anime. And Escaflowne is one of the reasons why. Combine good character design, astounding specs on the Guymelef mecha design within an intriguing and addicting story of love and magic and breathe. Such is Escaflowne. The stories have depth and what better to serve as backdrop for an engaging battle of mechs than the whole motive behind it. Looking for twisted characters with an understandable background? That's Dilandau and he is already a cult among fans. Frankly, I'm confused at what really stands out with Escaflowne. Is it that there's suspense each time a new development in the plot unfolds? Is it how the element of love amidst chaos was dealt in the story? Or is it how the battle scenes were perfectly rendered, it's just total coolness to see how the character rushes his Guymelef towards the other? Yeshh, whatever it is, Escaflowne is a MUST.
I have to say that it did bother me though that this with particular artwork, there's something amiss about how the noses were drawn in a hook-line pattern. I've never seen this kind of style in any anime or manga. But trust me, that's just one minor setback. ^_^
Individual Rating: Art:8; Story & Plot:10; Characters:9; Sounds: 9
Words do not do justice. >>> by Enishi (12.16.01)
Words do not do justice to describe this incredible anime. Right after the first episode the only thing I could say was, "Whoa..that was awesome..." Escaflowne has the components that make it one of thee best anime. The artwork is amazing and of OAV quality. I got such a feel for the characters since each main character is so different and deep in their own way. The story has so many twists and turns that just when you think things are in the clear, something bad happens and a whole mess of things come into the picture. Each character with his or her own dilemma that they need to solve which all comes together as one in the end. Truly amazing. The tone of the series is sort of melancholy most of the time but is also funny. A lot of things that a hopeless romantic would like. And the action sequences are nothing short of amazing! Action fans will most definitely not be disappointed in that department.
I could definitely go on and on about Escaflowne for hours on end. But let me just leave you with this....if you like action anime, go watch it. If you like romantic anime, go watch it. If you like philosophical anime, go watch it. If you like funny anime, deep anime, and just about any category you can think of.....go watch it. Arigatou!
Individual Rating: Art:10; Story & Plot:9; Characters:10; Sounds:10
I heavily recommend this series. >>> by Kvcary (12.16.01)
Possible very very vague spoilers:
As was said, this is a great anime combining all kinds of genres. I have some personal nitpicks, namely some of the action scenes have the "camera" set a little too close and you can't see exactly what is happening sometimes. (I want to emulate it dammit! Step 1: Engage enemy...Step 3: Enemy owned...show me more of Step 2!) Another thing that keeps it from being perfect in my opinion is the Hitomi/Amano aspect on earth mirroring the Hitomi/Allan aspect. I mean... it was a small crush in high school! How come she keeps thinking about him?!?! YEARGH! Aside from those two personal nitpicks, the overall presentation and the like was flawless. All the protagonists had unique personalities and their own motivations. The main antagonists don't have selfish motives, and are doing what they think is right for humanity. All the characters were personalized extremely well.
As I mentioned before, I had some personal nitpicks with the action sequences, but for the most part they are fluid and the Guymelefs are well-animated. The enemy's special cloaks were a great touch. The story has many plot-twists, but many are hinted at in preceding episodes so you never feel blindsided.
The philosophical aspect might be "out there" for some people, relating to the possibility of controlling fate and seeing destiny. However, it is presented very well, with suppporting arguments for both sides of the issue that emerges at the end. There is also a lot of great insight on war.
There are sad overtones throughout the series (which is a definite plus in my book) but I'm sure an anime lover who doesn't really like those type of storylines will still find the series great...the overall package appeals to all senses.
With some of the coolest characters, a deep storyline, and the gosuness that is the Ispano Escalfowne, I heavily recommend this series. And if you have no money to buy it, at least download the opening theme..(almost) second to none!
( Editor's note: Guymelef are what the mecha in Escaflowne are called.)
Individual Rating: Art:8; Story & Plot:9; Characters:10; Sounds:10