The Vision of Escaflowne Mixes Genres Flawlessly


Hitomi Kanzaki is just an ordinary 15-year-old schoolgirl with an interest in tarot cards and fortune telling, but one night, a boy named Van Fanel suddenly appears from the sky along with a vicious dragon. Thanks to a premonition from Hitomi, Van successfully kills the dragon, but a pillar of light appears and envelopes them both. As a result, Hitomi finds herself transported to the world of Gaea, a mysterious land where the Earth hangs in the sky.

In this new land, Hitomi soon discovers that Van is a prince of the Kingdom of Fanelia, which soon falls under attack by the evil empire of Zaibach. In an attempt to fight them off, Van boards his family’s ancient guymelef Escaflowne—a mechanized battle suit—but fails to defeat them, and Fanelia ends up destroyed. Now on the run, Hitomi and Van encounter a handsome Asturian knight named Allen Schezar, whom Hitomi is shocked to find looks exactly like her crush from Earth. With some new allies on their side, Van and Hitomi fight back against the forces of Zaibach as the empire strives to revive an ancient power.

From MAL

Perhaps this is where I admit, before I even start, that I’ve watched Escaflowne the most throughout my life. It’s because as soon as I finish watching it, I feel like watching it again right away. This is also where I admit I haven’t watched in some years now. The very first time I glimpsed it I was maybe 11-12, but I didn’t watch it because it didn’t match my school schedule, so officially I watched it when I was maybe 14-15. I don’t remember anymore because it’s been a decade since I was that age and my memory slips. I rewatched it again at 18-19, and since then I haven’t again.

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Now I must say I of course watched/rewatched Sailor Moon, Saint Seiya, Marmalade Boy, CardCaptor Sakura and Dragonball the most in my life, but that wasn’t because I wanted, it was just what was available in my TV when I got out of classes. Those were also things I watched with pretty bad Portuguese dub, again because there was no alternatives. Mind you I’m not slandering them, I’m quite fond of them but I don’t much like rewatching series, just like I don’t much like rereading books.

So out of my own volition, I watched Escaflowne and completely fell in love enough I watched the movie, tried discovering what else there was (pretty bad mangas, a novel and a PlayStation 1 game, I believe, without translations) because it was a magical experience to me. It’s also because of this show I became a humongous fan of Maaya Sakamoto, who sings the opening and all the songs, and Yoko Kanno, because she does kickass OST’s that’s why.

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Why am I saying all this? Well, I’m biased and really, super biased towards this show. That’s why (>y<)

So I’m going to say why I loved the show, why it grabbed me, and why I wished there’d been a season 2, a continuation, anything to sate my thirst for the show.

The most important thing to me are characters, even in my own (private) fiction, my stories always start with characters first, and a good story will go to the shitter if it doesn’t have good characters to hold it up. And I can say that Escaflowne has very humane characters, they have flaws and make mistakes without being TSTL. Their interactions are pretty organic and grow as they know each other better.

This is one of the things I very much enjoy in Escaflowne: the balance of elements are superb. Action and romance are dwelt just as masterfully as the intrigue and the world unveils before us.

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In my first viewing of Escaflowne I started with a big crush on Allen to then despise the cunt, and when I rewatch I find I dislike him more and love Van even more. Van and Hitomi are dual protagonists, and they’re also the ones that grow, change and mature the most throughout these 26 episodes.

I cried so much when it ended, and the emotional impact of this series is really focused in the ending. Mind you the mysteries leave you hanging until the end to unfold and they’re very well done.

I can’t praise Escaflowne enough for the balanced way which it uses plot and characters, plus all the genres, to make an amazing series that is involving, and stays in the mind of watchers.

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I know it sounds weird I keep coming back to the balance thing, but mind you that one of the things I didn’t like in Evangelion was that the episodes sacrificed plot or characters to move forward, without a compromise. I liked Evangelion, but Escaflowne is my favourite mecha/romance/fantasy/alternate world show.

It may not be a thought piece like Evangelion, that made me more depressed and gave me an existential crisis, or a masterful tale like Shin Sekai Yori that delivers on a story that grips you with mysteries. But what it does do is deliver in all the fronts that it touches upon, and this series is so good and rounded. Not in a mediocre way. It’s rounded as in there’s something of each to keep interest, be their romance lovers, mystery aficionados, or action buffs.

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There’s never a weak episode where I can say “you can skip and won’t lose anything” or “this episode is boring/dragging”, because those don’t happen and that’s a blessing. In a world where a lot of episodes are either enemy of the week, fodder or drag/slow, to have a show that consistently delivers? And it’s a quality story? What more can one hope than that? Because that’s all I want from my anime. I want good, excellent and superb, and I find this show is all those.

Plus there’s some really cool twists that will leave you with your mouth open (^_−)☆

Happy watchings everyone! ~(^з^)-☆

Have you heard about this series before? Have you seen it? If so, I’d love to know what you think of it!

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  1. I loved Escaflowne when it first came out, and while I recognize that it has some short comings, I still love it. I’ve heard people say it’s a bit cliche, and I think there’s merit in that criticism, but I think there’s a way in which it takes a lot of anime stereotypes and executes them very well. It combines love triangles, medieval fantasy, mecha, and some thought provoking ideas about fate and free will, into a solid series with a nice visual aesthetic. I would say my only personal criticism is that the second half felt a little rushed. Granted, I loved those episodes, but I think there was room to insert 1-3 episodes into every arc that followed the Black Escaflowne.

    I really liked how developed many tertiary characters felt. Zongi, for example, was only granted a very small role in the story, but I think there’s room to make some inferences about who he was and why he made the choices he did.
    Like many stories I like, this is not a series about “evil” characters, only characters who began with the best of intentions, and lost sight of how wrong their methods were. Everyone is given a very human reason to make the choices they do.


    1. It’s funny that it’s pegged as cliche and yet there hasn’t been a female led mecha anime involving medieval fantasy since Escaflowne 😹
      The second arc was the one with more action and the revelations, so I understand why they made it faster~
      One of the things I certainly love about Escaflowne is that all the characters feel very their own person, and not just background fodder.
      Yes, even Allen who I hated, felt redeemed after we find out about his sister. And what a revelation it was who his sister was 😹👌👌

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know I watched some of Escaflowne as a child, I just don’t remember much of it now. I think I watched this on English dub, I’m not too sure though. Ah, I’ll add it to my to-watch list just to see if I’ll like it as much as you do. Thanks for reminding me about this series. Keep on watching and blogging. Cheers!


    1. (≧∇≦)/
      You should definitely watch it, I’m sure you’ll like it. The OST is really stellar, and the romance is real cute~!
      I hope you like it (⌒▽⌒)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad to have found you through the carnival, this was a very strong case for Escaflowne. I have to admit I have never seen the show, but now I will add it to my watch list.

    It’s also totally okay to prefer something over Evangelion. Don’t tell anyone, but there are about 100 shows I prefer over Evangelion. But that’s just between us.


    1. Thank you very much! (≧∇≦)/
      I’m very pleased you’re intrigued by it now, I guarantee you’ll at least love the OST! ~(^◇^)/
      I won’t tell anyone, promise (/^▽^)/


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