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Tama-Neko's Tenkuu no Escaflowne Tv Review

Tenkuu no Escaflowne

Tenkuu no Escaflowne tv Review

Was it only a dream? Or an illusion?

Hitomi Kanzaki was a normal high school student who occasionally told fortunes using tarot cards. One day while trying to break her own track record, a pillar of light comes down from the sky, and with it comes a dark-haired boy, and a dragon. Van Fanel was the heir to the throne of Fanelia and was transported to Earth, the Mystic Moon, from Gaea, in order to retrieve the drag energist from a dragon that he needed to become king. Running into Hitomi, their meeting will bring them to a different world...

Gaea, the world of two moons, one of which is Earth. A world that seems like the medieval ages, with both man, beast, and beast-man alike occupying the world.

Van and Hitomi arrive in Fanelia only to have it destroyed shortly after by Zaibach. Forced to flee, Van and Hitomi begin a journey across Gaea to fight Zaibach, the mysterious country who was Fanelia's destroyer.

But the Fate Alteration is approaching...

(Synopsis by: Twinklebyte)

Story & Characters

NOTE: This review is of the TV series only.
You've heard this plotline before: Girl gets sucked to another world where she must undergo many trials and tribulations in order to find a) lots of cute boys b) her way home c) true love d) other. Escaflowne starts off on the same principle.
Hitomi Kanzaki is an aspiring track star, who also has the uncanny ability to tell fortunes, using tarot cards, that come out true more often then not. One day she challenges herself to beat the school's track record - and thus win a kiss from Amano, an upperclassman runner whom Hitomi (and half her friends) have a crush on. As the gun fires and she dashes towards the finish, a strange light appears and a young man in armor and carrying a sword appears. Soon after, a large monstrous dragon also appears, but the warrior lures it away from Hitomi and her friends. However, Hitomi gets a vision of the man's death, and manages to warn him in time to prevent it. After he defeats the dragon, a light appears that draws him home -- and takes Hitomi with him.
When she wakes up, she finds herself in a strange planet called Gaea, a world where both the planet Earth and the moon hang together in the sky. The young warrior is Van Fanel, heir to the kingdom of Fanelia. He fought the dragon to secure its heart, the core of which provides the engine to the legendary Escaflowne, a giant mechanical armor with the ability to transform into a white dragon. With Gaea embroiled in wars between neighboring countries, Escaflowne is key to protecting Gaea.
However, all Hitomi wants to do is find a way back home. Yet her own powers are beginning awaken within her, giving her true visions of the future, an ability for divination, and the desire to change the future with her knowledge to something more peaceful. As the powerful nation of Zaibach begins to ravage the countrysides, nations move towards alliances and rivalries, and Hitomi and Van are swept into war. Hitomi's abilities may help protect herself and her friends, if she can gain the courage to use it -- and to help those around her reconcile with their pasts so that they may all survive to see the future.

Rating: 9

Art

Released in the mid-90's, Escaflowne has fairly typical animation from that time period. Most of the artwork is cel-based, not CG, which sometimes leads to slightly choppy animation, but nothing untoward. Perhaps the most glaringly obvious thing about Escaflowne's art are the BIG NOSES! Everyone has long, pointy noses! And it's really, really strange... but you get used to if after a little while. It's just a strange style at first.
Escaflowne has a rich array of settings, being a fantasy story in a fantasy world. This is presented through a series of lush woods and plains, large fortresses, and dry deserts, each nation having a distinct personality in their geography. Also rich and varied are the mechanical designs. From Escaflowne's mecha transformation into a dragon to the giant Guymelef armors, to Allen's ship and the flying fortresses of Zaibach, each are well imagined and well grounded in Escaflowne's reality.

Rating: 8

Sound

Much of the music for Escaflowne is penned by Yoko Kanno, a well-known and popular anime composer. Escaflowne was one of her earlist works, but already the hallmarks of her style were beginning to show through. With a wide variety of background music, ranging from rich symphonic suites to quiet piano pieces to clashing metal music during the battles, it is a delight to listen to. The opening song, "Yakusoku wa Iranai" is sung by Maaya Sakamoto, and is a light-hearted song that portrays the hope the series portrays. However, mixed in with all this lovely music are a bunch of out-of-place, campy, badly done jpop that I simply cannot stomach. Thankfully these pieces aren't used extensively, but they're rather annoying when they do play.
Japanese vocal performances drew on a mixture of famous voice actors (such as Koyasu for Allen and Seki Tomokazu for Van) and newcomers (this was Maaya Sakamoto's first major role, playing Hitomi) and do a good job of developing and portraying their characters, although Hitomi's voice is a bit rough (still, for a first major role, it's pretty good.) I've only seen a few episodes dubbed (when it was still playing on Fox) but most of the voices seemed pretty good to me, except for Dilandau, who sounded far too petty and childish compared to his representation in the Japanese version as a crazy, yet sinister and deeply plotting, individual.

Rating: 8

Presentation

Escaflowne is a series I watch every other year. I never plan it that way, but somehow it always happens. At 26 episodes, the series is long enough to really develop its cast of characters as well as a long and intricate plot without taking forever to build up to action. There aren't really any 'filler' episodes -- the story is tightly paced from the get-go, and rarely slows down for a breath once it gets going.
Escaflowne is filled with all the typical stuff that makes series popular: a pretty young heroine (who gets surrounded by several cute guys, leading to the requisite love triangles and related angst), lots of action (mechas fighting, as well as nations fighting, for much of the series is based around war), lots of drama (who will Hitomi fall in love with? what is the truth behind Van's past that he doesn't want to reveal?) and intrigue (why exactly does Zaibach want to conquer all other nations? what does the legend of Atlantis have to do with anything?) It has a huge cast of characters, each with their own personalities and quirks, and a wealth of different sceneries and situations to place them in. Despite the chilling tale it tells about war, Escaflowne is a story about the triumph of the human spirit (and love, of course -- can't forget the romance element) and the possibilities of hope. Hitomi constantly struggles with the concept of destiny throughout the series - but the main lesson is that destiny is what one makes of it.
Escaflowne is one of my favorite series of all time, and definately worth a try. (I can't say the same thing about the movie, however. Trying to compress a plot that took 26 episodes to develop into 2 hours was a really bad idea.)

Rating: 10

Final Verdict

9.00 (very good)

Reviewed by Tama-Neko, Jul 26, 2005

Comments

  1. Criox Jul 26, 2005

    Wooo~ Escaflowne! I love this anime. Its rocks! Well no fillers is good. The story is really nice and kinda sad in the end. :nya:

  2. tareren Jul 26, 2005

    Well written review, lotsa details are added as well ^^ though I am a bit confused as to whether this is more of a sci-fi or fantasy (dragon, giant armor,mechas fighting) however, you convinced me to go and rent out this anime the next time I can do so :D thanks for the good review :)

  3. ganstamonica Jul 26, 2005

    o0 it is well written! i love Escaflowne! awesome review,tama-chan! :D

  4. hitsu-chan Jul 20, 2011

    I remember this anime... ^_^ weird one... :)
    thx for ur review

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