This is an older anime than most of the others featured either on the Otaku Korner radio show in fall 2013 or here at Surviving Freetime. But just because it’s older doesn’t mean it’s not good. The only thing that sets this apart as an older anime is the art style. For the first half of the anime the noses of the characters are very pronounced. To tell you the truth this bugged me a little. But soon you forgot about them and when you realized it again the nose style had been toned down.
Alright enough about the noses, what’s this anime about already!
Escaflowne is a mecha anime in category. This means that there are giant robots amongst the characters. The story follows a girl named Hitomi on her journey from her world to one in the midst of war and her journey to stay alive and get back home.
Hitomi is a high school track athlete, who between classes, homework and practice tells the fortunes of her friends. When her world is swept away in a beam of light it’s her track and fortune-telling skills that help her through the world of Gaea. She is a strong-willed girl who cares for those around her, often putting other people before herself.
I should also mention, that on top of her knack of tell fortunes Hitomi seems to possess some clairvoyant abilities. Her fortunes are spot on. She also uses a technique called dowsing to find lost object and help van in battle.
Van Fanel is the last prince of the Gaea kingdom of Fanelia. He meets Hitomi when he was hunting a dragon on earth. Hitomi literaly ran into him during a night race for her first kiss. At fist he is cold to her during his time on earth, but when she is taken back to Gaea with him he eventually warms up to her.
In Fanelia there is a right of passage to become king. The chosen prince just slay a dragon, take its energist and make a pact with the Guymelef Escaflowne. He makes the pack with Escaflowne in the midst of Fanelia being destroyed by the Zaibach Empire. Together with Escaflowne and Hitomi he plans to stop the war the Zaibach empire has started and avenge his Kingdom.
Allen Schezar is the third and final main character of this anime. Older than both Van and Hitomi, Allen is a knight of the kingdom of Asturia. He is a master swords man and guymelef pilot with a depressing family history. When he was younger his father left the family in search for Atlantis, his sister mysteriously vanished, and his mother dies shortly after her disappearance.Early in the anime, he tells Hitomi that she reminds him a lot of his sister.
Ok, what would you say to someone who tells you that you remind him of his lost sister and just happens to look like you high school crush? It also doesn’t help that this Asturian knight seems to be a bit of a “Playboy.” Even the youngest Asturian Princess has a thing for him.
Those were the good guys. Now how about we meet the men of Zaibach Empire?
Folken is a Strategos for Zaiback. The best way to explain this position is to think technician mixed with science wizard. These guys test Zaibach’s technology to change things like fate and bring about a world free from war. Throughout the anime he is the mouth piece of the Emperor and the restraining leash for the attack dog Dilandau.
If you are looking for blood thirsty, vain leader of a group of elite Guymelef pilots, look no farther than Dilandau. This guy is a real piece of work. He likes causing destruction on a level that will have you questioning his sanity. Dilandau will do anything to capture Escaflowne and its pilot.
There is more I could tell you about this character, but it would reveal a MAJOR plot twist and spoiler. Trust me, you’ll thank me later if I don’t say anything more.
Emperor Dornkirk now this is the leader of the bad guys stirring up trouble throughout Gaea. Just because he’s not out on the battle field with his generals, doesn’t mean that he’s not pulling the strings from back in the capital. Dornkirk is a two hundred year old man who came from earth like Hitomi. He believes that everything, including fate is controlled by a universal law. It’s this belief that leads him to seek for the power of Atlantis and to create machines to alter fate.
For most of the anime Dornkirk is in his capital looking into a machine called a Destiny Prognostication Engine to see the future. However Van, Escaflowne and Hitomi cloud the future he wants to see for Gaea, hence the sending out of Folken and Dilandau.
That’s it for the heavy hitters, but none of these guys would go very far without the colorful character that make up the supporting cast. Again let’s start on the good guy’s side.
Merel this little spit ball is a childhood friends of Van’s. At first she isn’t Hitomi’s biggest fan because of the closeness to Van. However Merel warms up to the earth girl.
Millerna is the youngest princess for the Kingdom of Asturia. Of the three princesses she has the most freedom. She doesn’t want to marry for the throne, but wants to be a doctor. Its her medical skills that come in handy a couple of times throughout the anime. Millerna is also the princess who has a thing for the knight Allen.
Now for the Zaibach sidekicks
Nariya and Eriya these are a set of twins that work for Folken. When they were little they saw their parents killed and then were hunted off the side of a cliff. Folken saved them and promised to give them a future they could be proud of. They followed him ever since.
Jajuka this is the only soldier under Dilandau after his guymelef squad is wiped out by Van. Jajuka looked after the young Dilandau and now that they have been reunited he protects him from himself.
I should mention that there are two characters that are neither on the good guys or bad guys side. They are Prince Chid (pronounced Sheed) of the Duchy of Freid and Dryden a wealthy merchant who is promised to Princess Millerna.
This anime is better for young teens and up and is timeless in my eyes. After doing some research, I learned that there is a movie and manga of this anime. The only thing that doesn’t push my excitement through the roof is that all three stories are different.
The movie is the closest, but Van is more like a caveman than an angry greiving teen, Hitomi is depressing, Dilandau is a Zaibachan expirement with dragon blood and Folken is the master mind behind all the evil. At least this version keeps Merel in the cast, you still get guymelef battles and the setting is similar.
The manga on the other hand has the cast limited to Hitomi, Van, Allen, Folken, Dorkirk and that’s about it. It’s 10 chapters long and the Gaea setting looks more modern than the anime portrays. The one thing I did like about the manga was the development they give to Dornkirk and the connection he has with Hitomi.
All three versions are worth checking out.