The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Vision of Escaflowne

Title: Vision of Escaflowne aka Tenkuu no Escaflowne
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Sunrise
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 2 Apr 1996 – 24 Sep 1996

Synopsis: Kanzaki Hitomi is an ordinary school girl with a knack for fortune telling. When a turn of events causes her to awaken in a mystical world called Gaia, the life she once knew becomes nothing more than a mystical blue moon hovering in the heavens above. Caught in the midst of a nation under siege by the Zaibach empire, she is led on a journey with the young Lord Van in order to bring peace to Gaia. However, as her tarot cards begin to prophesize more than mere love predictions, she may be discovering a hidden power passed down to her by the ancients. As the Zaibach empire quests for the power of Atlantis, the world of Gaia is thrown into turmoil… Hitomi and her companions along with it.

The Highlights
Animation: Eloquent and colorful.
Plot: Powerful from start to finish, and no wasted space!
Story: Balanced well; inviting for otaku of all genres.

I have to admit, I took this anime with a grain of salt. I have a strong bias towards overly hyped anime such as Akira or Spirited Away. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy either of those titles, but I felt they were given far too much credit for what they were. Thankfully, I took the bait on this one and was gratefully surprised. The Vision of Escaflowne went above and beyond my expectations, and it has become a part of what I consider the best of the best.

Escaflowne is a title that brings many talents from every corner of the anime industry. The music is graced by the talents of Kanno Yoko, a name well known even for the most primitive anime fans. The seiyuu cast also provides an outstanding performance. This includes such talents as Sakamato Maaya, who made her debut into the industry voicing Hitomi at the age of 16 in addition to providing the vocals for the opening theme, a masterpiece in and of itself. Nobuteru Yuki, character designer best known for his work on the Escaflowne series, has a unique style which is bold, colorful, and very attentive to detail. These artists’ combined talents give viewers a real treat for the senses.

The story is an incredible action-packed drama, one that fuels the imagination and keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat. Where other titles would stick trips to the market and bath scenes, not a single moment is wasted. Since the show is completely devoid of filler, every episode adds more suspense and anticipation to the flavorful, deepening plot. Action scenes are well choreographed, both human and mecha fights as well. While action is considered the identifying genre of Escaflowne, a delicate balance of drama and romance is also present. There is even comic relief in some episodes, but not in excess and well placed.

One minor setback that does present itself is certain characters. I feel that some are underdeveloped, such as Dilandau. Dilandau is a cynical, repressed psychopath that he plays as a villain makes perfect sense… until a sudden and abrupt plot twist appears that could have been easily left out. Merle is also an undeveloped character, who is obviously placed for comic relief but could have easily been removed from the story as well. Aside from that, I feel that the show has many unique, deep, and beautiful characters that are crucial in the success of the story and how it unravels.

As with the rest of the series, the ending is emotionally powerful and leaves nothing desired. Aside from a few character drawbacks, there’s not much to complain about this title. The Vision of Escaflowne is an anime I highly recommend for the newcomer and veteran alike. Whatever you may look for in a good series, you will surely find it here.

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Godai

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