Anime Vice News

Anime that Doesn't Suck: Escaflowne

Escaflowne gets a +5 to my rolls against my heart

Reviews where we hate stuff are funny-- and there's a lot of generic anime and manga to hate on out there. But we're going to try and aim you towards that next hit of "awesome." So with that in mind, let's talk about an anime that DOESN'T suck


Title: The Vision of Escaflowne
Studio: Sunrise
Licensee: Bandai Entertainment
Year Produced: 1996
Number of Episodes: 26  
Available Online: No 
SRP: $39.99
Online Price: $27.99 (Amazon)

High school student Hitomi is transported from Earth to the magical world of Gaea, where she meets boy prince Van Fanel, and is caught up in his quest to unite the countries of Gaea against the ominous Zaibach empire. On the way, she discovers an hidden ability and strives to unravel layers of mystery surrounding Van, his past, and the giant machine known as Escaflowne.

Opening Animation:



Escaflowne is kinda like a stew. It is, undeniably, a show about people's feelings, particularly that of a high school girl with a lust for romance. However, it is also undeniably fantasy action, with delicious elements of steampunk mecha thrown in. Rather than duke it out, the series alternates events to emphasize how this is the story of a young, normal girl, caught up in the middle of something much larger than her.
Hitomi, our protagonist, is a walking pile of hormonal school girl. Her biggest concerns tend to focus on getting that dreamy eyed track team captain to lock eyes with her... that is, of course, before a mysterious warrior shows up, battling a dragon. After seeing a vision of his death, Hitomi instinctual acts to warn the man, and saves his life. After slaying the dragon, every facet of normal life ends, as Hitomi is whisked away to a world called Gaea, which is basically a moon around earth that we can't see.
The warrior, crowned prince of a small kingdom, promises to help get her home. Though, Hitomi has another vision of his kingdom being utterly destroyed. She doesn't really get to prevent this one, and barely escapes with Prince Van Fanel, and Escaflowne, the prized steampunk mecha of his kingdom.

Things You Might Like:

  • Amazing soundtrack by Yoko Kano 
  • Soundtrack integrated consistently and powerfully into the production.
  • Rich colors and vibrant animation, particularly in the sword fights
  • Strong world building, with developed nations, practices, and faiths
  • Issac Newton plays a prominent role in the series.

Recommend it to Friends Who Liked

Romeo x Juliet
Magic Knight Rayearth
Revolutionary Girl Utena
El Hazard



One of the earliest Anime I ever got into, Escaflowne has not only aged well, but continues to show that a standard plot, with strong direction and amazing soundtrack, can yield amazing results. Plus, given its age, you can get this 26 episode classic for a  song (and, well... a handful of dollars.) The only downside is that the series occasionally goes into "Two awesome boys like me, and I don't know what to do! My life blows." moments. Its only really then that you're aware of what the target demographic is. But, that's okay, since I think I might secretly be a 16 year old girl.

Krison March 30, 2010 at 1:16 p.m.
Agreed!  It sooooo does not suck!  I LOVE this series.  The Bandai Anime Legends box set and the beautiful Limited Edition film box sit proudly on my shelf.  Needs more film pictures.  One snuck in there. 
yuetheguardianon March 30, 2010 at 1:19 p.m.

lets not forget about the wonderful VA job by Maaya Sakamoto which I believe this was her first main role, before taking on haruhi of ouran. I love Maaya sakamoto as a singer and a VA. never have watched the whole anime series, I do need to buy it, but the movie was excellant if anything for how dark it is compared to the tv series.
ThePsychoGameron March 30, 2010 at 1:22 p.m.
I've been watching the ongoing abriged version
crusader8463on March 30, 2010 at 1:57 p.m.
This is one of those classic anime that too few people know, or talk, about. This is right up there with Pokemon, and a couple others, as the reason i got into anime.
Lanon March 30, 2010 at 2:49 p.m.
OMG! Escaflowne is great! I have to admit the ending made me sad. Is the opening not simply the most gorgeous song you've ever heard with killer artwork? It has a large plot that develops well, a strong hero and heroine, a variety of memorable characters, and a wonderful love story. The movie is good too, but I think I prefer the art style of the tv series a little more. I agree this is a series that has aged well and definitely stands out among fantasy anime.
sora_thekey moderator on March 30, 2010 at 3:10 p.m.

Never seen this anime but the name intrigues me... 

It's very similar to the spanish word for terrifying (Escalofriante)

Supermutant2099on March 30, 2010 at 3:11 p.m.
I first saw this before it was on fox kids when it was released on sub only tapes.  I don't remember who but I don't think it was bandai but I am wrong according to wikipedia.  They released under their AnimeVillage label.  Still anime classic and I just started watching it again yesterday.   First time watching it again in a long time.
Sigueon March 30, 2010 at 3:13 p.m.
It was pretty weird rewatching this in its original form. Compared to the version I saw on TV as a child, I felt it had a very different tone overall. Totally worth it though. Along with Gundam Wing, this was one of the shows that pushed me passed Pokemon and Digimon and into more serious anime fandom. Good stuff.
FLStyleon March 30, 2010 at 4:27 p.m.
I have fond memories of the Escaflowne I saw on TV as a kid. I always thought Van's elder brother was extremely cool.
cowdrunkon March 30, 2010 at 5:31 p.m.

This was the first Anime I watched begining to end  and to this day (its been 12+ years) its still one of my favorites.
whenever I see a Bandai logo this is the first thing that comes to mind
Konandaon March 30, 2010 at 6:51 p.m.

I have the film version of Escaflowne. Bought it at Fan Expo 2009.

transgojoboton March 30, 2010 at 9:36 p.m.
Man, I remember back in 1997, when I popped in that fansub VHS (!) of Escaflowne, "Yakusoku wa Iranai" (No Need for Promises) kicked in and... WOW! If it wasn't for the series' ending, it would stand tall as one of my all-time faves. But it still holds a lot of fond personal memories for me as it was my introduction to Maaya Sakamoto and Nobuteru Yuuki; the latter I would become an even greater fan of, after he ditched the "long-noses" on Chrono Cross and the Escaflowne movie.
JELEINENon March 30, 2010 at 9:51 p.m.

If ever there was a TV series that could use a new release with re-mastered video, it's Escaflowne.  I dearly love the series, but Bandai's release is showing a bit of its age.  I believe Japan got a re-mastered release for the tenth anniversary.  It'd be nice to see that coming over here, but given how poorly older titles do over here, I doubt it'll happen.
jlanzeron March 31, 2010 at 12:56 a.m.
things that irked me while watching this really good anime - Hitomi's nose... its Pinocchio'ish
John_Martoneon March 31, 2010 at 11:02 a.m.
@crusader8463:  Hmm, interesting. I would not have figured you for someone who would have "already" seen this. Go you though, I feel I have a better image of what you like now.
@ThePsychoGamer: Yeah, I'm way behind, but the guy who did that was the guy who did the "Berserk Abridged." Big fan of that guys work.
crusader8463on March 31, 2010 at 11:29 a.m.
@John_Martone: Oh hell ya Escaflowne was one of the first anime i truly fell in love with. I remeber watching it every saturday morning on fox kids. I think why i loved it so much was becase it reminded me of the old playstation game Vanguard Bandits, which is to this day one of my all time favorite games. Plus it was around the same time i first discovered Gundam Wing and was on my mecha anime kick .lol
cfatalison March 31, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.
it' was okay as long as you take it as what it is, and don't expect heavy mecha fight
No_name_here staff on April 1, 2010 at 8:38 a.m.
I'll chime in that Escaflowne is one of my favorite long-form series ever. Not just anime. In general.
BionicMonsteron Sept. 30, 2010 at 12:07 a.m.
I'm totally gonna check this out based on that soundtrack clip alone!
I'm a sucker for epic music.
alanmooreon Oct. 6, 2010 at 11:10 p.m.
There are thousands of people who likes to watch it again and again. Even i also love to watch it but my brother don't like to watch it.

Dig Deeper into The Vision of Escaflowne

Hitomi,a young high school girl, is transported away from her everyday life to the "mystic moon". She finds herself caught up in a feudal fantasy world on the brink of all out war.

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