After finally getting around to a proper watch of ESCAFLOWNE: THE MOVIE (see that video!), I figured it was high time to revisit the actual show. You loyal lunatics might recall that this was actually the first long-form anime series I ever watched in its entirety, back at that halcyon age of 13, and I haven’t ever gotten to view it again since that fateful summer in ’99.
(Well… I did watch some of the butchered dub that was on Fox Kids, but... that doesn't count. At all.)
Will this show still hold up? Or have I been preciously holding it in amber and looking back on it only through rose-colored glasses? Only way to find out, I reckon…
For my money, the biggest issue this story has to overcome - - in any iteration - - is making Hitomi’s transition from the real world into the fantasy realm play convincingly. Now that I have both the manga and the movie as comparison points, I’d say this version handles her passage about as well as the premise allows for. There always has to be a bit of disbelief suspension as we buy into Hitomi taking all this incomprehensible fantasia in stride because… well… it’d be quite boring (and repetitive) to watch her constantly balling into a terrified fetal position (go ask an EVA fan about that).
However, even if this Hitomi doesn’t seem to be as freaked out by a dragon suddenly appearing on the track as she should be, her scenes still play better than the brusque shake-off and borderline-stoned calm of her counterparts in the manga and movie. We like this Hitomi from the get-go. She’s got that awkward, needy crush, sure, but she’s still a, happy, likable girl, who’s got her own active interests, and she’d rather take action than wait for anybody to rescue her. We’ll follow her wherever she goes, even if we’re not totally convinced of her reactions to the journey's landmarks.
Another thing that comes into sharper relief, today, is that Yoko Kanno’s score goes a looooong way toward hooking your interest from the beginning. I’ll definitely be discussing this in more detail as we get along, but it is abundantly clear from the beginning. Even though there isn’t a ton of plot covered in this pilot, that set-up feels so much more important because the music swells and ebbs at all the key moments. Sadly, this is something that few other shows pay enough attention to...
Look up this episode, "Fateful Confession" and decide for yourself.
About the Author
|Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk|