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VISION OF ESCAFLOWNE #1 - - Watch & Learn

Does this underrated classic still hold up?

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 - - - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
Marshal Victoryon Sept. 25, 2013 at 9:40 p.m.

I own this on DVD because of Tom's recomendation. has it .

Rightstuff is sold out looks like.One of the best sword mech anime you could watch .

zaldaron Sept. 26, 2013 at 10:10 a.m.

I am firmly on the eva side of the argument between these two as eva dealt with bigger issues and was more than just a simple action/romance show. I am also much more of a movie liker than a show liker. This is one of the few instances when animation made a huge difference for me. I saw the movie first and the extra money spent on the animation and the music was incredibly obvious and made watching the show afterward painful. The plot of the movie also dealt with bigger issues which helped as well.

On the music...oh yes this is absolutely incredible. I don't buy CD's themselves often any more (though probably more than most people now aday's) but anything I can get my hands on that she wrote (that I can afford) I buy. Even shows I don't like, if she did the music I look at the CD's for. Next to the people who did the music for HR Kanno is the best one in the industry.

zaldaron Sept. 27, 2013 at 8:22 p.m.

@Marshal Victory: hmm I don't own the actual soundtrack for that show but ghost in the shell and other ones yokko kanno did that were released in America. I will have to check that link out thanks!

Marshal Victoryon Sept. 27, 2013 at 8:49 p.m.

@zaldar: highly i mean highly recomend tho its bluesy jazzy .Also while im on a link music kick atm

they are giving away their 1st album to. very movie drama steam punk clasicalish.Would fit with many a anime acutaly.

RealJpoeon Nov. 14, 2013 at 1:52 p.m.

To this day I probably wouldn't of watched Escaflowne if my friend didn't leave his dvd box set at my house after a viewing party. Even though I am a fan of differing animation & art styles, the noses and the dragon from this episode didn't mesh well with my sensibilities at the time. I kept with it & in the end really enjoyed it even though it wasn't one of my favorites. This show was also one of the reasons I started my "do not drop anything" rule, which has gotten me into some trouble.

Dig Deeper into The Vision of Escaflowne

The Vision of Escaflowne is an anime created by Shoji Kawamori. Following the adventures of Hitomi and Van as they unite the countries, Gaea against the tyranny that is the ominous Zaibach empire.

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