If anybody gets around to reviving this brand (if only just to sell a new collection), they’d probably get a lot of mileage out of presenting ESCAFLOWNE as ‘the steampunk mecha.’ I find it pretty amusing how the genre, as its labeled, has actually been around since the 80’s, yet so few of the current crop of fans seem to have much interest in seeking out older entries in the canon.
I mean, look at this - - it’s steampunk.
I guess the same sentiment applies to ESCALFLOWNE, on its own, as being a criminally overlooked gem. Were I to hazard a guess, I’d say it’s perhaps just a victim of getting straddled with an atrocious dub during the brief window of opportunity it had to grab American TV audiences in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. There’s no reason why, say, OUTLAW STAR should hold more enduring awareness for American fans today - - other than the fact that it simply got to air on Toonami during its prime.
Now, what about the episode itself? Again, I’ll praise the virtues of show not wasting any time in getting to throat-grabbing conflict. No sooner has Van returned to his home, and accepted his coronation, than we see him become a king without a crown in a realm razed by horrific enemy forces. There’s no question of why I need to come back next episode - - I have a physical compulsion to see what will happen to our heroes next.
Also, I figure there’s got to be a subtle science to the way Merle’s been crafted as a character. On paper, the prospect of a lovesick cat girl incessantly who dotes on our hot-blooded prince sounds like something that'd get real irritating, real fast. However, in practice, some combination of voice acting and body language makes her immediately likable, almost in spite of herself.
I suppose the lack of eye-roll inducing T&A (as we expect with every other cat girl) might have also have a lot to do with why her presence isn’t annoying.
Look up this episode, "The Girl from the Mystic Moon" and decide for yourself, then read my thoughts on the previous episode here.
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|