A slight benefit to foresight: knowing the series-ending secret about Dilandau’s true identity actually adds an additional layer of intrigue to these early scenes. How tragic, that Sir Allen would still be haunted by the memories of his lost sister at the exact time he’s dealing with somebody so relevant to the matter? Perhaps the implication is that Hitomi’s premonitions are actually spilling into the minds of those around her?
(Then again, I was able to call this ‘twist’ when I was 13. Anybody with eyes can tell you that Dilandau ain’t a dude).
Broadening the discussion, it’s hard not to see this story drawing some light, larger point about gender roles in heroic fantasy. Much like how Anno’s depression was used as part of the press release for EVANGELION, the behind-the-scenes narrative accompanying ESCAFLOWNE always stressed it as an intentional shonen/shojo hybrid. The first conception of the show was more macho, it was softened a bit when a woman was brought in to oversee the project, and the story was subsequently adapted into two separate manga series that leaned further in either direction.
And I know all that because Sunrise most likely wanted me to know…
Now, contrast this iteration with the movie and the (awful) shonen series, and the first thing you’ll notice is that the two male leads are much prettier here. The reasoning, obviously, is that ‘bishonen’ boys are more attractive to a teenage female audience. That’s obvious.
However, I can’t help but see some added significance in how the love triangle is framed, at first, as Hitomi choosing an older and more erudite gentleman over a brash and boyish warrior. Essentially, she’s having to pick between the male lead of shojo and the male lead of shonen. When you couple that with the first major villain being a violent, gender-confused lunatic, it becomes impossible to deny that the show isn’t intentionally toying with archetypes and expectations.
Look up this episode, "The Gallant Swordsman" 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|