FULL ADMISSION: I was first introduced to ESCAFLOWNE through the pages of a WIZARD magazine special. I forget what the exact title of it was, but it came out around ’98 and it included a list of “10 Anime You Need to Watch” (presumably after getting drawn into the field by DBZ and POKEMON). Other recommendations included RECORD OF LODOSS WAR and MACROSS PLUS, and the general pitch tactic was to use familiars from Western entertainment as bridge points. Spielberg’s reported love of CASTLE OF CAGLIOSTRO as his “favorite action movie of all time” was brought up for its entry, for example.
ESCAFLOWNE was presented as “the best STAR WARS story you’ve never seen,” and it proved to be an effective hook, because this was the series I sought out before anything else. The broad stroke parallels are certainly there. You’ve got an evil empire, you’ve got your heroes on the run following that evil empire’s eradication of their homeland and - - pertaining most to this episode - - you’ve got a central love triangle that puts a girl between a callow boy with a big destiny and a dashing older man.
Hitomi has nothing in common with Leia except gender, of course, and Allen isn’t much of a scoundrel, so I’d say he’s got less in common with Han Solo; but Van might as described as the hot-blooded Luke Skywalker. While Escaflowne itself isn’t ascribed with too overt of a lineage, it still serves the same Excalibur-like role in this Hero’s Journey as the lightsaber Luke inherits. And you don’t need to stretch your imagination that far to see how his relationship with the fallen Folken echoes the Vader father/son drama (though Folken is a far more… fashionable Sith Lord in this discussion).
Again, as I view this all after so long, these parallels come into sharper focus. I never really bought into the Campbell quest at the age I was at when I reading that mag, but it’s hard to deny now that these reliable, fundamental archetypes tend to resonate for a reason.
Look up this episode, "Seal of Brothers" 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|