Anime Vice News

What Does ESCAFLOWNE Say About Masculinity in Anime?

Episode #8 - - Watch & Learn. Pagers save lives!

Whoooo boy… a pager saves Hitomi from the snake man? Yep yep yep. This is a product of the 90’s.

(Not like I ever used a pager anyway. Little Tommy P was definitely too young to use one when they were in vogue. Still rather quaint to think about how useless they look now in comparison to texting...)

Not much else has really dated the series, so far, unless you count the art style. There was an interesting infographic floating around recently that broke down how the rendering style of anime/manga has generally evolved over the decades. We might do a whole Vice Pit on the topic some time, but ESCAFLOWNE does pretty much fit the style ascribed to the 90’s - - especially with the pointy noses and harder lines rendered on the faces.

Maybe it fits into some greater evolutionary scheme, plot wise, too. I’d be curious to figure out what the “magic scissor” of the mid-90’s was, and the heroes of this series don’t really fit into my little screed about shonen heroes last week because this was never strictly a shonen.

However, given my earlier observations about how ESCAFLOWNE seems to be intentionally confounding gender roles, it might actually be a subversion of whatever hero tropes were popular in its time. Van and Allen handle their respective hostage situations in distinctly different ways - - the former cruelly slaying all the bad guys while the latter uses much-less destructive subterfuge and a bit of feminine mystique.

The scene where Allen sees Millerna off with a kiss really puts a point on this for me. Allen is pretty much the model love interest in a shojo female fantasy - - a dashing older man who’s smoothly mastered all the social graces of a gentleman - - while Van is basically the brash shonen male fantasy who has no interest in any of that mushy stuff. I don’t know if the show’s necessarily weaving any point in Hitomi’s ultimate preference of one over the other. It might just be a shrewd scheme to offer identification points for different audiences...?

Look up this episode, " The Day the Angel Flew " 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
Marshal Victoryon Nov. 6, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.

Not sure if its intentonal or not.But either way i dont care.What is or is not considered masculin is as subjective as sexy at the least.Tastes are as varied as what is or is not considered one or the other.

As a gernal thing both characters are similar but at the opsite ends of Hitomi tastes.An as she matures her tastes change.That cant be aplied as a genral view on what people see as masculin.Thats gona vary by culture etc etc.

i dig the pics from the charts tho .But thats not so much as a evolution of style just a representation of what became popular.Not all anime of 90s looked like that (k-on chart).An thats mostly on what became popular in the manga.I dont know the illustrators names but i can use a comic anaolgy.Marvel had a certian look for years because of a few key comic illustrators.As those illustrators left the look chaged.What became popular was copied in style then often.

zaldaron Nov. 10, 2013 at 11:33 p.m.

I was always skeptical enough to think it was just the suits trying to make it play to both women and men...but hopeful enough to hope it had some larger purpose I couldn't see...so if you find one I will be happy. Never finished this as I saw the movie first and this is the one show now that I think about it that the animation just made me totally loose interest though the story of the movie I found significantly better to...*shrug*

Dig Deeper into The Vision of Escaflowne

Hitomi,a young high school girl, is transported away from her everyday life to the "mystic moon". She finds herself caught up in a feudal fantasy world on the brink of all out war.

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