Even when I was 13, I thought the twist of Escaflowne being able to switch into a dragon had a sort-of, “Well, why not?” creative reasoning behind it. When Dilandau’s Guymelefs switch to flight mode, it just seems to make more sense within the parameters of this universe. They’re already running (mostly) on steam, anyway - - it follows that they could redirect that force to go airborne. Escaflowne’s ‘second gear,’ however, feels like a story element that was wedged into the storyline in the interest of substantiating whatever the toy company had separately devised.
Back then, I suppose I just sensed some other force pushing on the plot, even if I didn’t quite comprehend the specifics. It’s a bit like how the Power Rangers… er… Zyurangers have all these ways to combine their mechs, yet there doesn’t seem to be much of a discernible, strategic difference from one to the next.
Such are the quirky and obtuse angles I view ESCAFLOWNE from as I watch it again, for the first time in 14 years. Today, I can’t view it without thinking of the potential business interests that might’ve been bubbling under the surface. So, take me as cautionary example of how reading too many behind-the-scenes blurbs will gradually ruin your basic viewing experience.
Now, let’s get back to the story!
Again, it’s striking how Merle manages to fill a supporting role that is often the most grating in the cast, and somehow make it hit all the marks it’s intended for. She brings levity to the dire moments, makes Van more sympathetic by drawing out his sensitive side, and she dials up the pathos by giving an emotive face to the consequences of all these battlefield tactics. We don’t have time to get to know every citizen of Fanalia, but we feel for their plight after the city’s burning because Merle succinctly represents them all.
Why, the conception of her character is rather brilliant in its apparent simplicity. Maybe I’ll find similar planning behind Escaflowne’s Dragon Mode as I get further into this?
Look up this episode, "The Diabolical Adonis" 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|