That’s just your all-purpose castle roof, isn’t it?
First, you’ve got Van and Allen advancing their tense rivalry through a sparring session. Then Millerna strolls in and, after Van politely excuses himself, she tugs at Allen’s heart-strings a bit. Finally, Hitomi peeks in to pine wistfully while her crush seems to be falling into the clutches of the snooty rich girl. All within about five minutes. All around the same spot.
It’s all the stuff of high school silliness, for sure… and that’s exactly why it works.
One thing I’ve learned from watching who-knows-how-many shows for this site, episode-by-episode: no matter how complex a fantasy world gets, it’s often the most basic emotional interest that keeps you coming back each week. Even when I’m watching a show that’s crawling up its own butt with mumbo jumbo, I’ll still be intrigued to keep watching if it’s dangling basic relationship conflicts - - will the girl get the guy? Will the estranged father and son mend fences? -- over all the episodes. They’re some of the easiest buttons to push, sure, but they’re honestly the most effective.
Mech suits might sell figurines, but it’s ‘shipping’ like this (relationships of all types) that honestly hook a premise deep into fans’ headspace. Check out any Tumblr feed or artist alley print rack for proof of that. It's been 15 odd years, and I still think ESCAFLOWNE is so impressive for how it's able to satisfy both interests.
Ask people about the show and they’ll say the Guymelefs are cool, certainly; but they also follow it up with a winsome coo about Hitomi’s romantic misadventures. And that's answer to the question posited in the title here. Who cares about the mechs if we don't care about who's piloting them?
Look up this episode, "City of Intrigue" 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|