A classic tale of adventure, true love, and REVENGE!
Strategos | In Space above Planet Earth | 06/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When it comes to the great classics of anime history, there are a few that stand out. Anime like Gundam and Macross, the genre known as Mecha. These shows are known for their drama, romance, intrigue, beautiful animation, classic musical scores, and giant humanoid robots who's pilots fight heroically against a seemingly unstoppable force of evil. Shoji Kawamori's classic Macross is really required viewing for anyone who enjoys Mecha sagas, delivering all the required elements in huge way. Shoji Kawamori is a genius, whose incredible robot designs have been used in many anime classics. Why do I mention this? Because in addition to Macross he created Escaflowne...
What is Escaflowne? It is quite frankly, the greatest television show I have ever seen in my life. It is the classic story of the hero with a thousand faces told from the perspective of the goddess/protector. It is a science-fiction fantasy epic set in a world that's a cross between Medieval Europe and the Asian/Middle Eastern regions. It is a story of an ordinary girl named Hitomi who travels to another world and finds herself its possible savior, her destiny intertwined with its heros. It is the story of small warring kingdoms that must unite in order to stop an evil Empire seemingly bent on nothing less than world conquest and destruction. It is the tale of a bold and chivalrous knight, a young king bent on revenge for the destruction of his kingdom, a cute cat-girl, princesses, merchants, villains with noble causes and villains who are monsters. And of course, the giant stone Mecha that could save the world...or perhaps destroy it...
If there exists such a thing in this universe as a perfectly balanced show, THIS is it. There is character development (like the perfect knight who has a hidden past, or the long-lost brother who works for the enemy but desperately wants to save his brother), an incredible plot (the lost people of Atlantis, an engine which can alter fate, and an evil emperor whos ultimate goal is to create a world-wide utopia of perfect happiness), super-cool technology (like the coolest Mecha I have ever seen ANYWHERE, the Guymelefs), heart-warming (or is it heart-wrenching?) romance (complete with love triangles that will keep you guessing), action sequences to die for (giant stone mechs fighting with broadswords!!! Invisible giant robots with liquid-metal tentacle weapons! Dragons!!!), and characters that are very deep indeed (Hitomi goes through an enormous transformation emotionally through the course of the story).
Although many people prefer Japanese to English in their anime, this show features one of the finest dubs in any anime you will ever watch, with great performances all-around. The standout though, is probably the voice of Folken [played to perfection by Paul Dobson] (the way he said some of the lines left me awestruck, and one scene had me ready to cry). The animation and art is also quite glorious, featuring a gorgeous watercolor style slightly reminiscent of Gundam Wing, but with better use of color and FAR more complex and beautiful backgrounds. I must say that the soundtrack of Escaflowne is one of the finest soundtracks to anything ever crafted. I currently have 3 CDs of the music (and I plan to buy the others one day), and I listen to it A LOT. Yoko Kanno's score for this anime could best be likened to some of John William's best (as it has hints of John Williams' influence through the use of horns to denote action and strings to show emotion, as well as choral chants for key moments). Take the piece "Dance of Curse" for instance. It reminds one a lot of "Duel of the Fates", but it came out first, and personally I think it's better. Played only twice during the entire show, it's one of the most thrilling pieces of music ever crafted. And I havne't even mentioned the awesome opening song or the INCREDIBLE theme that ends the last episode. In the end, Escaflowne completely transcends its genre to become a true classic. It's directed as well (or better) than the best movies of Hollywood history (using dramatic angles and the like), and doubtless fans will be eager to return to its world again and again. One of the few negative points I can think of for this series are that the main character and the cat-girl Merle can be a little annoying at times (especially toward the beginning of the series). But by the end of the series, I don't think there was a single character that I didn't love. I also really hate the song that plays at the end of every episode "mystic eyes". It doesn't go with the whole theme of the series, and after a few listens it really started to grate on my ears.
Believe it or not, for all its glorious ideas and execution, this show also has NO FILLER! Originally, it was to be a 36 episode show like Macross. So when it was cut down to 26 episodes, the filler had to go or there would be no time for the huge story that's told. And ultimately, it's the story that matters most. As I watched this show for the first time I found myself addicted to its world, in love with its characters, awestruck with it's beauty, and enraptured with its music. The ideas though, were what made me decide this is the greatest TV show I have ever seen. In this show you will see fate altered, armies nuked, people who are half animal, creatures that can shape-shift, and even an incredible sequence where Hitomi travels into the mind of a character to stop his journey into death and bring him back to the mortal realm. When I had finished Escaflowne my mind was full of questions. What if people and events were attracted to each other and fate was something you could measure and manipulate? Does the pursuit of a perfect world justify any means? And what of the Escaflowne Guymelef? Why was it built? Just how powerful could it ultimately become? To this day I am fascinated by the transformation that Van goes through, and I keep asking myself if the Escalfowne itself was a living thing capable of turning its master to evil. Maybe someday I'll know. Until then I'll have to satisfy myself with...Escaflowne.
Blue searchlights meet beyond the Moon
iansomniak | USA, Planet Earth | 04/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yours at a tremendous bargain price tag, all 26 episodes of the excellent Vision of Escaflowne saga in English and Japanese on 8 single-sided DVDs! The discs are packaged in two 4-disc keepcases held together by a cardboard slipcover. Special features include music videos, Playstation game footage, and a six part series of interviews with some of the voice actors and creators of the show entitled "Club Escaflowne." This set does NOT include 'Escaflowne The Movie' or the soundtrack CD. Escaflowne is without a doubt one of the BEST anime epics ever produced, so don't miss out on this incredible deal! Your destiny awaits."
Definetly buy this
C. Solorio | california | 07/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was one of those unfortunate enough to catch Escaflowne on fox kids. Truth is that I was hooked. It was one of the first anime I ever saw before I even knew what anime was. I didnt get to see the whole series on fox but I always wanted to see the whole thing and I finally got my chance. This series is truly a gem among anime. It's got a heartfelt story with some action thrown into the mix as well as a bit of comic relief thanks to Merle. True that the characters look a bit funny but that's only at the beginning after a while you completely forget about it and fall completely in love with them flaws and all. It really has nothing in common with the movie other than that the characters are the same so if you didnt like the movie give the series a chance. It has a more fully developed story and really fleshes out the characters better. I enjoy watching dubs so I watched it both in it's original and dubbed. The japanese is great and cant be compared with the subbed but if you are to lazy to read than the dubbed version is fine as well. Plus you get all of the episodes for such a great price. How can you beat that? If you're in the mood for a great story definetly buy this."
Bworm7 | Mississippi | 07/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Escaflowne was probably the first anime show I ever watched! I was instantly hooked and just had to buy it now even though it's been several years since I saw the show.
It's about a 15-year-old girl named Hitomi who gets transported to a mystical world called Gaea. There she teams up with a king, a knight, a princess and others to save their world. It's hard enough being a teenager on earth, but being a teenager trapped on another world, well, you can tell that she'll have difficulties. Not to mention love interests. The fight scenes are good, and I love all of the creative characters such as Merle the cat-girl! Buy it and you won't regret it! It's a great show!"