Escaflowne disc 1

I will admit that I couldn’t resist the idea of Isaac Newton as bad guy. Not that I am supposed to know that yet, on disc 1, but in another sense it is liberating to have seen the Escaflowne movie first because a lot of useless tension is now gone, such as the Mole Man’s intentions, or keeping track of who the all the mysterious bad guys are. I especially like knowing who Folken is, because if I didn’t I would be wasting time trying to understand his role, time better spent on appreciating the story.

And to be honest, this is surprisingly good, as far as the first disc goes, with a hook that’s almost as effective as Twelve Kingdoms. In fact I much prefer Hitomi to Youko now, since this Hitomi isn’t some wierd angsty kook but someone with honest emotion and charmingly formal sensibilities. Hitomi’s proposal to Ayamo was cute and awkward in all the right ways. The transfer to Gaia also was a lot simpler in execution, especially since Van is far more sympathetic as an impulsive and inexperienced youth rather than some wierdly inhuman fighting machine. Merle is the same.

The mechs are also much more likable in the series than the film, with far fewer wierd biomechanical parts and more of a satisfying blend of steampunk and battlemech styles. The mecha seem almost like characters in their own right, treated as such by their samurai – particularly Allen’s Scheherezade. I am reminded of Robotech in that Rick’s and Max’s mechs also were as distinctive and recognizable.

My only beef so far is the weird noses. It’s way worse than in the film. Is Garry Trudeau one of the lead animators or something? And I just don’t understand the hairshine thing either. I was, however, pleased to see Hitomi sporting two antennae.

3 thoughts on “Escaflowne disc 1”

  1. I forgot to mention this in the post about the movie, but _Vision of Escaflowne_ the series was what got me seriously into watching anime. It is still one of my all time favorites, even if it got supplanted by The Twelve Kingdoms and Haibane Renmei. It has the right blend of styles to hit it off with me, and the cliffhangers are murder (especially when you need to go to work early the next morning. Personal experience speaking there).

    I do agree with your assessment Hitomi (from the series) is a much more likeable protagonist than Youko is. It’s only that Youko goes through a much more remarkable transformation and I like Youko at the end of the Twelve Kingdoms more than Hitomi at the end of the Escaflowne series. That’s not to say that Hitomi doesn’t change, though.

    As for Isaac Newton being the bad guy, that is only hinted, but it really doesn’t change the whole of the series.

  2. You’re right about the noses in VoE… it’s the only pet peeve I have with the series. Like Nick, it’s what got me into anime seriously (or, at least, semi-seriously).

    There’s FAR more depth to the characters in the series than the (cough) “movie,” even allowing for the movie’s shorter run time. Hitomi comes across as a normal teen, mature one minute and immature the next. Van isn’t a psycho, just an angry kid… and who can blame him? Allen and Millerna actually have story arcs and personalities, unlike the treatment they got in the film. Even Merle has a depth to her, though you won’t seem much of it until later.

  3. LOL, about the noses. I drew the same comparison with Doonesbury. You could lose an eye with those things. Sad thing is, a few years ago the characters I drew sported such pointy proboscises.

    Makes me want to view the series again. Cheers

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