Type: TV Series
Episode Count: 26
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 24 May 2006
This is one of those shows that reminds me of why I became an anime fan in the first place.
Hitomi Kanzaki, who keeps her trusty Tarot deck with her in case any of her friends want their fortunes read, is also a track star at her high school. The upperclassman she likes is leaving the country, so they meet at the track for a final practice while Hitomi tries to figure out how to tell him how she feels. Suddenly, a young man appears on the track where they are practicing, followed immediately by a dragon. As Hitomi tries to understand the confusion around her, a beam of light appears and transports her to another world along with the mechanical dragon and its rider. She has been brought to Gaea, a world torn apart by battles, where the Earth and Moon dominate the sky.
Ten years after its initial release, I have finally seen what is considered a classic of anime. Watching this series was like discovering anime for the first time all over again. Without hesitation, I can say that Escaflowne is one of the defining series in the fantasy genre, and of anime as a whole.
Escaflowne has so much going for it, it’s hard to describe what makes it so good. You’ve got the instantly likeable Hitomi, intense mecha battles, a well-developed drama and web of character relationships, an engaging storyline, even a catgirl for comic relief – which for a change is plausible in the world of Gaea and not merely a fanservice trick. Add to this a score co-composed by Yoko Kanno (Hajime Mizoguchi is the other half of the writing team), and you’ve got a winner on your hands. It has also aged extremely well. For a show a decade old, it still has much to offer in the anime climate of today.
This is one of those shows that really needs no introduction; there is something here for every kind of anime fan. If you’re like me and have waited and wondered what all the excitement surrounding this series was all about, do yourself a favor and watch Escaflowne. If you’ve been a fan of anime for a while, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to see it. Whether you’re watching for the drama or the battles, or both, it would be hard to find something about this series not to like. No anime fan’s collection is complete without Escaflowne in it (or at least having seen it). Highly recommended.