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Escaflowne

Hitomi Kanzaki is in a very depressed mood. She only wants to sleep and fade away. Her misery summons Lord Folken who sends her to Gaea. The people of Gaea think she is the Wing Goddess, who can call upon the legendary Dragon Armor called Escaflowne. On Gaea, King Van, the sole survior of the White Dragon Clan, is also in a depressed state. Swearing an oath to get his revenge on the Black Dragon Clan that obliterated Van's kingdom, he lives by the sword. Now that the Wing Goddess has finally appeared, she posseses Gaea's world fate in her heart. Escaflowne will either lead Gaea to peace or total ruin. (Source: ANN)
User Count4714
Favorites Count37
Start Date24th Jun 2000
Next ReleaseInvalid date
Popularity Rank2122
Rating Rank5364
Age RatingPG
Age Rating GuideTeens 13 or older
Subtypemovie
Statusfinished

Episodes

All Escaflowne released episodes

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Trailer

Reviews

I thought since Escaflowne the series was good this would be too but I was absolutely wrong

Escaflowne: The Movie is to the The Vision of Escaflowne as The Last Airbender is to Avatar. The movie shatters all preconceptions, themes, and atmosphere that made the television series so amazing. Instead of characters with actual depth, the persons presented are annoying, depressed, and have no pull or likability. Not too mention, some of them are shockingly different. Millerna’s personality is butchered as she acts as a bit of female fluff with an intricate costume designed to showcase her skin and contributes nothing more than small talk. Allen, supposed to be a hunky romantic leader, barely finds any screen time, despite being a critical character in the show. The best alteration, debatably, is making Allen’s first mate bolder and more interesting. Merle hasn’t changed and Dilandau is similar, at least. Character designs are not as inviting either: the long noses that grew on me in the show are gone, the faces are more detailed with a plastic sheen that shouts, “artificial.” The plot is straightforward albeit strange. Van is attempting to kill his brother Folken for revenge while Folken is sad and wants to kill everybody using Escaflowne. Apparently there’s some very humdrum philosophy stating that Escaflowne will destroy the world, too. It doesn’t get any better than that and Folken’s obsession with killing people is incoherent from the character he portrays, who is not angry at anybody, except Dilandau in the stereotypical villain-chews-out-second-in-command scene. In that scene, David Bowie, er, Folken, is contradictory, because later we learn he is just distressingly sad. So, the villain doesn’t make any sense. He doesn’t appear to be very angry at anybody, yet he wants to kill everyone. Need a breather from the criticisms? Me to. Here is a brief respite on commendable, or at the worst, neutral, elements of the film. Despite the character designs, the animation is fantastic. The backgrounds are beautiful and brightly shaded, effectively evoking the openness of the original series. The architecture is intricate, with buildings finely detailed in both interior and exterior layouts. The shading is notably darker in the movie, giving it a more somber air. That’s fitting considering the disposition of the primary characters. The music is also fantastic and exactly from the series, which is perfect because Kanno and Mizoguchi’s score is uniquely eerie and energizing. The production on it is even more impactful, with subtle volume changes and fading. This is a good point to note the change in culture as well, because the European style has been replaced with an Asian setting. This is mirrored both in architectural schemes and in the samurai soldiers of the black dragon clan. Though I prefer, unsurprisingly, the anime’s European elements, this change isn’t wholly negative. The black dragon clan samurai look pretty cool, and the costume design, though disloyal to the original characters, is pretty good if overly showy. The designer combined steampunk and medieval, erring on the punk side, generating costumes that match the tone of the animation and boast intricate details. That is it for the positive. The connection with Hitomi and Van is tenuous at best. Their relationship is cringe-worthy love at first sight stuff based on solving all problems by their togetherness. So, why don’t I examine the math here. One depressed, suicidal teen + one emo, vengeful teen = two fulfilled, happy campers. I’ve taken calculus, so I know math, and that doesn’t make any sense!!! When does that kind of a relationship work out like that?? The worst part might just be that the only “unaloneness” is caused by physical closeness because they don’t actually talk about their feelings or motivations or anything important. It’s detestably shallow and fake. Don’t get me started on the Native American beast-people village, obviously a trope meant for healing a character. How Hitomi and Van got there? Completely unanswered. The last we saw Van was bleeding out in a cave and Hitomi was being worthless, which she does the entire movie. She serves no purpose other than being an emotional crutch for Van and stopping Escaflowne from rampaging at the end. She doesn’t really accomplish anything other than that. But, I was on a tangent about the quaint little village. The village is shown for approximately four minutes with three or four scenes where nothing happens. Then, the movie has the audacity to pretend something did happen when they leave. Everyone’s shouting goodbye, and the little kids really want to play with Hitomi again, except this is the first time we’ve seen these kids, so the viewer is left inferring, again. The ending is of the trivial love conquerors all type. Hitomi stops the Escaflowne from rampaging after Van fights Dilandau, and yeah, it looked pretty easy for her to do. At least we had one mech fight scene, though the motions in that scene were very strange and exaggeratedly jerky. What was the reason for the drill bits that pierced into Van’s neck? I don’t remember those from the show or the less-cool cockpits. Then, Hitomi and Van confront Folken, who Jujuku kills. Jujuku also dies but no one cares because we’ve barely seen him. But wait, that’s not how it ends! The lovers return to the quaint village and Hitomi merrily departs for the mystic moon, knowing that she will always “be together” with Van. What??? No, they won’t be together, actually, and how does the math work now? Think about it. Hitomi and Van were only happy because they found each other, but now they are separating, for some reason they are both content? What’s to stop them from being depressed again? Did the experience with Folken change them somehow? If so, you won’t be able to tell. Dilandau also has a happy ending where he rides of with the remaining members of crew to find another war and find happiness slaughtering scores of people. That’s not endearing or comforting at all. Again, I must ask the makers of this movie, why? One more thing, the descendants of the dragon clan can use telekinetic magic with their foreheads that is not present at all in the show and seems extremely out of place. Is it just there for the fight scenes? Why didn’t Van use his Magic in the opening scene when he slaughters all those soldiers? There are way too many questions and far too few answers in Escaflowne: The Movie. It unabashedly butchers the complexity and depth of the original: trashing characters we loved for their base archetypes, altering the culture of Gaea, tarnishing the atmosphere, and providing flimsy plot elements. Poor scene choices and character interactions further haunt this film, ruining the potential for cohesive, logical character development. What is left is an immature love story, depressed characters, and a boring story that I didn’t give a lick about. Whether or not you’ve seen the series, which I recommend, do not bother with this movie!

Ok, this is my first review, so I'll keep it short and sweet. Just as a disclaimer, I am a fan of this movie and the series that inspired it (I say "Inspired" because the Vision of Escaflowne film is a re-imagining rather than a faithful adaptation from the original source material). Most of the glaringly negative reviews I've seen for this film are based around the obscure plot, the feeble characterizations of the bulk of the cast, or just the fact that it seems to be completely unrelated to the original Escaflowne series they know and love. The latter point is definitely the elephant in the room: truthfully, newcomers to the franchise may be less confused coming into this movie than fans of the series- almost everything about the characters (from their appearance to the way they act) has been changed, most likely because there's simply no time in a feature length movie to flesh out such a HUGE cast, and due to that, most characters come across as visually appealing but essentially token plot-developers (or worse, merely decorative reminders of the source material). Now, for more "secondary" characters (like Jajuka, Eriya & Naria, or the Dragon Slayers), this makes total sense, but unfortunately, even major players like Allen, Millerna, Merle and Dryden get pushed to the curb to make room for the leads (Hitomi and Van). Even more unfortunately, the two are quite boring... So, WHY, you may be asking, did I rate this movie as "Great" if all I've done so far is gripe about it? Frankly, to me, it's simple: this movie is GORGEOUS. It's Incredible. Stunning! The combination of fast-paced action, graphic imagery and picturesque shots of Gaea, the clean & polished art-style, all set to the IMPECCABLE music of Yoko Kanno--- I don't know how to describe the emotional impact it has when it all comes together. Yes, the story is somewhat flimsy, and yes, the characters come across as pretty wooden most of the time (particularly the leads), but the fight sequences are STELLAR! One of this movie's saving graces is the dynamic action accompanied by Yoko Kanno's music. It's so richly dramatic- almost like watching an opera- every note is perfectly placed to accompany the strike of each sword (or, at least, that's how it feels). I'm always impressed when a film puts emphasis on harmonizing graphic action with an orchestral soundtrack, and for those like me, this movie is an absolute delight. Thanks to the film's shining star, Dilandau (who was, incidentally, the shining star of the Escaflowne series, as well), we are treated to not only impressive sword fights, but Guymelef battles that fans of the show could have only dreamed of. Even those who were hoping for a High-def remastering of the show in movie form must have felt a shiver up their spine when "Dance of Curse" began to play. I won't give too much away, but the Guymelef fights using Kanno's tracks (such as "Black Escaflowne") are more than worthy of watching the film just to experience how impressive they are. I guess what I'm getting at is this: To fans of the show- I acknowledge that the plot and characters aren't necessarily rock solid, and that this movie likely won't become your ABSOLUTE FAVORITE, but if you can distance it from the original and try to watch it as "it's own entity", the film truly takes on a life of its own, and in that aspect, it really shines. If you want to watch a beautiful movie with dynamic art, deep contrast reminiscent of films like Princess Mononoke, or if you appreciate an awesome (in the true sense) soundtrack likened to Shadow of the Colossus, this movie is a real treat. Thanks for reading, and I hope you give this movie a try. I think it deserves at least that much! :)

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