Naheal Reviews: Vision of Escaflowne

Naheal reviews
Vision of Escaflowne

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Genre: Fantasy, Mecha
Release Date: Original VHS, December 1998; Limited Edition DVD, July 2002; Perfect Collection including the movie (not reviewed), October 2004; "Anime Legends" box set, April 2006.
English release name: Vision of Escaflowne
Reviewed language: Japanese, English subs. Dubs were watched for some episodes

Van, Hitomi, and the Escaflowne itself
Van, Hitomi, and the Escaflowne itself

Mechs and swords seem to not go well together at first glance, but it strangely works within this series. Initially, it appears that you'll following Hitomi, a young junior high student with a talent for divinatin, as she gets thrown in an ancient world of swords, sorcery, and war. Though that's not entirely an incorrect assessment, the girl, Hitomi, actually doesn't play that big of an active role as the story progresses. This is one of the few series where I can honestly say that the story is being told from someone's point of view and not be completely incorrect in that assessment. In all series, you're watching the events through the eyes of an outside observer who has no way of actually interacting with the characters in general. Hitomi takes the place of that outside observer and actually relatively easy to relate to.

From there, the story begins in her normal school day. While practicing to build up her speed as a track star, she runs into, and I do mean "runs into", Van, a young prince from another world who's out to complete a right of passage into adulthood and to become king: dragon slaying. After fighting off and killing the dragon that he was facing, Van and Hitomi are then transported to Gaea, Van's homeworld, where she's thrown in the middle of a brewing war for survival as she attempts to find a way back home.

While cliched, there is one aspect of this setting and story that set it apart from a typical fantasy setting: the Gymelfs. The Gymelfs are essentially treated as a giant super-heavy plate armor that a knight wears into combat and it takes a few moments for it to hit you that you're watching a mecha anime in a fantasy setting. The story is relatively deep and involving, keeping you wanting to know what's happening next or how it'll end.

Despite the note of having mechs, Vision of Escaflowne never loses the feel of being a fantasy setting. Though magic is used, it's only used in the same way that we use tech in the real world. There are no mages and very little that's unexplained or supernatural, beyond Hitomi's divinations.

Though I prefer to hear the Japanese voices over English voices, the translations were well done for the dub. There are some translations that aren't quite carried over, as the Japanese uses archaic honorifics and such, but the English dub doesn't keep up with such formalities. That aside, the transition goes largely unnoticed and a viewer won't notice the transition unless they speak Japanese or have some semblance of the language itself.

The soundtrack tends to lean towards classical music with a slight emphasis on "epic" and opera rather than anything that even feels remotely modern. The music itself doesn't really add much of anything to the scenes; in fact, aside from the combat theme included with this review, I found that there was very little memorable with the soundtrack. Overall, it could likely be used to set the mood for a pen and paper RPG, but, beyond that, it didn't stick out at all.

Bottom line: If you like mechs, you'll enjoy this series. The presentation of how the mechs run and the premise that the mech pilots are more along the lines of knights and elites rather than a-typical soldiers works in well with the series. Fantasy fans will also enjoy this series, while it does have the mecha feel to it, it's still, at it's very core, a fantasy series.

Awesome review.

I don't like the anime in the slightest, nor do I like mechs, but this is superbly written and well laid out.

I smell a future staffer.

Pirate Kitty:
Awesome review.

I don't like the anime in the slightest, nor do I like mechs, but this is superbly written and well laid out.

I smell a future staffer.

There's quite a lot that I need to improve on before I even think of making money doing this.

Oho, I see you got around to watching Escaflowne already. From your review, I take it you liked it?

As for the review, it's pretty well written. And good job on including the battle music in here, 'tis a pretty cool piece of music. Just about the only piece in the whole series that's actually worth listening to outside of the anime itself.

Naheal:

Pirate Kitty:
Awesome review.

I don't like the anime in the slightest, nor do I like mechs, but this is superbly written and well laid out.

I smell a future staffer.

There's quite a lot that I need to improve on before I even think of making money doing this.

Of course. Growing you have to do, yes.

But I see a future in you yet, young padawan.

Steppin Razor:
Oho, I see you got around to watching Escaflowne already. From your review, I take it you liked it?

As for the review, it's pretty well written. And good job on including the battle music in here, 'tis a pretty cool piece of music. Just about the only piece in the whole series that's actually worth listening to outside of the anime itself.

It was enjoyable. Not my favorite by far, but still enjoyable. Nanoha (the third season specifically) still ranks as the highest, seeing as it was essentially cyberpunk with magic.

I loved the idea of Mecha's that ran on blood, for some reason.

Enjoyed watching this on Fox Kids when I was younger. Wished they had'nt edited and censored it though.

Saw it years ago. It was entertaining. The twist with the BBEG was interesting. What bugged me the most was the nose of the main characters..

 

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