Escaflowne Vol. #6 (of 8) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2001
What They Say
Hitomi, Allen, and Van finally confront the Zaibach Emperor Dornkirk. Later, however, it’s time for a wedding. Bride-to-be Millerna asks Hitomi for a tarot card reading, and she lies about what the cards hold for Millerna’s wedding. Has Hitomi’s disillusionment with Van given Folken the chance he needs to test the Fate Alteration Engine?
The sixth volume of Escaflowne finally brings face to face the opposing sides in the struggle for Gaea's future with Hitomi and Dornkirk coming face to face and more revelations about Dornkirks past bring new possibilities into the light.
For our primary review, we listened to the Japanese track. Throughout it, the audio was definitely a solid stereo presentation. Dialogue was clean and undistorted and the music continues to be the bright spot. There's a fair amount of directionality across the front soundstage here and it sounded very good.
While there are still a fair number of rainbows throughout, they're not as pronounced as the first volumes. And the rest of the show continues to look fantastic with vibrant colors and solid looking backgrounds and only a few hints of color banding. Some sequences that have no rainbows at all simply look stunning, particularly some of the close-ups. The numerous dark blue sky backgrounds look quite solid and there's no noticeable grain at all. Very nice.
Fans of Allen will appreciate this cover with a nice profile shot of him (and that nose!) taking up the center stage. The reverse side follows the same format of previous releases and includes such good things as episode numbers and titles, listing of the extras and a brief summary with a few pictures. The insert provided talks about the creation of Escaflowne and the history behind it while providing an interestingly drawn picture of the Ispano building it. Some of the text may be spoilerish for some folks.
The themed menus look wonderful. The main menu is similar to the opening of each episode with a tarot card in the middle where you select each episode. Access times were pretty decent throughout, though there are a few slowdowns in returning to the menu and selecting the next episode due to the odd way Bandai puts each episode on its own title.
Club Escaflowne provides a great line up this time with Mayumi Iizuka interviewing Shoji Kawamori and series director Kazuki Akane. For people like myself who've been in awe of Kawamori for ages and ages now, it's like sitting an oasis and taking it all in cause it's all good. Club Escaflowne continues to be one of the best extras, though I admit to missing Seki's bar setups and his mad flirting with the women.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are three fairly important events that occur over the episodes on this disc. The first is the information that becomes revealed to Allen, Hitomi and Van as they meet up with Dornkirk and learn of his plans for uniting Gaea under his rule. Their eventual escape provides some enlightening moments for most of them, with Van now being confident but not reckless, Hitomi being careful about her anxiety and being confident in Van's abilities, and Allen taking notice of the change in Hitomi, especially after her telling him she really likes him a lot in the previous couple of episodes.
The second important event revolves around Millerna's decision to marry Dryden. And marry him right away, upon everyone's return to Astura. When Millerna left with Allen, her father apparently suffered from illness and has left the kingdom in some dire straights. Millerna settles it with a marriage to Dryden that will bring him in to rule the kingdom and restore piece. But as the time gets closer, she becomes more nervous about it, and convinces Hitomi to do a reading, even though Hitomi is nervous about doing readings now that she knows what kind of power she has tapped into. And even though she ends up doing it and tries to do the right thing, things backfire as is expected. This leads up to the third important event...
The third important event is the intent of Dornkirk to fully capture Hitomi as he knows now that she's the key to her fate altering engine. As timing would have it, and caused by Hitomi herself no less, the invasion to capture her begins during the now ill-fated wedding in Asturia. She quickly sees the carnage that will come and panics and tries to stop the wedding, but to no avail. The images of the invading Zaibach army are quite stirring and work well.
Unlike the previous disc, there's more action and more set up for the final arc here as opposed to outright exposition and visual imagery to explain away everything. We get to know Dryden a bit more and get to peek a little further into Millerna's heart to see what she's after. There's some interesting interplay between Allen and Millerna's older sister and some rather touching scenes with Allen visiting his fathers grave as he starts to come to an understanding about everything that happened in his past when he was but a boy.
Escaflowne's fast pace towards the finale works very much in its favor with the tight plotting and little room for fooling around. One episode offers up a period of three weeks passing that in other series would have served for a few episodes worth of various secondary character development and some mindless sidestory. None of that here. Just the good stuff, the way we like it. Very recommended.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Club Escaflowne
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2