Escaflowne Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A-

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Bandai Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1,33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Escaflowne

Escaflowne Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     February 06, 2001
Release Date: February 06, 2001

Escaflowne Vol. #3
© Bandai Entertainment

What They Say
Hitomi is an ordinary girl caught up in a struggle on a fantastic planet! She has already seen more destruction and sadness than she thought possible. Now, a stray feather causes Hitomi to see Van's past with her special abilities. She learns what his life was like, but there is little time for pity, as the Dragon Slayers are after the Escaflowne. Allen is wounded in battle, and a Zaibach spy attacks Hitomi with the power to see into her mind. But the prophecy of death he sees - who is it for? Episodes 9-11.

The Review!
Just shy of the halfway mark, this is where to me Escaflowne really begins to pick up speed and the 'just one more episode please!' mentality starts coming into play. It is good.

For our primary review, we listened to the Japanese language track. Dialogue throughout was solid with not noticeable dropouts or other distortions. There's a decent amount of directionality across the front soundstage with all of the action and various fight sequences that it makes good use of it. The English track from what we checked of it sounded pretty decent as well. The music is where the audio on this disc really shines though. That opening song is just addictive and sounds great.

The video side of things again is going to be one that will depend upon individual tastes. The first two episodes are very rainbow heavy in areas (but certainly not all) and I found it very distracting when you see that then go to a scene with none at all. Other than that, the video throughout all three episodes is pretty solid with good looking colors and only minimal breakup during some of the dark night sky sequences. The third episode is the best of the batch in terms of the rainbows, with very few doing more than an occasional shimmer along some edges. I was much less distracted during this episode and was able to better enjoy the show.

The style continues from previous volumes with the nice looking animation style artwork on the front, this time featuring Allen, Hitomi and the princess with Allen's Guymelef in the background. The back cover gives a brief rundown of the episodes and a few nice animation shots. Extras are laid out plainly as well as episode numbers and titles. The insert is a great piece detailing the history of the Zaibach military that contains spoilers.

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.

The only extra this time around is one of the best extras around. The second installment of Club Escaflowne is on this disc and it's quite good. Though it doesn't rate as high as the first (after all, no Maaya and nobody else is quite like Folken's voice actor), we do get to meet the actors for Dilandu, Allen and Millerna. Van's voice actor continues his role as the perverted bartender asking the ladies about their first kiss and other similar questions, which is all just quite amusing. I love Club Escaflowne!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though there's only three episodes on this disc, there's a ton of real busy content going on here. Things pick up with a variety of visions into Van's past by Hitomi. Through her own eyes, she witnesses the meeting of Van's parents, the King of Fanelia and a Draconian woman who says she was fated to meet him and marry him. We also see the birth of Van as well as some of his more pivotal moments in his youth.

Suffice to say, Hitomi begins to learn a lot more about the Fanel family

Things then go bad to worse for Van, Hitomi and Merle when Dilandu and other Zaibach Guymelef's locate them traveling under the cover of night. Then they get even worse when Allen arrives to help, but only gets himself seriously injured.

Things then shift to the kingdom of Freid, where the young Prince Chid welcomes his aunt Millerna. He's a rather cute youngster whose eagerness to meet Allen isn't quite as subtle as one could hope. Yes, the child looks very much like Allen, and his mother is Millerna's older sister who left Asturia years ago to marry the king of Freid. Of course the possible relationship is pretty much overlooked by everyone for the most part.

Can things get worse? Well, when the group arrived in Freid they had in tow a Guymelef pilot of Zaibach origin. Folken of course cannot let this stand as he could give away potential spoilers for his plans, and sends off an assassin to retrieve him. This introduces a rather interesting and creatively designed race known as Dopplegangers. The main one we get to know is Zongi, a white skinned and green eyed humanoid whose skills are quite capable of eliminating the targets set for him. His method to eliminate the pilot go only a little off course when he learns of the powers Hitomi has for seeing what should not be seen.

The general plot of these episodes is pretty much non stop with little room for reflection, though there are quiet moments. Of course, these quiet moments are punctuated by extremely tense situations where the resolution is really up in the air. The show is very tightly plotted at this point and the somewhat laid back aspect that allowed Hitomi to take in the world around her is cut short as the group continues to run from the Zaibach floating fortress and try to warn people of what's happening.

It's from these episodes forward that the show takes on the faster and faster feeling as more revelations come to light and the story speeds faster towards conflicts and trials. With the series now being released two volumes at the same time, this helps fill that need greatly. Solid stuff, and the Club Escaflowne extra gives every die-hard Escaflowne fan a reason to pick up this disc.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Club Escaflowne

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.


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