Escaflowne Vol. #5 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/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. #5

By Thomas Trevathan     February 16, 2002
Release Date: April 03, 2001



The Review!
Well, the show's consistency unfortunately slams on the brakes for Paradise and Pain, cramming all kinds of different subplots that could make up 5 or 6 episodes into 3 episodes. I heard Escaflowne was originally supposed to be a 39 episode series and these episodes do a good job to back up that statement.

Content Review (spoilers):

In the first episode, Escaflowne is still blacked out after what happened in the previous cliffhanger. Hitomi somehow manages to transport herself into the world Van is in (this is never explained). After searching for him through a huge mass of people, she finds him not looking too happy. Then she is suddenly in what appears to be the Lost City of Atlantis, and she finds Van shaking and looking fearful next to a tree nearby. After Atlantis is set on fire and is withering away, Van flies himself and Hitomi back out into the real world.

Back on Dryden's ship, Hitomi's confused heart is brought into play once again. Millerna seeks advice from Hitomi about choosing between Dryden and Allen, though never mentions their names. Hitomi's not the best person to turn to for advice, and she gets Millerna pretty steamed. Merle drops by and asks who Hitomi loves, Allen or Van! She seems pretty neutral on the subject, but both girls tell her to stay away from their respective men.

Two new characters to Escaflowne; more cat girls. Nadria and Eriya, who serve under Folken's rule. Their mission is to retrieve Escaflowne. And they almost do that too, since all of a sudden Van doesn't want to fight anymore. Merle saves his bacon at the end of the episode and the other two cat girls fly off.

The second episode on the disk was a little more interesting, delving into Allen's father's past. Allen doesn't really think too highly of his father for some reason, mainly because he thinks he just left him and his mother. Turns out during his father's travels he encounters Hitomi's Grandmother and then proceeds to cheat on his wife. The weird thing is Hitomi's Grandmother just keeps appearing and disappearing in an instant. If she can do that, why can't Hitomi? Yeah I know, then there wouldn't be a series. After being slain by Dornkirk's men, he leaves his last requests for Hitomi's Grandmother before she disappears one last time. After this, we see an interesting scene with Hitomi and Allen embracing right in front of Van, then Nadria and Eriya attack Dryden's ship. But not before Dryden manages to see the group directly into the Lost City itself after opening the gate to there somehow.

The third episode on the disk, episode 17, is where things really began to fall apart. In what is easily the worst episode in the series, they introduce several new side stories revolving around Van, Allen, and Hitomi. On paper it was probably a neat idea, but the execution is poor. Kazuki Akane seems to sleep his way through this episode, as the directing is almost atrocious, but then this was probably the hardest episode for him to direct yet, trying to cram in all these stories in 25 minutes. This is also written poorly; the dialogue is uninteresting, and the whole episode moves with a 'this happens, and then this happens' feel to it the whole way through. One minute Van repeatedly screams "I don't want to fight anymore!" in his world with Balgus and the next minute he is battling Nadria and Eriya who managed to get inside Atlantis like he suddenly wants to fight again. Allen's scenes with his father were kind of interesting admittedly and the secret unveiling of Hitomi's true powers was a heck of a revelation. Still, the spirit of Van's mother appearing for a second, then disappearing right at the end of the episode truly left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, they got in all they had to with these episodes and the plot moves forward again on the next installment.

Video:

I can't really comment on anything wrong with the video again. Bandai's doing a nice job with their transfers on this series and I hope they keep it up until the end. This show easily has some of the best animation of any animated TV series around and it shines through beautifully with this transfer.

Audio:
Once again, Japanese track is stellar, English track is OK. Dilandau and his henchmen's absence helped the dub track out here and I was better able to enjoy the dub track this time around. Van's voice continues to be excellent and Hitomi's voice is beginning to grow on me, though obviously she can't compare to Maaya Sakamoto's voice, who sounds a lot cuter. Bandai continues to use Dolby Digital for the sound and the music, voices and sound effects come through crystal-clear.

Packaging:
Better this time around, with the characters looking pretty accurate this time, though Merle looks a little off. The Escaflowne in the space background looks a little cool too. One thing I noticed is the keepcase is a little different this time around, having a more cardboard-like feel to it. It's also a tad harder to remove the CD from its case, though its nothing to complain about. I found the "Escaflowne History" very interesting this time around, as it talked about the Legendary Swordsmen of Gaia.

Menus:
Same as last time. Still cool, still good-lookin'.

Extras:
Now that I've seen all of Escaflowne, I've watched all of the Club Escaflowne extras. I admit that the interviews with Kazuki Akane and Shoji Kawamori were more interesting interviews than the ones here, with Kimitoshi Yamane, Hiroshi Ousaka, and Hirotoshi Sano, though they're more interesting on this disk than the last disk, talking about how they feel about the series in general and it's more in-depth about the technical aspects of the animation this time than last time too. I agree with Chris though, nothing beats Tomokazu Seki's bar interviews with the VA's, which were a lot more entertaining to watch than these.

As for the trailers, well those are always good in my opinion.

So even though Escaflowne takes a step back here, it starts to recover on the next disk. If nothing else, your collection won't be complete and you'll miss out on a couple of things without this disk.



Review Equipment
Panasonic 19" TV, Apex AD-703 DVD Player

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