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  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Japanese: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • 8 Theatrical trailer
  • Photo gallery - 24 model sheets
  • Animated menus
  • 3 Music video
  • Short film - Creditless opening
  • Jacket picture

The Vision of Escaflowne V1 - Dragons and Destiny

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 93 mins . M15+ . PAL


Well, this one is fairly run of the mill stuff. I wasn’t blown away, or indeed much impressed here. In fact, I had to watch it in increments, as I just couldn’t stomach the whole thing in one hit.

Still, I’m but one animation fan. What would I know?

As far as my newfound liking for animé goes, this was actually a half step back and reminded me of why I disliked animé to begin with. It is clumsy, overly English oriented in titles and actions, and the animation is of the el cheapo sweatshop variety. Plus, the story is just way too far-fetched and eclectic, cobbling together a bunch of differing ideas and sticking them together with tape and hoping it flies. It does not.

With the DVD comprising the first four episodes, this series deals with a young girl (in a sailor suit, of course) who is training for a running race. She sees visions and suddenly winds up on a world where Earth and the moon hang in the sky all day long. It must be invisible or something, but no one mentioned that.

The series is so convoluted with differing political agendas and wars, battles and dragons and swordplay between gigantic mecha-droids (surprise surprise), it’s kinda like if you took every animé cliché and threw them into a blender, this is what you’d get (sick).

Our four episodes here all have those extreme English titles I mentioned and are played out thus:

  • Episode One: Fateful Confession
    Hitomi is training for the 100 metres when she sees a vision of a young warrior that no one else sees. During her next race it happens again, bringing the boy warrior, Van, into our world where he fights a ‘land dragon’ that also came in. However, soon they return to Gaea, and Hitomi with them.
  • Episode Two: The Girl From the Mystic Moon
    Hitomi begins to learn of the strange world of Gaea as Van is pronounced King of Fanelia. However, invisible monsters attack, killing Van’s Guymelef division and he is left alone to master the mythic suit of armour, Escaflowne. After a heavy battle in Escaflowne, Van and Hitomi flee with the suit.
  • Episode Three: The Gallant Swordsman
    Van and Hitomi arrive elsewhere in the Zaibach Empire and meet Allan Schezar, a swordsman and knight. They soon learn that Fanelia lies in ruins while King Dilandau is discovered to have sent the Guymelefs (the invisible monsters) that destroyed Fanelia. Now Van and Allan must unite against him as Zaibach itself becomes threatened.
  • Episode Four: The Diabolical Adonis
    King Dilandau launches a full attack on Zaibach to try and attain the armour of Escaflowne. However, Allan, Van and Hitomi flee to the capital of Asturia, but not before Van changes Escaflowne into a metallic dragon to lure the evil king away.

    Told you. There’s even more throughout, like cat-people and a love conflict and stuff, but I’ll leave you with some surprises.


Naturally animation and, in particular, modern animation, is a different video image to a film, say. Here it looks as good as animation can look, although there are cel artefacts around about. The show definitely looks hand painted to me, though no doubt someone will write me to say otherwise. There’s also no doubt this was made quite cheaply for TV as the ratio is 4:3 and the animation stops on still frames to stretch the time out, making more footage for less. There is some digital stuff thrown in, but this is limited and not common. Colours and such are fine and as I said, this looks quite good, though we do have a lot of that washed-out background palette we see in a majority of these things.


Dolby Digital stereo brings us the goods and here it sounds fine and delivers the show perfectly. Dialogue is all readily understood and the sound effects are synched nicely. The music in here was my highlight of the audio though, with some nice choral stuff and orchestral pieces. Also, the occasional cello solo really impressed me, although it hardly ingratiated me more to the show. Definitely a satisfactory soundscape though with no major hassles.


A couple of wishy washy extras that may sweeten the deal for fans, but don’t really deliver us that much more I’m afraid. The first is in the creditless opening which is, of course, the opening titles without titles.

Music videos are three songs from the show with animation compilations attached. No doubt created for advertising or as an extra marketable item of merchandise, these clips do contain spoilers. Friend, Blue Eyes and Into the Light run back to back for 11:32.

Production sketches are actually model sheets of characters created as reference tools for inbetweeners and animators. Here there are 24 in black and white (naturally). Finally a bevy of Madman Propaganda in their usual trailers for other releases. Included are Battle Doll: Angelic Layer, Heat Guy J, .hack//SIGN, Initial D, Martian Successor – Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness, Voices of a Distant Star and two live action features in Volcano High and Avalon. A total running time of 10:58 with the two live actions being the highlight.

There’s also a rather cool colour illustration used on the jacket picture, although I can’t quite figure out what it is.


This is a wholly uninspired disc that has little we’ve not seen before. The animation isn’t even that exceptional to warrant a recommendation, because if that rocks, usually we couldn’t care less if it has a plot or not. Unfortunately, that would have helped Escaflowne a great deal, but alas, no.

There are far better DVDs available if you like to gamble with your animé purchases, and this one can’t compete in the least.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3305
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      And I quote...
    "Escaflowne doesn’t fly at all, but falls out of the nest and plummets to earth. Fatally."
    - Jules Faber
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    • Video Cables:
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