Escaflowne

on August 19, 2000 by Tim Cogshell
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"Escaflowne" has it roots in the popular anime television series, "The Vision of Escaflowne," which airs in the U.S. on one of the Fox children's networks. It should be noted that this theatrical version of the story is a good deal more intense than the television series, and is not intended for young children. The film combines two of the most common archetypes in Japanese Animation: the mystical girl with special powers who must save the world, and the MechWarrior, which joins a human with a giant quasi-organic robot in order to...save the world. Given the usual density of anime storylines these themes tend to work better on their own. On the other hand, only extreme devotees of a given series are capable of deciphering the storylines anyway, so for the causal anime fan, "Escaflowne" is no more vexing than usual. Besides, it looks really cool.

   Here, an ordinary high school girl named Hitomi (Kelly Sheridan) finds that life has lost all meaning and wishes she could just disappear. Suddenly, she's transported from Earth to another world, Gaia (there's always a Gaia in anime), where swords and sorcery rule. On Gaia, several clans are engaged in vicious blood battles for control of the last Escaflowne, or Dragon Armor, with which they can rule their world--or destroy it. Hitomi is apparently the prophesied, mystical something-or-other, and is the link between Gaia and something, and must do something or something bad will happen and all will be lost. Whatever. The point is, this is an insanely (though typically) violent anime, with the usual sexual and spiritual overtones, oddly-dubbed English dialogue and vaguely unsatisfying conclusion. In any case, it features some extraordinary sword battles and displays of magic that rival anything in computer-assisted live-action films like "Harry Potter" and the like. In short, it's a fan film that for the uninitiated plays better on video with the sound turned down. Starring Kelly Sheridan, Kirby Morrow, Brian Drummond, Sylvia Zaradick, Joji Nakata, Trevor Devall, Brian Dobson, Michael Dobson and Paul Dobson. Directed by Kazuki Akane. Written by Ryota Yamaguchi and Kazuki Akane. Produced by Masuo Udeda, Minoru Takanashi, Masahiko Minami and Toyoyuki Yokohama. A Bandai release. Anime/Adventure/Fantasy. Rated PG-13 for strong animated violence. Running time: 98 min.

Tags: Kelly Sheridan, Kirby Morrow, Brian Drummond, Sylvia Zaradick, Joji Nakata, Trevor Devall, Brian Dobson, Michael Dobson and Paul Dobson. Directed by Kazuki Akane. Written by Ryota Yamaguchi and Kazuki Akane. Produced by Masuo Udeda, Minoru Takanashi, Masahiko Minami, Toyoyuki Yokohama, Bandai, Anime, Adventure, Fantasy
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