Monday, December 19, 2016

ANI-MOVIES, *Escaflowne: The Movie

Similar to several movie spin-offs of a prior anime TV series, Escalflowne: The Movie is a complete remake of the original Vision Of Escaflowne. Directed by series director Kazuki Akane, this takes away the more shoujo-type visions of the series for a slightly darker fantasy, and was the first movie to be animated by Studio Bones.

Hitomi in this story is a somewhat suicidal schoolgirl, and willed to the alternate world of Gaea, a planet parallel to Earth being conquered by the head of the Black Dragon Clan, Lord Falken, who here is seriously trying to bring back the Goblin King's haircut. Hitomi awakes inside a mechanical giant called Escaflowne, and proclaimed the Wing Goddess by Falken's rebellious brother, Van, who is leading a revolution against the Black Dragon. Hitomi is kidnapped by some of Falken's beast-men, but Van rescues her by sprouting wings as she falls off a cliff. The two of them bond, and meet up with the rest of their forces run by Allen and the now redheaded Millerna. The Black Dragon takes over a capitol to unearth their own mechanical beat, which Van battles in Escaflowne. Van and Hitomi then go to confront Falken in a somewhat anti-climatic conclusion.

The motion picture was an improvement at least as far as the quality of animation in concerned. The fantasy takes a more Frazetta design with the characters and story, but with less skimpier outfits. It's more shonen than the TV series was, but not in the bad way like the first Escaflowne manga. Visually, its pure spectacle, reminding the viewer of Ralph Bakshi's Lord Of The Rings animated movie. Whether you see the original Bandai or the current Funimation dub, you'll still get the same thrill, and a killer soundtrack by Yoko Kanno.

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