The Vision of Escaflowne
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 21 of
The Vision of Escaflowne ?
How would you rate episode 22 of
The Vision of Escaflowne ?
Even if you don't agree with them, every action someone takes is supported by a reason. It might not be an objectively good reason, but even the thinnest of premises can be “good enough” to motivate or justify someone's behavior. And chief among all of those reasons people do things stand two well-known justifications: love and guilt. (That said, if someone makes overt, or even veiled, references to locking you up in a birdcage, get the hell away from them.) Both of those are on full display in these two episodes of The Vision of Escaflowne, and neither comes out looking particularly shiny and bright as Folken finally starts to realize that what he's done may not actually be in the best interests of, well, anyone.
This isn't something he's able to conclude without first living through something awful. Or perhaps I should say, something else awful, because Folken's life hasn't been a bed of roses since he first vanished from Fanelia all those years ago. We knew that he lost his arm and failed to slay his dragon, thus completing the rite to become the anointed king of Fanelia, but what we didn't realize was what came directly after that moment – that Dornkirk swooped in while he was unconscious and bleeding out, operated on him without his knowledge or consent, and then manipulated the fragile young man into joining Zaibach in its bid to “unite” all of Gaea under one rule: Dornkirk's. Just like you probably shouldn't trust the guy who wants to lock you in a birdcage, it's very likely not in your best interests to trust anyone who claims that by conquering the world they'll end all war and strife, because in both cases, love and kindness are merely veneers that cover more selfish, greedy motivations. And if being locked in a cage only serves to keep someone who doesn't want to stay, a conquered people who don't fight back are very likely only staying quiet because they're afraid – or because they're biding their time. Cynical as it may sound, there's really no way to end war for all time, and Dornkirk's stated method is nothing more than an excuse to grab more power. (See John Steinbeck's The Moon is Down for an excellent use of the theme.) Dornkirk manipulates Folken by making him feel indebted to Zaibach for saving his life and providing him a new arm, leading the erstwhile prince to not only make regrettable hair and makeup choices, but also to attack his own kingdom and family.
We might well say “better late than never” about Folken's realization, but the cost really is high. Not only has he been estranged from the brother he was clearly very close to, but it's also a price that's been paid in the blood of Eriya and Naria, his two feline companions. Dornkirk manipulated their love for Folken as much as anything, convincing his disciple to do the same, which ultimately led to the cats' deaths as a direct result of Dornkirk's obsession with enhancing “luck.” It took those deaths to wake Folken up, but it's very likely already too late to save Folken himself, which now stands to be an even crueler blow to Van, who will have regained his brother only to lose him again.
Speaking of lost siblings, Allen's increasingly creepy language about Hitomi almost certainly has its roots in the loss of his younger sister soon after his father's disappearance and around the time of his mother's death. That he also lost Marlene (death and marriage) and now Millerna (marriage) has pushed him to the brink, and it's by no means certain that he'll handle Hitomi having gone off with Van, or ultimately going back to the Mystic Moon if she so chooses (and it becomes possible) with anything remotely resembling grace. He's at risk of becoming unmoored emotionally, and the fact that Dilandau is looking decidedly feminine and like an older version of Allen's lost sister could have a major effect either way.
It's interesting to note that Jodi Picoult explored the power of love and death as motivating factors in her 2007 run on Wonder Woman, titled Love and Murder, much as John Steinbeck does in his previously mentioned World War Two novel. Both of those stories' endings come at a significant cost to those so motivated, as do many other literary examples. That perhaps doesn't bode well for the characters in Escaflowne.
The Vision of Escaflowne is currently streaming on Funimation.
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