The Vision of Escaflowne

Vision of Escaflowne
Hitomi is crushed when her best friend Yukari informs her that her beloved captain is moving away... but the night that was to be her last with him (and potential first kiss) saw the entrance of a mysterious boy in armor... and a dragon that he's hunting! When Hitomi saves him (with the help of a strange vision), the two are beamed back to his homeworld, Gaea... a world where he is Van Fanel, the new king of the land of Fanelia and pilot of the legendary mecha fighter "Escaflowne". But this is not a peaceful land; Fanelia is under attack from a mysterious army with invisible cloaking abilities... But there is more of a connection here than meets the eye.
Few fans that are into fansubs at all haven't heard of Vision of Escaflowne. One of the top TV shows of 1996 (incidentally, the same year that brought us Neon Genesis Evangelion), this was one of the most popular shows in any fansub-lovers' arsenal... and it's not hard to see why.

A brain child of, in part, Shoji Kawamori (every single Macross series, Kenji's Spring), Vision of Escaflowne is kind of a cross between Never Ending Story, Super Dimension Century Orguss 02, and Record of Loduss War. The story involves one Hitomi Kanzaki, a typical high school girl who's into tarot cards and fortune telling, running track, and gazing at the object of her distant affections (and track team captain), Amano Susumu.

The animation, a seamless mix of computer-generated special effects and traditional cel animation, is groundbreaking for a TV show (and still good for a movie), and the music, from legendary duo Yoko Kanno (Macross Plus) and Hajime Mizoguchi (Please Save My Earth), is worth importing the CD's of.

While the plot may be nothing special, what is special is the execution. While we have seen almost all of these story elements before, we have never seen them together. Using all of these elements together, and flawlessly, is the real attraction of Escaflowne.

Technically, I was as impressed with Escaflowne as I was with's subtitling job. In a world where the post-production abilities of budget-less fansubbers often outshine those of commercial companies, AnimeVillage has taken great care to maintain the top quality in production, even outdoing all existing fansubs of the series (despite using the now-infamous Captions, Inc. for the production). The timing is perfect, as are the translations. The credits are entirely translated, and replace the Japanese ones. The tape itself comes in a nice soft plastic clamshell case (in either white or black) and a high-quality printed sleeve.

Overall, my only gripe with this release is the tape shell: flimsy cheap reels are used, the kind that can actually burst on high-speed rewind modes on some VCR's and tape rewinders. (I already transplanted the ones on my copy with better ones.) Replace those reels, and Escaflowne quite makes for a perfect purchase. (The boxed set makes for an especially good deal.)
Overall : A
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Production Info:
Director: Kazuki Akane
Akihiko Inari
Shoji Kawamori
Hiroaki Kitajima
Ryota Yamaguchi
Screenplay: Shoji Kawamori
Kazuki Akane
Kiichi Hadame
Shoji Kawamori
Shougo Kawamoto
Nobuhiro Kondo
Nobuhiro Takamoto
Yoshiyuki Takei
Shinichiro Watanabe
Yuji Yamaguchi
Unit Director:
Kazuki Akane
Shougo Kawamoto
Ikurō Satō
Yoshiyuki Takei
Shinichiro Watanabe
Takeshi Yoshimoto
Yoko Kanno
Hajime Mizoguchi
Original creator:
Shoji Kawamori
Hajime Yatate
Character Design: Nobuteru Yuki
Art Director: Junichi Azuma
Animation Director:
Hirokazu Hisayuki
Yasuhiro Irie
Hiroki Kanno
Takahiro Komori
Shigeki Kuhara
Hiroshi Osaka
Takuro Shinbo
Hiroshi Takeuchi
Tetsuya Yanagisawa
Mecha design:
Junya Ishigaki
Mahiro Maeda
Koji Sugiura
Kimitoshi Yamane
Sound Director: Kazuhiro Wakabayashi
Director of Photography: Kazunobu Okeda
Masahiko Minami
Yumi Murase

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Vision of Escaflowne (TV)

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