Escaflowne (エスカフローネ), also known as Escaflowne: A Girl in Gaea, is the film adaptation of The Vision of Escaflowne, animated by Studio BONES and released in 2000.
The plot of the movie is similar to the anime, but retold in a way that could fit in a two hour movie as opposed to a one season TV show. Most of the characters present in the TV show are also present in the movie, although many of the character designs are changed and in some cases bear little or no resemblance to the corresponding TV show characters. The only major character seen in the movie and not seen in the TV show was Sora, an advisor to Folken.
Plot and Setting Edit
Hitomi, a depressed high school student, finds herself being called to the mysterious world of Gaia--a fantastic place embroiled in a bloody war and hanging on the brink of destruction. Waking up inside the dragon armor Escaflowne she meets Van, the young prince of Adom who is embroiled in the conflicting war. Van seeks the Escaflowne to destroy all his enemies, Hitomi confused of her role and misunderstanding the entire situation causes the armor to disappear, turning it into a small pink stone which is later turned into a necklace by the mole man. With their friends the Abaharaki both Hitomi and Van are pulled into the center of the war with Hitomi's wish of destruction or salvation setting the fate of Gaia.
Unlike in the series, Guymelefs are virtually non-existent, only existing in myth. The only two shown are Escaflowne and Alseides (name is not mentioned in the film), both of which run on blood/impure blood from the descendants of the dragon clan. It has also a number of differences with its many Asian elements in contrast to the European elements in the series.
The only countries named through the movie are Torushina (Asturia), Freid, and Adom (Fanelia). All other countries have been assumedly taken over by the Black Dragon Clan.
It is safe to say that the setting of the movie is much more darker and has a brooding feel to the entire ordeal with its frequency in switching between Hitomi and Van's personal problems.
WARNING: This section contains Spoilers!
Hitomi is a depressed schoolgirl, suffering from self-induced feelings of loneliness and alienation. She is not a clairvoyant, but frequently has dreams of a "boy in strange clothes" she had seen in the train station as a young girl. Once on Gaia she is often referred to as Wing Goddess and soon her outlook changes by finding a somewhat kindred spirit in Van. She states in the movie that she "wants to stay with him" and when called to battle doesn't want the Escaflowne to descend and Van to pilot it due to the tale of Escaflowne's previous destruction of Gaia.
Van Fanel of Adom
Van is the young king of the destroyed kingdom of Adom. He is lonely and very emotionally distant from those around him, aggressive in combat and showing a willingness to slay any enemy in combat; he seeks the leader of the Black Dragon Clan for revenge on his people and family. After meeting Hitomi and having a near death experience, his attitude has changed as seen by Merle and at the end he even mentions that he "doesn't want to fight anymore."
Folken of the Black Dragon Clan
Folken is vengeful and cruel in his attempts to get "the will of the wing goddess" on his side. Folken wishes to destroy all of Gaia with the Escaflowne and is the one who summons Hitomi for it. He is truly Dune of Adom, Van's older brother who killed their family and burnt the castle down after the throne was not in his future but in his younger brothers. Folken places his sorrow squarely on Van until the very end when he is killed and has a vision of a young Van running to him calling out "brother".
Sora is the clairvoyant and mystic advisor to Folken. She is the only one who has been close to him and seen all of his actions and consequences. Sora is the one that calls Hitomi to Gaia and makes the connection for Folken to speak with her on two occasions by singing. In the end her freedom is granted to her, hinting that she was a slave, but she instead chooses to stay with Folken until the end.
The Abaharaki Edit
Allen is the leader of the Abaharaki, a group of refugees from the countries destroyed by the Black Dragon Clan. He's a skilled swordsman and frequently gets under Van's skin referring to him as "the King". Allen is only seen fighting once in combat when he kills one of Dilandau's men on horse back.
Millerna is not a princess as she is in the anime, though she is referred to as one several times. She is a soldier in the Abaharaki and seems to be one of the higher in command. Skilled in the use of daggers she is never seen in true battle; she is shown talking to Hitomi after she wakes up, to Allen about what they're going to do and yelling at Gaddes saying "it's childish using a knife!"
Second in command, cocky and rather mouthy he's skilled with daggers and is only seen three times in the movie.
Financial backer of the Abaharaki, he is once more a wealthy man in Torushina and is the owner of the pub where Hitomi and Van reunite with the crew.
The Black Dragon Clan Edit
The leader of an elite group of soldiers, Dilandau is a ruthless killer and rambles before his first battle of the movie saying "let's have some fun." Though a ruthless killer he seems to value his comrades, they him, even mentioning that one of his solders had "gone and died" on him. Dilandau becomes the pilot for Alseides because of his impure dragons blood, he escapes before he can be finished by Van in Escaflowne, exclaiming, "what the hell was that thing!" At the end of the movie he's seen riding off with three of his subordinate Dragon Slayers exclaiming that there is always another war to fight.
Jajuka plays no real major role in the decisions of Dilandau though he attempts to remind him on more than one occasion that the order was for a "faint operation" instead of the heinous bloodshed that indeed happens. He expresses remorse for the beast people killed (Nakushi, a beast creature from Adom whose dead body he holds later on) and at the end is in fact the one to slay Folken by piercing him through the chest with a dagger and claiming "this is for all of those you've oppressed."
Other Characters Edit
Merle is not shown in the movie as much as she was present in the series. She's still cocky, mouthy and devoted to Van. She's first seen fretting over Van as an airship passes by and kicks Gaddes in the shin for hurting Lord Van, remarking to Allen, "I'm going to poison you some day". Merle spends most of her time in the stables taking care of the horses.
In the movie he is a fortune teller and is the one who makes the pink stone Hitomi received after the disappearance of the Armor into a necklace. Often he is seen mumbling to himself saying "just as I predicted" and "the wing goddess will destroy Gaia"; the one thing that did not change from the series was his eagerness to be paid.
The group of young men that a devoted to their leader Dilandau. Chesta is seen to have clairvoyant abilities seeing Hitomi on the starboard side of the ship. Miguel is the only other mentioned by name in the movie, presumably the one who was killed by Allen.
Production and Premiers Edit
Nobuteru Yūki did many character re-designs.
The soundtrack was, as with the Escaflowne series, composed mostly by Yoko Kanno in collaboration with Hajime Mizoguchi.
The first European presentation was on January 19, 2001, during the Future Film Festival in Bologna (Italy).
The North American theatrical premiere was on January 25, 2002, in select cities, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Vancouver. The North American television premiere was September 10, 2005, on the Cartoon Network programming block Adult Swim, after airing on [adult swim] on demand.
The Soundtrack EditEscaflowne: A Girl in Gaia
2. First Vision
4. Into GAEA
5. Appearance of the Dragon Armor
6. Horse Ride
7. Gaia Sheep
9. Bird Song
12. The Hurt
13. Take My Hands
14. Organ Pub
15. What'cha Gonna Do???
16. Sora's Folktale
18. Dance of the Curse II
19. Black Escaflowne
20. Tree of Hearts
21. We're Flying
22. Who Will Save
23. Final Vision
24. Nomitori Song
25. Your Not Alone