Anime release 'Escaflowne'
choppy and hard to follow
By Michael Ahlf
Daily Cougar Staff
In recent years, Japanese animation has
risen in popularity. Shows like Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star and Tenchi Muyo
on Cartoon Network and
Card Captor Sakura, Pokemon and other
series on broadcast television led the way for theatrical releases.
Photo courtesy of Bandai
Bandai's Escaflowne will
be released in U.S. theaters Friday.
In 2000, Fox licensed The Vision of Escaflowne
from Bandai and tried to run it on a Saturday-morning time slot. This didn't
quite work, because
Escaflowne is made to appeal to teens.
Fox's editing job to try to fit it to its idea of what children want (Power
Rangers) destroyed quite a bit of the
That being said, Bandai hasn't given up
on Escaflowne in the United States and is releasing the theatrical version,
also titled Escaflowne, to
Escaflowne is a story about war and the
devastation war causes. A young girl, Hitomi, is so depressed she wishes
to disappear. Sensing a kindred
spirit, a man named Folken pulls her into
his world of Gaea. There, she finds herself in the middle of a war between
the powerful Black Dragon Clan
and the remnants of the White Dragon Clan.
The center of the struggle between the
two groups is a giant suit of armor called Escaflowne, believed by both
sides to be their own god of war.
Unlike many movies "based on" or made as
an addition to the original series, Escaflowne tries to tell a new story
using the core characters and
elements. Even with these changes, the
story doesn't really fit well into the film's 96 minutes: Viewers familiar
with the original series will have trouble
with the first scenes, trying to place
them while piecing together the story line.
Perhaps the hardest change to follow is
the transition from the science fiction/giant robot anime of the series
to the movie's sword-and-sorcery take on
** (out of five stars)