Tuesday, February 26, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 101



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 Entertainment

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
American theaters.

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
the story.


** (out of five stars)

Bandai Entertainment

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