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Escaflowne Vol 5: Paradise And Sun

(return to disc)

Content rating: 8
Posted 2003-09-05 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by kurt on 2003-10-02 04:54:00

The scope of Escaflowne continues to expand in the three episodes on this disc. Those who use the word "epic" to describe the series are on the right track. New continents, new races, new characters appear, yet they never seem forced into the plot. Our small band of heroes finds itself playing an ever-larger role in the fate of the world. It's an impressive job by the writers.

Another strong point is the realistic way that the main characters react to emotional stresses. On the last disc, we saw Hitomi tearfully demand that she not be treated like a tool -- that she was only an ordinary girl. On this disc, we see Van consumed by guilt and fear. He is haunted by the ghosts of Dilandau's companions, whom he slew in fair fight on the battlefield. He doesn't want to fight any more; and, really, who (aside from psychopaths like Dilandau himself) would? I'm happy to see a young man who, exposed to the horrors of war, actually recoils. Too many times -- especially in American TV and movies -- the "hero" cracks jokes and plays it tough while dismembering his opponents. Feh. Remember, in the very first episode, when Van pits himself against the dragon? He's exhausted, bloodied, and appears outclassed. Well, of course: he's fighting a dragon, for Pete's sake! He ought to be in trouble.

The final episode reminds me a bit of the Conversations with Dead People episode of "Buffy." Van, Hitomi and Allen encounter family members long dead and learn some lessons about their pasts. Hitomi, in her usual way, is able to share the experiences of others, and gets some disturbing information from Van's mother. I smell a rat: Van's mother -- or, more accurately, a shade which appears to be Van's mother -- may not be on the up-and-up. The fact that the shade of Hitomi's grandmother contradicts this advice by telling Hitomi to use the power of love is a good indication that the earlier advice was fishy. I have yet to see an anime in which the love is anything but a power for good. Though I suppose that Angel Sanctuary shows that even love can have, um, unfortunate consequences.

As always, Yoko Kanno's score adds depth to the feeling of otherworldliness, to the impression that we're watching a documentary, not a fantasy. And also as always, three episodes doesn't make a very good value for the money. But in the case of Escaflowne, I'd probably make a reluctant exception.

Equipment used when writing this review:
Sony DVD player, JVC 27-inch TV, stereo speakers

Content: 8 Video: 7 Sound: 9 Packaging: 6 Menu: 7

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Other reviews of this disc:
Escaflowne Vol 5: Paradise And Sun by CmdrTaco (Rating: 7.40)
Escaflowne has secured a place in my list of the best of anime with the last few discs which were fabulously interesting, had a good mix of action and comedy, and truly created a world that felt like it existed far beyond the borders of...(continues)
Content: 8 Video: 8 Sound: 8 Packaging: 6 Menu: 7

Escaflowne Vol 5: Paradise And Sun by rgmoore (Rating: 8.00)

Disk 5 of Escaflowne doesn't have quite the series changing character of disk 4, but it does a good job of picking up those changes and running with them. It also starts some major development of the theme of fate and what can be done...(continues)

Content: 8 Video: 8 Sound: 8 Packaging: 8 Menu: 8

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