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Escaflowne Vol 6: Fate and Fortune

(return to disc)

Content rating: 7
Posted 2003-09-10 by StupendousMan
Endorsed by kurt on 2003-10-04 04:57:00

After a rush of action, Escaflowne slows down and takes a deep breath. The three episodes on this disc, numbers 18, 19 and 20, cover only two or three days on Gaea. There's a lot more talking and a lot less running and fighting than usual. To me, it all went a little too slowly, especially during the middle of this set. Fortunately, the very end of episode 20 promises to return the series to its action roots.

A very brief synopsis of the story herein: Hitomi, Van and Allen are transported to the Zaiback headquarters, where they meet with the Evil Emporer Dornkirk. It turns out he's from Earth, having travelled across space and time to Gaea via the John Carter Method (TM). Our heroes learn much from his expository dialogue, but he, too, learns something about them. An even trade? Perhaps.

In the second episode, Folken launches his Evil Plan of the Tainted Love: to keep Hitomi and Van apart, he will cause Hitomi and Allen to come together. This episode really annoyed me for two reasons. First, it showed Folken accurately predicting Van's actions in a way that was just too prescient. Moreover, because we saw and heard Folken predict what would happen, we felt no tension as Van gathered his courage and spoke to Hitomi. It ruined the moment. Second, the culmination of the EPTL is given what feels like ages (but is only 6 or 7 minutes of running time). It's like watching a car wreck in slow motion, and about as enjoyable.

The final episode on this disc makes up somewhat for the others, as Hitomi casts a fortune for Millerna's wedding with Dryden. It starts off poorly, as Hitomi refuses to speak honestly of what the cards predict for fear of making Millerna unhappy. Grrrrrr. Did Hitomi behave this way with her friends back in junior high on Earth, telling them only good news and what they wanted to hear? If so, she couldn't have been a very good psychic. Anyway, Hitomi very quickly learns the consequences of her actions, and does the honorable thing. Good for her. I hope that she remembers this in the future.

Some thoughs at random:

  • I really liked the brief scene between the two cat women, Eriya and Naria, in which they talk about Folken. No, not because of the lesbian cat-girl overtones, but because it rang true as a conversation between twins who have been each other's only support. I'd love to see similar exchanges between other minor characters in the show.
  • The automatic doors in the Zaibach headquarters make exactly the same sounds the doors in the original video game Doom. It's intensely satisfying.
  • After Van came back from the rainstorm, and Merle helped him out of his wet shirt in front of the fire, I had a sudden flash of a possible direction the story might take -- but shouldn't -- in which Van seeks consolation with what would undoubtedly be a more-than-happy-to-acquiesce Merle. Did anyone else?
  • Princess Eries, Millerna's elder sister, is giving me some seriously bad vibes. It appears to me that she either holds a very strong grudge against Allen (for his relationship with her other sister), or is intensely jealous of anyone else with whom he might have a relationship. Either way, she's Bad News. I can't decide if she's better or worse than Van's mother, who gives me a similar feeling of working against the Good Guys.

I am hoping that the final six episodes will bring Escaflowne back to an action-packed end, away from the (mediocre) shoujou love triangles it has featured lately. I know one thing: Yoko Kanno's score will never let me down.

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

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

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Other reviews of this disc:
Escaflowne Vol 6: Fate and Fortune by CmdrTaco (Rating: 7.40)
The next volume of Escaflowne takes our heros into the Zaibach empire where they encounter the emporer and his Destiny Alteration Machine. What evils will this new weapon unleash upon Gaia?

As with all of Escaflowne, the visuals...(continues)

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

Escaflowne Vol 6: Fate and Fortune by rgmoore (Rating: 7.60)

This is probably the weakest disk in the set. Although the plot developments in this disk are very important to the series, it's really missing something that the other disks have. The pace drags, and there's not the same good balance...(continues)

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

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