Cookiemonger and I recently watched The Vision of Escaflowne from beginning to end. It was the first time I’d watched more than a couple episodes of this “classic,” and it’s clear from the beginning how it got to be as popular as it is (was). The drama and tension start immediately with no signs of slowing down… until they do.

The Vision of Escaflowne Limited Edition box s...

Pretty much the only relevant picture I could find referencing Escaflowne.

First, let me say upfront that despite the many, many objections I raised throughout the show, I loved it and tore through the episodes at a ridiculous pace. CM and I watched almost an entire half of the series in one sitting, and the other half of the series in a second sitting. The first major problem with the series is Hitomi.

Escaflowne can’t seem to decide for itself whether Hitomi should stay on Gaea or return to Earth. It’s perfectly reasonable to use the character’s indecision as a source of conflict, but the show itself can’t seem to make up its mind, evident in how it’s only mentioned periodically rather than presented as a consistent source of conflict.

Perhaps the second (and most jarring) main problem with the series is the question of Hitomi’s relationship with the knight Allen. Allen is referred to as a “playboy” at several points throughout the series but we are never given any evidence to support what we can easily dismiss as hearsay on the part of the less-than-virtuous supporting cast.

Escaflowne would have us believe a love triangle exists between Allen, Hitomi, and Van, but this is never shown to be the case. Van shows little interest in Hitomi apart from her powers, having two things to keep his occupied: his ridiculous cat-slave Merle, and reclaiming his kingdom (likely destroying Zaibach in the process).

This would not be a bad thing, except in how the series deludes itself into thinking otherwise. Allen is at all times kind, courteous, and respectful toward Hitomi and the two are shown to have clear affection for one another in a perfectly rational way. I mean actual love as opposed to that malarkey that passes for love in television.

Love is not always forbidden or star-crossed, people. Some people have perfectly normal, healthy love. It’s how most of us got here today.

Perhaps at some point the show realized that Hitomi was supposed to get together with the “hero” instead of the “scoundrel.” I would draw a comparison to Star Wars, with Luke as the clean-cut hero and Han being the rakish scoundrel, except their roles are actually reversed in Escaflowne. Luke is the barbarian and Han is the shining knight.

That means when the relationship between Hitomi and Allen, which became canon for all of maybe one episode, came to an abrupt end while Van mysteriously dumped his cat-slave for the girl he never cared about before suddenly he did, it was a bit jarring.

This isn’t shipping guys, and I’m not grasping at straws. There was a story, there were real relationships, and they all went off the rails halfway through the series.

I have a lot more to say on the subject, but it can wait.

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