Anime DVD Review: Escaflowne Complete Collection

Escaflowne Complete Collection is an eight-disc DVD set that contains all 26 episodes of The Vision of Escaflowne. The first two discs each contain four episodes and bonus features, while the remaining six discs each contain three episodes and bonus features.

Escaflowne Complete Collection
English Publisher: Bandai Entertainment
Format: DVD
Release Date: April 11, 2006

The series follows a 15-year-old high school girl named Hitomi Kanzaki. She’s a runner for her school’s track team, who has a fascination with tarot cards and fortune-telling. Hitomi received a set of tarot cards and a mysterious pink pendant from her grandmother when she was a little girl.

Hitomi learns that Amano Susumu, a boy on the track team that she has a crush on, will be leaving her school. Hitomi asks Amano to watch her do a practice run; if she beats her time, she wants Amano to kiss her. While in the middle of her run, a boy about Hitomi’s age suddenly appears on the track; the boy is wielding a sword; it turns out the boy is Van Fanel. A dragon appears shortly after, and Van duels with the dragon. Hitomi ends up helping Van defeat the dragon, and he claims a stone from the dragon. Bright light appears, and it drags Van and Hitomi up into the sky, and they disappear.

It turns out Van and Hitomi are taken to a planet called Gaea, and Van is due to be become king of Fanelia, which is located on Gaea. During the coronation, Fanelia is attacked by the Zaibach Empire, who are trying to revive the legendary power of the ancient city of Atlantis. Van activates a steampunk mecha called Escaflowne; he makes a blood pact with Escaflowne, which ties his own life to the mecha when he pilots it. During the battle, Van is forced to flee from Fanelia with Hitomi and Escaflowne.

Hitomi unwittingly summons a pillar of light, which transports Van, Escaflowne, and Hitomi to another place in Gaea. Hitomi is attacked, and is rescued by a knight from Asturia named Allen Schezar. Allen bears an uncanny resemblance to Amano, and Hitomi falls for him instantly. This later leads to a conflict for Hitomi, when she realizes she’s in love with Van.

Allen and Van team up together to fight the Zaibach Empire. Allen is not only a gifted swordsman, but he pilots a mecha called Scherezade. A 13-year-old catgirl named Merle, who is from Fanelia and has a crush on Van, is found. It turns out that Fanelia has been burned to the ground.

As the series progresses, the audience learns more about the Zaibach Empire, as well some secrets about Allen. Hitomi’s powers for fortune telling also blossom during her time on Gaea.

The Vision of Escaflowne is a fantastic series. There’s a compelling story being told, and the animation of the series really complements the storytelling. I also like how the series successfully combines steampunk, fantasy, mecha, and romance. This is an anime series that really should be seen by anyone who considers themselves a fan of anime.

When it comes to the DVD set itself, I have to admit that I really didn’t like the navigation for the DVD menus, because I thought it was rather cumbersome; this is particularly true when you decide to watch a particular episode on the disc. The menu for the individual episodes is laid out in a strange way, and you have to go roundabout ways to get to the part of the episode you want to watch.

The bonus feature on the first disc is four music videos for The Vision of Escaflowne (a textless version of the opening theme, “Friend,” “Blue Eyes,” and “Into the Light”); this feature runs for about 13 minutes.

On discs two through seven, the bonus feature is “Club Escaflowne.” These are interviews with voice actors, production staff, and the writer and director for The Vision of Escaflowne. These interviews run anywhere in length from eight to 20 minutes.

The final disc in the set contains three bonus features. The first is labeled as “Playstation Game Footage”; this runs for about eight minutes, and is comprised of what appears to be “cut scenes” from the Escaflowne video game. The next feature is a roughly two-and-a-half minute trailer for Escaflowne: The Movie. The final feature on the disc is a five-minute concert video for Maaya Sakamoto performing at a special concert at a screening for Escaflowne: The Movie.

Each disc also contains trailers for other properties that Bandai Entertainment was promoting at the time this DVD box set was released.

While I understand that this box set just gathers up the eight individually released discs into one collection, I wish more effort had been taken to put this set together. It would have worked better if they had tried to get more episodes onto each disc, and then focused the bonus features on one or two discs.  In the long run, the set probably would have had fewer discs in it if they had done this.

This box set is now out of print, since Bandai Entertainment has gone out of business. FUNimation has acquired the North American license for the series, and I suspect at some point the company will be reissuing this title on home video.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Escaflowne Complete Collection that my husband purchased for me as a gift.

Additional posts about Escaflowne:

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