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» Cover

» Company
Bandai Entertainment
» Running Time
96 min
» Genre
Fantasy, Romance, Mecha
» Type
» Final Score
» User Rating
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Escaflowne the Movie - A Girl in Gaea

» written by hinatasou [Discuss]

Was it all just a dream or a vision? Kanzaki Hitomi is an unfortunate girl. She is without a boyfriend, doesn’t belong in any clubs, and has just quit the athletics squad. Everyone is energetic except for her. Hitomi is tired of it all. She sleeps all day long to disappear from a world that takes no notice of her. Suddenly, a shrouded man calls out to her: Let this sad world and everything in it just vanish. You who share the same dreams as I come to my far away homeland. You the chosen one, the Goddess of Wings, shall fulfill your destiny.

Escaflowne the Movie A Girl in Gaea appeared in select theaters January 25, 2002. It was advertised as A Place You’ve Never Seen and A Story You’ll Never Forget. For an already perfect series, there was great expectation for the movie to either be as astounding and on equal footing as the originals or even surpass them on a whole new scale. However, it was that expectation that lead the movie to its downfall. The movie was not meant to be a sequel or prequel but was to be appreciated standing alone as a retelling of the story from a totally different viewpoint. The plot itself has little resemblance to the series storyline. Those turn of events that were similar and the choice of characters to include in the movie were forced.

The Breakdown
Escaflowne the Movie proved impossible to stand up against the anime series.




» The Pros
I was caught off guard at how the movie began. Expecting to see Hitomi we are thrusted instead into the vestiges of Escaflowne and Van swooping down from the sky for the kill. There were vast scenes of samurai style sword fighting with limbs being torn off almost like Rurouni Kenshin Trust and Betrayal. The thumping beat choreographed if not intensified the action. Van was never an assassin in the series, but in light of this one can't help but wonder who is this extraordinary youth.

» The Cons
In a review I found off the net it put Escaflowne the movie in this way: The key to loving Escaflowne is letting go of the TV series. It's not even meant to a relative. A Girl in Gaia is a completely new interpretation of the Escaflowne world, and as such, it should be judged with a fresh mind, rather than pitting it against the standard set by the television saga. A good defense that I'm going to try to thwart. Although it was supposed to be enjoyed as a unique movie, the choice of characters and the roles they play can only be grasped in reference to the TV series. There is no point at all in including Allen, Dryden, and Naria except for cameo appearances. They very well could have been nameless without changing the plotline of the movie. For those who have watched the movie without knowledge of the originals, their purpose in the storyline is only to aid the development of Hitomi and Van if not confusing themselves. Even the development of Van was moved too quickly. The day before he swore to kill Hitomi. Mid day following he is still in disbelief that Hitomi is the Goddess of Wings and distrusts her. That night when Hitomi is kidnapped he suddenly loves her. Hitomi plummeting and Van stretching his wings to save her comes as a direct correspondence of the anime series. Jajuka's care for Dilandau remains intact from the series as he strikes Folken by the will of all those he has trampled upon. It is impossible to ignore the prejudices of the TV series when they are so integrated into the movie. It is like an apple pie, with the TV series as the crust that keeps the baked apples of the movie from gushing out.

» Animation
Stunning movie visuals from the cloud effects at the beginning of the movie, the city scene on the metro, to the luscious land of Adon. Much better than the series animation. The main characters from the series are redesigned. Van is bare chested and wears on his left shoulder some armor. The mole man or thief in the series appears as a wacko fortuneteller. Princess Millerna is given the grandest makeover who now looks like a pirate. The guymelefs are more organic than mechanical. Escaflowne's cape was computer rendered. There is one new character in the movie, Sora.

» Sound
Definitely the strongest point of the movie. Maaya Sakamoto's sings the lovely ending theme You're Not Alone. Yoko Kanno and Hajime Mizoguchi retain much of the original battle music from the series. The new song of the ancient dragons reminds me of Macross Plus and really is mystical. Millerna is the only character not to preserve her tv series japanese voice actor for a good reason, a total recasting of personality.

» Story
Utena the Movie had more resemblance to the series it was based off of than Girl in Gaea. Let's begin with Hitomi. In the series, racing against the clock to confess her love for Amano-sempai, she meets Van just before slaying a dragon as a right of passage for kingship. In the movie, Hitomi has quit the track team and is depressed to the point of committing suicide. Folken calls out to her, the Goddess of Wings, to destroy the world of Gaea and end their sadness. Those two statements alone lead to strings of differences. In Escaflowne the Movie, the Zaibach empire is replaced with the Black Dragon Clan lead not by Dornkirk but Folken. It was Folken who destroyed Fanelia out of jealousy and vengeance. He was not chosen by prophecy but Van. Hitomi and Van may have once been alone and as the movie progresses they find hope in each other, but Folken is a bigger loner whose source of sadness is in Van. The ending has no aftermath as the series does. It's absolutely baffling how Hitomi grows incredibly large wings then disappears. Dilandau is as insane as ever, but he carries less respect for his men in the movie than the anime series. In the movie he shares Shishio's opinion (Rurouni Kenshin) that the strong survive and the weak die. Their deaths only signify that they were weaker than Van.

» Recommend
Purchase the movie only to show to an anime club meeting. Also, for people who have never seen the tv series and don't want to bother collecting all 26 episodes. If you have watched the tv series (not the one on FOX but all the way through the unedited DVDs), there is no need to get the movie.


» Other Information
Language: English dub, Japanese with English subtitles

Trailers, Isolated Score Audio Track, Overlapping Realtime Storyboards

Silhouette of Van in middle holding his royal sword, left Allen and right Folken. Below Hitomi floating out from the Mystic Moon.



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