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Pirates of the Burley Griffin
A schedule bears the same relationship to reality as Astrology.
Thirty Days of Escaflowne - Day 3 - The Gallant Swordsman - La Morte 
9th-Mar-2011 07:47 pm
10000!
One of the hardest things about this series of posts will be limiting myself to one episode at a time.

This episode sees the introduction of Allen Schezar, the Knight of Asturia. ie: Most of the fangirls, and some of the fanboys, will spend a fair chunk of this episode swooning. :)


As usual the recap part of the episode is no more than a brief voiceover from Hitomi before revealing the episode title and the tarot card: Death. This is not an encouraging omen.

Then its straight into the action as Hitomi and Van are separated in the beam of light. Hitomi is briefly molested by a mole man before her screams for help bring a dashing response from Allen Schezar.

Allen's character design is, deliberately, very reminiscent of Amano from the first episode and Hitomi confuses the two before collapsing from the stress of recent events.

Naturally Van shows up just as Allen is picking up the unconscious Hitomi. A brief duel occurs and Van does not come off well.

In viewing this episode I was reminded that Escaflowne is only 5 years removed from the Record of Lodoss War and there are some significant parallels between Van and an early Parn. Whilst Van is already fairly skilled (hello, defeated a dragon), nevertheless there is a running gag of Van getting trashed in training and then being accused of not charging aggressively enough. It helps that Balgus was Allen's swordmaster.

We have a brief cut to the bad guys including the leaders of the attack on Fanelia. It is worth mentioning that Dilandau is a nutter, Folken is a little mysterious, and Emperor Dornkirk is concerned about a dragon, destiny, and the legendary power of Atlantis.

After all what could possibly go wrong with seeking a legendary, and lost, power?

Hitomi awakes in Allen's castle after a brief dream about Amano. Whilst Allen may be a knight and the very incarnation of romantic chivalry (hey I'm an Arthurian fan OK? Allen rocks), his troopers are less so. Rogues with a heart of gold every one, and they make one of the most entertaining loon squads I've seen in many a year.

Whilst Hitomi is something of a guest, Van is more of a prisoner for his own good. Allen has already received reports of Fanelia's complete destruction and Allen is trying to keep him out of trouble.

Unfortunately the Zaibach Empire arrives in a floating fortress and Hitomi recognises the guymelefs descending as the ones that attacked Fanelia.

The resulting encounter between Dilandau and Allen is interesting and disturbing on a number of levels. Dilandau notices Hitomi's clothing and in an attempt to hide her origin on the Mystic Moon, Allen kisses her on the cheek and passes her off as his lover.

This does not help an already confused Hitomi, or a depressed Van. In an attempt to take her mind off things whilst also distracting Van, Hitomi starts telling Van's fortune using the cards.

The resulting vision when La Morte appears is terrifying, and contains an all too accurate presentation of Dilandau. ie: Nutter!

In an attempt to redeem himself the moleman returns Hitomi's bag, and leads them to Escaflowne.

Unfortunately Allen has anticipated this and meets them with Schezarade, his guymelef.

Did I mention the running gag about Van getting trashed in training bouts? Not to mention the loon squad placing bets on how long it wiill take Allen to trash Van. :)

This time it is in the guymelefs and whilst Escaflowne is the better guymelef, Allen is the better pilot. Once again I should find the mecha dueling with swords and wearing billowing cloaks ridiculous but it just works so well you go with it.

Afterwards Hitomi steps up to the heart of Escaflowne where the energist is, it flashes, and another terrifying vision of Zaibach attacking the castle appears. Cut to the credits.

This episode is essentially an introduction piece for Allen and Zaibach whilst also serving to set up Allen as a possible romantic interest.

Hitomi's previous dreams of the winged figure rescuing her have been vague enough to leave it open to interpretation, and at this point Allen has been much nicer to Hitomi than Van.

Compared to the first episode the romantic elements are quite subtle in this episode and are much more effective as a result.

Having said that there is relatively little action, and the major plot element is to establish Van and Hitomi as part of Allen's group whilst Zaibach prepare to attack.

Day 1 - Fateful Confession / The Tower
Day 2 - The Girl From the Mystic Moon / The Ace of Serpents
Day 3 - The Gallant Swordsman / Death
Day 4 - The Diabolical Adonis
Day 5 - Seal of the Brothers
Day 6 - City of Intrigue
Day 7 - Unexpected Partings
Day 8 - ???
Day 9 - The Day the Angel Flew
Day 10 - Memories of a Feather
Day 11 - The Blue-Eyed Prince
Day 12 - Prophecy of Death
Day 13 - The Secret Door
Day 14 - Red Destiny
Day 15 - ???
Day 16 - Dangerous Wounds
Day 17 - Lost Paradise
Day 18 - The Guided Ones
Day 19 - The Edge of the World
Day 20 - The Gravity of Destiny
Day 21 - Operation Golden Rule of Love
Day 22 - False Vows
Day 23 - ???
Day 24 - Reaction of Fortune
Day 25 - The Black Winged Angel
Day 26 - Storm Premonition
Day 27 - Fateful Decision
Day 28 - Zone of Absolute Fortune
Day 29 - Eternal Love
Day 30 - Looking Back at The Vision of Escaflowne
Comments 
(Deleted comment)
9th-Mar-2011 12:13 pm (UTC)
Local: http://www.madman.com.au/series/home/34/escaflowne

I'm using the local release DVDs to review because it means I can also use them in the region locked DVD drive of the laptop.
9th-Mar-2011 12:15 pm (UTC)
Obviously reviews at this length will have fairly heavy spoilers, and I will eventually have to discuss Dilandau's backstory at some length.

But for the moment "most terrifying lunatic" about sums it up, and he hasn't really had a chance to cut loose yet.

Then again, neither has Van and HIS berzerker tendencies are clearly there in the second episode if you know to look for them.
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