Foreign Friday: The Vision of Escaflowne

This week’s Foreign Friday is The Vision of Escaflowne. There are three different versions of this story: the anime, the movie, and then the manga, written by Katsu Aki.

 The Story (for the anime and the manga)

Hitomi Hoshino likes to dabble with tarot cards but one day, her hobby somehow leads her to a world called Gaia. She soon meets up with Van Fanel, prince of the kingdom of Fanelia. However, no sooner does he return home than the forces of Zaibach destroy his kingdom. Hitomi must choose between searching for a way home or staying to save the world with her newfound powers. (The story for the movie is similar, but not identical).

The Characters

Since there are three distinct versions of Escaflowne, I will give the character rundown for the anime (which came first). Hitomi is the average high school girl, interested in tarot cards and trying to work up the courage to tell her crush that she likes him. Van is the prince of a small kingdom in Gaia, he is arrogant,  young, rash and kind.

What I Thought

Despite this blog usually being about manga, I have to say that I preferred the story line in the anime the best. There is better character development in the anime (although the ultimate enemy made me snort in laughing disbelief). The anime was aimed towards a more shojo audience, which explains the character emphasis over action, although there is plenty of action throughout the series. It brings up interesting insight into consequences of tarot reading, worries and wishes. This series was aired in the 80’s, so it’s “classic” anime.

The movie is geared on a more shonen bend, with more action, more blood, and less relationship-like stuff. It is an interesting use of the Escaflowne characters, but has a unique story line. Not bad if you want more swords and less “who do I love?”s.

The manga, which came after the anime, aims for a younger, more shonen audience than the anime, but is closer to the anime’s story line than the movie. There is more humor, and more manga-esque plot developments in this version than in the anime. I have not read the entire series that’s available, so I can’t make a thorough judgement on which is better. There are 8 volumes in the series, all in English.

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