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  • The Vision of Escaflowne is a 26-episode Japanese anime television series

  • produced by Sunrise Studios and directed by Kazuki Akane. It premiered in Japan

  • on April 2, 1996 on TV Tokyo, and the final episode aired on September 24,

  • 1996. Sony's anime satellite channel, Animax also aired the series, both in

  • Japan and on its various worldwide networks, including Hong Kong, Taiwan,

  • Southeast Asia, and South Asia. The series is licensed for Region 1 release

  • by Bandai Entertainment. The series follows a teenage high school

  • girl named Hitomi, who finds herself pulled from Earth to the planet Gaea

  • when a boy named Van appears on the high school track while battling a dragon. In

  • Gaea, she is caught in the middle of a war as the Zaibach Empire attempts to

  • take over Gaea. Van, with aid from Allen, commands his mystical mech

  • Escaflowne in the struggle to stop the Zaibach Empire. Hitomi's fortune telling

  • powers blossom in Gaea as she becomes the key to awakening Escaflowne and to

  • stopping Zaibach's plans. While the anime series was in

  • production, two very different manga retellings were also developed and

  • released: a shōnen version of the story entitled The Vision of Escaflowne and a

  • shōjo retelling titled HitomiThe Vision of Escaflowne. In addition, a

  • second shōjo adaptation called EscaflowneEnergist's Memories was

  • released as a single volume in 1997. The story was novelized in a series of six

  • light novels by Yumiko Tsukamoto, Hajime Yatate, and Shoji Kawamori. A movie

  • adaptation, entitled simply Escaflowne, was released on June 24, 2000, but bears

  • only a basic resemblance to the original series. Four CD soundtracks and a drama

  • CD have also been released in relation to the series.

  • Plot The series focuses on the heroine,

  • Hitomi Kanzaki, and her adventures after she is transported to the world of Gaea,

  • a mysterious planet where she can see Earth and its moon in the sky. On Gaea,

  • Earth is known as the Mystic Moon. Hitomi's latent psychic powers are

  • enhanced on Gaea and she quickly becomes embroiled in the conflicts between the

  • Zaibach Empire and the several peaceful countries that surround it. The

  • conflicts are brought about by the Zaibach Empire's quest to revive the

  • legendary power from the ancient city of Atlantis. As the series progresses, many

  • of the characters' pasts and motivations, as well as the history of

  • Atlantis and the true nature of the planet Gaea, are revealed.

  • Production Shoji Kawamori first proposed the series

  • after a trip to Nepal, during which he visited the foggy mountain region and

  • pictured a hidden world where an epic focusing on both fate and divination

  • should be set. When he returned, he proposed the series to Bandai Visual and

  • Sunrise. According to Kawamori, his pitch for the series was simple: "if

  • Macross was robotic mecha and love songs, why not a story about robotic

  • mecha and divining powers?" He worked with Bandai producer Minoru

  • Takanashi to finish fleshing out the original idea. They researched various

  • mysteries for inspiration, particularly stories centered on the mythical land of

  • Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle. As the series began taking shape, they

  • changed the lead character from a male, the norm for an action-mecha series, to

  • a high school girl as the lead character. Nobuteru Yuki was hired as

  • the character designer, and tasked with crafting a design for Hitomi and the

  • rest of the cast. He would later state that Hitomi was his favorite character

  • because it was the first one he'd ever designed completely from scratch rather

  • than simply being adapted from an existing medium. Initially, Folken and

  • Dilandau were a single enemy commander, but as the story was fleshed out, the

  • creators felt the series would be more interesting if there were two with very

  • different personalities. Initially, the series was planned at

  • thirty-nine episodes, with Yasuhiro Imagawa brought on board to direct. He

  • is credited with coining the word "escaflowne", a Latin-based derivative

  • of the word "escalation", that would be used in the title. Imagawa saw the

  • series as being a typical shōnen series that was heavily male oriented and

  • featuring a shapely heroine and dramatic battles. However, he left the project

  • before actual production started to direct Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Without

  • a director, the series was put on hold and Kawamori left to work on other

  • projects. After two years sitting on the shelf, Sunrise revisited the project and

  • brought in relative newcomer Kazuki Akane as the new director. In order to

  • broaden the potential audience, Akane decided to add more shōjo, or

  • girl-oriented, elements to the series. The suggestive elements were removed,

  • several of the male characters were given more bishōnen—"beautiful

  • boy"—appearances, and the plot element around the tarot cards were added. Akane

  • also gave the character of Hitomi a complete make over, taking her from

  • being a curvy, air-headed, long-haired girl with glasses to the slim, athletic,

  • short-haired and more intelligent and confident girl seen in the final series.

  • With the series character designs finalized and the story set, Yoko Kanno

  • was selected to write the songs for the series, including the background songs

  • which she co-wrote with Hajime Mizoguchi. Initially they found it

  • difficult to score the series as the plot itself was still being reworked

  • around the new concept, but the plot changes were finished in time for them

  • to prepare the score and give the film the desired final "epic touch."

  • Sixteen-year-old Maaya Sakamoto, fresh from a small role in the anime

  • adaptation of Mizuiro Jidai, was selected not only as the voice of

  • Hitomi, but also to sing the Escaflowne theme song. Kanno is noted as saying

  • that Sakamoto is an ideal interpreter of her work. After this project, they

  • continued to collaborate on many other works and some consider her work on The

  • Vision of Escaflowne to be the launching point of Sakamoto's career.

  • As the series entered into production, the budget required it be cut down to

  • twenty-six episodes before work began on the final scripts and animation began.

  • Not wanting to cut out any of the characters or the already elaborately

  • planned plot lines, the series was instead forced to fit into the shorter

  • length and cover more of the story in each episode than originally planned.

  • This can be seen some in the first episode, where in the credits were cut

  • in favor of adding more exposition. In the retail Japanese video release, some

  • of the deleted scenes were restored to the first seven episodes.

  • Media = Anime series=

  • The Vision of Escaflowne premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo on April 2, 1996 where

  • it aired weekly until it completed its twenty-six episode run on September 24,

  • 1996. Bandai Entertainment‍‍ '​‍s North American division, which licensed the

  • series for home video distribution under its AnimeVillage label, first released

  • the series with English subtitles, across eight VHS volumes, including a

  • box set, from September 15, 1998 to December 15, 1998. In August 2000, Fox

  • Kids began broadcasting the series in the United States. Produced by Haim

  • Saban, these dubbed episodes were heavily edited to remove footage, add

  • new "flashback" sequences to remind the audience of the events that just

  • occurred, and to heavily downplay the role of Hitomi in the series. The first

  • episode was skipped altogether, and the series soundtrack produced by Yoko Kanno

  • was partially replaced with more techno themes. This modified version of the

  • series was canceled after ten episodes due to "low ratings". Fox explained that

  • they edited to meet their own target audience, to comply with broadcast

  • standards, and to fit the allowed timeslot. The Canadian television

  • channel YTV acquired Fox's dubbed version of the series for broadcast.

  • Following Fox's planned broadcast schedule, they premiered the series on

  • September 11, 2000 with the second episode. YTV aired all of the episodes

  • Fox Kids dubbed, concluding with the series true first episode in February

  • 2001. Bandai began releasing the dubbed version to VHS in 2000, discontinuing

  • the releases in February 2001 after only four volumes had been released.

  • Bandai later released the entire series, unedited and in the original episode

  • order, to Region 1 DVD. Spanning eight volumes, the releases include the

  • original Japanese audio tracks with optional English subtitles, and the

  • uncut English dubbed track. Bandai also later released the series in several

  • different box sets, including a Limited Edition set released on July 23, 2002, a

  • "Perfect Collection"—which included the Escaflowne feature-length moviereleased

  • October 26, 2004, and an "Anime Legends" box set on April 11, 2006. At Otakon

  • 2013, Funimation Entertainment had announced that they have acquired both

  • licenses to The Vision of Escaflowne and the movie.

  • Three pieces of theme music are used for the series. "No Need for Promises",

  • performed by Maaya Sakamoto, is used for the series opening theme for the entire

  • series, except the first episode in which no opening sequence is used.

  • Performed by Hiroki Wada, "Mystic Eyes" is used for the ending them for the

  • first twenty-five episodes, while the final episode uses Yoko Kanno's

  • instrumental piece "The Story of Escaflowne ~ End Title".

  • = Soundtracks= The Vision of Escaflowne is the debut

  • work of Maaya Sakamoto, who not only voiced the main character of Hitomi

  • Kanzaki, but also performed the opening theme song "Yakusoku wa Iranai" and

  • other songs from the series. Yoko Kanno and Hajime Mizoguchi composed and

  • produced the series' musical themes and background, incorporating a variety of

  • styles including contemporary, classical, and Gregorian chant.

  • Four CD soundtracks have been released in Japan by Victor Entertainment.

  • Escaflowne: Over the Sky was released on June 5, 1996, with sixteen tracks,

  • including the series' full opening and ending themes. The second CD, Escaflowne

  • Original Soundtrack 2, was released on July 24, 1996 and contained an

  • additional seventeen tracks. Released on September 28, 1996,

  • Escaflowne Original Soundtrack 3 contained an additional fifteen tracks.

  • The fourth CD soundtrack, The Vision of Escaflowne: Lovers Only, was released in

  • on January 22, 1997 and contained twenty tracks, including the original TV length

  • opening and ending themes and the ending theme used for the final episode of the

  • series. Despite the relative popularity of the soundtracks, they were not

  • licensed for release outside of Japan for some time and were only available by

  • importing them. However, all 4 soundtracks can now be currently

  • purchased digitally via iTunes. = Manga=

  • Three alternate retellings of The Vision of Escaflowne have been released in

  • manga form, with first two manga series developed at the same time as the anime.

  • Due to the radical changes in the anime series during production, these two

  • manga series are very different from the original anime series and each other.

  • The first series, also titled The Vision of Escaflowne was one of the first manga

  • series to appear in the then new Shōnen Ace magazine from Kadokawa Shoten.

  • Despite the anime series itself being on hold, Sunrise gave artist Katsu Aki the

  • existing production and character designs, resulting in the first manga

  • series having the heavy shōnen feel and curvaceous Hitomi that was originally

  • planned for the anime series. Given free rein to change the story however he

  • wanted, Aki's version is a violent saga focused primarily on fighting and has

  • Hitomi transforming into a "curvaceous nymph" that is the power source of the

  • mecha Escaflowne. The series premiered in Shōnen Ace's first issue on October

  • 24, 1994 and ran until November 26, 1997. The thirty-eight chapters were

  • collected and published by Kadokawa across eight tankōbon volumes. It was

  • licensed for released in North America by Tokyopop with the first volume

  • released on July 10, 2003. The Tokyopop English editions were also imported for

  • distribution in Australia by Madman Entertainment.

  • In 1996, with the premiere of the anime series, Messiah KnightThe Vision of

  • Escaflowne was created. This shōjo oriented adaptation was written by

  • Yuzuru Yashiro and serialized in Asuka Fantasy DX from April 8, 1996 through

  • January 18, 1997. Unlike the first manga, it focused more on the

  • interaction of the characters and severely toned down the violence to the

  • point that the mecha are not used for battle at all and Escaflowne only

  • appears near the end of the series. It was abruptly canceled after only 10

  • chapters and the end of the anime, due to the slowing popularity of the series.

  • The individual chapters were released in two tankōbon volumes, at which time the

  • series was retitled HitomiThe Vision of Escaflowne.

  • A final manga retelling, EscaflowneEnergist's Memories, was a collaborative

  • effort of various manga artist around Japan to create 15 "mini-stories"

  • related to the anime series. The single volume manga was published in January

  • 1997 under Kadokawa's Asuka comics DX shōjo imprint. Artist's who contributed

  • to the volume include: Tammy Ohta, Yayoi Takeda, Kahiro Okuya, Daimoon Tennyo,

  • Kazumi Takahashi, Masaki Sano, and Kyo Watanabe.

  • = Novels= Yumiko Tsukamoto, Hajime Yatate, and

  • Shoji Kawamori collaborated in the writing on a novelization of the Vision

  • of Escaflowne anime series. The light novel chapters were originally

  • serialized in Newtype, and the illustrations were provided by Nobuteru

  • Yuuki and Hirotoshi Sano. The individual chapters were collected and released in

  • six individual volumes by Kadokawa under their "New Type Novels" label between

  • June 1996 and August 1997. = Movie=

  • Escaflowne is a ninety-eight minute anime film released in Japan on June 24,

  • 2000 that retells of the story in The Vision of Escaflowne. The film was

  • produced by Sunrise, animated by Studio BONES, and directed by Kazuki Akane.

  • Featuring character re-designs by Nobuteruki, the film focuses on the

  • relationship between Van and Hitomi and their personal issues. The characters

  • themselves are also given different personalities; in the film Hitomi

  • changes from a cheerful girl in love to a depressed, suicidal schoolgirl who

  • suffers from self-induced feelings of loneliness and alienation and Van is now

  • a violent, hot-headed man. In the film the world of Gaea has a more Asian

  • design than the heavily European-influenced television series.

  • = Other media= Victor Entertainment released one drama

  • CD for the series, Escaflowne Original Drama Album, which was released on

  • December 18, 1996. A video game based on the series, also

  • titled The Vision of Escaflowne was released to the PlayStation system by

  • Bandai Games in 1997. A limited edition version came packaged with a small

  • collector's book and 26 tarot cards. The action-adventure game had an altered

  • plot line and featured additional characters.

  • Reception Though well received, The Vision of

  • Escaflowne was not as popular in Japan as producers hoped. Outside of Japan,

  • however, it was a worldwide hit. In the United States, it outsold Gundam on

  • video tape, and the first volume of the English DVD release of The Vision of

  • Escaflowne was the fourth best-selling anime DVD for the month of September

  • 2000. The series aired in South Korea where it enjoyed consistently high

  • ratings. Producers noted that it was the worldwide success that led to the

  • eventual creation of the anime film, Escaflowne.

  • Egon Loo, writing for Animerica, considered it an "epic fantasy" with

  • some of the "most dramatic music in any soundtrack, anime, or live-action", and

  • a "breathless pacing" that result in its being an "acclaimed masterpiece."

  • References External links

  • Official website Bandai Channel webpage

  • Biglobe webpage BS11 website

  • Official CR The Vision of Escaflowne website

  • Hananokaze) Tokyopop's manga webpage

  • Madman Entertainment website Madman Entertainment website

  • The Vision of Escaflowne at Anime News Network's encyclopedia

  • The Vision of Escaflowne at Anime News Network's encyclopedia

  • HITOMIThe Vision of Escaflowne at Anime News Network's encyclopedia

  • EscaflowneEnergist's Memories at Anime News Network's encyclopedia

  • Animerica article

The Vision of Escaflowne is a 26-episode Japanese anime television series

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