The Zaibach Empire was once a desolate kingdom on Gaia. The lands were barren and climate was harsh. The people who lived there faced hunger, sickness, and many invasions. That is until a scientist named Isaac arrived. He told them about science and developed their nation into a powerful state. Since they were technologically evolved, they surpassed many rival nations. Isaac became the Emporer of Zaibach and was called Dornkirk.
The Zaibach Empire are attempting to control the world to create a new era of peace. The Zaibach military uses a Guymelef as a main fear tactic. These are giant robot type technology. They posses a stealth cloak and are great at surprise attacks.
Members of Zaibach
He is the leader of the Zaibach Empire. He is extremely old.
Folken Lacour de Fanel
A lead cams see if Zabach and follows Dornkirk’s direct orders. He is Vans older brother.
He is a young leader of the Dragon Slayers, Zaibachs Warriors. He has a short temper and mysterious past. He also has a rivalry with Van.
The Dragon Slayers
Warriors of Zaibach under Dilandau’s control. Main warriors: Chesta, Migel Labariel, Dallet, Gatti, and Guimel.
Folken found this doppelgänger and convinced him to began to work for the Zaibach Empire.
Naria and Eriya
These twins were abandoned by their family. They were taken in by Folken and answer only to him.
He is loyal to Dilandau and also takes care of him.
Main characters: Van, Hitomi, Allen, Merle
Release date: April 2, 1996
Episode count: 26
Background: Escalfowne was originally an animated series consisting of 26 produced by Sunrise Studios. Kazuki Akane directed the series. The series ran from April 1996 to September 1996 on TV Tokyo. Two different mangas were adapted while the series was running on tv: a shonen and shojo version. Yumiko Tsukamoto, Hajime Yatate, and Shoji Kawamori novelized the series into six light novels. In 2000, an animated movie was adapted entitled Escaflowne.
Plot: The series follows a girl from Earth, Hitomi, who finds her way to Gaea. Here an Empire called Zaibach is attempting to take over. She aids Van and Allen in a fight to save the planet. She finds out she is the key to stopping the Zaibach. Zaibach are also trying to revive an ancient power of Atlantis. The true history of Atlantis is about to be revealed.
Why I chose this: Escaflowne is a good anime not only because of the story but also due to the nice love triangle. I am a sucker for romance. The characters develop nicely and some have a few surprises as well. Of course the soundtrack is fantastic on the ears as well.
When I first picked up Escaflowne to read I expected something different. I have seen only a few episodes of the anime, but I know the general plot. This manga however is written after the anime series. Yuzuru Yashiro explains the story of Escaflowne in a different way. The characters are still there in the story, just in a different way. The story was good and really did not use a lot of machinery. The Escalfowne was not even present in the manga until the last few chapters.
In this version of Escaflowne, Hitomi has inherited her grandmother’s tarot cards and pendant. Van is from Gaea and a prince of the Fanelian kingdom. His family also has the ability to go to the Mystic Moon or Earth. He is forced to go to obtain the key to unlocking Escaflowne. Hitomi’s pendant happens to be the key. Hitomi is sucked into the world of Gaea with Van. She meets up with Allen, who is really different from his anime counter part.
Eventually you learn that the reason Hitomi was brought here was not to activate Escaflowne. Dunkirk had wanted to bring her grandmother back. He had once fallen in love with her and sealed the Escaflowne and gave her the key to take back to the Mystic Moon. He used Van’s brother Folken to get the key and Hitomi there. Folken uses him to get the key to the Escaflowne though. Once this occurs, Van is faced with having to kill his brother to save Gaea.
Hitomi is the main character of Escaflowne. She is the quiet and bright student in the class. She is just a high school student which lives with her mother. She inherited a great many things from her grandmother and some from the world of Gaea. Van is the hero of the story. He is a hard headed teenager seeking revenge for Fanelia’s destruction. He intends to use Hitomi to get back the Escaflowne and activate it.
Allen is a prince of Asturia. He only wishes to help Van due to the fact that Zaibach is a common enemy among the other empires of Gaea. He is an intelligent person and does have good intentions. Gadeth is a former Zaibach fighter, but has since become a mercenary. Allen hires him to protect Van and Hitomi from the Zaibach forces.
In the Zaibach forces, Dunkirk is the ruler. He is only trying to reconnect with his lost love from the Mystic Moon. Folken is using him so he can get to the key to take over Gaea with the Escaflowne. He is a cold and heartless character.
There are of course other characters in the manga, but these are the only ones that are really important to the story. The other characters may have similarities to the anime, while some are just completely new tot he story.
There are of course a lot of major differences in the manga and anime of Escaflowne. For instance the Escaflowne is unlocked and used in the first episodes of the anime series. In the manga the Escaflowne is not even unlocked until the last few chapters. No one even uses it to do anything. Van is just given the key and that was all.
Another major difference was how characters looked. Folken and Hitomi was the two major ones. Folken looked more like Zagato from Magic Knight Rayearth than the original in the anime. Hitomi looks different, but only because of the hair. The long hair really makes a difference to her character.
There are also a lot of characters that did not even make the manga series. The twins that follow Falcon around were never mentioned. Nor was their race even mentioned. Merle is never mentioned in the manga. Instead a character named Noir. He has a bird named Subaru which follows him around.
Escaflowne was a great manga. I have not read the other two versions yet, but the one by Yuzuru Yashiro was definitely a good story to read. The story was more focused on the characters and how they dealt with what they were handed rather than fight. The story was a just a bit weak. The character focus was great, but still some more fighting would have been nice.