Predictably, the cliffhanger in the last episode is resolved without much fuss by a very effective Van, and thus allows us to delve into the topic of this week’s episode: Fiery passions. Although we’ve seen Hitomi gazing with longing eyes over Allen, it has been left on the backburner for the rather paltry endeavours of rescuing Van and brave escapes. With the inclusion of Princess Millerna to the cast, now comes the complications, and the show goes shoujo on us once again.
I don’t say this as a bad thing, since the first episode did it so well, and Van is too intense on his warrior-ring like so:
…To even figure into a complicated and procedural love triangle. Instead, we finally get quite a bit of characterization for Millerna. The entire first half of the episode is dedicated to a banquet marked with tenseness on all sides. If it isn’t Millerna being passive aggressive toward Hitomi: speaking on her behalf despite being considerate enough to hide where she came from to Daddy Dearest, it is all the talk being thrown about with regards to the royal matter of betrothing to some unseen (for now?) son of the King’s fez-clad associate. It is kinda boilerplate all things considered, and the more interesting tenseness is instead between Allen and Millerna’s sister, Princess Eries. It seems like Allen has a much more… intimate history with the Asturian Royal Family, and Eries knows quite a bit of it to cast disapproving glances at him, never mind personally warn him not to lead Millerna on. Even if it helps flesh out Millerna, I’m still left rather cold to her, and am now more interested in what Allen has to do with her family. Even so, it makes the big non-action climax of the episode: Millerna purposefully coercing an uncertain Allen to a kiss in front of a Hitomi (who had to turn in early cuz she got too crunk), an effective event in impacting relationships across the board and moving the plot right along.
…I think anyway. Watching this episode again I’m a bit confused at the machinations going on between Asturia and Zaibach. Correct me if I’m wrong but: Hitomi gets kidnapped by Gecko Men so Escaflowne can be lured out into the open so that Asturia, who has had it all this time, can give Zaibach a reason to occupy the capital so they can use it as a staging ground for an invasion of a neighboring country? I can’t figure if this is clever or convoluted, but apparently it happened. Does it dampen the show in any way? I don’t think so, maybe I understood it better back in the day when I did not read too much into it, or maybe I was more inclined to pay attention to another kind of fiery passion:
You wreck that shit up, Dilandau. You wreck it up good.
Either way, this remains quite a solid way to shake things up, especially with the forceful separation of our heroes when the episode ends. I look forward to seeing if their reunion will hold up just as well two decades after its original broadcast.
Cradle Song – A nice terrific piece that complements Van’s training as seen in the picture above as well as Allen’s conversation with Eries. The track exudes a compelling contemplative melancholy, and in turn accentuates the tenseness that lingers during our heroes’s downtime…
Notes of Escaflowne:
- …Which of course is completely obliterated by its excising in the dub for that slow “Escaflowne” chant (forgot its name, until next Musical Spotlight its “Dirge of Curse”). This is the point though in the Fox Kids dub where the editing gets too intrusive. That first melef fight in the episode that is instead put in the previous episode. The conversation between Allen and Eries? Excised. I think it is at this point when I was watching the Fox Kids dub that I was slowly losing interest and patience with the alterations.
- What’s the name of Allen’s pet owl? It’s always there, but I’ve never known what Allen calls it.
- I’d love to get prints from the guy who does these shadowgraphs. How much do you think he’d charge for commission?