Predictably, Van’s reunion with Folken is met with tepid response by the former. In the latter’s case however, he is met with great success when it comes to being an integral resource for Asturia and other allied Gaean nations in preparation for the inevitable clash with Zaibach.
Yet, even with this setup, Folken moves into the background for the most part this episode. Instead, we are back to Hitomi again, now feeling a further separation between her and the world she inhabits. Van maintains his emotional distance from her with a slight veneer of apathy and an itchy trigger finger, and Allen has become overly protective, scolding Hitomi for venturing out of the palace due to the previous events in the last two episodes. In an unusual volte-face, Hitomi snaps back at her current objet d’rool. Then it gets even worse when Allen finally admits his love for her, and even spills that Chid is his and Marlene’s kid. While this makes for a charming (if short) scene with her and Millerna, reversing the “I have this friend” scene in Episode 15, she comes out of this episode not feeling in the slightest bit close to anybody, everybody seems to be pushing her away.
The only exception is perhaps the best scene in the episode, where she interacts with Folken after a run. It’s rather brief, and the last we ever see of Folken in this episode, but like her time with Naria, shows her usual decency to Folken. Unlike Naria however, Folken is a bit more self-aware and tests Hitomi’s resolve in trusting him. Hitomi doesn’t falter, and Folken ends his time on the episode musing about her true power being her resolve in believing in people no matter what. It’s a wonderful moment.
It is of great misfortune however, when Zaibach makes a preemptive strike at a naval base where all the allied nations are amassing some of their forces against such an attack. We not only get a guymelef battle since like… forever, but we see the return of Dilandau, resuming his place as antagonist ace. The only problem is he seems more unhinged than before and as such makes his fighting prowess all the more intense. The fight between him, Van, and Allen at the base is for the most part a well done affair, even if it is hampered a bit by some lousy art quality in the fights. On a surface level there is not much to it, since Van and Allen are surprised at Dilandau’s return and are more concerned with saving whoever is left at the base than figuring his return out. At the emotional level though, thanks to the set connections between Escaflowne, Van, and Hitomi. The poor girl feels Van going after all the Zaibach soldiers with much vim and vigour, all the while hearing his voice declaring that he’s going to protect her. She doesn’t think so, believing it to be because Van enjoys all the killing. I don’t buy it. Those feelings of separation, Allen’s declaration of love and desire to marry her, plus all that aforementioned stuff overwhelms the poor girl, and for the first time ever she openly states how she wants to go home, and she gets it.
For 23 episodes, her desire to go home was allayed by the trust she had of her comrades. She believed no matter what, they had her back and she could make do with this new world.
Now it is gone, and somehow…
We’re back to Square One. What a way to end an episode, and in such a way that makes absolute, perfect, sense in this final stretch.
Aoi Hitomi – Maaya Sakamoto sings a cover to a melody used in “Memory of Fanelia”. Very pleasant if melancholic. Good accompaniment to signify her nostalgia for him, even if she is dimensions away in Gaea.
Memory of Fanelia – Haven’t done this one yet, so here’s another Musical Spotlight. Same scheme as the other one, except instead it’s longing for Fanelia.
Notes of Escaflowne:
- Last major character of import is introduced: Dilandau’s sole right-hand mandog, Jajuka. Thus it means one final sub vs. dub comparison. It’s mostly because of the night and day difference between the performances. In the sub, Jajuka sounds fairly normal, with a soft human voice to match his markedly bishounen pupper appearance. In the dub? He’s voiced by Scott McNeil, using his Piccolo voice. I guess it’s not BAD, but it’s interesting. Strangely in the movie, when Jajuka is redesigned to make it look like something’s wrong with his face, Scott McNeil is more fitting there than the original seiyuu. We’ll see how Chuck Huber fares in the new dub.
- Third use of Epistle. Fancy that.