Escaflowne (エスカフローネ Esukafurōne?) is an anime film produced by Sunrise and animated by Studio BONES. Directed by Kazuki Akane, the film is a re-telling of the twenty-six episode anime television series The Vision of Escaflowne. While the plot of the film has some similar elements to the original television series, the characters differ in varying degrees from the television counterparts, with many completely redesigned and bearing little resemblance to their original counterparts. The world of Gaea has a more Asian design than the heavily European influenced television series.
The film is licensed for Region 1 release by Bandai Entertainment, which gave the film a theatrical release on January 25, 2002. A CD soundtrack and two drama CDs have also been released in Japan by Victor Entertainment in relation to the series.
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Hitomi Kanzaki is always sleepy and has some strange dreams. She feels depressed and wants to disappear. After letting away her only friend, she is transported inside the Dragon Armour to a new and mysterious world, Gaea. Once there she is called the Winged Goddess, but can't understand anything. After some time she will know that there is a battle for the Black Dragons dynasty between Prince Van and his brother Lord Folken, in which she is called to play an important role.
Escaflowne varies greatly from the original The Vision of Escaflowne series. With character re-designs by Nobuteru Yūki, the film focuses on the relationship between Van and Hitomi and their personal issues. The characters themselves are also given different personalities, with the film Hitomi changing from a cheerful girl in love to a depressed, suicidal schoolgirl who is suffering from self-induced feelings of loneliness and alienation. Van is also depicted as being more lonely and emotionally reserved, as well as being far more aggressive and willing to slay any perceived enemies than his more pacifistic series counterpart.
Although the Vision of Escaflowne series had been produced by Sunrise, the animation for the film was handled primarily by Studio BONES, a company founded by a number of ex-Sunrise staff. It was the first BONES feature film production. Studio co-founder Hiroshi Ōsaka and character designer Nobuteru Yūki split the animation director duties, with Ōsaka heading up production at BONES. Some of the film's action sequences were assigned to the studio's animators as talent showcases, notably including Yutaka Nakamura (who animated nearly a minute and a half of the opening sword fight without assistance).
The first European presentation was on January 19, 2001, during the Future Film Festival in Bologna (Italy). The North American theatrical premiere was on January 25, 2002, in select cities, including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Vancouver. The North American television premiere was September 10, 2005, on the Cartoon Network programming block Adult Swim, after airing on [adult swim] on demand.
Bandai Visual released the movie to DVD in a two-disc limited edition set on April 25, 2001. Packed in a limited edition art box, the release included a 36 page booklet on history of the film, as well as on-disc interviews with staff and cast and the theatrical trailers and television commercials. The film was released to Blu-ray disc on January 28, 2008.
Licensed by Bandai Entertainment, Escaflowne was first released to Region 1 DVD on July 23, 2002, in "Standard" and "Ultimate" editions. The Ultimate Edition included premium packaging, the CD soundtrack, an exclusive Maaya Sakamoto music video, interviews from the theatrical premiere events, and interviews with the staff and cast. On September 13, 2005, the film was re-released as part of Bandai's "Anime Legends" line, including many of the extras from the Ultimate Edition, including the CD soundtrack and interviews. The film was given another re-release on February 6, 2007 under Bandai's "Anime Movie Classics" label. Unlike the "Anime Legends" release, this version uses the same cover art and CD as the original standard DVD release. Bandai Entertainment also included the Ultimate Edition release of the movie in its 2004 "Perfect Collection" DVD set of the original Vision of Escaflowne anime series.
The Escaflowne OST was released on July 5, 2000 and contained a generous twenty-seven tracks, including the movie's full opening and ending themes. Yoko Kanno and Hajime Mizoguchi composed and produced the movie's musical themes and backgrounds. Vocal performers include Maaya Sakamoto, Shanti Snyder, Midori, Children of Adom — Vocals and the Warsaw Chorus.
In North America, the soundtrack was released with the Ultimate Edition Region 1 DVD release on July 23, 2002 and with the "Anime Legends" re-release on September 13, 2005. The CD has not, however, been given an individual release.
Victor Entertainment released two drama CDs for the series. Escaflowne Prologue 1: Earth and Escaflowne Prologue 2: Gaea were both released on October 21, 2000 and originally broadcast as part of the Bunka Hoso radio show. Both drama CDs are out-of-print in Japan.
- Clements, Jonathan; Helen McCarthy (2001-09-01). The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917 (1st ed. ed.). Berkeley, California: Stone Bridge Press. p. 115. ISBN 1-880656-64-7. OCLC 47255331. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- Beveridge, Chris (2005-04-15). "Escaflowne Movie: Standard Edition". AnimenOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2006-07-31.
- Vigo, Jesus (2002-03-31). "Escaflowne the Movie DTS Limited Edition". AnimeOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2008-02-24. Cite error: Invalid
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- "エスカフローネ". Bandai Channel (in (Japanese)). Bandai Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2008-02-20. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- "ESCAFLOWNE Soundtrack". CD Japan (in (Japanese)). Neowing. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- "Escaflowne Pro Prologue 1 Earth". CD Japan. Neowing. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- "Escaflowne Pro Prologue 2 GAEA". CD Japan. Neowing. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- Bandai Channel's official website for Escaflowne (Japanese)
- Escaflowne at the Internet Movie Database
- Escaflowne at Allmovie
- Escaflowne at MetaCritic