Oh boy, this is an episode I’ve been looking forward to. The penultimate episode of Escaflowne is one of those kinds of episode that does its best to try and wrap up just about every lingering character arc. In a show like Escaflowne where its end is pretty darn definitive, this is both a necessary and proper venture. However, does it go a good job in that regard and we’re left satisfied in the end of it? Well, yes and no. I’ve never been really gaga about this episode, even if I’m aware of the momentous events occurring in it, and even after so many years since my last watch of it, it still remains.
One thing for sure, Van and Hitomi’s declarations of love will be in the final episode, as Van sends Hitomi off once again back to Asturia while he heads to the frontlines to boost morale. Expected, but it allows something we never saw much of during the course of the series: Full-on, en masse, guymelef warfare. It is about as impressive as you expect it to be, as both soldiers and melefs charge the battlefield to gain ground instead of what happened in Freid where our heroes were only holding the line. We even get Weapons of Mass Destruction introduced to the series as well, with an energist bomb leveling an entire battlefield filled with friend and foe alike (and the bomb isn’t even launched by Zaibach!). A shame this show is more shoujo than shounen, because en masse melef melee war would’ve been neato torpedo. On the other hand, good enough to show things are down to the wire and it better wrap up soon.
Meanwhile in Asturia we get quite the bit of reconciliations all around the protagonist room. Hitomi and Allen share one final moment together, where the latter concedes the former and Van’s love each other even though said former remains very confused and uncertain about it. It’s short and to the point, and pretty much all that needed to be said was said. Allen in the last episode admits his lack of desire for Hitomi anymore in light of reconciling with his past, and by and large it was also resolved by Hitomi choosing Van over Amano in the same episode too.
The next big one is Dryden and Millerna, where Dryden, in a rare break of character, gets frustrated over the war situation. Given his usual diffidence to emote uncertainty, this is a surprise. What is even more a surprise is how he then kinda… divorces Millerna so he can do a bit more difference in the world and ply his mercantile skills for the Gaea that still remain after the war. All I can really say about this reconciliation is what I said so many years ago: “…Okay.” Even after watching this, Dryden still remains a very ambivalent character to me. He has the skills, he has the personality, he has the ability to be a great foil to the other characters, but he never seems to do much with it after the Mystic Valley, never mind when he is interim ruler of Asturia. Then you add the aforementioned diffidence to emote uncertainty, and it gets even worse. Still, Dryden is a welcome part of the cast of Escaflowne, I just wish they did more with him.
Now Millerna and Allen’s reconciliation however, is a great one and makes the most sense. Millerna realizes after her conversation with Dryden that she relies on other people to make her happy, and tells it to the only other man she had invested her time and emotion to. It’s a well done scene with a stronger Millerna to boot, and when you think about her throughout the series, she is on point. Being smitten over Allen? Following through with the arranged marriage with Dryden despite uncertainty? Confiding to Hitomi on what is the best course of action whether it is through girl talk or fortune telling? The series has this trail of bread crumbs leading to this good payoff for the character, and it works. She is content with her decision, Allen is content with it, and we are content with it. Good job, everybody. We all care.
Then finally, we have Folken, and given the bloodcurdling scream of Van for his brother in last week’s preview, it’s pretty obvious he dies. He once again has some great moments with Hitomi, even if the poor girl can’t help but continue to beg him to stop Van’s suffering and to avoid a potential death. However, Folken is having none of it, for he is invested in bringing Dornkirk down with what little remnants of the Fate Machine from his old floating fortress can muster, alongside his own feeling he is going to die anyway (which he explains is the reason for the black wings). Eventually with a little bit of fate, the cogs turn, causing a Pillar of Light to bring Hitomi and Folken to the heart of Zaibach once again. There, Dornkirk goads Folken to end it all, which he does with gusto. The unfortunate matter is, since the Scientist Formerly Known as Isaac is the epicenter of his Empire, and as such everything from fate to the Laws of Motion are amplified in his presence, his death brings about his Third Law with a vengeance. The action of killing him creates the equal but opposite reaction of the tip of Folken’s sword breaking and then moving with enough force to strike him in his heart.
This is a brilliant and fitting death for Folken, who for the most part given his fealty to Zaibach and his betrayal of Fanelia, had to at least pay for what he has done. It hits the right amount of tragic notes, and the moment Van realizes his brother dies is one of the most impactful moments of the show. The likelihood of those two brothers ever hugging it out or being sentimental has long past, so we have this kind of parting of ways. You know Folken cares for Van, and despite his bitterness Van still holds a torch for the brother that left him. So when you hear Seki Tomokazu’s heartrending scream of his brother, you feel the anguish, and perhaps regret, in his voice. He will never have that chance to reconcile with his brother anymore, and everything hurts.
A bit of hiccups here and there in the penultimate episode, but this final scene works wonders for reconciling characters and priming us for the inevitable end. Will it hold up? Tune in next week, same Escaflowne time, same Escaflowne channel!
Fox Kids Escaflowne Theme – AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You thought I would end this coverage of the show WITHOUT a Musical Spotlight of the theme that opened it during its stint on Fox Kids!?
As the only non-Yoko Kanno track made for this series, this heartless attention-grabber is everything the Yoko Kanno score is not. While there is an Escaflowne chant taking place, it’s done to some borderline subpar techno rave beat, as it showcases all the action parts of the first few episodes. A lot of those scenes are crimped from the first episode they SKIPPED. It’s an ADD-fest to be sure, with multiple cuts and side windows showcasing who’s in the show, never mind what to expect, is an information overload reeking of desperation. They couldn’t trust the show to appeal on its own merits, so they just shoved everything but the kitchen sink in and hoped to God, people would pay attention.
They didn’t, and it was cancelled pretty darn quickly. Either way, dig it, as well as the cheap logo they made for it and their subpar Photoshop skills on who is showcased in the final shot.
Notes of Escaflowne: