Escaflowne Returns to the Big Screen


This website is prepared as part of a broader reading list for Robin O'Brian's course Introduction To Digital Film Promotion. In addition to the facts posted here, Dr. O'Brian covers some interesting topics related to this film. One such topic is the apparent effort to discredit the creatives involved through Google's search result. Searches for the production company showed results on page 1 of Google that related to human trafficking, all because of a family name that happened to be the same as a convicted trafficker. These types of "mixups" occur frequently with Google - go to to see the bigger picture. At some point there needs to be more accountability on Google's behavior, legislating a requirement to delete Google results that reveal personal information upon request as they do in the EU. No one should have to hire a reputation management service to deal with personal information inappropriately disseminated by Google. The course covers the back story of how this problem search result was remedied prior to release.


This was the official website created at the launch of the movie version of Escaflowne. Content is from the archived pages of the site and other outside reviews / press announcements.



With the successful release of the DVD, Escaflowne returns to the big screen. Click here to find location and showtimes.

Boston, Portland & Las Vegas added to Schedule!

On various dates in May, Escaflowne will be screening in Boston, Phoenix, Portland and Las Vegas. Check the release dates section for more details...

TV & Movie Box Sets to be released July 23, 2002!

Bandai celebrates Escaflowne's success with the release of a limited Edition TV Box Set and the Ultimate Edition Movie Box!

Exclusive Escamovie.Com Kazuki Akane Interview!

Animation Industry

Q: What was your first job in the animation industry?

A: I joined Sunrise as a director trainee after college. But my first job there was for production scheduling on "Z Gundam" - this job duties comprised of coordination between the director and various designers. The Directors expressed what they think are necessary for the designs in words and my job was to do research and get picture references to the designers to base their designs on.

Q: How did you get started directing?

A: A few years later, when we were working on "Samurai Troopers(Ronin Warriors)", I also started directing episodes.

Q: Do you have any influences on your directing styles?

A: The biggest influences were Hayao Miyazaki and Yoshiyuki Tomino. In case of Miyazaki works, visual expression that gives you a feel of liberation and in case of Tomino works, being an anime and incorporating human drama into the story at the same time. 

Q: Which do you find most satisfying, directing or writing scripts?

A: I haven't written until "Escaflowne"(movie). But story-boarding also has a special meaning at Sunrise. Sunrise has a tradition of encouraging directors to change the script during story-boarding. You can have a big influence on shaping a show by doing it.

As for directing, I found working on "Samurai Troopers" to be the most memorable. That was a show that changed the previous way Sunrise made animation. They used to only make "hardcore" giant robot genre shows. It wasn't until "Samurai Troopers" Sunrise started experimenting with new themes like heroes without robots.

The Movie

Q: In previous interviews, you've said that the movie, unlike the television series would be aimed more towards men. What were your reasons for going for this more realistic/gritty look?

A: I wanted the "Escaflowne" television series to be supported by female fans. And it happened. But it turned out to be too popular among girls(80% of the fan are female in Mr. Akane's opinion). In addition, there were certain elements that were not allowed on TV - I wanted to show a battle of life and death. To emphasize life, namely sword battles - that automatically requires there to be more graphic visuals - blood, swordplay, etc. These elements led the theatrical version to be different.

Q: From Gaea, we can see the Mystic Moon and the regular moon. Unlike the television series, the movie version's regular Moon's surface has an interesting eye-like symbol on it. Is there a special meaning in it? (This is a never-mentioned-before secret)

A: The regular moon is only in the theatrical version as you know. Gaea represents the earth itself in a far future and the moon in the sky may be our moon with the eye shape comprised of remnants of bases from a past long ago. What we see as the Mystic Moon may be a past earth whose image is projected in the sky - without really being there anymore. 

Q: What would you like to say to American fans?

A: I meant this film to entertain. It is an honor to have you as an audience.


25-Mar-03 Escaflowne Returns to the Big Screen
  With the successful release of the DVD, Escaflowne returns to the big screen. Click here to find location and showtimes.
Bandai Entertainment launched the theatrical release of "Escaflowne" on January 25th, 2002.
15-Apr-02 Boston, Portland & Las Vegas added to Schedule!
  On various dates in May, Escaflowne will be screening in Boston, Phoenix, Portland and Las Vegas. Check the release dates section for more details...
03-Apr-02 TV & Movie Box Sets to be released July 23, 2002!
  Bandai celebrates Escaflowne's success with the release of a limited Edition TV Box Set and the Ultimate Edition Movie Box!
02-Apr-02 Escaflowne in Tempe/Phoenix, AZ
  Escaflowne is screening on April 26th, 2002 in Tempe, AZ at the Harkins Valley Art Theatre.
28-Mar-02 Escaflowne selected for ReelWorld Film Festival
  Escaflowne has been selected to screen at the ReelWorld Film Festival as part of its animation series. The festival will be held April 4-8 in Toronto, Canada.
20-Mar-02 Escaflowne Opening in Seattle & Sacramento
  Escaflowne is showing on March 29th in Seattle, WA (GC Pacific Place 11) and April 19th in Sacramento, CA (UA Market Square, Arden Fair)
06-Feb-02 Escaflowne Second Release Schedule
  Escaflowne is due to open in several new cities in the coming months including Boston, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle.
06-Feb-02 Interview with Director Kazuki Akane!
  Escaflowne Movie director Kazuki Akane talks about the Animation Industry and the Movie in this exclusive Escamovie.Com Interview!
17-Jan-02 Escaflowne to open in Pasadena
  Jan. 25th, 2002 - to open at SMC Old Town Pasadena 8
10-Jan-02 Escaflowne to open in New York and Los Angeles
  Jan. 25th, 2002 - to open at AMC Empire 25 on 42nd St. & GCC Galleria in Redondo Beach
07-Jan-02 Escaflowne to open in Chicago and Vancouver
  Jan. 25th, 2002 - to open at GCC City North & Cinemarkï¾’s Tinseltown
18-Dec-01 Escamovie.Com Website Launches
  To promote the Theatrical release
11-Nov-01 Escaflowne Theatrical Release Date Announced
  Eagerly Anticipated Anime launching within top U.S. and Canadian markets




Escaflowne (エスカフローネ) is a 2000 anime movie which appears to be set in an alternate universe to the events of the anime television series The Vision of Escaflowne. Animated by Sunrise and Studio BONES, The movie was developed under the pre-production title Escaflowne: A Girl in Gaea, but it was retitled simply as Escaflowne before its theatrical premiere.[citation needed]

The plot of the movie is similar to the television show, but retold in a way that could fit in a two hour movie as opposed to a one season TV show. Most of the characters present in the TV show are also present in the movie, although many of the character designs are changed and in some cases bear little or no resemblance to the corresponding TV show characters. The only major character seen in the movie and not seen in the TV show was Sora, an advisor to Folken.

Plot and Setting 

Hitomi, a depressed high school student, finds herself being called to the mysterious world of Gaia--a fantastic place embroiled in a bloody war and hanging on the brink of destruction. Waking up inside the dragon armor Escaflowne she meets Van, the young prince of Adom who is embroiled in the conflicting war. Van seeks the Escaflowne to destroy all his enemies, Hitomi confused of her role and misunderstanding the entire situation causes the armor to disappear, turning it into a small pink stone which is later turned into a necklace by the mole man. With their friends the Abaharaki both Hitomi and Van are pulled into the center of the war with Hitomi's wish of destruction or salvation setting the fate of Gaia.

Unlike in the series, Gymelefs are virtually non-existent, only existing in myth. The only two shown are the Escaflowne and Alseides (name is not mentioned in the film), both of which run on blood/impure blood from those decedents of the dragon clan. It has also a number of differences with its many Asian elements in contrast to the European elements in the series. 
The only countries named through the movie are Torishina, Freid and Adom (Fanelia). All other countries have been assumedly taken over by the Black Dragon Clan.
It is safe to say that the setting of the movie is much more darker and has a brooding feel to the entire ordeal with its frequency in switching between Hitomi and Van's personal problems.


WARNING: This section contains Spoilers! 

Hitomi Kanzaki
Hitomi is a depressed schoolgirl, suffering from self-induced feelings of loneliness and alienation. She is not a clairvoyant, but frequently has dreams of a "boy in strange cloths" she had seen in the train station as a young girl. Once on Gaia she is often referred to as Wing Goddess and soon her outlook changes by finding a somewhat kindred spirit in Van. She states in the movie that she "wants to stay with him" and when called to battle doesn't want the Escaflowne to descend and Van to pilot it due to the tale of Escaflowne's previous destruction of Gaia. 

Van Fanel of Adom
Van is the young king of the destroyed kingdom of Adom. He is lonely and very emotionally distant from those around him, aggressive in combat and showing a willingness to slay any enemy in combat; he seeks the leader of the Black Dragon Clan for revenge on his people and family. After meeting Hitomi and a near death experience his attitude has changed as seen by Merle and at the end he even mentions that he "doesn't want to fight anymore."

Folken of the Black Dragon Clan
Folken is vengeful and cruel in his attempts to get "the will of the wing goddess" on his side. Folken wishes to destroy all of Gaia with the Escaflowne and is the one who summons Hitomi for it. He is truly Dune of Adom, Van's older brother who killed their family and burnt the castle down after the throne was not in his future but in his younger brothers. Folken places his sorrow squarely on Van until the very end when he is killed and has a vision of a young Van running to him calling out "brother". 

Sora is the clairvoyant and mystic advisor to Folken. She is the only one who has been close to him and seen all of his actions and consequences. Sora is the one that calls Hitomi to Gaia and makes the connection for Folken to speak with her on two occasions by singing. In the end her freedom is granted to her, hinting that she was a slave, but she instead chooses to stay with Folken until the end.

The Abaharaki 

Allen is the leader of the Abaharaki, a group of refugees from the countries destroyed by the Black Dragon Clan. He's a skilled swordsman and frequently gets under Van's skin referring to him as "the King". Allen is only seen fighting once in combat when he kills one of Dilandaus men on horse back. 

Millarna (Millerna)
Millarna is not a true Princess though she is referred to as one several times. She's a soldier in the Abaharaki and seems to be one of the higher in command. Skilled in the use of daggers she is never seen in true battle; she is shown talking to Hitomi after she wakes up, to Allan about what they're going to do and yelling at Gaddis saying "it's childish using a knife!". 

Second in command, cocky and rather mouthy he's skilled with daggers and is only seen three times in the movie. 

Dryden Fassa
Financial backer of the Abaharaki, he is once more a wealthy man in Torrishina and is the owner of the pub where Hitomi and Van reunite with the crew.

The Black Dragon Clan 

Leader of an elite group of solders he's a ruthless killer and rambles before his first battle of the movie saying "lets have some fun." Though a ruthless killer he seems to value his comrades, they him, even mentioning that one of his solders had "gone and died" on him. Dilandau becomes the pilot for Alseides because of his impure dragons blood, he escapes before he can be finished by Van in the Escaflowne exclaiming "what the hell was that thing!" At the end of the movie he's seen riding off with three of his subordinate Dragon Slayers exclaiming that there is always another war to fight. 

Jajuka plays no real major role in the decisions of Dilandau though he attempts to remind him on more than one occasion that the order was for a "faint operation" instead of the heinous bloodshed that indeed happens. He expresses remorse for the beast people killed (Nakushi, a beast creature from Adom whose dead body he holds later on) and at the end is in fact the one to slay Folken by piercing him through the chest with a dagger and claiming "this is for all of those you've oppressed".

Other Characters 

Merle is not shown in the movie as much as she was present in the series. She's still cocky, mouthy and devoted to Van. She's first seen fretting over Van as an airship passes by and kicks Gaddis in the shin for hurting Lord Van, remarking to Allan, "I'm going to poison you some day". Merle spends most of her time in the stables taking care of the horses.

In the movie he is a fortune teller and is the one who makes the pink stone Hitomi received after the disappearance of the Armor into a necklace. Often he is seen mumbling to himself saying "just as I predicted" and "the wing goddess will destroy Gaia"; the one thing that did not change from the series was his eagerness to be paid.

Dragon Slayers
The group of young men that a devoted to their leader Dilandau. Chesta is seen to have clairvoyant abilities seeing Hitomi on the starboard side of the ship. Miguel is the only other mentioned by name in the movie, assumable the one who was killed by Allan.

Production and Premiers 

Nobuteru YÅ«ki did many character re-designs. 
The soundtrack was, as with the Escaflowne series, composed mostly by Yoko Kanno in collaboration with Hajime Mizoguchi.


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.