The Vision of Escaflowne
By Ana Bruja-Khayos
To any 30 something today, “The Vision of Escaflowne” or just “Escaflowne” has a special place in our hearts due to the amazing Sword Fighting Giant Mecha Robots. As a teenager, “Escaflowne” and the “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” series that aired during the once awesome Cartoon Network “Toonami” programing block was probably one of my favorite anime shows watch after school. Both stories were awesome because of the giant fighting robots, however Escaflowne always was second place to the Gundam series because the main protagonist Hitomi was always too air headed and sappy for me to relate to. Even till today when I rewatch the series, I mainly enjoy the giant robots more than the complicated and unrealistic love life of Hitomi.
About the Series
Tenku no Esukaturone or The Vision of Escaflowne has been produced into several manga formats, an anime TV series and a movie. It was first introduced in Japan in the summer of 1996. The 26 episode series was produced by Sunrise Entertainment and it was directed by Kazuki Akane who is known for working on other anime series like “Mobile Suit Gundam (ZZ, F91, and 0083)”, “Dragon Warrior”, “Dirty Pair Flash”, “Cowboy Bebop”, “Samurai Champloo”, “Noein” and most recently in 2012 “Code Geass: Akito The Exiled” just to name a few. The Escaflowne series was distributed in several places worldwide by Bandai Entertainment in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, South Asia and much later on dubbed for other markets.
During the production of the anime Escaflowne, there were two version of the manga that were developed. The shōnen version (manga mainly marketed to young boys around the ages of 10 years of age and up) “The Vision of Escaflowne” reflected the storyline of the tv show and the other shōjo version (manga marketed towards young girls ages 10 to 18 years of age) retelling the story called “Hitomi-The Vision of Escaflowne”. Later on there was one more manga shōjo release called “Escaflowne—Energist's Memories”.
After the success of the mangas and anime series, there was one more release in the series called “Escaflowne : The Movie”. This was a retelling of the original story in a much more shorter span and with and more stylistic production style that was release in 2000. Think of it as an alternate world version of the original 26 episode series. The movie was very fun but unless you have seen the original series, some of the great background elements, secondary characters, and situations will not be as enjoyable or easily understood.
About the Toys
Bandai Anime Collection Series - Escaflowne
By the early 2000’s Bandai had noticed the a rise in popularity in anime in the overseas and American markets and started pushing their products such as action figures and figurines into these new markets. In collaboration with Bandai America, one of these products was the Bandai Anime Collection Series. This series has five different, at the time popular, anime shows which included “The Big O”, “Outlaw Star”, “Cowboy BeBop”, “Pilot Candidate” and “The Escaflowne”. I will say that I have rarely seen the “Pilot Candidate” Ernn-Laties mech figure and it’s the only figure I’ve seen based on the character..
When you first see the images of these figures, you don’t realize how big these figures really are. They are pretty big and heavy for something that comes carded. Each set comes with a 7 inch figure of the main robot, mecha or ship and two 4.5 inch scale figurines of the main protagonist and supporting character of the show. The figure’s original suggested retail price back was around $15 each but today, if you are lucky, you can find them for around $20-$30 on the low end and around $60-$70 on the high end on the secondary markets.
The Escaflowne set came with the 7 inch Escaflowne figure, and a 4.5 inch figurine of Van and Hitomi. I personally own this in my collection but is so cool and so hard to find, I just don’t want to remove it out of the package.
|Escaflowne Anime Collection|
The Transforming Escaflowne
In 2001 Bandai announced that it will create a new Escaflowne figure with the collaboration of Studio Halfeye. Studio Halfeye is known for creating garage kits that can transform without the need of extra parts or swapping parts. This was very exciting for Escaflowne fans since the iconic robot in the series had two different modes; normal or battling mode and the dragon flying mode. Two years after that announcement the world finally got it’s Transforming Escaflowne figures.
The figure is about 8 inches tall in normal mode and about 14 inches long in it’s dragon form. It features 13 points of articulation that allows you the pose your Escaflowne however you epicly desire. The figure started reaching collectors hands in November of 2003 and went for a whopping $60 USD back then and believe it or not it still can be found online auctions between $60-$100 with the box. Not too shabby.
I personally got a hold of this wonderful figure and I just could not be happier. Not because it is just an amazingly well crafted figure but also because it transforms into a frickin dragon. How many robots you know that do that.... If you do don’t ruin this for me... I’m having a fangirl moment here.
Flickr RNG link
My husband Tom was very kind to transform this for me. It took him about 1 hour from robot to a dragon and several days to get it back to a robot. While I still love this figure I will have to say that it is a very very big pain to transform. Here are the YouTube links of the video review, done in two different parts.
Transforming to a Dragon
Transforming it back to a Robot
But wait there’s more, but they are not as cool.
Believe it or not there are also model a few model kits created by Bandai. As far as I know there are mainly 3 different model kits. These are the Guymelefs that are the main focus of the series. Vans Fanel Guymelef Escaflowne Series 005, Allen Scherazade Series 008, and Dilandau Albatou Series 011. These are ok but they are small like your standard small scale Gundam models.
|Escaflowne Model Kits|
There’s also a small figure set of 8 from Kotobukiya. These are your standard small figurines that come in small pieces and you set them up together.
|Escaflowne Mini Figures|
I’m sure there are more figures but these are the ones I’m aware of.
If you know more know please let us know. :D