Right around the time I was really getting into anime in the mid-90’s, one series stood out that contained everything that made the genre so enjoyable. It had fantasy action, adventure, comedy, drama, romance, a beautiful soundtrack by the legendary Yoko Kanno, and mecha. This series is The Vision of Escaflowne, and Funimation has transferred it to wondrous high definition in The Vision of Escaflowne: Part One on Blu-ray that contains the first thirteen episodes. This is as close to a perfect anime as they come, and any who watch are bound to attest to its legacy as one of the best series of all time.
Like every epic story, it has small and humble beginnings with a young girl named Hitomi Kanzaki, who is just like every other girl at her school and loves to run on the track team and also happens to like tarot card reading. While out on the track field one day, a magic gateway opens up that spills out a dragon and a young man named Van Fanel who happens to be a prince on a world called Gaea. After slaying the dragon, the portal reopens and the two of them are transported to Gaea where animal-like people walk and talk, and soldiers fight in giant mech suits known as Guymelefs. Hitomi soons finds herself in Van’s kingdom of Fanelia that just happens to be on the brink of war thanks to the evil Zaibach empire that wishes to take over everything. It’s up to Hitomi and Van to activate the legendary Guymelef named Escaflowne to save the land and the world from the Zaibach while also making new allies and enemies along the way.
I don’t even know where to begin with this series, as it really is one of those you just have to watch and experience for yourself. I love just about everything in it, from the cute but spunky cat-like girl named Merle, to the captivating action and drama, there’s literally something for everyone here. Watching this series for the first time in nearly two decades in high definition was also a bonus for me and I’m sure any who are coming back to it as I am. The artwork and animation hold up very well and Yoko Kanno’s beautiful score is sure to bring the feels to all who watch, whether it’s something happy and adventurous going on or something dramatic and sad. There aren’t any special features here sadly, but seeing this anime again on Blu-ray was special enough for me.
If you’ve never seen this series or even if you have but don’t own it, do your yourself a favor and pick up The Vision of Escaflowne: Part One, or better yet the limited edition release from Funimation the includes the entire series, movie and other goodies. This is as close to perfection as an anime series gets and should be mandatory viewing for any who love the genre or epic adventures.