PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Escaflowne-Volume 2: Betrayal and Trust (2000)

Escaflowne-Volume 2: Betrayal and Trust (2000)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Dec-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Credits-Creditless Ending (1:12)
Featurette-Club Escaflowne (18:17)
Gallery-Production sketches (20)
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (4)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 92:55 (Case: 100)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (46:16) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kazuki Akane
Studio
Distributor
Sunrise, Inc.
Madman Entertainment
Starring Maaya Sakamoto
Kelly Sheridan
Tomokazu Seki
Kirby Morrow
Shinichiro Miki
Brian Drummond
Ikue Ootani
Jocelyne Loewen
Minami Takayama
Andrew Francis
Joji Nakata
Paul Dobson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Yoko Kanno
Hajime Mizoguchi


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, next episode preview

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Volume 2 of The Vision of Escaflowne, known as Escaflowne to its friends, is subtitled Betrayal and Trust. You really should read about Escaflowne Volume 1: Dragons and Destiny before reading this review.

When we left Hitomi, she was on a floating air-ship with Allen and his crew of cheerful cutthroats. Van had transformed Escaflowne into a dragon and led the Zaibach flying guymelefs away from the ship. This volume gives us rather more background to the land of Gaea, and we get to meet new people, some good, some bad.

Despite the giant mecha, and the considerable amount of action, this series is definitely shoujo. That's not to denigrate it, though it's a fine show, and quite entertaining. It means we'll get rather more drama, and somewhat less violence for the sake of violence (although there is no lack of violence!).

The episodes on this disc are:

5 The Seal of the Brothers We learn that Van's elder brother is alive, and who he is
6 City of Intrigue Palas, capital of Asturia, is not the safe haven they thought it to be
7 Unexpected Partings Hitomi drinks too much at the king's table, sees something she didn't want to, and gets kidnapped
8 The Day the Angel Flew Hitomi's vision of being rescued by an angel comes true in an unexpected way

Among the interesting features of these episodes is learning a bit more about the principles of flight in Gaea. The flying fortresses of Zaibach, and flying ships like Allen's, fly because they are attached to levi-stones big lumps of rock that simply fly. Interestingly, we learn that heating the levi-stones reduces this property, so a levi-ship can touch down by heating the rocks. The other thing we learn is that the drag-energists that power the guymelefs (and parts of the levi-ships) are not always obtained by killing a dragon (which is how Van got the one he uses in Escaflowne) they can also be excavated from the Dragon's Boneyard (analogous to the legends of the Elephant's Graveyard in Africa) from the bones of long-dead dragons.

During these episodes Hitomi has a distinct crush on Allen. Allen is also being pursued rather openly by Princess Millerna, princess of Asturia. Her sister, Princess Eries, is certain that Allen's only reason for reacting to Millerna is her resemblance to Marlene Allen tells Eries he will never love again after Marlene (yeah, right!). Merle seems to be treating Hitomi more nicely now, possibly because she no longer thinks Hitomi is after Van.

Dilandau, who appeared psychotic in the first volume, gets worse in this one. He takes offence at the slightest (imagined) fault. He strikes the bearer of bad tidings. And he already has it in for Van. So when he gets a real reason to hate Van, he becomes distinctly deranged. It is all Folken can do to restrain him from tearing Asturia apart in his fervour to find Van, despite the Emperor's instructions. This guy is a real fruit loop, and a dangerous one (interesting idea: dangerous breakfast cereal...).

Hitomi gets a chance to show off her athletic prowess at one point. It's interesting to note that the writer of the English script has no idea of the metric system: 5 or 6 metres (in Japanese) gets translated into 8 or 9 feet (5 metres is really about 16.5 feet...).

There is a listing of episodes on the inside of the front cover (visible through the inside of the transparent case). It contains an error, listing the second episode as Capital of Intrigue. Not an earth-shattering mistake.

We don't make a huge amount of headway on the longer story arcs during these episodes, but we gain a greater understanding of the characters, and the world in which they live.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. That's how this show appeared on television, so that'll do nicely.

The image is sharp in close-ups, but a bit soft in medium and long shorts. It's clear enough to watch, but looks better on a smaller screen (not unreasonable for a TV show made before the advent of DVD). There is no film grain, and only one moment of light low-level noise.

Colour is quite good. There are some scenes that use a single colour for effect (usually very well, too), but there's generally quite a decent palette on display, and it seems to be rendered quite well. There are no colour-related artefacts, save for a brief passage of false colouration at 85:39 on Escaflowne's sword this is a single instance of the infamous "rainbows" that so plague NTSC transfers of anime.

There are no film artefacts of any significance.

There's a lot of mild aliasing, basically on any moving black line, but it is a bit better than the first disc. There's some interleaving, but it's not noticeable when playing at normal speed. You have to freeze-frame, or play in slow motion to notice it. It does make the closing credits harder to read, however.

There's only one set of subtitles, in English. As usual for anime, they don't match the English language dub their timing is rather different, too.

The disc is single-sided (with a nice picture label that echoes the front cover), dual layered, but apparently not RSDL. The layer change is placed between episodes 6 and 7, but it's barely visible.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The soundtrack is provided in English and Japanese, both in Dolby Digital 2.0, not surround-encoded, at 224 kbps. I watched all the episodes in both languages. The Japanese soundtrack sounds a bit richer (and a touch louder) than the English. Given my general preference for English dubs, this is quite an admission.

The English dialogue is clear and easily understood. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear, but I really can't tell you if it's comprehensible. Neither dub is perfectly matched to the animated mouth movements, which is a disappointment it is a surprise how much this has changed since 1996 (when this show was made).

The score is provided by Yoko Kanno and Hajime Mizoguchi. Yoko Kanno's work is always good, and this is no exception. They have the sense to leave passages without music when none is required. I like that.

These are pure 2.0 stereo soundtracks, with decent stereo imaging. The English soundtrack makes no use of the surrounds, even with surround decoding active. The Japanese soundtrack manages to dredge up some surround sound when decoding is enabled, but it's nothing special. Neither soundtrack uses the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

The menus are animated with music. The menus are easy to navigate, although the setup menu is a little confusing at first (the dots show the current selection it is the change of colour of the words that indicates where the cursor is).

Credit-less Ending (1:12)

This is the usual thing: the ending sequence, but without the credits over the top. It's a nice extra to have once.

Featurette: Club Escaflowne (18:17)

Before you get to watch this piece a page comes up warning you that it contains spoilers that is decent of them. I only watched the start of it, and they are right: in the first minute or so there's quite a big spoiler and an event quite a long way into the series. I recommend not watching this until you've seen the entire series. A shame, really, because it's a meeting between four of the main voice actors for the Japanese soundtrack, the actors for Van, Folken, Merle, and Hitomi.

Production Sketches

20 pages of sketches of characters and things from these episodes. Well worth a look.

Trailers: Madman Propaganda (5:02)

Four trailers, presented one after another, rather than individually selectable.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 1 version that I have is part of a limited edition box set, with eight DVDs in a flip-top box (quite an attractive box); the limited edition also includes an exclusive Escaflowne figurine. The first volume of the Region 4 release is available with a simple box (no fliptop, no figure, no excessive price!).

The second disc of the box set contains the same episodes as this Region 4 one. The R1 cover is dark and gloomy. The R4 is light and bright with flowers, which has nothing to do with the episodes, but is definitely more attractive.

The Region 4 disc is missing:

The Region 1 disc is missing:

The R1 has different trailers (for Don't Leave Me Alone Daisy, Saber Marionette J, Jubei-chan, and Outlaw Star), but that's not important.

The only extra the two share is the Club Escaflowne piece with the voice actors.

The Region 1 transfer does not show interleaving like the Region 4, but it shows at least as much aliasing, and is a bit darker. At normal speed, the two are roughly equivalent to the eye, but I think the R1 is a little cleaner.

The Region 1 menu is a bit messy I definitely prefer the Region 4's menus.

Despite the differences, I'd call this match pretty much even.

Summary

The second batch of four episodes of an epic adventure, presented nicely on DVD.

The video quality is good, but flawed by aliasing and interleaving (albeit less than the previous disc).

The audio quality is very good. This is one time when the Japanese track is slightly preferable.

The extras are decent, but you'll have to wait until you've watched the entire series before coming back for the main extra!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, February 07, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews NONE