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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 3: Angels and Demons (2000)

Escaflowne-Volume 3: Angels and Demons (2000)

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Released 14-Jan-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Audio & Animation
Credits-Creditless Ending (1:12)
Featurette-Club Escaflowne (20:28)
Gallery-Production sketches (20)
Trailer-Madman Propaganda (3)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 69:51 (Case: 75)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kazuki Akane
Studio
Distributor

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

The Vision of Escaflowne Volume 3 is subtitled Angels and Demons. If you haven't already, you really should read Escaflowne Volume 1: Dragons and Destiny and Escaflowne Volume 2: Betrayal and Trust before reading this review.

At the end of the previous volume, Van, Merle, and Hitomi have flown off with Escaflowne, while Allen and his crew are endeavouring to get to Freid to warn the duke of the impending invasion by Zaibach.

The episodes on this disc are:

9 Memories of a Feather Hitomi sees into Van's past, learning of his father and mother
10 The Blue-eyed Prince They meet Prince Chid, who is a young boy with blue eyes
11 Prophecy of Death When Plaktu is trying to read Hitomi's mind, he gets an unpleasant shock

Hitomi used to do tarot readings for her school friends without taking them too seriously. Now she's doing them in deadly earnest. And she's using her mysterious necklace to dowse, to see what is unseen. One of the more important uses of this ability is when she can see the guymelefs of Zaibach, even with their Stealth Cloaks. She tries to teach Van how to do this by visualising the pendant, because it would be a vital advantage in combat, especially when he is generally not fighting a single Zaibach guymelef (these gallant gentlemen prefer odds of 3 or 6 of them to 1 of him).

Millerna's devotion to Allen is, it seems, stronger than it first appeared. She leaves her country to follow him, thus continuing the competition between her and Hitomi, but she proves useful. She is also rather more friendly towards Hitomi than in the past.

Most of the events in these episodes take place in the Duchy of Freid. This duchy has ties to Asturia, in that the eldest princess of Asturia, Marlene, was married to the Duke, and bore the heir, Prince Chid, before dying a few years back. That makes Millerna the prince's aunt. That makes it more despicable of King Aston to allow Zaibach to mass in Asturia ready to invade Freid.

Apparently the emperor of Zaibach has some grand and devious plan, and Folken and Dilandau are trying to carry it out. There seems to be more to it than simply stealing Escaflowne, although the emperor does complain that the dragon is clouding his visions of the future.

Even though there are only three episodes on this disc, it's quite eventful, even if it raises more questions of Hitomi's part in things.

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.

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. There is no film grain, and no low-level noise. The picture looks a little crude by today's standards, but that's just a reflection of the age of the series

Colour is quite good. The palette is reasonable and the colours are rendered quite well. There are no colour-related artefacts. In particular, there are no rainbows, unlike the R1 DVD!.

There are no film artefacts of any significance.

There's a lot of mild aliasing. Any moving black line aliases, but it is still better than the first disc. There is interleaving, but you can't see it when playing at normal speed. Unlike the first two discs, though, the closing credits are legible they have changed them to static panels of white outlined in black, and this is quite an improvement.

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), and single layered (despite the back cover saying it is dual layered). That means there is no layer change.

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 can't really tell you if it's comprehensible. Neither dub is perfectly matched to the animated mouth movements, which is a disappointment.

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 (20:28)

Before you get to watch this piece a page comes up warning you that it contains spoilers and they are not kidding. I watched less than a minute, and there's a big spoiler during the introductions! I recommend not watching this until you've seen the entire series. This is hosted by the voice actors for Van, and has the voice actors for Allen, Millerne, and Dilandau as guests. I was surprised to see that Dilandau's voice actor appeared to be female.

Production Sketches

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

Trailers: Madman Propaganda (4:05)

Thee trailers, presented one after another, rather than being 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 set is available with a simple box (no fliptop, no figure, no excessive price!)

The third disc of the box set contains the same episodes as this Region 4 one. The R1 cover is dark and fraught, with characters looking distant or anxious. The R4 is light and bright with roses and a romantic image of Allen, which has little 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 Gundam Wing, Angel Links, Saber Marionette J, and Crest of Stars), 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, some light background shimmer, the occasional small rainbow, and is a bit darker, which makes some details harder to see. At normal speed, the two are roughly equivalent to the eye. I think I prefer the Region 4 transfer, even with the interleaving.

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 third volume of an appealing epic adventure, presented nicely on DVD.

The video quality is good enough, but flawed by aliasing and interleaving.

The audio quality is very good in both English and Japanese.

The extras are quite reasonable, and include a long chat segment, but you really should watch the whole series, then come back to watch the interviews.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, February 10, 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

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