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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: The Movie (2000)

Escaflowne: The Movie (2000)

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Released 21-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Anime Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer-3
Teaser Trailer
Featurette-Anime Expo Premiere Footage
Gallery-Production Art
Trailer-Gravion, Gad Guard, Infinite Ryvius, Twelve Kingdoms
Subtitle Storyboards
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 97:43 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:13) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kazuki Akane
Sunrise, Inc.
Madman Entertainment
Starring Maaya Sakamoto
Kelly Sheridan
Tomokazu Seki
Kirby Morrow
Joji Nakata
Paul Dobson
Minami Takayama
Andrew Francis
Shinichiro Miki
Brian Drummond
Ikue Otani
Jocelyn Loewen
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music Yôko Kanno
Hajime Mizoguchi

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Japanese dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Four years after completing the Escaflowne TV series, pretty much the same group of people came together again to make the Escaflowne movie. This project was not an extension to the original series, nor was it a re-telling of the same story — understandably, a story which takes 8 DVDs of TV episodes to tell is not going to condense neatly into a single movie. Rather, this is a story that has some of the same plot-points as the TV series, draws its characters from the TV series, but is a lot simpler than the TV series. So if you are familiar with the TV series you may be disappointed. Still, we get to see Van, Hitomi, Allen, Millerna, Merle, Folken, and Dilandau again, and each is quite recognisable, with roughly the same appearance and attributes we remember. But among the most obviously missing are Dornkirk, the Zaibach Empire, guymelefs (yes, really!), and dragonists, amongst others.

    The story of the movie starts on Gaea, with Van landing on a flying ship, and slaughtering the crew, so he can get possession of Escaflowne (which is a "dragon armour", not a guymelef, in this storyline). Cut to Earth, and Hitomi, who is daydreaming and depressed — she has dropped out of the track team (!), and feels like a burden on her friends, particularly Yukari — she wishes she could just fade away. And she does — she fades away from Earth and onto Gaea, where she is greeted as The Wing Goddess, and the fulfilment of a prophecy.

    In this version of the story, the Black Dragon clan, led by Lord Folken, is out to conquer the world, and has already spread considerable destruction across the world. The resistance to the Black Dragon clan is the Abaharaki, survivors of some of the nations annihilated by the clan. Among the Abaharaki (who we meet) are Allen Shezar, Millerna, and Van. This is the story of the reviving of the dragon armour Escaflowne for use against the Black Dragon clan. One of Folken's leading soldiers is Dilandau, who is a psychotic, in charge of a group of cavalry, mostly pretty boys.

    The character designs are all changed, with a more natural appearance (noses are no longer strange and pointed, for example). To be honest, I prefer these designs. I think the change of designs helps — we can still recognise all of the characters, but they are different enough that we can cope with the differences in the story.

    It is surprising, but this movie does feel similar to the TV series, although darker. It doesn't tell the same story, but it is not completely at odds with the TV series. Think of it as being a something like a parallel story, with many of the same characters, and you'll probably enjoy it more.

    If you haven't the patience to watch the TV series, then you can watch this movie and get something of a taste of the world of Escaflowne. Bear in mind, though, that the TV series is a much more richly detailed story.

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

Transfer Quality


    The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. That's the original and intended aspect ratio.

    The image is sharp and clear, with close-ups looking exceptional. Film grain is never a problem. There's no low-level noise. This is high quality animation, and it has been given a high quality transfer

    Colour is well-rendered, drawn from a rich palette. There are no colour-related artefacts..

    There are no visible film artefacts. There is almost no aliasing. There is no moiré. There are no MPEG artefacts. There's not a lot to say about this transfer, because it is very clean.

    There are subtitles in English, plus a second subtitle channel that provides storyboards (see the extras). The English subtitles seem to be accurate, well-timed, and easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided, dual-layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change comes at 49:13. It comes at a black frame between scenes, but the pause makes it visible. Still, it's not offensive.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are four audio tracks on this disc. All are 5.1. The first is the English soundtrack (Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps). The second is the Japanese soundtrack (Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps). Then something a little unusual: the Japanese soundtrack in dts 5.1 at 768kbps. The fourth is another treat: an isolated score (Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps). I listened to all three of the soundtracks, and extensively sampled the isolated score.

    I compared the dts and Dolby Digital versions of the Japanese soundtrack, and I couldn't definitely say which was better. That's not because the dts track is bad; it's because both the dts and Dolby Digital soundtracks are very good. There's some excellent directional sound in all three soundtracks, and the subwoofer has plenty to do, too.

    The English dialogue is clear and comprehensible. The Japanese dialogue sounds clear (on both soundtracks), and I'm sure it's readily comprehended if you understand Japanese.

    The music, from Yoko Kanno and Hajime Mizoguchi, is marvellous. There are a number of songs, each with music by Yoko Kanno. Some of the music is simple, like a solo voice with gentle piano; some of it is intricate. All of it is good, and excellent at supporting the on-screen action.

    The sound is well spread across the front channels, with the surrounds used well. This is an immersive mix. The subwoofer gets plenty of chance to show off during action sequences.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is animated with music. It's easy to use.


    This is an unusual feature, created as a form of subtitle. What it offers is a picture-in-picture display of the storyboards in the bottom right corner during the movie. If you are a fan of storyboards, this would be an impressive extra, showing all the storyboards for comparison with the finished picture. I'm not a fan, so I only watched 5 minutes of them. Note that because these are implemented as a subtitle stream, you cannot display subtitles at the same time. This means you must listen to the English sound, or understand Japanese.

Isolated Score

    An all-too-rare option, this is a soundtrack that holds nothing but the score. With a score as wonderful as this one, the isolated score is quite a delight. Add subtitles, and you can watch an unusual variation of the film — no dialogue, and no sound effects. Listening to this makes is clear how much of the film is without score (not a bad thing, just a directorial choice).

Interviews: Staff and Cast (35:11)

    This is a compilation of footage drawn from two sources.

    The first, and more interesting, is a series of interviews with the director (Kazuki Akane), character designer and animation director (Nobuteru Yuuki), and producer (Masuo Ueda).

    The second half is a series of segments featuring three of the Japanese voice actors: Tomokazu  Seki (Van), Maaya Sakamoto (Hitomi), and Shinichiro Miki (Allen). Although not as serious as the first half, this is still worth watching.

Theatrical Movie Trailers

Anime Expo Premiere Footage (6:29)

    This is pretty much a home movie of people waiting for the premiere of the movie in the US, and some panel chat afterwards.

Production Artwork Gallery (7:30)

    This is a montage of artwork, starting with model sheets for many characters, but followed by art of locations and things.

Stills Gallery (40pp)

    This is a gallery of high quality still images from the movie.


    Traditional "Madman Propaganda" fare, but without the label.

DVD Credits

    A single page showing the Madman personnel responsible for this disc.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film was released in Region 1 in 2002. It was released as a single disc, and in a limited-quantity Ultimate Edition package. I bought the Ultimate Edition, and it's quite a package. It comes in a heavy cardboard box that opens like a jewel-box. Inside the box are three standard DVD cases, and a nicely-produced 20-page booklet. The first case holds the movie DVD, the second the extras DVD, and the third the soundtrack on CD.

    The artwork on the Region 1 Ultimate Edition package is quite attractive — I wish they'd used the same artwork on the Region 4, because the R4 artwork is dark and gloomy. The single disc Region 1 uses the same dark and gloomy artwork. The Region 1 single disc contains only the movie, and the extras that are part of the movie (the real-time storyboards and isolated score).

    Here's the interesting bit: the one disc that we get in Region 4 seems to contain a lot, even most of what is on the two DVDs of the Ultimate Edition: the movie and a lot of the extras. Sure, we don't get the booklet, or the soundtrack CD, but the DVD extras are mostly present. That's very good value, considering the disparity in prices. What's missing is:

    The two transfers are quite similar, equally good, just one in NTSC, and one in PAL.

    If you want the the most expensive option, with the most extras, feel free to buy the limited R1 Ultimate Edition (while it is available). Otherwise, the Region 4 is definitely the better choice.


    A beautifully-made film that offers a taste of the Escaflowne world, presented very well on DVD.

    The video quality is excellent, with almost nothing in the way of artefacts.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are substantial. The Region 1 disc gets more, but I suspect we got as much as would fit on this disc.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Wednesday, September 22, 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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