18 April 2013

#2LR Too Late Reviews - Escaflowne, Episodes 6-12

  Watching Escaflowne, episodes six through twelve, and there's a few more themes that are coming up in the show.  I'll break directly into Spoiler Space going on from here...

  Taking up from episode six, Vaan and the Vaanettes are still in Asturia.  The ruler of Asturia completely doesn't believe them, he's solidly on the side of Zaibach.  As Asturia's king talks, Vaan's older brother shows up.  This is the guy that was unable to take Fanelia's throne for some odd reason that we will hopefully find out about.  Vaan gets targeted by Dilandau, sitting in her mecha, but Hitomi saves him at the last minute.  In the next episode, Hitomi gets sad 'cause Allen has a lovelife and gets herself captured.  After she is rescued, Vaan, Hitomi, and Merle the Cat Gerle escape off to the forest.

  Vaan targets Gaia's version of an oil field and manages to save the girls again.  Hitomi gives back the favor in the following evening, alerting Vaan to the invisible mechas attacking them in the forest.  In around here, we find out that Vaan has always been a two-winged angel, that he's Folken's stepbrother, and that Folken for some reason wasn't able to live up to his birthright.  Also, we get to meet The Old Dude, the leader of Zaibach who seems to be a cross between Emperor Palpatine and Quincy from Bubblegum Crisis 2040, who goes on about his fortune-telling probability machine and how Hitomi is messing everything up.

  Vaan, the girls, and Allen and his troopship all meet up in the next kingdom over, Freid.  They also manage to bring along a Zaibach prisoner from the aforementioned battle.  The itty-bitty prince of Freid doesn't know what's happening, and Vaan/Allen try to tell him that Zaibach's trying to <Brain> Take over the worrrld! </Brain>.  There's a speedbump though, in that the are bringing in an interrogator.

  The interrogator gets waylaid by another "new concept" kind of thing... there's shapeshifters in this universe and they work for Zaibach too.  The shapeshifter "interrogates" the Zaibach prisoner, who gives an exceedingly poor excuse and even more tortured reasoning, but is accepted by the seven-year-old prince.  This results in jail time for Vaan, Merle, Allen, and Hitomi.  Next, the shapeshifter interrogates Hitomi.  He hypnotises her, and then asks to have her magic medallion.  Once the two of them make contact, they go into a together trance where Hitomi predicts his death.

  The shapeshifter disappears and Vaan volunteers to go after him.  The shapeshifter manages to report to Dilandau, but Dilandau decides to kill him 'cause she's not crazy about him.  Vaan manages to fight off another group of Zaibach mechas, and now he's got Hitomi's detection powers too.

  That's about it for the Spoiler Space.

  There's two things that conspired against me on this review.  The first one is that my late-90's vintage Escaflowne tapes ran out on episode 8.  We waited for quite a bit to have Netflix fill in the gap, and then caught up on a couple of other things before circling back.  So, some of this review was reconstructed from rememberies generated through Wikipedia's episode list, though we watched the last four episodes through the previous week.

  The other thing that worked against me is that it seems a lot of spinning of the wheels.  At one point, Zaibach arrayed their forces against Freid.  From what they showed, Zaibach had more than enough to wipe out pretty much every city that Vaan and Allen weren't in.  So, why don't they?  I... really don't know, there's not a satisfactory explanation there.  After all, Fanelia was little more than a gnat to them.

  I understand that they have to "get the Dragon" (speaking of the mecha Escaflowne)... but, well, they've got Dilandau, who's willing to burn the rest of the world.  Why don't they turn Dilandau loose to give Vaan no port to stash the big ol' mecha?  As it is, Dilandau is more than happy to kill allies, and I'm sure that Dilandau would barely even need three additional mechas to burn the world down.

  There's not really an overarching message to gather from this middle portion, because the show is still trying to set up the stakes and position the characters... but we're quickly getting to the end of the setup, I think... I hope... and then I may have a better idea of theme to write about for the next portion.

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