seawasp (seawasp) wrote,

Thirty Days of Anime -- Day 2 -- Favorite TV Series

Continuing the thirty-day journey and trying to make sure I actually finish it!

Favorite TV Series
This question used to have not even a moment of thought associated with it, but there have actually been a few strong contenders of late. If two of those contenders were actually fused into ONE, it's possible that one -- Fullmetal Alchemist -- would have displaced my favorite. Currently, however, the two separate FMA series are vying for second or third place. First place still belongs to:

The Vision of Escaflowne

From its wonderful, uplifting opening theme to the final image of the closing, Escaflowne is a work of art, a marvelous journey into another world that gives us everything from sword-battles to romance, from dragons to mystical steampunk-mecha, from a sprinter's track on our world to the ruins of Atlantis on another. We begin with an ordinary schoolgirl, Hitomi Kanzaki, whose only two even slightly unusual characteristics are her ability to run like the wind and to read Tarot cards with unusual accuracy, plus the strange crimson pendant she inherited from her grandmother.

But that all changes -- first when her qualifying race is interrupted by an apocalyptic vision, and then, later that night, when part of that vision becomes real and a boy warrior appears in a blaze of light on her racing track -- a warrior pursued by a dragon.

This catapults Hitomi to the world of Gaia, a world no farther away then our moon yet unseen and unseeable, where the Earth is the "Phantom Moon" and Hitomi the strange alien interloper. And it is on Gaia that Hitomi will know terror, and triumph, and wonder, and love, and where this relatively ordinary girl will discover the truth of her own past and affect the destiny of two worlds.

Escaflowne was notable in so many ways; I, as a soundtrack addict, was immediately captivated by the soundtrack; written by Yoko Kanno, Escaflowne's soundtrack covered the range from dark destruction to heroism and wonder, all perfectly designed for the scenes they were an inextricable part of.

The artwork was beautiful and distinctive; we had to get over the specific artistic choice of how noses were represented, but other than that the sheer beauty of the art was enough to make one stop and look.

In another subversion of standards, Hitomi, the heroine, was not stunningly beautiful. She was... ordinary. Not ugly, not beautiful, just ordinarily pretty like any high-school girl would be expected to be in the real world. Slender, as befits a runner, and not at all "stacked" as many anime girls often (unrealistically) are. She also didn't become suddenly more beautiful in Gaia. Moreover, the anime as a whole avoided "fanservice" shots to a great degree; even when there were perfectly reasonable moments to have "fanservice", it was avoided. This was an extremely refreshing thing to see at a time when exploitative fanservice was on the rise.

We have two main heroes, Van Fanel and Allen Schezard. Van was a short, dark-haired, intense young man living in the shadow of his (presumed) dead older brother, who would have become king of Fanelia had he lived; now Van is crowned King of Fanelia, having returned from the Phantom Moon where he slew a dragon... and in the first day of his reign his country is invaded and destroyed and he is forced to bond his life and soul to the ancient and powerful Guymelef (powered armor) named Escaflowne just to escape -- with the strange girl Hitomi the only other person to make it out with him.

While on the run, he and Hitomi encounter Allen Schezard, tall, blonde, beautiful/handsome and dashing -- and surprisingly gentle, honorable, and trustworthy despite some initial tense sequences. Allen soon becomes the target of the same people -- the Zaibach army -- and the three young people become the very center of a war that seems to be one of conquest, but has something vastly more strange, wonderful, and terrifying at its core.

There's so much more to love about Escaflowne that I could go on and on; it has a catgirl who ultimately ISN'T annoying all the time and who serves plot purposes! Giant flying battleships! Magic and technology combined in forbidden ways!  Both coldly calculating and over-the-top-psychotic villains! (ROT13 for spoilers) Fve Vfnnp Arjgba as the main villain! Every episode -- even those that sometimes seem to be filler -- serves a purpose, and advances us towards the ultimate confrontation which will end in a way no one expects.

The very ending is often either a puzzle or frustration for fans; the way I interpret it, however, it's a perfect and crowning moment with an implication for the future.

The Vision of Escaflowne. Best. Anime. Ever.

The List:
Day 1 - Very first anime:Saint Seiya
Day 2 - Favourite TV series: : The Vision of Escaflowne
Day 3 - Your anime crush:
Day 4 - Favourite Film:
Day 5 - Anime character you feel you are most like (or wish you were):
Day 6 - Most annoying anime character:
Day 7 - Character you’d most like to slap
Day 8 - Most epic scene ever:
Day 9 - Saddest anime scene
Day 10 - Favorite slice of life anime
Day 11 - Favorite mech series
Day 12 - Best instalment of a franchise you don’t like
Day 13 - Worst instalment of a franchise you do like.
Day 14 - Current (or most recent) anime wallpaper
Day 15 - A reality check for a genre you like
Day 16 - An anime classic that simply doesn’t work for you.
Day 17 - Best Background Music
Day 18 - Best Five-team (?)
Day 19 - Change you’d like to make to any one anime
Day 20 - Most ambiguous anime character
Day 21 – Favourite OAV Series
Day 22 - Animation studio you'd most like to slap.
Day 23 - Anime you think had the best, or most intriguing art
Day 24 - Favorite anime hero or heroine
Day 25 - Best anime villain
Day 26 - Your favorite harem anime
Day 27 - Favorite anime opening theme song
Day 28 - Favorite anime companion/summoned creature
Day 29 - Best Anime Music Video
Day 30 - Favorite anime ending theme

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