Up to now, life has been pretty depressing. Think about it; Hitomi got transported to a foreign world, missing out on her first kiss. Balgus died (the great swordsman of Gaea, for those of you who missed the first few episodes). Van became King of Fanelia, then watched his kingdom burn to the ground. Then there is Allen, who after losing his fort, was betrayed by his own king and run out of the country, only to meet his illegitimate son. Meanwhile, Princess Millerna falls in love with Allen, not knowing that he used to be lovers with her dead sister (bummer). It seems that the only person doing any good is the Mole Man; he's moved up from being a pervert/mugger to the assistant of the Princess.
Well, since we are at the halfway point, you are probably thinking, "It's only 26 episodes, so it has to get better, right?" Well, read on, my dear friend from the Mystic Moon.
The realism in Escaflowne has to be why it is one of my most-liked anime series. Yes, the story is filled with fantasy. The swordsmanship and mecha defy physics, but when I say realism, I'm talking about the realism in the characters. In fact, the characters in Escaflowne are better than some actors I see in most of today's recent movies.
Escaflowne's characters are rarely happy (much like anyone else who goes to Cornell), they experience their share of victories and hardships, and unlike most heroes in American movies (i.e. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mr. T comes to mind), they are vulnerable. They can be defeated, tricked, beaten, and yes, even killed (as we will see tonight). Also, the characters don't give the story away. In most movies I see today, the enemies are pretty evil; you know that they are the bad guys, and you know that they are going to die. But this is not necessarily the truth in Escaflowne. So far, Folken and Dilandau are the main enemies, but can Van really kill his own brother? The very existence of Folken gives you the sense that there is more to his story which hasn't been revealed yet. And why are they so evil? From the conversations Van has had with his brother, we know that there is much more to the Zaibach Empire than world domination.
Well, I'm beginning to talk too much; all will be revealed in the second half of Escaflowne. If you have enjoyed the first half of the series, don't worry, the second half has just as much fantasy, mecha, and story arcs.
So, as you are enjoying episode 13 -- with your mouth wide open in awe of the melee excitement, captivated by the story, depressed by another defeat -- and as you wince in pain at yet another cliffhanger (and believe me, this one is going to hurt), just remember, "It's only 26 episodes, so it has to get better, right?"