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Escaflowne: The Movie

I picked up the Escaflowne movie earlier in the week. The Escaflowne television series is a story of romance, sorcery, and mecha played out over a complex, season-long story line and has been a fan favorite for years. The Escaflowne movie takes an interesting approach: it bears only slight resemblance to the television series. The setting and characters are similar but it's a really different story.

The animation, while not setting any new standards of excellence, is nicely done. Although it's not the most fluid or detailed animation, there is a lot of beautiful design work. The sound is excellent, with some good use of surround sound and floor-rumbling bass if you've got a nice 5.1 setup. Yoko Kanno's music is as amazing as ever, with a lot of new songs and a few returning favorites from the television series. If you opt for the limited edition 3-disc box set, you get a separate soundtrack CD, full of her great music. I'm glad I did.

Plot-wise, it's a little jarring to see familiar characters from the television show playing different roles, in a different (and much less complex) story. Once the initial shock wears off, it's a very enjoyable movie. Those of you who haven't seen the television series will actually have the advantage in that regard. It's a fun swords-and-sorcery adventure, much darker than the television series. When you boil it down to its essence, it's a fairly standard get-the-magic-item, kill-the-badguys, get-the-girl sort of movie, but it's executed very beautifully. It doesn't push any boundaries but it's definitely a fun ride.

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