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Episode 9: Memories of a Feather

 

Review by Brian Shea

Original Review: April 1, 2006
New Review: September 5, 2014

 

Summary

 

Hitomi holds her pager and cries. A winged Van steps behind her. Merle wakes up and tries to prevent Hitomi from seeing Van's wings, telling her not to look. One of Van's feathers falls into her hand, and Hitomi sees a winged woman. A second later she sees the woman with a mustached man then at that man's deathbed. Then she sees the woman cry at his grave while her son, Van, stands beside her. The Crusade heads through a cliff-filled area. Gaddes suggests they find another route, but Allen says this is the quickest way to get to Freid without being spotted by Zaibach. Meanwhile, in Asturia, Millerna has left on a boat with the Mole Man and flashes back to earlier when she argued with her sister. Eries felt that Millerna was being a nuisance by pursuing medical studies and abandoning the country. Millerna proclaimed that she loves Allen then left. Hitomi has a vision of herself in a candle lit room, hearing people say bad things about the Draconians, those that destroyed Atlantis. She sees a staircase then the ground collapses under her and she is saved by Van, like before. Hitomi then finds herself on a roof in Fanelia; across from her is a young Van and Merle. Van sprouts wings and flies, to the shock of everyone below. Next, Hitomi sees a group of men from Fanelia in the woods with Escaflowne discussing an attack. Later, two men, a young Balgus and Goau, king of Fanelia talk in the woods about Balgus leaving to better himself. They hear a noise; it is a beautiful brunette woman standing in the water nearby. Suddenly, the woman sprouts wings, revealing herself to be a Draconian. Balgus says she is dangerous, but Goau thinks she is beautiful and goes out to talk to her. She says her name is Varie, and that they were destined to meet. Hitomi, watching from afar realizes these are Van's parents. Later, Goau argues with his advisors about marrying Varie, as they fear the fact that she's a Draconian. Hitomi sees Van's birth and the narrative returns to his first attempt at flight in Fanelia. Van's wings are too weak and he falls, but his mother flies up and saves him. She tells him to never reveal his wings until the right time comes. Later, Varie, cries at Goau on his death bed as Folken and Van watch. Balgus comes in, but realizes he is too late. Later at his grave, after Folken has disappeared, Van tells her that he'll be Next is Goau at his deathbed, and at his grave, Van talks to his mother, telling her he'll take his brother's place and be a strong king. Back in the present, as they travel on Escaflowne, Van tells Hitomi how his mother went in search of his brother in the forest after he disappeared and never returned. Hitomi tells Van that she thinks his wings are beautiful.

 

In Zaibach, Emperor Dornkirk looks at his Destiny Prognostication Engine and says he can't see the future because of the dragon. At that time, Escaflowne walks through the woods with Merle and Hitomi on its shoulders. Hitomi senses something weird. At that moment, Dilandau and his Dragonslayers are in the sky and find Escaflowne. The trees break around Escaflowne, sounding like something is there. Hitomi tries to find where they are with her pendant and she senses the location of three of them. Hitomi warns of an attack from the front, which Van dodges. Suddenly, they attack from the right and back, but thanks to Hitomi Escaflowne dodges. Dilandau is upset about them missing, and Miguel sees Hitomi pointing at them. Dilandau tells the Dragonslayers to catch Van alive. Hitomi senses another Guymelef that Escaflowne blocks. Escaflowne runs towards a nearby pond and is chased by the Zaibach Guymelefs. Once he gets there, Hitomi and Merle get off and Escaflowne gets in the water. The Dragonslayers surround Van. Escaflowne attacks one of them, but Dilandau attacks him while two Dragonslayers blast through Escaflowne's leg and Dilandau grabs its head. Van appears to be in trouble. Above Folken watches in the Vione. Hitomi prays for someone to save Van, and suddenly the Crusade appears. Allen jumps out of it in Scherazade. He knocks Shesta's Guymelef to the ground and then attacks Dilandau, breaking Van free of his grasp. Dilandau attacks, but Allen continues to knock him back. Dilandau attacks Dallet and knocks his Guymelef to the ground. Miguel jumps up behind him but Van chops his Guymelef's arm off and knocks his Guymelef over on to the shore, knocking him out. Seeing this, Dilandau shoots his liquid metal at Escaflowne. Van blocks, but sends one of the crima claws heading straight for Hitomi. Allen jumps in the way with his Guymelef and is impaled in the stomach. Suddenly, a Freid fleet appears so Dilandau and the others are forced to retreat so as to not to reveal their plans. On the Freid ship, no one is able to stop the bleeding and there is no healer aboard. Luckily, Millerna arrives and is convinced by the Mole Man that she can do it. Millerna performs the operation on him with Gaddes' help. Miguel, who had been taken captive during the fight is forced out of his Guymelef. Hitomi prays that Allen will be alright as the fleet approaches Freid.

 

Commentary

 

A great episode, the best one yet. The first half of the episode reveals a lot of Van's backstory, including where his wings come from and the accursed Draconians. We also see some backstory on Balgus. The only complaint I have is the way in which Hitomi learns this is rather disjointed and you can't really tell how much was visions and how much was van telling her. Surprisingly enough, it's a rare case where the edited version that aired on FOX Kids handled it better. The second half of the episode features another exciting battle with Allen arriving in the nick of time, but getting seriously injured saving Hitomi. One thing that really impressed me when I first saw this show is that the battles were rarely simply the heroes winning with ease and many to this point have resulted in defeats, retreats or serious damage like happened here.

 

Overall Rating

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Escaflowne Episode 9 Escaflowne Episode 9

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Buy the collection (eps 1-13) on Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon

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