Zaibach troops and Alseides Guymelefs walk through the ruins of Freid. Shesta tells Dilandau that they’ve trapped the remaining soldiers in the castle, but Dilandau tells the Dragonslayers to stay outside the castle and that he wants to wait for the Dragon to make its move. Folken watches from above in the Vione. The Zaibach Guymelefs enter the castle and find Voris waiting in his Guymelef. They shoot through his Guymelef with their crima claws, but before he dies he crushes a statue, causing the castle to collapse on top of them. Dilandau watches in shock but sees a group of Freid ships escaping from behind. Realizing that they’ve sacrificed many lives to accomplish this, he starts laughing maniacally. Chid watches sadly as the castle collapses and starts crying. Van remembers talking with Voris earlier, who told him to escape with the Duke while he and others guarded the castle. Duke Freid tells Chid not to cry. Millerna looks at Allen, who looks upset. She thinks about Chid being his son and flashes back to what the Duke said earlier. Dornkirk tells Folken of an aberration in the Destiny Prognostication Engine and tells him to head west of Godashim, to Fortuna Temple. By this time, Duke Freid and the others have arrived at the temple, which is located in a large crater. There waits a large clan, the Zegu, who are dedicated to protecting the treasure of Freid. One of them gives the Duke a treasure sword with an energist on it. The Duke tells Chid and the others to come with him so he can show them the treasure of Freid. They enter a large room where two large rocks lay over each other. A small pedestal lies in the center. The Duke places the sword there, causing an angel to appear, which only Hitomi can see. Light from the pedestal shines on the wall, revealing writing in the language of Atlantis. Duke Freid says Freid holds that power. He tells how Atlantis controlled the Earth. They became conceited and declared themselves gods. They converted human will into energy, however it went out of control and destroyed all of Atlantis. Hitomi finds herself standing there watching it all burn and faints back in reality. The Duke says he cannot let anyone have this power. He tells Chid not to let anyone have it.
The rain falls outside. Inside the temple, Hitomi sees Van holding his hands up to Escaflowne. Van is imagining the gears inside Escaflowne moving by themselves, and he imagines moving inside of Escaflowne. Hitomi comes up to him and Van apologizes for what he said to her earlier about using her abilities. Hitomi accepts his apology. Van talks about dowsing and said he was practicing it. He says he’s going to visualize using Escaflowne to help control it better by making Escaflowne a part of him. Van walks by and is about to say something to Hitomi, but decides not to and runs off. Hitomi looks at Escaflowne and the crystal on its chest glows. She sees a vision of the crater filled with dead bodies. The sky and rain is red. Duke Freid stands in front of her with blood all over his face and melts into the ground. Hitomi snaps out of the vision, but sees red rain on her hands that quickly vanishes. Outside, the rain stops. Allen is watching from a window and notices Chid down the hall looking at him. They exchange glances, but do not speak to one another. The Freid forces prepare for battle and the Zaibach forces find the crater and start heading towards it. Gaddes is notified of the approaching troops and tells his men to get ready to guard the temple. Elsewhere in the temple, Merle prays to a statue and asks for Van to be protected. The battle begins as the Alseides arrive. They easily smash through the Freid Guymelefs in their way. Escaflowne and Scherazade do good, but few others are able to. Duke Freid kills one of the Zaibach troops with a bow and arrow using his Chafaris, but Dilandau smashes through the nearby troops to reach him. He chops the left arm off of the Duke’s Chafaris and then goes after the other. A fellow soldier rushes Dilandau and is impaled by the metal claws. Dilandau destroys the armor covering up Duke Freid and his Guymelef falls to the ground. Dilandau is about to finish him off but Allen prevents this by attacking with the Scherazade, getting its left arm knocked off in the process. The Duke gets out of his Guymelef and talks to one of clansman from the temple, Kaja. He decides to give the power of Atlantis to Zaibach, hoping that Gaea will use the power the right way. He says those on Gaea will create their own fate and that he is willing to die in the battle. Allen continues to battle Dilandau, however a Guymelef from behind blasts off Scherazade’s remaining arm. Van jumps in with Escaflowne and saves him. As Allen gets out of his Guymelef, Van defeats two Guymelefs that attack him. However, when Escaflowne gets hit in the side, Van screams out in pain. Allen sees Duke Freid, who proclaims that he is the duke and is struck by a number arrows from all sides. As he falls to the ground he thinks of Marlene on her deathbed, then dies. Allen tries to rush to him, but Kaja holds him back, saying this is what the Duke wanted. Allen falls to his knees crying. Van defeats yet another Guymelef, leaving Dilandau alone on the battleground. Folken informs Dilandau of the Duke’s death and orders Dilandau and the Dragonslayers to pull back. Dilandau says he’ll have his fun later. Folken announces to General Adelphos and the other Zaibach forces that they are going to end their assault and he will end peace negotiations with Freid. At Fortuna Temple, Kaja informs Chid of what happened. Chid decides to give Zaibach the power of Atlantis like his father said then rebuild Freid. Folken along with many Zaibach troops greet Chid at the temple. Chid gives him the treasure sword in exchange for Zaibach letting the Crusade go free as long as it’s in Freid. Allen watches from the Crusade as it takes off. Reeden rushes onto the bridge and tells everyone that something is wrong with Van and Escaflowne. Merle calls out for Van in terror. Escaflowne lies there, still, with blood dripping out of it.
This episode kicks off a long stretch of really strong episodes. After several episodes of set up in Freid, the real action begins with the battles deciding the fate of the country all taking place within this episode. In addition to the interesting battles, this episode introduces Atlantis to the storyline for the first time, something which will be a critical part of the plot going forward. The episode features one of my favorite music tracks of the series, “Arcadia,” for the first time, when Freid reveals the power of Atlantis to everyone. The episode also features one of the show’s better battle themes, “Blaze.” Special mention should go to the excellent soundtrack for the show by Yoko Kanno and her then-husband Hajime Mizoguchi. Along with Macross Plus it’s one of the shows that put her on the map and she later went on to do excellent soundtracks for many other shows such as Cowboy Bebop, Turn A Gundam and Wolf’s Rain. Van appears to be taking his usage of Escaflowne to the next level, and while he is quite successful in battle, something appears to be seriously wrong as the episode comes to a close.
Original Review: April 1, 2006