Merle yells in terror at Escaflowne, asking for Van. Allen, Hitomi and the others run up to Escaflowne and notice that something’s wrong. Blood drops from the hand, and Van sits inside wounded. Suddenly, the energist glows and Van falls out a bloody mess. Van gets up with blood all over him and walks to the edge of the hangar, looking at Fortuna Temple from afar, saying that he is still able to fight. Despite Hitomi and Merle telling him not to, Van’s wings burst through his shirt, but soon vanish as Van falls unconscious. Everyone watches in horror, realizing that Van is a Draconian. Inside the Crusade, Van sits in extreme pain on a bench. Allen thinks about the Draconians and Atlantis and how many things reminding him of ‘him’ are happening around him. Millerna says that Van will soon die, and Merle gets upset and asks Millerna why she can’t do anything. Millerna says his wounds are internal and unable to be fixed. Upon hearing Millerna mention Escaflowne, Hitomi runs up to it and looks at the damage on it. She realizes that each mark of damage on Escaflowne corresponds with Van’s wounds. Allen asks Hitomi what’s wrong and she tells him that they must repair Escaflowne or Van will die. Gaddes informs Allen of an approaching Asturian convoy. Onboard one of the ships, a long-haired man named Dryden kisses a mermaid through glass. He says she is free to go back in the ocean and leaves. His attendant bugs him, asking why he freed the mermaid he paid so much for, and Dryden says beautiful things belong in nature. He notices that Crusade is docked to them, and Millerna enters and introduces herself. Hitomi talks to Allen on the Crusade. Dryden is Millerna’s fiancé and the son of Meiden, who tried to kidnap her in Asturia. Because of this, neither of them really trusts him. In his ship, Dryden brings Millerna tea and comments on how beautiful she has become, and she says he has become handsome himself. Dryden thinks they should get married right away and talks about how rich, smart and handsome he is. Millerna gets nervous and Dryden stops fooling around. At Fortuna Temple, Folken watches them prepare to remove the seal and is informed by a soldier that Dilandau has headed out with the Dragonslayers. Since they now have the power spot, Dilandau figures he can do what he likes. Dryden is brought aboard the Crusade and is amazed by Escaflowne, complaining over how damaged it has become. Dryden says the legend is true and he tells them that Ispano Guymelefs assimilate their masters unto death. Ispano is a clan that learned from Atlantis and built their Guymelefs with blood pacts. When their Guymelefs fall, so do their pilots and vice versa. Hitomi flashes back to Van talking to her before the battle in Fortuna Temple, thinking this is her fault. Dryden pushes a button on Escaflowne to summon the Ispano that will repair Escaflowne, such that they can heal Van’s wounds. A large Ispano factory ship comes out from a portal above the fleet. The Ispanos enter the Crusade and study Escaflowne. The lead Ispano comes up to Allen and demands 50 million to pay for Escaflowne’s repairs. Everyone grows fearful, not having the money, but Dryden says he will pay for it and agrees to hand over his entire convoy to the Ispano.
The Ispanos repair Escaflowne. While they do so, Van writhes in pain on the bench. Allen tries hard to hold him down and they tie him down with rope. Hitomi and Merle watch in terror, and Dryden says Van will be alright as long as he doesn’t die from the pain. Merle cries, saying Van is dying. Meanwhile at Fortuna Temple, the seal is released, connecting the gate of Atlantis’ power. Energy streams from the crater and at Dornkirk’s fortress in Zaibach. He proclaims that his dream is coming true. The next day comes, and with Escaflowne fully repaired, Van is fully healed as well. Van thanks everyone and Allen and Dryden say Hitomi is the one to thank. Hitomi tells Van that he shouldn’t use Escaflowne anymore since this could happen again, but Van refuses. The Ispano says soldiers are coming. One of the Ispanos goes up to Van and says since he has Draconian blood and used a blood pact with Escaflowne, they can’t make any guarantees. The Ispano ship goes back through the portal as Dilandau and his forces approach. Allen asks Dryden if he has any Guymelefs he can use, but he only has display pieces. Hitomi and Merle attempt to stop Van from heading out on Escaflowne, but he pushes them aside and goes anyway. He lands nearby on the ground and is surrounded by Dilandau and all of the Dragonslayers. Van asks Escaflowne to lend him its power and starts imagining Escaflowne moving by itself once more. Dilandau orders his troops to charge. One of them shoots at Van with the crima claw and Van simply knocks it aside and chops though three Guymelefs at once. Guimel screams as Van bashes his Guymelef’s head in. Van turns, stabbing the next Dragonslayer through the face plate and is attacked from behind by Gatty. Van turns quickly and slams his sword right through the Guymelef’s head. As Van destroys the Guymelefs, their liquid metal bursts into flames around them. Dilandau tells his soldiers to use their stealth cloaks, but it doesn’t do them any good as Van is able to imagine Hitomi’s pendant and see them. Van slashes away the cloak of another Guymelef and wipes it out. Dallet attempts to block Van’s attack by creating a metal shield, but it does him no good and he falls as well. Van continues to fight successfully and takes out multiple invisible Guymelefs. Dilandau watches in horror as all his Dragonslayers are killed. Shesta, the last remaining Dragonslayer calls out for Dilandau with his bloody mouth and falls over dead. Dilandau screams in horror as Van prepares to finish him off. Merle and Hitomi watch from above, and Hitomi thinks something is wrong with Escaflowne. Dilandau screams as he backs away from Van and shoots the crima claw at him with both arms, nicking Escaflowne’s head. A few drops of blood spill from Van’s face. As Van charges Dilandau, blood spills all over Escaflowne and the whole landscape is covered in blood. Van sees the ghosts of the Dragonslayers appear. They stand before Dilandau’s Guymelef and tell Van that they won’t let him kill their patron. As their ghosts surround him, Van screams in horror. Escaflowne turns black, and then falls over. Dilandau watches from nearby as he makes his escape. From the Crusade, Hitomi and the others watch in horror.
Since Escaflowne has so many good episodes, it’s hard to single out any single episode as my favorite of the series, but this one along with a few others is worthy of that claim. This episode has everything. There is plenty of suspense surrounding Van’s injuries and if they will get healed. We get introduced to a new character, Millerna’s fiancé, Dryden, who remains a major character for the rest of the show. Zaibach finally get its hands on the power of Atlantis. And finally, the episode concludes with quite the epic battle. It is arguably the best of the entire series. Van is hopelessly outnumbered and just recovering from wounds that nearly killed him, but still manages to completely slaughter the enemy, killing every one of Dilandau’s Dragonslayers. He is finally able to get some revenge for what happened to Fanelia. The results of this battle are quite traumatic for Dilandau, who will never really be the same again. The battle also introduces my personal favorite battle theme of the series, “Epistle.” Escaflowne rarely lets up, and despite ending on a big cliffhanger in the previous episode, we end on another big one here.
Original Review: April 1, 2006