Van and Hitomi are surrounded by a group of wolf men. The leader of the wolf men steps into the light and recognizes Van. Seeing this, Van smiles. Later, the wolf men bring Van and Hitomi down a path on yaks. The wolf men are surprised to find out that Hitomi is from Earth, known on Gaea as the ‘Mystic Moon’. Upon looking at the Earth, Hitomi sees another vision, this time of an invisible entity on a city street. They arrive at Fanelia, a kingdom located between a group of mountains. As they arrive, a large group of townspeople cheer the arrival of Van. Van jumps off the top of the yak and is greeted by Merle, a cat-like girl. Hitomi remains atop the yak watching in amazement. Four armored men, the brigadier general samurai of Fanelia step out from the crowd to greet Van, who is revealed to be prince of Fanelia. Seeing them come out, Merle steps back into the crowd. Van holds the Drag Energist above his head and proclaims that he has defeated the Dragon. Amazed, the four samurai bow before him. Later, large armored suits with men inside, called ‘Melefs’ walk around, preparing for a tournament to take place at Van’s coronation as king. In a room above, Hitomi puts on her school uniform. She opens the window and leans on the windowsill, thinking of Yukari and Amano while staring at her pendant. Suddenly, Merle hops down from the floor above, scaring Hitomi. Merle tells Hitomi not to get too close to Van, then starts going through Hitomi’s duffle bag, throwing her things all over the place. She notices Hitomi’s pendant and steals it. Merle runs down the hall with Hitomi in pursuit. On the way, Hitomi runs by an open door and stops. Inside, Van is practicing sword fighting with Balgus, one of the four samurai. Van lunges at Balgus with his sword, but Balgus blocks and knocks Van away with ease. Balgus tells Van that he isn’t charging at him hard enough. Van says he doesn’t want to hurt people, to which Balgus replies saying that the King of Fanelia shouldn’t be so timid. He notices Hitomi at the door and she apologizes for peeping. Merle, who is nearby shoves Hitomi’s pendant back at her and runs into the room to hug Van. Balgus tells Hitomi that after the coronation ceremony they’ll do all in their power to find a way to bring her home. Meanwhile in the woods outside of Fanelia, the wolf men notice something weird, but seeing nothing continue on. It is an invisible cloaked giant that stands nearby.
In a large coronation ceremony, Van is presented with a sword and declared king of Fanelia. Meanwhile, a couple of guards on a landing who are talking about the upcoming ceremonies notice a weird sight down the path near town. Suddenly, a cloak moves to the side revealing a large metal arm that shoots a liquid metal killing them and chopping through the wall. Then the metal returns back into the arm and it hides back under the cloak, becoming invisible once more. The invisible giants start walking towards Fanelia, the ground shaking and large footprints appearing as they go. A group of guards run up to the gate in shock and one of them is crushed when stepped on. Watching from afar, the crowd at the coronation wonders what is going on. A guard rides up to them on horseback announcing an enemy attack. Balgus tells the three other samurai to get in their melefs and tells Van to head to the shrine with Hitomi and escape with Escaflowne if necessary. Crowds of people run to the mountains in terror. Meanwhile, the invisible giants slaughter the Fanelia Guymelefs with their metal claws. One of the samurai hidden in an alley watches in shock. He runs out to the street and is skewered from behind and dies. Another samurai quickly falls to the same fate. The third samurai charges the invisible giant only to be impaled as well by the metal claws. As the Fanelia Guymelefs are slaughtered by the invisible forces, Balgus pulls out a large sword. Meanwhile, in the shrine Van uses his sword to slice open his finger and lets his blood flow into the Drag Energist. He then holds it above his head and announces himself as king, asking for help from Escaflowne. As the ground around him glows, a large stone slab above him cracks and a large white Guymelef from inside falls before him. Hitomi recognizes this as the Guymelef from her vision. Van takes the Drag Energist and places it inside of a translucent red crystal on Escaflowne’s chest. Van says he’s going to fight and gets inside. Van tells Hitomi to hide as one of the invisible giants enters the shrine. Van pulls out Escaflowne’s sword, prepared to battle. Hitomi warns Van where it will attack from and Van just narrowly avoids three metal claws shooting at him. Using the sword, he slashes them apart then follows the parts returning to the invisible giant and slices apart the invisible cloak, revealing a Guymelef underneath. The Guymelef’s metal forms into a large blade to attack with, but Van blocks its attacks and slices its arm off. Hitomi notices another invisible Guymelef aiming its arm behind Van and tries to warn him. Luckily, Balgus jumps into the room and chops off the Guymelef’s arm himself. Van tears apart the Guymelef’s invisible cloak then blocks its attack. Using its other arm, the Guymelef forms a sword and attacks, but Balgus blocks it singlehandedly with his sword. Balgus pushes the Guymelef back and pushes his sword through the Guymelef’s headpiece. Van is attacked by the other Guymelef but knocks it over. Van steps outside, and is shocked to find much of Fanelia burned to the ground, with defeated Guymelefs laying all over the place. Van yells to Balgus to withdraw, but the enemy Guymelef aims its arms and impales Balgus with its metal claw. Balgus tells Van to escape, someday to reunite Fanelia, and dies. Four other Guymelefs reveal themselves and surround Van. Hitomi screams and her pendant glows, as does the large red stone on Escaflowne. This causes a column of light, much like the one in the previous episode to transport them away. Merle, standing in the cliffs surrounding Fanelia cries out for Van.
Escaflowne is a very rapidly paced show as seen in this episode. The episode acts as an introductory episode to Gaea, but the plot moves very quickly as well. In other shows the destruction of Fanelia would likely not take place for several more episodes. This episode shows for the first time Gaea, Fanelia, Escaflowne and characters like Merle and Balgus. The destruction of Fanelia is one of the more depressing moments of the series and takes place right away, in only the second episode of the show, forcing Van and Hitomi to go on the run. It will be a long time before we see Fanelia again. Balgus makes quite the impression for a character that appears in the flesh for the first time in this episode and soon after dies. He fighting off enemy Guymelefs in person was quite the feat. Also impressive was Van’s performance in Escaflowne considering it was his first time using it.
Original Review: April 1, 2006