The Asturian advisors are shocked that Folken is seeking Asylum to their country. They are upset over Dornkirk’s intentions to destroy Gaea. However, people are still reluctant to trust Folken. Hitomi tells how Asturia signed a treaty with all neighboring countries and accepted Folken to gain information on Zaibach. Folken leads things as the wreckage of the Vione is pulled out of the sea and get various equipment from it. However, Van still doesn’t totally trust his brother. A group of men work on rebuilding a destroyed house. At the church, Hitomi, Van and the others care for those who were made homeless because of the attack. They head outside since Allen, Dryden and Millerna have arrived. The girls give various things to the children while Van and Dryden talk. Van thinks they aren’t being cautious enough and Zaibach could attack at any time. A group of children harass Merle while Hitomi watches. Hitomi asks Van what he played with Folken when he was little and Van rudely walks away. Allen demands to know why Hitomi’s outside the castle where it’s dangerous, telling her they need her for the sake of Gaea. Allen thinks Hitomi is hiding something from him, and she gets upset and leaves. Hitomi walks away from the church and into the nearby field. Later she practices her sprinting in a courtyard in the castle while Folken watches. Folken asks her if she misses her home. They talk for a while, and Hitomi tells Folken she wants to restore the relationship between him and Van. Folken wonders why Hitomi trusts him after all that happened. She says she believes in him since he doesn’t seem nervous. Van watches from afar. Meanwhile, allied forces from Egzardia arrive at the port of Rampart in Asturia. More allied forces from Daedalus, Cesario and Basram start arriving as well. Meanwhile, Allen talks to Hitomi in the castle, saying he and Van are heading to battle the next day. Allen tells Hitomi that Prince Chid is his son. Meanwhile, in a darkly lit room Dilandau talks to the dog-like man who had previously been seen in Zaibach. Asking where his Dragonslayers are, the man tells Dilandau that they are all dead. Dilandau gets upset and throws his wine at him. The dog man introduces himself as Jajuka, the only soldier under Dilandau’s command. Dilandau screams hysterically, tearing off his shirt and falling to the floor. Dilandau calms down and asks if his new Guymelef is ready.
The Crusade heads out with a large number of other ships. Allen tells Van that he proposed to Hitomi the night before and she’ll answer when they return. Van tells Allen to protect her, and Allen says he will. People work in the square. Hitomi, thinking of Prince Chid is upset about what Allen told her. Later, she helps Millerna hang clothes out to dry. Hitomi asks her for advice about her ‘friend’, with some love problems. They realize that they are both talking about Allen, as Hitomi remembers a similar conversation Millerna had with her before. Hitomi thinks Millerna still loves Allen. The Crusade and other forces arrive at Rampart, but a Zaibach Floating Fortress is revealed in the sky above the city. The Floating Fortress releases a large number of Guymelefs. The Guymelefs start attacking, along with Dilandau, who is piloting a new Guymelef Oreides. Dilandau sets the town aflame. Watching from the Crusade, Allen and Van get into their Guymelefs. Van heads out first in Escaflowne’s dragon-mode. In Palas, Hitomi looks out the window and wonders whom to trust. Van approaches the city and defeats a Zaibach Guymelef with ease, and Hitomi has a reaction to this. As Van takes out another Guymelef, Dilandau approaches. He fires at Van, who blocks. They fight, with neither one having an advantage. Suddenly, Allen arrives in Scherazade and attacks Dilandau. Dilandau fires at him as well, but Allen charges him. Van is approached by another few Guymelefs and takes them out. Hitomi gets scared in her room, sensing the bloodshed. Allen and Dilandau continue to fight. Suddenly, Jajuka arrives in his Guymelef and knocks Allen away. Allen battles Jajuka while Van takes out another Guymelef. Hitomi can see what he’s doing and calls for Van to stop, but he doesn’t. Dilandau charges Van, attacking with both arms. Van blocks his attacks. Allen continues to fight Jajuka. Van blocks Dilandau’s attack and says he can’t be defeated. The energist in Escaflowne starts reacting weirdly, so Jajuka flies away. Dornkirk watches the action from Zaibach, sensing that something is happening. Dilandau starts screaming hysterically for Jajuka, remembering a girl crying, and vanishes in a pillar of light. Jajuka follows him. The Zaibach Floating Fortress activates its stealth cloak and vanishes. Allen looks at the wreckage and says they must return to Palas. Hitomi kneels on the floor, wondering why everyone must fight and thinks she can’t take this anymore. Later, Dryden, Van, Allen and the others talk on a bridge in Palas, planning their next move. Hitomi comes on the bridge upset that Van and Allen enjoy fighting. She says she wants to return to Earth and suddenly vanishes in a pillar of light. Hitomi awakens in bed in the school hospital, with Amano watching over her.
While still a pretty good episode, this is a bit of a downgrade in comparison to those around it and is my lowest rated one in a while. While not in its entirety a filler episode, the fight that took up much of the second half of the episode was not as necessary as some others, and things seemed a little bit more dragged out elsewhere as well. The episode still gets an above average rating though, showing just how good Escaflowne is. This episode features the return of Dilandau, not seen in quite a while, and features his first fight with Van since episode 13. We also see Allen in battle with Scherazade for the first time since episode 13. By this point Hitomi has grown quite weary of being on Gaea (also clearly impacted by the revelation from Allen, despite his proposal to her) and the episode ends with yet another big cliffhanger as she is returned to Earth.
Original Review: April 1, 2006