The pillar of light deposits Hitomi and Van in separate places in the woods while a man with glasses watches. Van knows he’s still on Gaea, but has no idea where he is and wonders where Hitomi is. At that moment, Hitomi sits under a tree, not knowing what to do. She takes out her pendant, hoping for it to show her a sign. Suddenly, a fat bald man with glasses knocks Hitomi over and holds her down, seemingly trying to rape and steal from her. Hitomi screams, alerting Van. Suddenly, an owl flies in from the shore and attacks the fat man. The owl’s owner, a tall blond man named Allen Schezar, who aside from his hair color looks exactly like Amano comes and knocks the fat man out by punching him in the face. He kneels down and asks Hitomi if she’s alright. Thinking he’s Amano, Hitomi sobs in his arms and passes out. Allen picks up Hitomi as Van arrives. Van draws his sword, despite Allen’s warnings to not do so. Van does it anyway. Van charges, but Allen dodges him then hits him in the stomach with the back of his sword, knocking him out. Meanwhile, a large floating fortress, the Vione, flies over the remains of Fanelia. Inside, a group of young men, the Dragonslayers, kneel before their leader, Dilandau Albatou, a silver haired young man of similar age to them. Hearing that two of his Alseides Guymelefs were damaged in Fanelia, he slaps their pilots, Shesta and Dallet. Dilandau walks into a circular room with his supervisor, a man wearing a black cloak with short blue hair named Folken, who says there was no need to burn Fanelia to the ground. Folken pushes down three columns causing a projection screen to be revealed with an old man on it, Emperor Dornkirk. Dornkirk says that the ‘Dragon’ still casts a shadow over their nation of Zaibach. He says the Dragon has escaped Fanelia and he wants them to capture it. Dornkirk, who is strapped to a large machine, also talks about sensing a pillar of light. Hitomi awakens with Amano sitting beside her, and he tells her that she passed out and had amnesia. However, this itself is nothing more than a dream and Hitomi soon awakens in a bed with Allen standing over her. Behind Allen is a large group of tough looking men. Hitomi looks out the window and sees the Earth in the sky. Realizing that she is still on Gaea, she starts crying. Allen introduces himself and says he will protect her. A few more men come in with Van, who looks at Allen angrily. Later, they sit outside within the fort and Allen is shocked to hear that Hitomi is from the Mystic Moon. Van is eager to head back to Fanelia with Escaflowne, but Allen tells him that Fanelia was completely destroyed. The ground shakes as the Vione floats overhead. Out comes multiple Alseides Guymelefs. Hitomi recognizes them as the same kind that destroyed Fanelia.
Dilandau leads his troops into Allen’s fort, asking for weapon, food and supplies. Meanwhile, Van and Hitomi make their way to the front of the crowd watching. Dilandau asks Allen if he’s seen a strange Guymelef lately, to which Allen says no. Allen asks if this has anything to do with the destruction of Fanelia, Dilandau calls Fanelia a backwater country and says it was probably destroyed by Dragons. He also claims Fanelia’s cowardly king ran away. Hearing this, Van readies his sword and says that those that are invisible in battle are cowards. Dilandau walks up to him, but then passes right by him to Hitomi, noticing her weird clothes. Dilandau asks her where she’s from. Allen says Hitomi comes from the East and is his new girlfriend, kissing her on the cheek, to the surprise of Dilandau and Van. Hitomi wonders if Allen is the winged boy in her vision and imagines him with wings. The Vione leaves, but inside Dilandau tells his troops to prepare for battle. At that moment, one of the invisible Guymelefs spies on the fort from the woods. Locked in their room, Hitomi tries to cheer Van up by looking at his fortune on her tarot cards, but Van doesn’t believe in them. When she draws the death card, she has a vision of the Grim Reaper flying out of the card at her, and another vision of the Zaibach Guymelefs walking through burning rubble, along with Dilandau’s face. Van snaps Hitomi out of it. Suddenly, a shovel bursts through the floor. Hitomi recognizes it as the Mole Man, the fat man who had attacked her in the woods. Later, Allen is told by his subordinate Gaddes that Van and Hitomi’s room is empty. Underground, the Mole Man leads Hitomi and Van to the Guymelef hangar. To apologize for what happened earlier, he gives Hitomi her duffle bag which was somehow transported by the pillar of light as well. Van says he’s going back to Fanelia and gets in Escaflowne. Suddenly, the exit to the hangar opens, revealing Allen in his own Guymelef, Scherazade. Allen says Van must defeat him to leave. As they prepare to duel, one of the Dragonslayers watches from afar in his Guymelef. As Escaflowne gets out its sword, Allen’s men place bets, all on Allen. Escaflowne attacks, but Scherazade blocks it. Allen counterattacks, which Van blocks, to the shock of Allen’s men. As Allen attacks again, he reveals to Van that Balgus was his swordmaster. Van blocks Allen’s second attack, but Scherazade punches Escaflowne, knocking it to its knees. Allen attacks with his sword once more, but Van blocks it again. The Scherazade overpowers the Escaflowne, knocking it to the ground and quickly holds its sword in front of Escaflowne’s facemask. Allen tells Van to get out, which he does. Allen notices a scratch on Scherazade’s arm and realizes that Van got a hit on him. Hitomi walks up to Escaflowne, but the energist glows and she has a vision of the fort burning to the ground.
Things pick up even more so in this episode. We continue to get a number of introductions including most of the significant characters that had not yet been introduced such as Allen, Folken, Dilandau and Emperor Dornkirk. Minor characters like the Mole Man and Allen’s crew are also seen for the first time. The episode features a pair of duels between Van and Allen, first in person then in their Guymelefs. Allen shows that Van has a lot to learn, defeating him without much trouble either time. It will take Van quite a while to be a match for Allen. Allen’s Guymelef, Scherazade is likely named after the Persian Queen who was storyteller of Arabian Nights. The episode features a lot of foreshadowing, with Hitomi having numerous visions throughout. Sans the hair, Allen has an identical appearance to Amano (he shares the same voice actor in the Japanese and English versions as well) which will bring an interesting dynamic for Hitomi and Van.
Original Review: April 1, 2006