Although it didn't fare well on Fox Kids in the U.S., Escaflownehas a large and loyal following, perhaps because it offers the classic ingredients of both mecha and magical girl shows. Hitomi, who's been transported to the parallel world of Gaea, is torn between her attraction to the elegant knight Allen, and to Van, the diamond-in-the-rough king of Fanelia. Allen lives by an elaborate chivalric code of honor, even in treacherous times; Van is less polished, but maneuvers the giant mecha suit Escaflowne expertly. The story continues to unfold through a series of battles, threats, and escapes. When she isn't whining, Hitomi can see events before they occur, which enables her to save her friends' lives. These episodes of precognition are especially useful against the maniacal Dilandau of the Zaibach Empire, who hunts Van, sometimes aided by Van's turncoat brother Folken. Hitomi is furiously jealous of Princess Millerna's attraction to Allen and the feline Merle's affection for Van, who may be an angel in disguise. On Gaea, anything can happen--and generally does. An odd interview with four of the Japanese voice actors (Hitomi, Merle, Folken, and Van) is included among the extras. Rated 13 and up for violence. --Charles Solomon

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