192–208 pages, Tokyopop, ISBN-13: 978-1591823667 (Book 1); ISBN-13: 978-1591823674 (Book 2); ISBN-13: 978-1591823681 (Book 3); ISBN-13: 978-1591824497 (Book 4); ISBN-13: 978-1591824503 (Book 5); ISBN-13: 978-1591824510 (Book 6); ISBN-13: 978-1591824527 (Book 7); ISBN-13: 978-1591824534 (Book 8)
The Vision of Escaflowne (Tenkū no Esukafurōnel, or Escaflowne of the Heavens) is the story of high school girl Hoshino Hitomi who, after dabbling with a set of tarot cards, suddenly finds herself on a strange world called Gaea. With her newfound friend, Van Fanel, the young prince of the devastated kingdom of Fanelia, Hitomi becomes involved in the battle against the Zaibach forces, an evil empire bent on conquering the planet. First things first: I really enjoyed the Anime version of Escaflowne (which I saw after I read the Manga) and, thus, had high hopes for this version of the tale. That’s important, for if you’re expecting to see the Escaflowne anime retold in print, then you are out of luck. Overall I enjoyed the manga; the artwork is unique, with a rough-edge quality to it, and the Mecha of Gaea are awesome to look at, but then I knew what to expect as version of the manga is the shōnen version and is thus geared towards boys (that means more violence and awesome mecha). The girl Hitomi is a weaker character but still has her moments; Van and Allen are charming though somewhat different from their anime-selves; and Dilandau is fascinating as always, even as the merger of his anime-version and the Folken-character. Even if you haven’t seen the anime I would recommend this series; hell, as long as you do not expect a retelling of the anime, I would say you would enjoy this.