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This is a list of the major characters from The Vision of Escaflowne, a 26-episode anime series produced by Sunrise Studios and directed by Kazuki Akane. The series premiered in Japan on April 2, 1996 and ended September 24, 1996.
Hitomi Kanzaki (神崎ひとみ Kanzaki Hitomi?) is an ordinary school-girl with a crush on her track-team friend, Amano. She meets and saves the life of Van, a young prince from who crossed a portal from a different world in order to slay a dragon. Transported to Van's world, Gaea, she finds her fate is intertwined with his, even if her heart still belongs to Amano, later Allen, a gallant knight who bears an uncanny resemblance to Amano and later Van (her true love). Lost in Gaia with no apparent way to return home, Hitomi finds that her hobby of tarot card reading is becoming frighteningly accurate, complete with visions of both the past and future that shed light on this new, war torn world.
Hitomi has a very realistic personality, she's shy, caring, forgiving and also has a temper. She is often afraid but pushes herself to do the right thing. She's reserved but is prone to random displays of affection. She's honest, but will tell little white lies to benefit herself. She wants love and friendship. She wants what's best for others but benefiting herself isn't too bad, either. As a member of her school's track team, she is also a capable amateur athletic in long-distance running.
Her portrayal in the movie is much different. This version of her is depressed and in a deep melancholy brought on by feelings of loneliness and the story shows her slowly overcoming this. She also does not show an interest in tarot card reading or have any psychic powers.
She also had a friend named Yukari who only shows in the first episode when she met Van.
Van Fanel (バァン・ファーネル Van Slanzar de Fanel?) is the young half-Draconian king of Fanelia who must learn to cope with drastic changes in his life after Fanelia is destroyed by Zaibach. He pilots Escaflowne, a Guymelef made by the mysterious Ispano tribe which can transform into a flying dragon. He earns his right to pilot Escaflowne through a blood pact which connects his body and soul to Escaflowne. Due to the blood pact and Hitomi's influence, Van becomes injured when the Escaflowne is damaged, and these wounds will not close until Escaflowne is repaired. Consequently, if Escaflowne is destroyed, Van will die.
His destiny and Hitomi's are linked, and he is initially dependent on Hitomi's clairvoyant abilities, which save his life more than once. He also holds a grudge against Folken for leaving his native kingdom of Fanelia for Zaibach and Dornkirk for his grand ambitions. Due to being half-Draconian, Van is able to manifest a pair of feathered wings which enable him to fly. He also shown a lot emotion to his teammate Hitomi, which makes them seem like a couple but it has been never made official in the series.
Allen Schezar (アレン・クルゼード・シェザール Allen Crusade Schezar?) is a member of the Knight Caeli, Asturia's elite knights who bears an uncanny resemblance to Hitomi's high school crush, Susumu Amano.
When Allen was younger, his younger sister Celena was kidnapped by Zaibach, his father disappeared mysteriously, and his mother died shortly afterwards. As a result of these events, Allen harbors a great deal of anger towards his father, Leon, for leaving his mother and family behind (it is later revealed that Leon truly loved Allen's mother and was murdered by Dornkirk's soldiers for the secrets of Atlantis). He has captured the heart of Princess Millerna of Asturia, but also demonstrates strong feelings for Hitomi as the series progresses.
Allen was a gifted swordsman at a young age, becoming one of the most skilled fighters of Gaea under the expert tutelage of Balgus of Fanelia. During his early knight career he and Princess Marlene fell in love and she bore his child, Chid. Later within the series, Allen briefly becomes romantically involved with Hitomi through Dornkirk's influence.
Folken Lacour de Fanel (フォルケン・ラクール・デ・ファーネル Foruken Rakūru de Fāneru?) the Strategos or tactician of Zaibach, Folken is revealed to be Van's older brother and the original heir to Fanelia. After he failed to kill a dragon, he lost an arm to the beast and was later picked up by the Zaibach, who nursed him back to health under Dornkirk's instructions and fitted him with a mechanical arm. He originally joined the empire in hopes of realizing Zaibach's ideals of a world free of war, but is later disillusioned and defects. He, like Van, is half Draconian and thus he also has angelic wings. His wings have turned black, however, a portent that his life is coming to an end. Folken dies when his sword breaks as he kills Dornkirk and strikes him in the heart.
In the Escaflowne movie, Folken is the movie's main antagonist and rewritten as the leader of Zaibach.
Dilandau Albatou (ディランドゥ・アルバタウ Dirandu Arubatau?) is the leader of an elite group of Guymelef pilots called the Dragon Slayers in Dornkirk's army. Dilandau is a highly narcisstic, mentally unstable pryomaniac who abuses his soldiers, although he is also emotionally dependent on them as well (he gladly kills anyone who has caused any harm to them, such as the Doppelganger Zongi).
Towards the end of the series it is revealed that Dilandau, initially depicted as a male, is actually Allen's lost sister Celena, who was brainwashed and mutated by Zaibach's fate alteration machines. Dilandau eventually regains his memory and returns to his original female form. In the Escaflowne movie, with his origins changed, Dialandau is human who was infused with Draconian blood.
Emperor Dornkirk (ドルンカーク Dorunkaaku?) is the leader of Zaibach believed to be two hundred Earth years old and a former Earth scientist named Isaac. Isaac learned that physical attraction between matter is caused by the force of gravity. He thus believed that everything in the universe, including fate and destiny, is caused by a force and everything is governed by a universal law. His theories and discoveries led him into the invention of machines that can predict and change the future. Isaac was transported into Gaea and later became Emperor Dornkirk after "saving" the rural people of Zaibach with his knowledge.
Dornkirk continually looks into the future with his Destiny Prognostication Engine in order to create an ideal future for Gaea by unlocking the secrets of Atlantis. Hitomi's visions of the future and Van's connection to Escaflowne continually interfere with his efforts, however. The future he seeks to create is the "zone of absolute fortune", in which everyone's wishes would come true. However, it is that very power that destroyed Atlantis.
Nearing the end of the series, Dornkirk had successfully constructed his device to generate the "zone of absolute fortune". It was activated upon his death at the hands of Folken, which was immediately followed by Folken's own demise, a consequence of the workings of the machine. Dornkirk, kept alive by various machinery in the first place, sticks around as an incorporeal ghost to see how his experiment would turn out. Upon the deactivation of his machine, he finally vanishes.
Frequently hinted though never confirmed in the series, the character of Dornkirk was based on the historical figure Sir Isaac Newton. Series writer and director Shoji Kawamori noted that Newton studied alchemy, even writing a book on it, so he theorized Newton discovering the power of Atlantis.
Millerna Aston, the third princess of the kingdom of Asturia who is in love with Allen Schezar, though she is betrothed to the merchant prince Dryden Fassa. Millerna's ambition was once to become a doctor, but was forced to give up her medical studies by her second sister, Eries.
Her eldest sister, Marlene, is deceased, and was the wife of Duke Freid and the mother of Allen's son, Chid. Millerna later runs away from Asturia to join Van's troupe and fulfill her dreams. She is upset by her engagement to Dryden, but gradually comes to appreciate her fiancé's good qualities. At the end of the series, however, they separate on good terms, with Dryden saying "I will come back when I'm more deserving of you." Millerna then realizes that she can't depend on others to make her happy. In the beginning of the series, she was first introduced, it was seen that she wasn't fond of Hitomi, but later in the series, accepts her as a friend. Through she never finished medical school, she was a great help to Hitomi and the others when she saved Allen from near death and helped save Hitomi from a mental death.
Balgus (バルガス Barugasu?) is one of the "three master swordsmen of Gaea" and a general of Fanelia's army. An enormous man of great strength, he is capable of fighting and dismembering guymelefs (mecha) without piloting a guymelef himself. Balgus served under Van's father in his younger days and later left to travel around Gaea, searching to improve his skills. He met Allen and trained him for a time, but when Van's father died he returned to Fanelia to look after Van and his mother. When Zaibach destroyed Fanelia, he died while saving Van.
Though he perished early in the series he continues to affect the lives of the main characters through his lasting influence as both a mentor to Van and teacher to Allen.
Merle (メルル Meruru?) a thirteen year-old cat-girl and childhood friend of Van. She is jealous of Van's increasingly close relationship with Hitomi, but eventually comes to accept Hitomi; and becomes a loyal friend to her. As Van becomes conflicted in his relationship with Hitomi, Merle reveals to him that he loves Hitomi and that Merle had recognized it long before he did. She encourages Van to go find Hitomi after Hitomi unexpectedly returns to the Mystic Moon, and assures Van that his feelings will reach Hitomi.
An orphan, she has since devotedly followed Van since she was picked up by the Fanelian courts. She never hesitates to protect Van at all costs (the twins Eriya and Nariya spared Van's life once when Merle hauled herself in front of him, seeing their past selves reflected on her).
Two eighteen year-old leopard-girl sisters who serve Folken. Nariya has light skin and silver hair, and Eriya has dark skin and gold hair. When still children, their parents were killed by humans due to prejudice against their race, and to avoid being captured and sold into slavery, they tried to commit suicide. The sisters were saved by Folken, and throughout their time spent with him, the two fell deeply in love with the young prince. Just like Jajuka to Dilandau, the two serve Zaibach only out of their loyalty to Folken, and not through truly believing in the motives of the Kingdom. They would do anything to protect Folken and are extremely overprotective of him. The both of them pilot different Guymelefs as well: Nariya pilots a silver Guymelef, and Eriya pilots a gold Guymelef. Both of them die after an experiment with their blood goes wrong, causing them both to age at a rapid rate before dying in Folken's arms.
ジャジュカ (Jajuka?) is a dog-like beast-man. He becomes the only soldier under Dilandau's command after the dragon slayers are killed in battle by Van. A former-servant of the Sorcerers who kidnapped Celena, he was responsible for her well-being as a child and genuinely cared for her; the two were almost inseparable. When Dilandau was returned to the Sorcerers years later, Jajuka volunteered to fight beside him.
Voiced by: Yuri Amano (Japanese), Ellen Kennedy (English)
Eries Aston is the second princess of Asturia and Millerna's older sister. Because she refuses to marry, she is ineligible for the throne; as such, the husband of her younger sister will inherit the throne of Asturia. She disapproves of Millerna's decision to be a doctor and attempts to discourage her younger sister from pursuing both the study of medicine and Allen Schezar. She also agrees to look after Allen's sister, Celena, when she mysteriously appears again, though it is soon discovered that Celena is actually Dilandau.
Dryden Fassa is a knowledgeable, successful, and generous merchant who is also a part-time scholar. He is engaged to Millerna through his father Meiden, a friend of Asturia's king, though he is well aware that Millerna is in love with Allen Schezar. He genuinely cares for Millerna, and claims that his altruistic actions (such as paying an immense repair fee for Escaflowne) are to get her attention. Though the two are married later in the series, Dryden separates from Millerna and returns the ring, claiming that he isn't worthy of her yet. When she warns that she might not wait for him, he expresses confidence that his great love for her will eventually be returned.
Prince Chid named Sheed is the heir to duchy of Freid and is supposedly the Duke of Freid and Princess Marlene's son, but his real father is Allen Schezar. After Duke of Freid died, Chid eventually became the Duke.
When Princess Marlene had married Duke Freid, she never openly revealed the truth behind her pregnancy, but she wrote about it in a hidden diary that was later found by Millerna. Chid displays a strong connection and trust for Allen, though unaware of their true connection as father and son, and admires and hopes to live up to Duke Freid, the only father Chid has ever known. Though the Duke is apparently strict towards Chid, he recognizes Chid as his own son and cares for him deeply.