Lately, my family has been considering dumping Comcast because of their exorbitant rates (they also made the American Family Association's boycott list for supporting Planned Parenthood). Although I'd love to save the money, and have the peace and quiet, I must acknowledge the great service Comcast hath rendered unto me. Last April, they began posting episodes of my favorite television show of all time: The Vision of Escaflowne. An anime available both in English and the original Japanese, it was originally aired in Japan in 1996. Sadly, none of the anime geeks back at Northampton High ever showed interest in it.
The series is quite artsy, and has helped to inspire some of my poetry. What I like about it most (even more than the action) is the overarching theme of emotion and compassion versus reason, science, and progress. Now, you may be thinking, 'but isn't "all you need is love" type neo-romanticism one of today's most common themes?' Yes, but Escaflowne does it in a more intellectual manner. (If you plan on watching it, possible spoilers ahead!)
As can be expected, the protagonists are a motley assortment of individualistic, aggressive swordsmen and cute damsels often in distress. The villains, however, intrigue me. The emperor of Zaibach, the evil nation, is apparently Issac Newton, living out a new life in Gaea (the planet) and attempting to eradicate war and suffering by using fate-altering science. Whereas most modern tales [I, Robot comes to mind] would completely condemn this as an overuse of unfeeling science, a defector from Zaibach witnesses that the emperor's theories were not wrong, but placed no value on the human suffering necessary for eventual success. Maybe I'm overthinking it, but this reminds me of ESCR. Also interesting, Atlantis, an ancient civilization once in Gaea, was destroyed because they created a machine which made them greater than "the gods", and could transform the power of their wishes into energy. Sounds to me like the old fatal flaw of hubris.
The only possible problem with The Vision of Escaflowne is that the main character practices fortune telling with tarot cards. However, just as with magic in the fairy tales of old, the fortune telling never produces any benefit, and actively changes the future for the worse. (Plus, this is the age of Harry Potter, everything emphasizes the occult; this is one of those "Who do you think we are? Hertz?" moments). And let's be honest: who doesn't like to see beautiful tarot cards in beautiful anime?
Essentially, it's a very good show. Anyone with Comcast (or a few bucks to spend at the local anime store) should watch it.