FOX (ended 2001)
|Am I the only one who doesn't completely understand the ending to the anime? So, Hitomi says she wants to see Gaea and Fanelia when its peaceful or something, and yet she still goes back to Earth? And what about Van? He just let her go. But clearly, they both love each other and want to be with each other, so why don't they just stay together? And I'm really confused at the very end when Hitomi sees Van sitting on the rocks in the ocean and she says, "I'm fine". Like, am I the only one going, "WTF?!" I mean, she doesn't tell him she loves him or anything but instead says 'I'm fine'? What is wrong with her?! And so I just really need to know, do they end up together or not? They obviously love each other, but Hitomi said, as she was being transported back to Earth, "I will never forget you, Van. Even when I grow old, I'll never forget you." Does that mean she never sees or meets him again? Because that would be totally suckish. I think I would cry if that's what really happens. For all we know, Hitomi probably grew up and married some guy and had children, even though she was still in love with Van. And she can never see him again because she gave him her pendant. Arghh, this is killing me. I hate sad endings. Even though this is supposed to be happy, I think it's the saddest thing ever.|
The central theme is pretty common to shoujo stories. Hitomi's ordinary struggle at the beginning is with her lack of courage, or more specifically, her lack of the self-reliance characteristic of her more mature self. As circumstances are changing with Amano-sempai, Hitomi feels she lacks strength to deal with outcomes and a future which she can't control. But her destiny is to realize that all the externals which oppress her are actually created by her own fears and insecurities. The whole background of Atlantis is about the power of the mind to control external elements. Along complementary lines, Zaibach is obsessed with manipulating outcomes and building the future through intentional effort. Both nations reflect the lust for power which accompanies Hitomi's ordinary schoolgirl fears. Escaflowne is highly integrated and unified in theme. Gaea is the Greek goddess and synonym for Earth. The people, places, and events on Gaea symbolically unfold the drama of Hitomi's rise to maturity and self-confidence. Gaea is Hitomi's inner planet. Her inner struggle is the foundation for all existence on Gaea.
Van is basically the incarnation of Hitomi's latent courage. His development directly parallels Hitomi's gradual awakening. Van, his kingdom of Fanelia, and Escaflowne are synonymous with dragons. In Eastern myth, serpents and dragons represent the latent life energy of humans and the rest of nature. In the Bible-influenced West, nature is considered a power to be subdued and controlled, so dragons and serpents are generally associated with the devil and negative traits. Van's development in this sense is a movement from the Western toward the Eastern view. Beginning with the initial dragonslaying, Van's encounters with dragons (including Escaflowne itself) map out his development from fear to courage, which are two sides of the same coin as symbolized by the dragon motif found throughout the anime all the way from small details like the sea dragon statue at the Asturian harbor to larger events like the confrontation near the end with the two dragons in the ruins of Fanelia.
Many people are disappointed with what happens at the end with Van and Hitomi's relationship. But the whole story is about Hitomi's struggle to let go of certain attachments. Her farewell to Van is her final act of love. Van likewise retires Escaflowne, the symbol which, by his relationship to it, had been the emblem of his development throughout the story.
She begins the story with some serious attachment to Amano-sempai and her future. This kind of attachment breeds the fear and anxiety that plague her (her scary visions are the most obvious example) throughout most of her sojourn in Gaea.
For Hitomi, what is the difference between attachment and non-attachment? By going back to Earth at the end, she gains her true home. And by going back to Earth, she also gains all of Gaea, and most importantly, she gains Van. It's not a choice between two different worlds. Like I was saying before, Gaea is Hitomi's inner planet - that entire world's existence is based on her inner struggle for the courage and self-reliance of maturity. By going home, she gains the best of both worlds. Attachment created the duality of the two planets. You can see at the end how Hitomi found peace of mind in non-attachment. Non-attachment is the beautiful monistic Vision which crowns all of Hitomi's lesser visions. Non-attachment means one world, not two. By the end of the story, it's not logical to say that Hitomi has to choose between Earth and Gaea. Gaea and Van are in her heart, so she can leave them both without remorse, because there's no such thing as parting when two worlds have become one."