The Vision of Escaflowne (天空のエスカフローネ, Tenkū no Esukafurōne?, lit. Escaflowne of the Heavens) is a 26-episode anime television series produced by Sunrise Studios and directed by Kazuki Akane. It premiered in Japan on April 2, 1996 on TV Tokyo, with the final episode airing on September 24, 1996. Sony's anime satellite channel, Animax also aired the series, both in Japan and on its various worldwide networks, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, South Asia. The series is licensed for Region 1 release by Bandai Entertainment.
Deliberately blending elements both shōnen and shōjo genres, the series follows a teenage high school girl named Hitomi, who finds herself pulled from Earth to the planet Gaea when a boy named Van appears on the high school track while battling a dragon. In Gaea, she is caught in the middle of a war as the Zaibach empire attempts to take over Gaea. Van, fallen king of the kingdom of Fanelia, with aid from Allen, a knight from the kingdom of Asturia, struggles to stop Zaibach using his mystical mech Escaflowne. Hitomi, whose fortune telling powers blossom in Gaea, discovers she is the key to awakening Escaflowne and to stopping Zaibach's plans.
While the anime series was in production, two very different manga retellings were also developed and released: a shōnen version of the story entitled The Vision of Escaflowne and a shōjo retelling titled HITOMI - The Vision of Escaflowne. In 1997, a third manga adaptation, the single volume scaflowne - Energist's Memories was released. A movie adaptation, Escaflowne: The Movie was also made, bearing only a slight resemblance to the original series. Four CD soundtracks and a drama CD have also been released in relation to the series.
The series focuses on the heroine, Hitomi Kanzaki, and her adventures after she is transported to the world of Gaea, a mysterious planet where she can see Earth and its moon in the sky. On Gaea, Earth is known as the Mystic Moon or "Phantom Moon" (幻の月, Maboroshii no tsuki?). Hitomi's latent psychic powers are enhanced on Gaea and she quickly becomes embroiled in the conflicts between the Zaibach Empire and the several peaceful countries that surround it. The conflicts are brought about by the Zaibach Empire's quest to revive the legendary power from the ancient city of Atlantis. As the series progresses, many of the characters' pasts and motivations, as well as the history of Atlantis and the true nature of the planet Gaea, are revealed.