Knights Scream, Princesses Cry
(Major Spoilers Ahead!)
Anime, with all its progressive ventures into the future of humanity, cannot get past the stereotypical gender roles required to add up to a romantic adventure’s sum. The audience must feel the pain and yearning that the lead female romantic interest feels as she waits and prays for her man who is off in the war. The man of war or knight expects his woman or princess to be home praying for his safe return. The princess is expected to breakdown under the overwhelming will of the knight. She can only provide support through prudent advice and the warm memories she has left her knight to think of in his darkest times. The woman must maintain a good and virtuous face for the common people so as not to alarm them to the knight’s hardships. It is an accepted notion that the knight will feel angry and get caught up in the overblown tempers of war screaming his way to victory while the princess will tend to domestic issues and go to bed crying every night when she receives bad news from the front lines.
At least that is what conventional epic romances strive for.
The Vision of Escaflowne deals out a hand of confused feelings stemming from identity crises crossed with male jealousies, an Old World view of relationships and arranged marriages and lust for dark power and the security of love. The complications of multiple overlapping love triangles and the influential and yet doubtful feelings of one Hitomi Kanzaki, the girl of the mystic moon torture the romance in Escaflowne. According to Escaflowne’s romantic trends it is best to deny true desires for the sake of other’s livelihood and happiness. Selfishness can only lead to despair and more often than not a cruel death. It becomes alarmingly important for Hitomi and her peers to make the right decisions when those decisions have world crushing power. This power fuels the high fires of romance to burn up the viewer’s heart and only the tears brought on by lost love can extinguish it.