The heroine and focus character of the series. Hitomi was just a normal high school student with a schoolgirl crush on her track team sempai Amano when a string of events leaves her stranded on Gaea. To add to her problems, her latent psychic abilities (manifesting before only as hunches and surprisingly accurate Tarot readings) begin to explode in power, frequently barraging her with disturbing images of what is to come.Tropes that apply to Hitomi
Action Survivor: Being on the track team sure comes in handy when you have to do things like, say, leaping six meters across a gaping chasm to save Van.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Millerna asks Hitomi to do a tarot card reading on which man she should marry, she sees that Millerna's marriage to Dryden will go badly while her marriage to Allen will make her happy. Because Hitomi loves Allen too, she uses her power to switch a card (thereby altering fate) and tells Millerna Dryden would be the better choice for her. As a direct consequence of altering fate, the wedding is attacked by Guymelefs and nearly gets the couple killed.
Passionate Sports Girl: Subverted, as it's hinted that she joined her school's track team because she had a huge crush on the team captain Susumu Amano. Her running skills do come handy later in the story, though.
Power Strain Blackout: Her ability to see into the future, via Tarot Cards, often has this effect on her afterwards. It's eventually revealed that both the duration and the severity of her fainting spells is determined by her emotional state. Meaning, the greater her anxiety, the greater its toll on her following her vision; not to mention the part about her anxiety making those visions come true!
The Hero, pilot of the Escaflowne and newly crowned king of the country of Fanelia. Van has the misfortune of having his kingdom burned to the ground on the day of his coronation, and is now forced on the run from the Zaibach Empire.Tropes associated with Van:
Did Not Get the Girl: Hitomi chooses to go back to Earth while Van stays behind in Gaia to help his world heal from the war it just endured.
Freakiness Shame: He is ashamed of his wings because they marked him as a descendant of the Atlanteans, who are universally disdained in the setting, but Hitomi (who comes from another world altogether) just finds them beautiful.
Noble Fugitive: Despite being a king, he spends most of the series on the run from the Zaibach empire, who need him so they take control of the Escaflowne themselves. While the royalty of countries like Austuria are at least somewhat sympathetic to his plight, they're not entirely willing to risk their asses by truly granting him refuge.
Spanner in the Works: The Escaflowne's existence plays absolute hell on the Zaibach Empire's Destiny Prognostication Engine, which is why they're investing so much into capturing both it and it's pilot.
Synchronization: Halfway through the series, Van applies Hitomi's dowsing technique to gain more control over the Escaflowne. Unfortunately for him, the link works both ways — mentally and physically.
Unstoppable Rage: Van just goes utterly apeshit on the Dragonslayers in the 14th episode.
A member of the Knight Caeli that happens to bear an uncanny resamblance to Hitomi's crush, Amano. Allen is the sole, impeccable gentleman among a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits that guard one of Asturia's outposts. Despite his near perfect outward appearance and demeanor, he's hiding quite a number of abandonment issues just below the surface.And yes, the Goliath's hero unit in Starcraft is named after him.Tropes associated with Allen:
The Casanova: He even has the bastard son to prove it though he doesn't seem to do it on purpose; he just has a tendency to fall for women he can never be with, even if they do reciprocate, which they usually do.
If You Ever Do Anything To Hurt Him...: Merle begins taking this approach after it becomes obvious that Van is in love with Hitomi. Her anger at Hitomi in the second half of the series isn't because Van likes her more, but because Hitomi's Love Triangle indecisiveness is hurting him.
The youngest princess of Asturia who happens to be quite smitten with Allen, but betrothed to Dryden Fassa. Millerna is not quite comfortable being royalty, particularly since it she was forced to abandon her medical studies because of it.Tropes associated with Millerna
Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Played with. She and Dryden are a mild version of Belligerent Sexual Tension. They grow fond of each other as the series advances. The trouble starts after their disastrous wedding. Dryden decides he cares for Millerna, and might be in love with her at that point, but he feels he still has to work hard to become truly worthy of marrying a girl like her.
Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Played with. He and Millerna are a mild version of Belligerent Sexual Tension. They grow fond of each other as the series advances. At the end, Dryden decides he cares for Millerna, and might be in love with her, but after their disastrous wedding, he feels he still has to work hard to become truly worthy of marrying a girl like her.
Guile Hero: Very kind-hearted and rich, but also very cynical and manipulative when needed. See how he completely owned Allen with words alone and how he dealt with the creators of Escaflowne and got them to fix it, thus saving Van's life.
The Team Benefactor: An Intrepid Merchant, with zero fighting skills, who manages to join Hitomi and Van's little gang by providing funding (read: an ungodly sum of money) for the eponymous mech's mid-season repairs.
Voiced by Tessho Genda (Japanese), Don Brown (English), and Thomas Kastner (German)
One of the "three master swordsmen of Gaea" and Van's retainer/surrogate father. Balgus dies while covering Van's escape from Fanelia, but he nonetheless shows himself to be a major influence on both Van and Allen in the past.Tropes associated with Balgus:
Voiced by Masato Yamanouchi (Japanese), Richard Newman (English), Horst Lampe (German), and Federico Romano (Latin America)
Emperor of the Zaibach empire. Through Atlantean technology and a Magitek device known as Destiny Prognostication Engine, Dornkirk seeks to create a future for Gaea free of war — Even if it means burning down a city-state every now and thenTropes that apply to Dornkirk
Dark Lord On Life Support: Dornkirk is perpetually hooked up to a massive life-support machine keeping him alive well past when he should have died of old age. In the last episode, he rips free of it and lets Folken kill him to set in motion his Thanatos Gambit.
Emperor Scientist: He is actually Sir Isaac Newton magically transferred to the fantasy world.
A complete and absolute psycho, Dilandau is the man put in charge of capturing Van and the Escaflowne. He his happy to oblige to this order — provided he gets to blow a lot of shit up on the way.Tropes that apply to Dilandau
Char Clone: An Ax Crazy variant. He acts as The Rival to Van and even Allen to an extent, pilots custom red Guymelefs, and turns out to be Allen's little sister Celena. Basically, imagine if it was Sayla Mass who went nuts.
Cosmic Retcon: This is basically what Fate Alteration does: it turns you into a totally different person, physically and mentally.
Fan Nickname: Quite a few, both in the show and out, from the civilized and fitting "The Diabolical Adonis" (It's one of the episode titles for crying out loud!) to stuff that's just childish and downright silly, like "Dilly" (it even rhymes with silly!).
Freak Out: The Break the Haughty process somehow manages to make Dilandau even more fucked up. He spends several episodes freaking out in epic and continous ways.
Gender Bender: He's actually a girl named Celena Schezar that was mutated by Zaibach's fate alteration machines.
Hates Being Alone: The sole idea of being alone makes him more crazy than he already is.
Meaningful Name: The name "Dilandau" is a pretty clear nod to Durandal, the legendary sword tainted with a curse of insanity to prevent it from being wielded by the wrong hands.
Mid Series Upgrade: Well, more like end-of-series upgrade, but. He upgrades to a Guymelef called the Oreides four episodes from the end of the series. It appears to be a souped-up, stylized Alseides with dual flamethrowers/even more liquid metal claws (his only remaining soldier Jajuka also receives one, albeit in rank-and-file blue). In an aversion to this trope, however, the Oreides doesn't appear to do him much good, due to his increasingly-unstable nature, at least against main characters. Van pretty much takes it apart during the final battle with Escaflowne.
The Power of Friendship: The only thing keeping him sane. Yes, that is his sane mode. He might beat the shit outta the Dragonslayers, but if one of them is wronged by somebody else, the attacker will DIE. Just as a certain Master of Disguise.
Equal-Opportunity Evil: He employs cat people and even doppelgangers - a race even Dilandau despises - and treats them with the same high standard of respect and courtesy that he does for all of his men.
Evil Genius: Since he's the Strategos (tactician and strategist) for the Zaibach army.
Facial Markings: He has a purple tear drop shaped tattoo under his right eye.
Your Days Are Numbered: When Hitomi reveals that confronting Dornkirk will kill him, Folken tells her that the result of all of his Deadly Upgrades mean that he doesn't have much longer to live anyhow.
A soldier in the Zaibach tropes, and a very special one. First, he's an anthropomorphic canine of sorts, having the looks of a dog (more seemingly, an Afghan hound. Second, he took care of little Selena Schezar in her early Zaibach days, and was a sort of Big Brother Mentor to her. Jajuka feels horrendously guilty because he was powerless to save Selena from the horrid treatment that turned her into Dilandau, and becomes Dilandau's follower in hopes that he'll be able to fix his error someday...
Animal Motifs: He has the face and head of a dog, is also loyal and devoted as a well-trained one.
Heroic Sacrifice: Shields Dilandau in the middle of the final battle, and dies begging him to become Selena again. His death triggers Dilandau's last Villainous Breakdown... and switches him back to Selena, the gentle girl he used to be.