High school student Hitomi is transported from Earth to the magical world of Gaea, where she meets boy prince Van Fanel, and is caught up in his quest to unite the countries of Gaea against the ominous Zaibach empire. On the way, she discovers a hidden ability and strives to unravel layers of mystery surrounding Van, his past, and the giant machine known as Escaflowne.
When you take an idea that by itself is nothing new in the medium of entertainment it can be challenge to build on that idea in a way to make a quality show and not just be run of the mill. While the basic premise of Escaflowne a high school girl being sent to another world is not new by any stretch of the imagination, it does show that by putting in the effort to develop on the basic idea and adding in some different genre concepts without doing it half assed you can have an excellent series that is enjoyable to watch.
So what makes Escaflowne so enjoyable? Well there are lots of things that make Escaflowne as enjoyable as a series. The first one is the cast of the series. These are not just two dimensional stock characters that have standard motives, no the cast members feel like real people and by the end of the series you can feel for all of them. The show does give off the “these are going to be standard characters” vibe early on but with some very strong character development through the series but the end they characters become more than they are when we first meet them. The one aspect of the character development that needs to be mentioned is the strength of the female characters in the show. Instead of just existing to provide fanservice for the viewers or just be stuck to stereotypical roles the females characters are in fact quite strong as characters. In fact I am going to go out in a limb here and say that the fact that we have a strong female lead character and the few females supporting characters are also so strong is that if the writer of the show made these females weak, the whole show itself would have been ruined completely by this.