Well, this is my favorite anime of all time (which is why I named myself after the name character). It's a beautiful story set in another world called Gaea and has a medieval feel to it. The story begins with a young high school girl, Hitomi Kanzaki, and just about what she's doing in high school one day. She has a big crush on one of the school's track stars (she's a sprinter as well). Well, one day as she's practicing at night, this great light comes out of the sky, and a young man wielding a sword comes out battling a giant dragon. As everyone (including Hitomi's best friend and crush) are being chased, the young man (who is, incidentally, Van Fanel), kills the beast. After some heated conversation between Van and Hitomi, the necklace on Hitomi's neck begins to glow and Van and her are both transported to Gaea (Van's home). It is there that we discover that Van is a king and his kingdom is being besieged by the Zaibach, who have large flying mechs (the weapons of destruction here are called Guymelefs, giant sword or other weapon wielding mechs) that can become invisible and shoot large metal wire of some sort. Inevitably, his kingdom is destroyed, even with the help of the master swordsman Valgus (who stopped one of the mechs with his bare hands, but was eventually killed), and the intimidating Guymelef Escaflowne, the royal mech that Van must awaken with a dragon's heart and his own blood. The citizens flee, including Van and Hitomi, who is now under his care, and escape into the forest. Along the way, they meet Allen Schezar, a handsome former knight turned mercenary, who happens to resemble Hitomi's crush. Together, with Allen's crew of other mercenaries, they attempt to defeat the evil forces of Zaibach. On a side note, Hitomi can read Tarot cards extremely well. Well, that's my description of about the first two or three episodes. I left out a lot of part, but you get the idea. This is a beautiful anime. Artistically, this is probably the most beautiful piece of work I've ever seen in an anime. Also, the music in this anime is the best I've ever heard. Both the vocals and the musical score are incomparable. This was wonderfully done by Yoko Kanno, the legendary Japanese composer. However, the aspect of this anime that I like the most is the fact that it wonderfully melds action, romance,humor, and drama into an extremely well-made piece of work. The mechs are incredible, but unlike many other anime, the mechs aren't the focus of the story. It's the story itself, with its many plot twists. It leaves you at the edge of your seat after every episode. Although many people were disappointed with the finale, I felt that it was a pretty believable (albeit, not as exciting or dramatic as one might expect) ending. A must see. This is one anime you CANNOT miss.