At the Movies

To learn all about Escaflowne: the Movie - a Girl in Gaia, check out Tsubasa no Kami. As you will quickly gather, the world of the movie is very different to that of the TV series, and so are practically all the characters. They have the same names and look similar to their series selves, but in almost every case have been conceptually reworked. Because the shorter timespan of the movie puts pretty tight practical restrictions on development of secondary characters, you may be disappointed to find that the only characters whose personalities we really get to explore are Hitomi, Van, and to a lesser extent Folken.

Before the movie came out, I speculated that smaller roles like Dryden's were likely to fall by the wayside, due to the necessity of streamlining the plot. Happily, I was wrong, and he does appear - although in somewhat reduced circumstances.

Movie Dryden is still the son of a rich man, although Meiden isn't mentioned by name, and he isn't a crony of King Aston of Asturia - because in movie Gaea there is no Asturia for anyone to be king of.

Picture from Tsubasa no Kami.

Dryden's old man is just a prominent citizen of a town called Torushina, and his son, rather than a travelling merchant, is the proprietor of a bar and secretly supports the Abaharaki resistance movement that's fighting the Black Dragon Clan.

Major differences between movie and series Dryden include the fact that he's not Millerna's fiancé. Movie Millerna, although she is a princess, isn't engaged to or in love with anyone (nor is she a medical student, nor does she seem to have any sisters). She's a dispossessed princess like Leia Organa, and again like Leia Organa she has an absurd hairstyle. But enough of her. (And her ridiculously short shorts.)

Movie Dryden also doesn't have series Dryden's somewhat hyperactive and overbearing personality. He comes across as affable and smooth, and given that he's helping the resistance I guess we can take it as read that he has an active social conscience. Given that he's doing it secretly, we can also take it that he believes in business as usual during wartime. Although movie Dryden is less obviously intellectual than series Dryden, he does come through with useful information by being able to quote an obscure verse of a song containing a prophecy about Escaflowne, which makes it clear that if the legendary armour is awakened it will eventually destroy the world. This seems to be a popular folk song generally as Van knows most of the words (just not the crucial part), and it is performed by the torch singers in Dryden's bar.

Torch singers, I should add, who are twin catgirls, one with silver and one with golden hair. Yes, folks, it's Nariya and Eriya, with considerably less to do in the movie than in the series and no connection to Folken whatever. (How weird is that?) One rumour I heard prior to seeing the movie was that they were strippers in a nightclub owned by Dryden, which rather upset me as I didn't like to see them degraded like that, and didn't want to believe Dryden was a party to that degradation. I'm glad to say that the rumour was not true; their singing act is rather elegant and ethereal and they are respectably clothed (for Nariya and Eriya, anyway) throughout. I kind of like the fact that the catgrrlz are working for Dryden rather than gatecrashing his wedding. ('Right! If you girls can't pay for the damage you did during the series, you're going to work it off in the movie!')

Although movie Dryden doesn't get to show off as a great linguist, he does get to demonstrate a previously unknown talent for music, accompanying the singers on a pipe-organ in the bar. I guess John Lennon glasses are handy for reading sheet music too. Actually, although this is just speculation on my part, I like to imagine that movie Dryden is specifically a scholar of music and song, as much as series Dryden was of languages and history. He says he'd like to showcase more popular music in the bar, but that's difficult to do when the town's crawling with Black Dragon troops (who presumably would rather hear death metal than 'Strawberry Fields Forever'). My impression is that what movie Dryden really wants is just 'business as usual' - for the intensity and abnormality of wartime to be over, and for people to have a chance to get on with living their lives in an ordinary, natural way. He's a nice man, even if he doesn't get the chance to be very interesting, and he's still rather yummy-looking.

Character Design
For these images I am, again, indebted to Tsubasa no Kami. (Webmistress Lizzard is kinda Scanning no Kami.) I thought you might like a guided tour of the new-look Dryden. And hey, in this mini-gallery you actually get *thumbnails* to click on! *^.^*


Two head-shots of Dryden v2.0. Among the male characters, Dryden is one of the least noticeably altered, but important differences are there; in accordance with the overall design style, his nose is less prominent (but still aquiline) and his mouth and chin are a little more heavily drawn, less fine-boned. His hair is worn loose and flowing at all times (sorry, ponytail fanciers), which I think makes his appearance overall more distinguished. The Middle Eastern aura I commented on in What Might Have Been has given way to Dryden's more late 17th Century Europe aspect. Funny, that, because everyone else looks more old-fashioned, even primitive, than they did in the series, to the extent that Van is running around in a fur kilt with shorts underneath. (Obviously Fanelians and Scotsmen differ on some crucial points.) But certain defining Dryden characteristics have survived - his whiskers, his Extreme Eyebrows, and his lovely curly smirk.



A full length figure, with (nice touch) an inset close-up of one of his eyes. That is an eyebrow that won't quit. Turning to the main figure of Dryden, we see what Lizzard is pleased to term the 'Jesus pose.' Dryden has always held the coveted title of Escaflowne Character Most Closely Resembling Traditional Imagery of Christ. (Or alternately, John Lennon circa 'Let It Be.' Except John's hair never looked this good long. I think he had his best hair in 'A Hard Day's Night' and the 'I Am the Walrus' video. But I digress. *ahem*) I see Dryden is letting the side down by wearing trousers under his skirt, which I'm pretty sure he didn't in the series. I wonder if this development in the movie (cf Van's kilt-with-shorts) is in any way related to the series' Anti-Panty-Shot policy, detailed in Kaleidoscope Eyes? Even Merle's acquired little white knickers - though I only know that from design sketches.

Note: Dryden apparently wears a sword-belt but does not carry a sword.



Side and rear elevations, to facilitate drawing from all angles. I adore his highwayman's coat, and find his hair very pretty and play-with-able. And can think of very little else to say about these pictures.

Query: If Zongi had been in the movie, would he have worn pants? I'm becoming completely obsessed with pants, I'm afraid. Pants and hair. The John Lennon fixation was a pre-existing condition.

Oh yeah, I wanted to say that I find the pendant he's wearing very interesting, and would like to have a closer look at it.



Two more headshots, showcasing The Smiles of Dryden. The one on the left is really quite nice, in a looking optimistically to the future sort of way. The one on the right... I'm such a Dryden booster that I considered trying to suppress this image for the sake of his reputation, but then I thought no, that would be phony, and Dryden is no phony. He'd want you to see this.

A horse will make this face if you skritch it in just the right place.

If you still love him after seeing this, you are a True Fan *^.^*