To learn all about Escaflowne: the Movie - a Girl in Gaia, check out Tsubasa no Kami (source of the picture in the sidebar). 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.

Many characters are, inevitably, much diminished by these restrictions. As I said elsewhere, Allen without backstory is hardly Allen at all, and the same goes for Dilandau; possibly more so, because the loss of both their backstories means that there is no connection between these characters in the movie.

That's probably the first Big Important Difference you need to know about movie Dilandau: although he has the same voice actress, Minami Takayama, he is not, and never has been, a girl of any description, and he certainly wasn't Allen's sister. Some of the external elements of Dilandau as we know him are used to give form to a fairly different character.

He is not a soldier of Zaibach, but of the Black Dragon Clan, a warlike horde led by Folken. He still leads a team of bishy young warriors, but their numbers are reduced; just six boys, Gatti, Migel, Dalet, Chesta, Guimel and Ryuon accompany him. (If you're wondering about Ryuon, no, he wasn't in the series - he was created for the movie and his voice was cast by open audition as a publicity stunt. He's a non-event as a character but his official job is to be responsible for communications. Slayer Uhura.)

Movie Dilandau's backstory, such as it is, can be summarised quite quickly. He is a half-caste scion of the Dragonkin, of which Van and Folken are full-blooded members. Although his blood is 'impure,' he does possess some of their superhuman abilities, chiefly psychokinesis (the power to move objects or touch/strike people with willpower - you've seen Darth Vader do it) used as an attack in battle. He is also able to bond with and use the Alseides, an ancient armour similar to Escaflowne, seemingly through a transfusion of his blood through its systems. (The melefs of the movie seem semi-organic, quite ickily so when the bone-crackling sound-effects start up.) I don't know if he can pop wings too, because we don't get to see it, but it would be so cool if he could. (Maybe that's the limitation of 'impure' blood.)

Exactly where he came from is unclear. Apparently he was living rough among 'wild dogs,' according to Folken, before he was recruited to the Black Dragon Clan. Whether this is a reference to Jajuka, who accompanies Dilandau from the beginning and attempts to exert a moderating influence on his destructive behaviour, is also unclear. We may surmise that Dilandau's motive for joinning Folken was simply that he loves a good fight. War is both Dilandau's living and his life.

Dilandau's relationships with others are different in the movie - we've already seen that the situation with Jajuka is different. While the movie Dragonslayers are still loyally protective of Dilandau (Ryuon says that if the experiments to revivify the Alseides hurt Dilandau-sama, he'll kill those responsible, and the others agree), he does not appear to be as protective of them. When, in the series, Migel was killed by Zongi, Dilandau angrily avenged his death. When movie Migel is killed by Allen, Dilandau accepts and dismisses it calmly. He got killed because he wasn't tough enough. End of story. Of course, Zongi's killing of Migel was a treacherous murder in cold blood. Allen kills him in a fair fight. That may influence Dilandau's attitude.

And his relationship with Folken... well, the essential difference here is that series Folken was at heart a good person, who did bad things because he believed his noble end justified the means. Movie Folken is just an asshole. Also, series Folken and Dilandau were both subordinate to Lord Dornkirk, but movie Folken is the Top Evil Banana. The interaction between series Folken and Dilandau is quite subtle; in Folken, we see restrained contempt for and impatience with Dilandau's rashness and brutality, while Dilandau makes very little effort to hide his contempt for and impatience with what he sees as Folken's excessive caution. The essential difference is that Folken sees the war as a means to an end, while to Dilandau fighting is an end unto itself. He doesn't need the Absolute Fortune Zone to make his wishes come true, because as long as he has his melef, his boys and a target, they're all taken care of.

Movie Folken is as brutal as Dilandau ever was, and while his war is also a means to an end the end is destruction of the world, not reparation or salvation. This produces a certain... difference in his managerial approach.

Namely, he seems to be modelling it heavily on the above-mentioned Darth Vader's. There is a scene in which he brings the rebellious Dilandau to heel by psychokinetically holding him in mid-air, choking and squirming, while he gives him the standard 'I made you and I can break you, so jolly well pull your socks up and don't talk back' speech. There are more disgusting sound-effects as he either breaks or dislocates the fingers of Dilandau's left hand - I'm inclined to think they're just dislocated and can be popped back in because he shows no difficulty in using that hand later on. This is done in front of subordinates, in order to humiliate him - and also impressing upon Dilandau that as a half-caste, he doesn't have the power to fight Folken's full-blooded and well-developed sorcery.

Presumably Dilandau doesn't understand that Folken really wants to end the world. I don't think he'd be on board for that. Dilandau really enjoys life, if in a somewhat savage way. (If you're puzzling about movie Folken's motives, visit the At the Movies page in his shrine at Here Be Dragons.)

As for his relationship with Van, this is largely the same antagonism, with a couple of important differences, which I'll enumerate.

1. Van doesn't scar his face. Although movie Dilandau has series Dilandau's post-scar mannerism of stroking the side of his face (oddly, the opposite side), there's nothing there but clear skin. So he doesn't have a disfiguring injury to make him bear a personal grudge - although it may have upset him when Van made his horse explode. (Um, yes. Fun with psychokinesis! You see, the movie Slayers - who don't actually have the name Dragonslayers - are a cavalry unit. They don't all have melefs, and they don't get to fly around or use cool liquid metal claws, just ordinary swords. Perhaps to compensate, Chesta gets to be psychic.) Then again, he may just have been miffed because it started raining. He says rain depresses him.

2. Van doesn't slaughter his boys. Three (I think that's the correct body count) of them die, including Migel, who obviously never gets a break (if Ryuon is Uhura, Migel is the anonymous ensign in a red shirt who gets killed before the first commercial break), but the rest survive and stay with him. So movie Dilandau isn't destabilised by overwhelming grief and loneliness, as series Dilandau is. By the same token, Dilandau and his boys weren't the ones who destroyed Van's kingdom - Folken did that himself. Basically, the two of them are fighting because they're on opposite sides, and because Dilandau is the one Folken chooses to face Van in a melef battle. It's not viciously, obsessively personal as it is in the series.

In the end, Dilandau doesn't have to die, or be reabsorbed into Celena Schezar. In fact, he and his surviving team ride off into the sunset, Dilandau jauntily observing that there'll always be wars - and thus always a place for them in the world. In all these respects, he gets off much easier than series Dilandau. So he has to work for a nastier boss. He gets out alive. He's really very lucky. And you know what? I hope he lives long and prospers. (Why am I such a Trekkie today?)

At an Anime Expo 2001 Q&A panel, the director of the movie somewhat sheepishly admitted that he let Dilandau live because he just liked him too much to kill him off.