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Magic Knight Rayearth
by Alissa on January 27th, 2006, 3:25pm

Rating - 8.4 / 10.0

User rating of this review - 5 out of 5
Story/Plot - 4 out of 5
Characters - 4 out of 5
Drawing Style - 5 out of 5
Enjoyment - 4 out of 5
Overall - 4 out of 5

Click here for series information

The storyline of the first season is kind of plain, very simple, very rpg like. You get 14-year-old girls, you get big swords, magic, battles, appealing foes with no real murder intent, kawaii Mokona and a princess to save. Very commercial as well, since Sailor Moon was the hottest product for young girls back then. Still, after a couple of episodes (manga and anime are completely alike for season 1) one start to see things getting more twisted and interesting, it's not just 3 girls developing as fantasy rpg heroines facing enemies from weakest to stronger. Clamp abruptly end this first part with a schocking and serious finale, which leads the reader to rethink about every idea one might have come up to about Cephiro and it's "idyllic" balance until then. Second season starts and deepen this sour feeling of loss and despair the Knights were left after their mission end. This time the plot is serious, sometimes tragi-comical, but very little innocence and hope it's left in the Knights, who start and inner journey of psychological development along with a new battle. Willpower, the very essence of Cephiro, plays a main role. This time we get a kind of "self- rpg", deep rooted in dwelling feelings and opposite factions who fight desperately toward a common goal.

Clamp can really create characters, this series features a wide range of people, kind of spit in 2 groups: The good ones and the baddies, plus an unclear group of, let's say, free minds, whose attitude change with time (sometimes even a bit too dratically). We also got Mokona, one of the most loved mascot chara of all times. The main characters are very well developed, appealing and different, so any reader can spot a favorite. There are also three big mechas with menacing faces, the gods at the service of the Magic Knights, whose level of offence is related to its owner abilities and willpower. Even the foes have their fighting mechas (some even have spirits!). Amongst the other characters, some are fascinating, with fitting personalities and coherent behaviours. Some are sadly cast aside as remote comprimaries, so they're a bit plain and unconvincing, but very little damage is done. As the truth approaches, their fates become closely interwined and interaction grows, until the climax when a new future is possible thanks to cooperation and impressive willpower, everybody in their own way.

Drawing Style
Impressive, every page is a spectacular little pieces of art. Clamp style is not as mature as in latest volumes of X 1999, but fully shaped and almost heavily decorated. Still, Clamp's elaborate pictures won't fail to convey the soft and eerie feeling engulfing the magic world of Cephiro, the impalpable strenght of magic. One ends up liking those big pointy eyes and slender bodies which are a kind of trademark for Clamp, and their exquisite creativity for outfits and objects won't fail
to be fully enjoyed. I recommend you all to have a look at Rayearth illustration collections, 2 books of exquisite images of the characters, carefully depicted with soft colors and rich backgrounds.

I really came to love this series after reading it on the whole. It covers themes such as the inner struggle between self-annihilation and will to live, the ambiguous line between good and evil, self-questioning heroes. We see the magic world of Cephiro shaped by the willpower of its Pillar, an allegory of a person's feelings. It's fragile yet perfect balance troubled by love. An endless quest toward the truth, smiling and chillike heroines turning into adults as the events follow, certainties crumbling piece by piece, characters with very different, yet respectable, modus operandi. But while unveling all these mature and important themes which every person has to face at some point in his life, while following the Knights as they grow from immature and obstinate children to self-confident adults we actually have fun: there are many comical situations and light-hearthed moments, SD scenes and playful breaks, even comical battles, sapiently mixed with and ertertaining and unpredictable storyline.

Read it, watch it. If you like fantasy, mechas, fights, magic and bad girls with swords, this is for you. There's a substantial difference between anime season 2 and its paper counterpart, but enjoyable their own way. In the manga, there's a little less action and more reasoning, there's more time for introspection, repentance and remorse while in the anime, characters battle and interact more. It's really a good show, nice art, not your average magic girls anime and gets the reader to actually think about the themes of existential despair, love, understanding of others and such, all along, step by step, with lovely Hikaru, Umi and Fuu (+ Mokona?).
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No Subject by mero1908 on December 5th, 2010, 11:27am Rating: 5

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