Magic Knight Rayearth: A Review

Magic Knight Rayearth is the story of three junior high school students, Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki and Fuu Hououji. One fateful day on a school trip to Tokyo Tower the girls are suddenly enveloped in a bright golden light and are magically transported to an alternate world called Cephiro. Once there they are greeted by Master mage Clef (A diminutive sorcerer with what looks like a horn growing out of his forehead) and it is he who tells the girls why they were brought here. It seems that the childlike pillar of Cephiro, Princess Emeraude, has been kidnapped and imprisoned by the evil Lord Zagato. As pillar of the land it is Emeraude’s duty to pray for the safety and well being of her world and without those prayers Cephiro faces certain doom. In order to stop this catastrophe from happening, our three heroines have been summoned and must awaken the Rune Gods (three giant really cool robots) and become the legendary Magic Knights to rescue the princess, saving Cephiro.

With armor and magic given to them by Clef (Hikaru has the power to control fire, Umi to control water and Fuu to control wind), the neophyte Magic Knights set out on their quest to save Cephiro. Along the way the girls must battle with Zagato’s evil minions: the sorceress Alcyone; Caldina, an avaricious illusionist; Ascot, a bratty kid who can summon some pretty nasty monsters; and Lafarga the former Captain of Princess Emeraude’s guard who had been bedeviled by Zagato. Master Smith Presea, who makes each girl an awesome sword, helps the Magic Knights on their journey. There is also Ferio, a mysterious wanderer, and Mokona, a distaff Pokemon knock-off who helps the girls as much as he drives them crazy. Ultimately, Hikaru, Umi and Fuu triumph in their quest to revive the three Rune Gods: Selece, Lord of the sea; Windam, Lord of the skies; and Rayearth, Lord of fire, and become the Magic Knights. However, as the story turns out, things are not quite what they seem to be. The line between good and evil starts to blur and the girls are shocked and dismayed to find out the real reason for their quest. I won’t give it away, but I will say for the astute viewer the clues are there and the twist ending will take you by surprise.

I love this video! While it does have some emotionally wrenching scenes, Magic Knight Rayearth is suitable for all but the youngest children. It’s perfect for girls who want something a little more than Sailor Moon and for boys who are going into Pokemon overload. Dubbed of subtitled– doesn’t matter the series is uncut either way. The only thing that is a little weird is in the subtitled version where one of the characters describes Alcyone (a voluptuous hench-babe) as “That dark-haired middle-aged woman”. Talk about literal translations. It was funny to hear American accents in the dubbed version saying how much they wanted to go back to Tokyo. That and the voice actress for Hikaru (Julie Maddalena) is a tad too perky, but those are minor complaints. Magic Knight Rayearth is a truly cool and enjoyable series.

P.S. By the time this sees print the next Rayearth series should be out on video. I, for one, can’t wait!