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Magic Knight Rayearth TV Anime

In the first season of Magic Knight Rayearth, Hikaru, Umi and Fuu must overcome many trials and defeat powerful opponents, continuously upgrading their magical weapons and improving their magic skills, in their quest to find the legendary Mashin ("spirits"). Only when they have awoken the Mashin will they become true Magic Knights with the power to win the ultimate battle for the fate of Cephiro. As if that weren't enough of a challenge, in the second season the Magic Knights are summoned back to Cephiro by an unknown force to protect it from the three invading kingdoms of Fahren, Autozam, and Chizeta. They thought the adventure was over, but Cephiro holds many secrets that are yet to be revealed.

The television series consists of two seasons, 49 episodes in total. While the first season of the anime followed the manga fairly closely, the two diverged in the second season, with the head of CLAMP helping script the alternate telling. The anime follows the artistic style of the manga fairly closely so the art is superb, although I prefer the character designs of the first season. The music produced for the series is absolutely wonderful, often very dark but always moving and exhilarating.

An interesting aspect of the story is that it is structured very much like a RPG, with constant power-ups and mystical objects to be found. The characters also frequently go super-deformed at comedic moments, an anime convention for depicting cuteness, confusion, or innocence.

Original Japanese Release Details

English Release

The MKR anime is licensed for release on Region 1 DVD by Media Blasters. It has been released on DVD numerous times, most recently as a remastered set on April 27, 2010 (Season 1) and November 2, 2010 (Season 2). Both seasons have also appeared on the U.S. version of Netflix.

Purchase Rayearth Season 1 from
Purchase MKRE DVD Season 1 from RightStuf
Purchase Rayearth Season 2 from
Purchase MKRE DVD Season 2 from RightStuf

The anime script is translated faithfully by Rika Takahashi, creator of the long-running Rayearth fansite Cephiro; the dub script is nearly identical to the subtitles. The rendering of Fuu's ultra polite "Umi-san" and "Hikaru-san" as "Ms. Umi" and "Ms. Hikaru" sounds a bit clunky in the English language dub. The Mashin are translated as Rune-Gods, to express their full nature beyond just the pun on the English word "Machine". (The Japanese characters used for "Mashin" are the characters for "Magic" and "God".)


"RAYEARTH" is an alternate universe story in which Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are the best of friends at girls' school who are apprehensive about the prospect of graduating and being forced to leave their nurturing environment and each other. The Rayearth OAV bears no resemblance to the original Magic Knight Rayearth and is not intended to extend it, but to offer an intriguing "what if" scenario for the characters. What if, rather than being pulled into Cephiro, the main characters from that world invaded Earth bent on total destruction of both worlds? The storyline is much darker and the battles more violent, and the characters from Cephiro appear in completely different contexts. The three episodes of the OAV were released in 1997. CLAMP was not involved in the production.

All of the voice actors from the TV anime reprise their roles in the OAV. The character designs are very cool, and all of the previous child-like characters (Emeraude, Clef) have been matured in appearance. The OAV inspired a really good image song CD with very cool character songs.

The OAV was later released as movie-length edition called "Special Version ~ Wings of Hope". This is like a "director's cut" version in which the three 45 minute volumes had some footage removed and some added to compose a new 2-hour movie. According to the EX review, the result is less than satisfying.

Original Japanese Release Details

English Release

The RAYEARTH OAV was licensed in the USA by Manga Entertainment and was released on 3 VHS volumes followed by a single DVD. Featuring a different voice cast from the English dub, it is an excellent production. Sadly it is long since out of print. It has appeared on the U.S. version of Netflix.

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