Hey guys Andrain here. The Samurai asked me for a CLAMP review and as much as I like them… they aren’t perfect at all. The presence of CLAMP in the Anime/Manga community is however undeniable and if you want to learn more about the group in general just wiki it. Meanwhile I’m going to take a look at one of their earlier and most beloved works, no not HER, she comes later, I’m talking about the Trio of Lady Knights who go an a fantastic adventure to a magical world. Here’s my review of the Legendary Magic Knight Rayearth.
Warnings and questionable content- People die in this anime. Nothing extremely gruesome or detailed, but this can get pretty gritty emotionally. Not a good pick for Kid’s First anime. Give this one a PG-13.
Series Availability: It’s starting to get dated so Brick and Morter stores maybe a bad bet. I’m sure you can find all the copies you want online though.
Story Premise: Magic Knight Rayearth is a 49 episode anime based on the manga from CLAMP. Three eighth graders are on a field trip to the Tokyo tower, they go to different schools and have never met one another before and come from their own various circumstances. These three Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are whisked away to a fantasy world where will becomes power. They serve as legendary Magical Knights destined to save the ‘Pillar,’ the one person who has the will to keep the entire world together through her prayers. This person was kidnapped by the High Priest and now everything in this world is going to heck. The first season caps off with a surprise ending and I’m gonna be honest it could have very well ended there. It should have very well ended there, the second half of the series feels like filler but it’s completely inline with the original work… with a couple expansions nothing major, Yomiri TV and TMS Entertainment did extremely well to keep to the original spirit of the work. In any case, the second half of the story seemed totally unnecessary and it was extremely forced. I can’t blame the Anime staff for that but ugh just remembering is making the face impact palm. I can however, blame the Anime staff for a giant plothole they will fill in the most pathetic way possible between the seasons. (20/25)
Favorite Scene/Episode: The End of season one! That surprise out of nowhere ending came from out of the Stadium! It made perfect sense, but after it came about I felt the exact same surprise and shock the characters felt! Fantastic!
Characters: This series has four main characters and several nice supporting ones (well Three and a mascot).
Shidou Hikaru: Well She’s red! That tells you a lot about someone in a series back in this day! She’s small for her age and quite hyperactive. She’s extremely good with animals too and carries a kind heart that seeks justice. Her element is obviously fire and it suits her very well. Of course she’s also the type to run on food and may or may not shut down without it.
Ryuuzaki Umi: Umi is from a rather rich family, her theme color is blue with her element being water. Umi was a pretty good choice to play the role as a ‘knight’ considering her fencing career but she’s also doesn’t feel like she ought to solve another world’s problems and initially refuses to help. A good girl at heart, Umi is a textbook Tsundere proving they existed all the way back then.
Hououji Fuu: Fuu is the smart girl. Her theme color is Green and she’s the wind elemental. Fuu is the voice of reason, and she’s the one that differs most between the anime and the manga. Fuu attends a school of gifted students and she takes their whole situation as logically as possible. In keeping with her element she has impressive archery skills.
Makona: Named after one of the Clamps, Makona is the mascot! This is the first appearance of the Bunnylike… thingie. He comes around in later works always playing the mascot. This Makona provides important support like providing living necessities to our knights along with other important things.
(What? You’re asking about that photo and why it seems there are mecha there? OH! I forgot to mention, towards the end of season one we genre shift and make this into a Magical girl fantasy mecha flick. Doesn’t change my opinion of things but it might for some people.)
The characters and side characters are really well done. Clamp at least, can make memorable and interesting characters. The characters react to things rather realistically. (25/25)
Animation: It’s hard to judge. Let me put it to you this way, this series has an SNES game attached to it. IT’S OLD. To judge the animation you gotta put your nostalgia goggles on. I was still charmed by the colors and the design of the fantasy world. It really made the manga come alive as the animators did what they could to imitate the Clamp style. (11/12.5)
Music: The OP and ED are both a bit aged but sound pretty good and they fit the show. There isn’t a lot of background music but it seems somewhat more fitting to use natural sounds outside of battle. There isn’t much out here to wow with either. (10/12.5)
Performances and Production: This Anime was localized by Media Matters and Bang Zoom! Entertainment. This was done in the dark age of dubbing. It’s flat, and even with an all-star cast… these people sounded like the newbies they were. I also can’t ignore the original production creating some of the largest plotholes I’ve ever seen and patching it in the most idiotic way possible. So yeah, the original anime in Japan wasn’t that great to start with. Well in English our three heroines are played by Julie Maddalena who also played Dita in Vandread. Wendee Lee who would go on to play legends like Haruhi and Konata, and Ellen Wilkinson also known as Bridget Hoffman, who would go onto play the Landlady in Chobits, as well as Ryoko Asakura from Haruhi and even the early Belldandy. When I first heard Fuu’s first line I cringed it was so unnatural and there were several moments where they just tried to lip sync it out which… to be honest isn’t so much a crime. Dubbing is extremely hard and these ladies and their writers did their best but it comes out dry and hard to deal with for a sub guy like me. It’s watchable, a LOT more watchable then things done in the same period, but you can still see the dubbing infancy in these works. Lucky the DVD releases come with Subs.(20/25)
Story and Premise: 21/25
Final Grade: 87/100 [B]
After this please look forward to a Joint review of another legendary CLAMP series, NO NOT HER! Meh, I’m talking about one of the best examples of CLAMP’s total adoration of referencing themselves. Next is an action/Tournament battler that also has achieved legendary status. I of course am talking about…
Also, you’ll all learn what I have planned next month, assuming all goes well.