Title: Magic Knight Rayearth
Alternate Titles: Mahou Kishi Rayearth, マジックナイトレイアース, Рыцари магии, 魔法騎士レイアース, 魔法骑士, 마법기사 레이어스, Guerreiras Mágicas de Rayearth, Mahou Kishi Reiasu
Author & Artist: CLAMP & Ohkawa Ageha
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Mecha, Shoujo, Supernatural
Volumes: 03 (Complete)
Umi, Hikaru, and Fuu are three schoolgirls out on a field trip to Tokyo Tower… when suddenly a strange voice summons them to Cefiro, a world full of monsters and magic! They have been brought here as the last hope of the Princess Emeraude, who believes they are the Magic Knights, foretold in legend, who will save her realm. But how are a bunch of junior-high-school kids supposed to defeat the might of the handsome and sinister Lord Zagato… with only an exceedingly strange bunny creature named Mokona as their guide? All information come from Manga Updates. This blog post will contain spoilers please read after the cut if you’ve already read the manga.
Oh, CLAMP. I have such a swaying opinion of you. You either confound me or I adore you to where I want to be proud that I’m a huge fan of yours. There are so many series that I want to try to read but at the same time, I’m so worried I’m going to be burned again by your stupid deux ex machina. And, oh, does it hurt so good.
Fortunately, that’s not the case with this series. However, it’s rather short as a manga series. It’s very quick pace and a lot gets done over the course of three volumes (or one omnibus).
Now, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
It could be a bad thing because there could be some world building that’s missing from Cefiro. We get from the get-go that the land changes based on the pillar’s, and the people’s, hearts. Not to mention, we could also miss a huge chunk of characterization and then a little bit more understanding about why the girls are the way they are.
Well, “some world building that’s missing” isn’t how I should have put it. Because the whole thing is based on how the pillar thinks, it’d be interesting to meet more of the people who lived there besides Clef, Presea, Ferio… I would love to have known what happened to them after the incident or at least during. What are their roles besides helping the girls around the world?
On the other hand though, it could be a good thing because in a lot of fantasy-esque series, they tend to go on forever. A lot of these manga forget they have characters and their stories that needs to be carried instead of having to go around the world (and maybe beyond) just to get a glimpse of the world around them.
It also cuts down on time and it gets right to the point. It cuts out all the unnecessary parts that usually puts people off from it. You can basically show all the major events happening in quick succession and readers won’t get bored right away because there isn’t a drag – it doesn’t even exist!
As for the plot itself, I think this is one of CLAMP’s better stories out there (especially since it’s actually completed) despite it’s very low volume count. The girls are funny and you can relate to them – I know in a lot of ways, I could relate to Hikaru, Fuu, and Umi at different parts of the stories. They don’t seem like all powerful – they all have their flaws, even if it’s not completely noticeable in the manga. I also like that they’re actually different from one another but they’re all still very similar.
I really like the characters in this series, though. They seem more human and not blown out of proportion with the exception of Emeraude, at first. I mean, she’s literally Cefiro’s pillar. The world’s stability literally depends on her prayers, thoughts, and wishes.
It’s a really good twist that, at the end, Emeraude revealed the reason why she brought the three girls over was to kill her – she was being selfish and fell in love with Lord Zagato when she shouldn’t have. He fell in love with her too but he loved her so much that he was willing to take the blame, the fall, for it. He literally died trying to keep her alive – even he knew the cost of her death.
I really liked how the series ended though. Right after Emeraude gets her last wish of being with Lord Zagato, the three are transported back to Tokyo Tower, mere minutes after a flash of light occurred. They’re hugging each other but they’re crying – they want to know why she had to be killed.
And that was the end of that. Now, I can see how this could frustrate a lot of people, especially since it was clearly setting up for a sequel – and especially if the reader is not fond of the abrupt end. And yeah, it did frustrate me.
However, the anime version of this series, I feel, expands a lot more and a lot better than what the manga did. Granted, it didn’t follow exactly as it is, but I liked it like that. I wanted to explore Cefiro a little more and get to know the girls a lot better. Not only that, it’s revealed that, in the anime, there’s a lot more romance involved than what meets the eye. In the manga, it’s way more subtle and you kind of have to use your imagination for some of them.
Either way, I really enjoyed this series but I’m still a little happy about how it ended and how quick to the point it was but at the same time… I’m still a little frustrated with how it ended and how quick to the point it was.
I would honestly recommend the anime much more than the manga.