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魔法騎士レイアース (Majikku Naito Reiāsu, Magic Knight Rayearth) is a manga series created by CLAMP that combines elements from the magical girl and mecha anime genres with parallel world fantasy. It was published in Kodansha's Nakayoshi from November 1993 to April 1996.
The manga was adapted into an anime series in 1994 and an OVA in 1997.
An English version of the manga is available from Tokyopop, while Media Blasters and Manga Entertainment licensed the series and OVA respectively.
While Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, and Fuu Hououji are on a field trip to the Tokyo Tower with their respective schools, the girls are blinded by a flash of light and hear a voice calling for the Legendary Magic Knights to save Cephiro. They fall through the sky into another world. Once there, they meet Master Mage Clef who explains to them, "In Cephiro, one's will has the ability to change reality for better or worse. The dark fears in people's hearts become monsters, while a well-intended wish can do miracles. One person, the Pillar, whose will is stronger than anyone else's, is responsible for maintaining through her prayers the well-being of Cephiro."
In the first story arc, the current Pillar, Princess Emeraude, has been captured by her high priest, Zagato. The three girls are charged with the task of saving the Princess by activating the three Rune-Gods (魔神, Mashin). They are given a bizarre creature named Mokona to guide them on their journey. When the girls finally reach Emeraude, they learn that she had fallen in love with Zagato, hindering her ability to pray solely for Cephiro's well-being, and had summoned the Magic Knights to kill her since no one on Cephiro could harm the Pillar.
The second story arc deals with the complications caused by the first season's climax: three warring planets have begun their attempts to conquer Cephiro and a new Pillar must be chosen before the whole planet is destroyed. Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are once again summoned to Cephiro. In the manga it is later discovered that the mysterious Mokona is responsible for their being summoned back to Cephiro, and he is, in fact, the creator of both the Earth and Cephiro. In the anime they return to Cephiro because of their (especially Hikaru's) strong desire to do so.
Eventually, Hikaru is chosen to become the new Pillar. However, she rebels against the Pillar system, deciding that the fate of the planet should not be the responsibility of only one person, effectively preventing that person from ever being able to live and love freely.
|獅堂 光, Shidō Hikaru|
|龍咲 海, Ryūzaki Umi|
|鳳凰寺 風, Hōōji Fū|
The manga was originally serialized in Kodansha's Nakayoshi magazine between November 1993 and April 1996. Since then, the manga has also been released in the United States in English by TOKYOPOP (initially named Mixx) in six volumes, with three volumes in each series. The English version of the manga was at first issued in a flipped left to right format, but was re-released in the original right to left format.
TV Series Edit
The anime series aired first on Japan's Yomiuri TV on October 17, 1994 and ended on November 27, 1995. It was directed by Toshihiro Hirano and co-produced by Yomiuri TV and Tokyo Movie Shinsha (now TMS Entertainment). The anime actually had 2 seasons, lasting 49 episodes altogether. The TV series is licensed in the U.S. by Media Blasters and is dubbed by Bang Zoom! Entertainment. It was both released on VHS and DVD. The DVDs contain both the Japanese and English language tracks, as well as bonus features including interviews with the English voice actors.
A three-part OVA was released in Japan a few years after the end of the manga and the TV series. The OVA was named simply Rayearth and its story was quite different from the original. The characters are all the same, but the relationships, places and events changed radically. Here we find that Hikaru, Umi and Fuu are already friends who go to the same school and will soon be leaving for high school. Suddenly, a strange fairy (which turns out to be Mokona, the creature from the original series) appears in front of them. At the same time, strange monsters and wizards start to appear in the city of Tokyo. One of them is Clef, who tries to guide the three girls in order to let them become the Magic Knights, awaken their Mashin and fight against the evil wizards from Cephiro, who are trying to invade the human world. The OVA is licensed in the U.S. by Manga Entertainment.
Video games Edit
Magic Knight Rayearth, an adventure RPG set in the first TV season, was released for the Sega Saturn. A Super Famicom role-playing game was also released.
There are also five other, lesser known video games based on the series: a Sega Pico title called Magic Knight Tanjou, two short RPGs for Game Boy, plus a raising sim and another RPG for Sega Game Gear. These were all exclusively released in Japan, except for the Saturn game, which saw a localized release in the US.
Other Media Edit
Two art books were published by Kodansha, ans well as by Tokyopop in English. Four script books, a "Behind the Scenes Special Volume," two calendars, and a CD-Rom screen saver were also published exclusively by Kodansha.