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This week, I decided I would try something new. Writing my blog on a Saturday so it is actually ready on a Monday? No. Well, yes, but not that. Today, I’m going to watch an anime while blogging about it. Capturing screenshots as I go and writing down all my first impressions. I resolved to finally watch the old 90s CLAMP classic Magic Knight Rayearth and I thought this would be an interesting way of going about talking about it. I’ve never actually seen this one, though I DID play the super nintendo RPG version.

If you are unfamiliar with works of CLAMP, let me give you a quick primer. These women have no knowledge of human anatomy. None. They do, however, know how to draw legs. As such, they start off with a pair of legs… then draw a tiny little body on top of them. I’m joking of course… they don’t always draw the body. Seriously, though, CLAMP characters are notorious for looking as though you could break them over your knee. Rayearth doesn’t look as bad as certain other CLAMP works I could name… and certainly not ALL of them suffer from beanpole syndrome… but it is one thing that has usually bugs me throughout my CLAMP anime experiences. Another thing you should know about CLAMP works is that they love them some mascot character. I bet if you look hard at any given CLAMP work, you can find a potential plush doll within the first few episodes.

So, with that in mind… Lets Watch: Magic Knight Rayearth

This is the first thing you see. We begin with a shot of an ocean, some lush, green fantasy wilderness, cool looking mountain/plateau things… and FLOATING ISLANDS WITH CRYSTALS. This is some iconic imagery in the first half-second! This just screams magical fantasy world, doesn’t it? We haven’t even started the opening theme song yet. Oh, there it goes. Soft opening… 90s J-rock… crystals… swords… impractical armor over school uniforms… THERE! 38 seconds in! MASCOT CHARACTER SPOTTED!

Okay, okay, I’ll admit, I cheated a bit. I knew this guy was coming from the games… furthermore, they keep shoving this lovable wretch into other CLAMP works. I recall seeing multiple… ball… rabbit… Ryo-Ohki… things… in xxxHolic before the main character’s legs gave me vertigo. (xxxHolic is not about porn addiction. I know. I was disappointed too.) Moving on! Now we are presented with what must obviously be a princess in an underwater flower firing off a magical forehead beam to summon up the legendary magic knights.

Obviously.

So, now we find ourselves at the ever-iconic Tokyo Tower… where apparently 3 different schools with similar field trip budgets have sent their 14 year old students. We have the school for smart kids… the school for rich attractive kids… and the school for stupid but good-hearted main characters. We set up that the girl with glasses is as kind as she is smart, the main character is short and we are supposed to find this funny… and the blue one… has long hair. Sure. Then suddenly, they all pose for my screencap-

Thank you, girls.

– as the forehead beam hits Tokyo Tower. We get to see the (obviously some sort of) Princess communicate with them via… beam telepathy… and beckon them to save the world of Cephiro. Wait… Cephiro? I always just assumed to world they got transported to was Rayearth. I mean… they got shot there on a magical forehead ray… it made sense to me. Yes, Rayearth is a stupid name for a planet. So is Earth… but I didn’t want to say anything. Oh well, Cephiro, sure. We will figure out what Rayearth is later, I guess. Obligatory reaction shots… AND THEN SUDDENLY FALLING! Fun fact: when you shift worlds while on top of one of the largest and most prominent structures on your world… you might be a bit higher than the local topography. Chibification and screaming ensues. Then a giant flying fish.

I am not making this up.

Okay, so we get to see more of the characters chibified… some beautiful shots of floating islands and background… and then we cut to a magic mirror viewing the thing we were just viewing… g’ho! An awesome-looking attractive villain guy and his equally attractive elf vassal! It turns out that the girl in the underwater flower WAS a princess. The big bad guy insists that they should both not worry about the legend and be careful of the legend at the same time…

More chibis… and now we establish that the blue-haired girl is the party whiner! Of course, she is the wealthy attractive one, why wouldn’t she? “I have an important fencing match next week!” Yes… because the MOMENT I get transported to a magical world of floating islands and flying fish… I think of my social commitment calendar. Oh lord… I remember this from the game. Every so often, for no discernible reason, the red-haired one will sprout cat ears. It seems that random chibification isn’t enough for THIS one… aaaaaand introductions. Blue = Umi, Green = Fuu, Red = Hikaru. The shortest one has the longest name. Huh. More chibis. THESE GIRLS ARE CHIBI MORE THAN THEY ARE NORMAL!

So, it turns out that the flying fish was actually a pokemon. It gets recalled back to the staff of a character that I can’t take seriously right now, no matter how seriously he talks. Behold… the child-bodied Master Mage Clef.

He looks like he is wearing his daddy’s robes…

He tells them they can’t go home until they save this world. Cut back the the evil guys… holding some sort of evil waterfall council with women who ask questions in a way that would provide background information to anyone who didn’t know what they were talking about… blah blah blah… exhibition… Chibis… GIANT SPIDER… Rah Tilt, er, Lightning… How much more of this do we have? OH GOD, WE ARE ONLY ONE THIRD IN?!

More… dialogue… more background information… we are now halfway through. Where did that missing 6th of an episode go? Now we have our transformation sequence… magic powers… Oh no, one of the evil guy’s minions is coming! I hope it isn’t like the weakest one, who will get easily defeated by the 3 heroes + 1 mage! Oh… wait… the mage is holding them off while the others escape? Clef! Noooooo! You aren’t my favorite character! Frankly, I don’t like you at all! … oh, well… he lives through the fight with the evil minion… AND THEN GETS TURNED TO STONE AND THROWN OFF A CLIFF BY THE FINAL BOSS?!

I haven’t taken any more screencaps because I’m not certain what qualifies as important anymore… oh hey, here the main character is, using her magic for the first time. Flame Arrow!

THAT GIRL JUST MURDERED A UNICORN! Meanwhile… at the underwater flower… the evil badass talks to the princess… for no discernible reason. And then everyone stares at the horizon while riding a griffon. And then the badass fades in and laughs while the episode fades out…

And yet, we can’t see them on the griffon in the final shot…

Oh my, faithful readers… we made it through. One episode of Rayearth. Basically, if I had to sum it up in a nutshell, there were some beautiful background pictures and some terrible background information. I now know there is magic in the world, but I have no sense of scale of power. Is the main character’s Flame Arrow that one-shotted a unicorn on par with the Best-Mage-In-The-World’s Lightning that one-shotted a giant spider? Why doesn’t the evil high priest just turn them to stone and throw them off a cliff? Why didn’t he have to scream out the name of his petrification ray when everyone else boldly declares magical spell names? Why were the main characters chibi more than they were normal?! There are a lot of questions…

Honestly… I have to say… I think I like the RPG more. At least there I had some sort of sense of attachment as a player. As just an observer… I’m not entirely certain this world is worth saving. I can tell you this, though: next week’s update will not be “Lets Watch: Magic Knight Rayearth 2.”

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3 Comments

  1. I bet you could do weeks and weeks worth of posts if you used the same procedure. Just a thought.

  2. I believe this was my first approach to CLAMP an I totally agree with “They do, however, know how to draw legs. As such, they start off with a pair of legs… then draw a tiny little body on top of them. I’m joking of course… they don’t always draw the body” hilarious but sort of true.

    I do enjoyed the ending, *major spoilers here* getting to know that the bad guy wasn’t all that bad, oh yeah, and that the world sucks, no one will understand or fight for you or your true feelings and falling in love will get you and your loved one killed… Sweet old CLAMP.

    Nice blog BTW.

    • Thanks, welcome to the blog, glad to have you!


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