Manga Quick Information
This review will contain spoilers for the first omnibus.
Hikaru, Fuu and Umi have never been the same since their trip to Tokyo Tower. To their friends and family the girls have suddenly become serious, withdrawn and sad for no apparent reason. But to our heroines their lives have changed forever ever since they were transported into the world of Cefiro to supposedly ‘save’ it from an evil Sorcerer, only to end up destroying the magical Pillar that maintained the world and sent back to their home world hastily after. Drained by their guilt and wanting to set Cefiro right again, the girls are transported back into the magical world and find out that neighbouring ‘countries’ are trying to evade Cefiro to become the new Pillar themselves. With fear of losing their friends and hurting the ones they love, the girls call forth their Mashin once more in hope to save Cefiro, but for this time properly.
The first half of the Magic Knight Rayearth started off a manga styled-RPG video game with its grand fantasy worlds, epic battles, levelling-up styled growth in the girl’s powers, hurried pacing and slight predictability in the story – until the conclusion. In typical CLAMP fashion, the ending wasn’t as ordinary as the plot led us to believe with their unique spin on relationships weaved into the antagonists, creating a cruel and heartbreaking ending that would’ve led any fan eager to find out what the sequel had to offer. The second omnibus seems to take place not long after with the emotions still high for our heroines, and like the previous book it doesn’t take long to warp our girls back to the world of Cefiro and introduced to the new conflict. The sequel story isn’t as stereotypical as first book as it’s noticeably darker in nature with the girls having to face the consequences of their actions by watching Cefiro fall apart without a Pillar to keep it going. The 3 neighbouring countries are ready to conquer Cefiro, so the girls fight to protect their friends but can’t deny the fact that someone needs to step up as the Pillar to save the world; even though the very nature of being one, to maintain Cefiro with all of a person’s heart, is a huge weight for anyone to bare, struggling between following Cefiro’s nature and wanting to find another way.
A lot of the characters from the previous book return, but the roles they played in the previous book (spunky blacksmith, helpful magician, etc) are greatly reduced to sadly nothing more than either to offer a bit of exposition or act as potential love interests to our heroines. The 3 neighbouring countries of course introduce a variety of new characters to the fray; you’ve got the mechanical world Autozam, a Chinese mythology inspired Fahren and Chizeta is overflowing with Djinns and magic lamp-shaped ships. Like the old side-characters however, they are not greatly developed; outside of a few lines they speak about their home worlds, and what little we see in their ship designs, we learn next to nothing about them. It’s not helped that 2 of the invading worlds (Fahren and Chizeta) are really only there for comic relief and a few pretty attacks that add nothing to the overall conflict of the story. It’s only Autozam that has any impact on the plot with its machinery world being the direct opposite of the supernatural Cefiro, and the manga takes time to develop its commander, Eagle, as he already has a history with a person from Cefiro. You may guess who becomes the Pillar before the big reveal, the several romances don’t get a firm conclusion and the dialogue may not win hearts of those over 13 years of age, nevertheless the story is never short on action or suspense, it has a good heart behind the plot and a satisfying conclusion for all fantasy lovers.
CLAMP art is still as beautiful as ever with immense fights and new spells so there’s plenty to admire and get slightly lost in the panels that seemed to be just filled with big blasts and ‘whooshes’. But it’s still glorious to look at with every page turn. As before there’s several glossy colour pages provided with new character profiles and cut out paper models of the girls if so inclined.
Magic Knight Rayearth is a great shojo series with broad appeal for other audiences if they are young enough at heart to accept the typical dialogue and characters that come with the genre, but open to explore some of the deeper themes woven into the story and admire fantastic art. No fantasy or CLAMP fan should go without.
|Score:||8 out of 10|
|Date Published:||Thu, 7 Jun 2012|