Magic Knight Rayearth
Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu first met when their respective schools were taking a tour of Tokyo Tower. In a flash of light, the three are thrown into another world. It's a fantasy land they could only have dreamed of, but all is not well. The pillar maintaining the world is a priestess who's been kidnapped. If she's not returned, everything will fall to chaos. The three girls have been selected to become the legendary Magic Knights. With them lay the only hope of saving this world.
Although ordinary school girls now, through trials tribulations and the bond of friendship, they may grow into the heroes needed to save the land.
Magic Knight Rayearth isn't for everyone. That might be a contrast compared to reviews you read elsewhere from websites defunct for a decade or more, but I'm not going to sugar coat it either. It's a decent watch, but only if you can handle it's weaknesses.
Every 1990s title where people are cast into a fantasy land struggle with originality, but Magic Knight Rayearth is so typical in this way that it can be a big turn off. Nothing in the environment differentiates the show. It's so much like an RPG that the girls level up their weapons and armor. Yes, they really do that. At least this one makes sense in an RPG context, as the only anime I could name where they're smart enough to have a healer.
The story itself is problematic, and HEAVILY padded to fill 20 episodes. The middle section can feel like drudgery to watch. I wouldn't say this anime talks down to the viewer, but spoken dialog often explains things which are blatantly obvious. Fuu is supposed to be the smart one, but only only clever enough to spot things only a total idiot wouldn't notice. Unfortunately that's pretty much everyone else. So putting this together with a "defeat the villain of the week" scenario, it can get dull and predictable.
It's the other aspects of the show which salvage it. The three girls offer a nice mix to the show. High strung Umi is always good for comedy when harassing blob like mascot Makona. Although unoriginal, Magic Knight Rayearth is among the most FUN of the "thrown into fantasy land" anime. There's an infectious energy, helping keep your attention if your interest in the story begins to wane.
Magic Knight Rayearth starts well, and gets plodding towards the middle. But what really makes this anime is the awesome plot twist at the end. It seriously makes the whole damn show. Yes, even after realizing it comes down to giant robots fighting (wait what? Yeah, don't ask), you'll say "damn that was good."
For a TV series it's not bad. While wildly inconsistent, it mostly has very attractive designs which held up well over the years. The dub has many problems, but frankly even the subtitled version of it does. All things considered, it's not a bad show though.
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