HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "Magic Knight Rayearth" - Volume One

MANGA REVIEW | "Magic Knight Rayearth" - Volume One

MANGA REVIEW | "Magic Knight Rayearth" - Volume One

It all began with a middle school trip to Tokyo Tower. Three strangers from different schools were experiencing this visit in different ways. But in a flash, these three strangers would have their world turned upside down and down side up. A voice calls out to them with a plea: “Help save our world, Legendary Magic Knights!”

Thirty years ago this month, CLAMP unleashed Magic Knight Rayearth. While it’s not the first isekai manga to be released, it’s certainly one of the earlier series to find a fandom outside of Japan. Although it may contain the tropes of 80s/90s comedies, it didn’t lean on the feel-good aspect for long. Quite the contrary: this series gets heavy, with its themes of grim fates and dark destinies playing heavily into its lore. But in its first volume, it sure feels like a good time is about to be had.

The trio of Fuu, Umi, and Hikaru find themselves in the land of Cefiro. They were called upon by Princess Emeraude, who has been captured by Sol Zagato. Without the princess, the world will be thrown into disarray, as monsters appear and attempt to destroy the harmony of the world. And only these three middle schoolers can accomplish this goal.

Of course, these kids have plenty of questions to direct at Guru Clef, the one filling them in on the situation. From “Why can’t we go home?” to “Why haven’t you tried rescuing the princess yourselves?”, the sharp wit of this trio already shows why Princess Emeraude chose them to rescue her and her world. However, there’s not enough time to explain everything, as Zagato’s minions arrive to raise havoc.

Although Guru Clef tells the trio to get away, they don’t run with their tails between their legs. With the magic that they’ve been given, Hikaru tries her had at the Arrow of Flame. Despite her size, her power winds up packing a punch. The way it’s showcased — both with beauty and ferocity — demonstrates why CLAMP are the queens of the action shojo genre.

These opening chapters also showcase the more humorous side of Magic Knight Rayearth. The characters switch between full-bodied seriousness to chibi-sized silliness at the drop of a hat. They’re also suckers for cute animals, as evident by how they act around the giant flying fish and artisan Presea’s familiar Mokona (who’d practically become the mascot of CLAMP). There’s also a good dose of kookiness on display from the characters, ranging from Presea acting too excited from catching the trio in her trap to Clef bombarding them with staff smacks when they’re out of line.

But it’s via the heart of these characters when the series shines the brightest. Despite having no knowledge of Cefiro, they are still determined to rescue it from total chaos. They may just be middle school kids, but CLAMP shows why that age is when teenagers start to realize the weight of the world and the power of responsibility. It also doesn’t hurt that this trio has some really cool powers to unleash…once they figure out how they properly work, that is.

Magic Knight Rayearth may have been released thirty years ago, but its message is still as strong as it was back then. Although CLAMP would go on to create countless classics after this series (and one or two beforehand), this fantasy is seen by many as the one that really put them on the map. While many isekai series have come and gone, Magic Knight Rayearth still finds ways to stay relevant both in our minds and hearts. If you’re one of the folks who have never experienced the mystique and wonder of this series, perhaps now is the time, especially with it celebrating such an important anniversary.


Promotional consideration provided by Kodansha Manga.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Amazon - Shop. Connect. Enjoy. All from Earth's Biggest Selection.

Share your 2 cents

Share With:
Rate This Article

The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)