Today is not a Yuri review. I’m obsessed but not insane. Magic Knight Rayearth, Season 1, had no Yuri. However, I had never watched it all the way through and I thought it was worth a mention here.
Surprisingly, I do not love CLAMP. Like Madonna, I admire their grasp of their business more than I do their actual creative work. They are undoubtedly talented, their art is lush, and they are as close to genius and masters of their craft as any creative group out there. I am an unashamed Card Captor Sakura fangirl, but with that exception, I can take them or leave them. So, back in the day, when MKR was all the rage, I gave it a try and let it drop. It just didn’t hook me.
When the fine fellows at Media Blasters offered me a copy of Season 1, I took it precisely because I thought that, with all those years of watching anime behind me, perhaps now I could come to this classic series with an appropriately “objective” mentality. Basically, I wanted to know if the series could make me care about Hikaru, Umi and Fuu.
Well…it did. About two-thirds through I found myself totally kvelling at them when they cleared some level or other. And boy, did I appreciate the meta-comment about their story being an RPG. It is obviously so, but it was fun to see them say it.
Aside from my dislike of Mokona who, as an acquaintance put it so well on Twitter, is like a kitten, “cute, but a real asshole” I found the series to be engaging. (I think I mentioned that if I find myself humming the theme song for days and days, it’s usually a good sign….) It’s also a product of its time and place. The animation was not as good as we might hope, and certainly not CLAMPs best work, but their standard character designs were solid. It’s fun to imagine what it might look like if it were done now.
The story was…refreshing. It’s innocent of service, it’s got solid storytelling, power-ups and great teamwork and bonding between the players. The “twist” at the end was as obvious as the hand on your arm, but it’s good to remind ourselves that this was a show for kids. You can tell by the “Who Is it?” “game” at the end of each episode, as well as the innocent look at life, love, adventure and maturity. It’s an added bonus for me that it is voiced by some of my favorite voice actresses, women who were the top of their industry at the time.
My *only* complaint about this collected Season Box set is that the interviews with the various Voice Actresses have unbelievably bad sound quality and are impossible to hear even at top volume. In every other way, it’s a lovely set.
Did I like it? Yes. This time I did.
Art – CLAMP, but not at their best. – The art was 8, but the animation wasn’t up to it – 4
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 0
Service – .5 (I’m sure, if you REALLY wanted to, you could find something salacious to obsess over, but that’s a lot of work for little return.)
Overall – 7
My thanks go to Media Blasters for their kindness in allowing me to once more step back to my anime roots and regain a taste of those early days.