Unlike the second season of the anime, Volume 2 of the Magic Knight Rayearth manga does not have a Yuri subplot. For which I am eminently thankful. In fact, the lack of Nova and her annoying mother went a considerable distance to cleaning up the exceedingly messy plot. What’s left, then, is a far more straightforward, much less morality-play like story.
Umi, Fuu and Hikaru, having returned to Earth after fighting Zagato, are…unhappy. They want to go back to Cefiro. Fuu particularly, has reason to go, as Ferio is there. And one day, when they meet up at Tokyo Tower, they find themselves transported back, but not to any place they recognize as Cefiro!
It turns out that now that Emeraude is gone, Cefiro is collapsing. Clef and the others are gathered in a castle floating above the planet surface. The Magic Knights return to find what’s left of Cefiro under attack from three nearby planets – Autozam, Fahren and Cezita.
Joined by old allies, the Magic Knights have to find a way to protect Cefiro. This is complicated by the fact that their enemies all turn out to be decent people who are just trying to help their own worlds – and the knowledge that the Pillar system of Cefiro is innately, dangerously flawed.
The story is mostly taken up with relationship building, rather than fighting, and the conclusion, while predictable, was far more satisfactory than the scattered, messy ending of the anime.
A great deal of the story follows our enemies and, instead of giving us reason to hate them, we learn to like them. Eagle and Lantis are presented very much as a couple, but when Hikaru comes en scene, she could reasonably be paired with either of them – or both – in a way that makes sense. Moreover, their dynamic is subtle enough that a child could read this without any concern. Growing Ascot up into a tall, handsome young man for Umi was a nice touch and even Ferio gets a power up. All in all, a satisfying ending.
Which is odd, when you consider that the end is a modified form of colonialism. Having destroyed the Pillar system, the Magic Knights replace it with a completely alien system. This would all be very uncomfortable if the worthies of Cefiro were not already ready to see the back end of the Pillar system. So, its okay then, phew.
Art – Less wonderful than Card Captor Sakura, but still very CLAMP-ian
Story – Less messy than the anime
Characters – Less annoying than most, until Mokona’s true identity is revealed
Yuri – Less than none
Service – Less than usual
Overall – I’m less enthusiastic about this series than CCS, but more than I expected.
Many, many thanks to Okazu Superhero Amanda M. for sponsoring today’s review!