Genre: Shoujo / Magical Girl
Credits: 1995. CLAMP (Apapa Mokona, Nanase Okawa, Mikku Negoi, Satsuki Igarashi). Screenshots courtesy of Lantis .
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For friends Umi, Fuu and Hikaru, the tranquil beauty of springtime in Tokyo is not met with enthusiasm. Now that they've graduated from junior high, the unwelcome prospect of attending different high schools and living in different cities threatens to break up their intimate friendship. But when the girls make a fanciful wish to stay friends forever while standing beneath the mystical cherry blossom tree, they discover their wish will be granted, but their destinies will change.
A fairy residing within the cheery blossom tree has chosen the three unsuspecting friends to defend the Earth. With the help of several guides, the girls battle against three extra-dimensional forces threatening to consume the planet. With the assistance of Clef, a rouge priest, Hikaru meets Lexus, a fire deity who merges his powers with hers to combat their first enemy, an evil ice-witch. In Volumes 2 and 3 the girls will face their other two opponents in a race to save the earth.
(3 part OAV)
A good mix of magical girl and mecha ... well, almost >>> by firesenshi
I thought that with things like Battle Skipper, there wouldn't be another one, until I remembered there was Magic Knight Rayearth first. Enjoying the TV series (and I never thought I would), it was nice to know that there was an OAV. However, do not expect that the OAV would be a sequel. Like the Utena movie and the Escaflowne movie, this is based on the original concept of the series but retells the storyline differently.
Honestly though, in terms of storyline, I would prefer this than the TV series because of three things: 1) the connection between their mecha is much much deeper; 2) the mecha designs are far better; and 3) Hikaru is not the total center of the story, as she seems to me far more overrated in the TV series. Because the storyline here builds on friendship between Hikaru, Umi and Fuu, cooperation between the three of them is essential. If you may allow me to give you a minor spoiler: in the TV series, Rayearth belongs to Hikaru, while in this OAV, Hikaru has a contract with Lexus and the combined forces of their three contracts is called Rayearth. I'm sorry, but for someone who hates overrated lead characters, this is extremely important to me. Never mind that the concept of friendship is overrated and has gone way too mushy in the OAV than the TV series; the important thing here is the bond between all three characters are emphasized, not just one.
Other main characters like the handsome Lantis, Eagle, Clef and the cute Mokona make their appearances as well. They did play substantial roles but don't expect too much characterization as this is only a 3-part OAV. Don't expect a love angle as there are too many battles just for the three of them enough to complete the OAV and resolve the conflict in saving the world. You want a love angle, watch the TV series. Here you'll find exquisitely rendered battle scenes with mecha involved in a fight of magic -- and wow, those are good.
The story is not as complex as the TV series and the whole point of the conflict even sounds silly to me. But why should that be an issue?
Individual Rating: Art/Animation 10; Story 7; Characters 7; Sounds 7