a.k.a. Magic Knight Rayearth OVA
a.k.a. Mahou Kishi Rayearth OVA
A week before graduation, junior high students Shidou Hikaru, Ryuuzaki Umi and Houji Fuu make a promise under a legendary cherry tree to stay friends forever. As Hikaru makes her wish to always be with them, the fairy of the tree, Mokona, appears and grants her request. Suddenly the three girls find themselves in the middle of a battle for the Earth as the residents of Cephiro arrive to claim it for their own. Why do the inhabitants of Cephiro want to destroy the planet? And can the girls find the power to stop their attack?
summary by Madoka
Highs: Stylishly animated; satisfies almost any viewer type
Lows: Too many characters
The Rayearth OVA is a stand-alone story that requires no knowledge of the Magic Knight Rayearth television series. This OVA features an alternate setting, different characters and a darker tone. Although the animation is topnotch, throwing in too many characters into the mix weakens what would otherwise be a strong series.
With an animation quality that rivals most movie productions, this series is simply gorgeous. From the character designs (with the exception of those pilgrim-inspired uniforms) to the mecha designs to the backgrounds, the visuals are detailed and impressive. This series is dark and serious and the visuals set the tone, with the only moments of levity provided by the obligatory shots of Mokona emoting here and there. The battle scenes are just as rich and combine both mahou shoujo and mecha elements to please both crowds.
As for the characters underneath the eye candy, they flip allegiances randomly, give unclear reasons for their actions or just don’t have enough time to explain their background in any detail. Having knowledge of the television series adds to the confusion, since some returning characters remain the same while others are completely different. Rayearth OVA attempts to place too many new and old characters from the series into one story, and the result is a crowded mess.
Nevertheless, this OVA has something almost everyone can enjoy. With enough mecha action complete with naked girl pilots to satisfy the male viewers and more bishounen than you can shake a stick at for the females, Rayearth OVA has the potential to entertain almost any type of viewer.
Rayearth OVA can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.