We now have the final installment of the first Magic Knight Rayearth series (there’s one more Rayearth series after this one). We’ll see how well this little series concludes.
Title: Magic Knight Rayearth Vol. 3
Written and Illustrated by CLAMP
Translation by Anita Sengupta
Lettering and Touch-up by Monalisa DeAsis
Originally Serialized in Kodansha’s Nakayoshi magazine.
After their first big victory against one of Zagato’s lieutenants, they now must release the power of the Mashin, three powerful elemental gods in the form of dragons. Only then will they have what they need to defeat Zagato and save the land of Cephiro.
The High Points
Everything is wrapped up, nothing major is left hanging, and with maybe one exception, there are no major plot holes to think of. Additionally, the action sequences are generally well done – which is good, because this volume has the most fights of the three volumes of this series.
The Low Points
The pacing in this volume is really rushed. CLAMP took two volumes to gear up to the fight against the first of Zagato’s Four Generals in volume two, while here we rip through the remaining three Generals, plus Zagato, plus one more fight after that, all in one volume. I really feel like that this series could have been just one volume longer.
There’s some very brief nudity but with nothing really visible. There is also some blood, but nothing worse than the previous volume in the series.
Originality: This installment of the series is a bit closer to more standard magical girl/shonen series. The heroes power up, defeat the enemy’s remaining Four Generals, and make friends with them after defeating them. 3 out of 6.
Artwork: Because this volume is much more fight heavy, we get a lot more focus on flashy attacks then fantastic landscapes. However, what we get looks really good. However, with the final fight scenes, it’s very difficult to keep track of things, and there’s no sense of geography to speak of. 4 out of 6.
Story: This installment is pretty formulaic, though it’s still well written. As said under the Low Points, I still think that they really rushed the conclusion of this volume. If they had just put one more volume in this series, the pacing would be absolutely perfect. 4 out of 6.
Characterization: After the last volume spent a decent amount of time really nailing down the rules of Cephiro, this volume spends its time cementing our heroes as a solid “nakama” (basically a tight-knit unit, practically family), before bringing them to a conclusion – and once we get there, the reactions for the characters are very believable. Especially since they never killed anyone prior to that point. 5 out of 6.
Emotional Response: I unfortunately had someone spoil for me the semi-twist of this volume, which affected the emotional response for me. To be specific, someone told me that after defeating Zagato, Princess Emeraude asks Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu to kill her. That said, even though I knew it was coming, the reactions of Hikaru, Umi and Fuu did provoke a response–not a powerful one, but it did provoke a response. Especially considering that the three of them had not killed anyone over the course of the series. The first general was destroyed by Zagato after the Magic Knights let her escape, and the other 3 were simply defeated and then befriended by our heroines, after which they went off to live their lives without reporting back to Zagato. Further, the last image of the series is our heroines back at Tokyo Tower, where they started, embracing each other and weeping over what they had done–not the most uplifting ending in the world. Okay, there was Zagato, but he was heavily painted as the bad-guy. 5 out of 6.
Flow: The flow of the panels during some of the fights is a little iffy. 4 out of 6.
Overall: A satisfying, though rushed, conclusion to a good series . 4 out of 6.
In total, Magic Knight Rayearth Vol. 3 gets a 29 out of 42.