Anime World Order Show # 204 – Bring Back Capes with Giant Shoulder Pads While Standing on Robots

In this episode, Clarissa reviews one of the signature titles from manga supergroup CLAMP: the 1994 anime series Magic Knight Rayearth. Fair warning: in addition to the TV series, we also talk about…Rayearth. You know, that OVA we all try to pretend doesn’t exist. Which Clarissa and Gerald had actually never seen or really heard about until just now.

Introduction (0:00 – 30:07)
Now that we’re about a month into the season, we give updates on the titles we’ve been watching from not only the current season but also the backlog. Why, several of these are fansub-only titles to this day! But more and more of the “we’ll never see an official US release” titles are becoming available, and it’s not just limited to anime/manga. Perhaps it’s all just fuel for the content mill, which reminds us of some certain questionable Netflix adaptations that we dare not watch legally, lest the algorithm decide “we need to make more of this based on the number of views it’s gotten!”

Promo: Right Stuf Anime (30:07 – 33:05)
Thanks no doubt specifically to listeners of this podcast, all of the Dirty Pair Kickstarter stretch goals were met and exceeded, so look forward to that Blu-Ray set sometime next year, barring any further catastrophic disruptions to the global manufacturing supply chain. For now, there are some big sales underway; while the Discotek sale ends in a few hours, the Black Friday and winter holiday sales are just around the corner. Note that if you order items that are out of stock but not out of print, the sale price will be honored. Which is relevant considering what we’re reviewing this episode, since the Discotek sale has it temporarily out of stock.

Review: Magic Knight Rayearth (33:05 – 1:46:22)
Clarissa reviews one of the perennial fan favorites of the 1990s that is remembered as one of the definitive series from the group collectively known as “CLAMP”: Magic Knight Rayearth, a precursor to the contemporary JRPG world isekai from an era before we were deluged with such material. However, unlike all that stuff today, Magic Knight Rayearth is shojo AND it has giant robots in it eventually, making it something of a novelty even after nearly 30 years. The manga has been re-released in very fancy large hardcover editions for the 25th anniversary. Here’s the first series box set and the sequel series box set. More affordable standard editions are also available, and the manga is digitally available on ComiXology. It’s a somewhat quick read, since CLAMP was all about those gorgeous splash pages:

The anime directed by Toshihiro Hirano–yes, the man who directs Baki for Netflix these days–is one of those rare instances in which it differs significantly from the manga and yet remains worthwhile. Well, the TV series at least.

Although Magic Knight Rayearth was a staple of our youths, it’s now old enough to be included in Super Robot Wars, and luckily those games are available in English. Super Robot Wars T for PS4 (there’s also a Switch version which sold extremely well though you can’t customize the music) was the first to include our heroines. They also appear in the recently-released Super Robot Wars 30 (also on Switch and for the first time without being region-locked out of the US, on Steam for PC). Note that you don’t need to have played T before playing 30, as the storylines are completely separate. We can only assume their presence and character interactions in these games is what is driving the trend of drawing our heroic trio as though they’re the Getter Robo team:

There is also…another anime that is just titled Rayearth which…remember earlier when we were talking about questionable Netflix adaptations? Yeah, about that…

7 Replies to “Anime World Order Show # 204 – Bring Back Capes with Giant Shoulder Pads While Standing on Robots”

  1. Whoa AWO reviewing something I’ve seen already? And one of my favorites? Crazy stuff. And I even picked this up from Rightstuf earlier this year alongside Devilman Lady and the fantastic new bluray release of Cyber City Oedo. (I think we can all agree that Oedo and Rayearth are basically the same show, right? Identical really.)

  2. On the subject of the changing demographic emphasis in isekai you mentioned, I wonder if the publication of the Twelve Kingdoms novels beginning in the early ’90s had an influence on that. Isekai fantasy novels are often credited with beginning in 1979 with Isekai no Yushi, a novel no one cares about inspired by Western portal fantasy, but Twelve Kingdoms was one of its first landmark successes. Given that the current isekai boom grew partly out of the fan-fiction-esque recycling of elements in the web novel community, I wouldn’t be shocked if there were a connection there.

  3. Something I didn’t know was out this season is Blade Runner: Black Lotus. The writing is okay so far, but man, Shinji Aramaki picking near photorealism for the non-character CG asset texturing/shading and the psuedo Pixar/video game art style for the characters does the show no favors.

    Maybe for your 200 patron drive goal, you could do Gundam X. I finally got around to making my way through it and it’s not a bad watch at all in the first half (have to get through the rest). There’s definitely some jank and Michael Jordan level pettiness though.

    I completely missed the boat on Clamp, and the only thing I really remember hearing about them is the noodle legs and the yaoi JoJo doujin with the egg, so it’s always interesting to hear about their commercial works.

  4. I’m currently enjoying Lupin 3rd Part 6 as I don’t care that the cars are CG. As someone in my late 30s, I don’t care if there’s CG in my anime. I don’t get all annoyed by the visual style or animation of the show that other people would just give up on it because they want to see shiny things onscreen.

    I was a CLAMP fanboy back in the day. I had fond memories of Angelic Layer and X back in the day. I still wish there was an ending of X/1999 manga as I feel the anime TV ending isn’t the ending that CLAMP was writing for the manga.

    CLAMP was trying to create their version of MCU a couple years before Marvel was with Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. As a CLAMP fanboy, I like Tsubasa but I know people hated the anime because it was slow and boring. xxxHolic was easily the more successful anime eventhough it was connected to Tsubasa but the anime removed the connection and made it separate.

    There was going to be a new Tokyo Babylon anime series but due GoHands stealing fashion designs, it’s currently on hold until a new animation studio is hired.

    As for Magic Knight Rayearth, I watched in the late 2000s I believe and don’t really remember much about it. It doesn’t have the same feeling I have for other CLAMP series.

    Also there was a shonen isekai series in the 90s called Those Who Hunts Elves where it’s about a group of high schoolers who get transported to another world going around stripping elves to see if they have a tattoo that eventually help them to get them back home. It definitely was on comedy ecchi side.

  5. Thanks for spreading the word about Inazuma Eleven, which isn’t well-known in US.

    The localization history for Inazuma Eleven is pretty weird so I’ll go over it a little.

    There actually is a legal way to watch it in the US. There’s an English dub produced in Hong Kong that’s currently on Amazon US, but it’s not good and I’d recommend that newcomers just get the fansubs.

    The voice acting is not good and for whatever reason the script is mean-spirited. It makes the protagonist a jerk who casually insults his team and adds in homophobic/transphobic insults like having characters call the feminine-looking characters “girly boys.”

    And holy QC, the dub has a problem where it will switch between the Japanese and the localized names for characters. My friend and I had a good laugh when they called a character’s sister “Yuka” in the dialogue when her hospital room’s nameplate was clearly labelled “Julia”. This isn’t even a problem that goes away. I checked out some episodes numbered in the 110’s, and the dialogue kept calling a character “Rococo” and “Hector” (his first names in the Japanese and English localizations). It’s kind of fascinating how much of a train wreck this dub is.

    If you’ve watched the sub first, the dub is good for a laugh. You can check out the Twitter bot @InazumaDub for examples of silly quotes from it.

    The other Inazuma Eleven media legally available in the US:
    – the 3DS port of the first game is on Nintendo eShop
    – Inazuma Eleven Ares (American English dub only). This aired on Disney XD in the US and is a alternate timeline that picks up from the first season of the original show. The whole thing is available digitally and is a pretty faithful dub.

    There’s a special called “Inazuma Eleven Reloaded” which is supposed to bridge the 2008 anime and Ares together. This special also got a Bang Zoom dub, but the dub never aired in the US (but it did on Cartoon Network Africa). It’s not even sold on digital platforms unlike Inazuma Eleven Ares. At least there is a fansub.

  6. Of the anime this season that I’m really liking – I’d say that The Heike Story (which just wrapped a week ago as of this post), is one of my favorite anime of the year.

    I do recommend having something light available as a palate cleanser after the last episode.

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