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Nightmare Fuel / Magic Knight Rayearth

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Lady Debonair haunted Hikaru's nightmares and she will haunt yours too.
While most people think of the Rayearth OVA whenever they hear "Magic Knight Rayearth" and "Nightmare Fuel" in the same topic, Rayearth does not limit anything scary in it to the OVA. While it may appear to be a light-hearted shoujo adventure fantasy series, Magic Knight Rayearth does feature dark and scary stuff in it, especially towards the end of the first season/manga series, and far more so throughout the second, especially in the anime. CLAMP clearly believes that young girls can handle dark subject matters. So how could a shoujo fantasy epic scare you? Let's find out.

As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

  • Most monsters in Cephiro are born from the people's fear, including Lady Debonair.
    • Speaking of which, Debonair qualifies as Nightmare Fuel all by herself. Her nihilistic and power hungry personality, her ultra-hammy voice, the pipe-organ music that plays whenever she shows up, Debonair is just cruel in every sense.
    • Also, our first introduction to Debonair was in one of Hikaru's nightmares! In it, Debonair said that all worlds would "belong to her." Which means that if the Magic Knights hadn't returned to Cephiro, Debonair would have destroyed not only Cephiro, but the entire universe! And did I mention how the dream ended with Debonair surrounding Hikaru with pitch black darkness and then trying to slash at her with her Femme Fatalons?
  • Zagato and his minions are perfectly willing to kill three young girls to accomplish their goals. Granted, for Zagato, that goal is "save the love of his life and find some way to talk her down from this idea of assisted suicide and maybe find a way to free her from Pillar-dom", but even so, it's clearly a measure Emeraude is terrified of.
    • What is even scarier is that when Zagato died, Emeraude abandoned those standards and out of rage over Zagato's death, she then attempted to kill our heroines, who I reiterate are three young girls, which she begged Zagato not to do earlier! She was abandoning a standard she previously had!
  • The monster of episode 8. It's Hikari, the cute fox Hikaru befriended. It reveals itself by bursting out of its skin, and its mouth is suddenly full of razor-sharp teeth.
  • Quite a few were caught off-guard by the monster of episode 14, who appears as a super fast column of light and abducts Umi, Fuu, and Mokona. Later, Hikaru runs through a field of thorns and falls into a ravine, causing her to bleed in the process. Realizing it can smell blood like a shark, Hikaru cuts her arm to lure it to her.
  • Caldina's magic involves illusions and People Puppets. When Fuu stops her from controlling Hikaru and Umi and draws her sword, Caldina just controls Fuu and sets her to kill her friends.
    • In episode 11 of the anime, she got a village's entire population to try to kill the Magic Knights without her Mind Control magic! All she did was make a Person Puppet out of the mayor to make him commit suicide, and threaten to do the same with all the villagers if they didn't kill the Magic Knights.
  • The Fountain of Eterna. There, you confront representations of the people you care about most who try to kill you. And you couldn't even bring yourself to fight back because you think that it's actually your actual loved one attacking you.
  • Cephiro slowly decaying as the series goes on. At first, the world is always in daylight and has beautiful scenery, but as time progresses earthquakes are more frequent, storms spring up, and it turns into Always Night. This is only the case in the anime, as in the manga, the sky was really a mirror reflecting the sea.
  • The end of the first part has Princess Emeraude's descent into madness and the awakening of her Superpowered Evil Side. Doubles as a massive Tear Jerker.
    • To elaborate, after Zagato's death, Emeraude completely LOSES it, screaming his name and wracking herself with grief as the episode ends with an ominous heartbeat soundtrack. Then, when the next episode begins, the heartbeats get faster and faster before she transforms from a sad-looking child into a more dark-looking adult form. When the Magic Knights finally arrive at her side, she barely acknowledges them at all. But when they let slip that they killed Zagato, Emeraude immediately flies into a rage and blasts them, summoning her own Rune god and lashing out again and again, vowing to kill them all as revenge for the loss of her lover. What little remains of her good side has to beg the Magic Knights to kill her before she loses herself entirely and wishes for Cephiro's destruction, putting everyone out of her misery.
  • The part in the anime where Nova disrupts the mystical process that Sierra is using to repair Hikaru's broken weapons and follows it via basically mind raping the half-conscious Hikaru for what feels like hours. (At least two episodes, in "real time".) Oh, and revealing that she is her Enemy Without.
  • Speaking of Nova, the fact that she's so sadistic to the point of refering to screams of agony as "cute" is quite unsettling.
  • At one scene in episode 45, Hikaru's own reflection in a mirror grins evilly, and then her hand emerges from the mirror, and it turns out to be Nova. Nova then pins Hikaru to the bed like she was about to physically rape her.
  • The concept of the Pillar of Cephiro, once you think of it and then see the series. When you decide to step up and become Pillar, you are basically signing a deal where you will make a world prosperous and beautiful — but only if you completely renounce anything for yourself. It doesn't sound that bad, at least until you realize that if you slip up a little, if you have the tiniest desire for something only yours, even if this desire is otherwise "pure", healthy romantic love for another person, the world you've worked so hard to maintain and make flourish will collapse. And the only way to get that undone is summoning people from another world — so they can kill you. It's no wonder that Emeraude was perpetually crying — she went through all of it. Doubles as another massive Tear Jerker.
  • Hikaru's reaction to Debonair killing Eagle. Seeing a Genki Girl and Friend to All Living Things such as Hikaru be out for blood can be unsettling. She even brutally attacked Nova when she tried to protect Debonair.
  • In the Sega Saturn game, all of the villains the girls face end up dead. Caldina's death is probably the worst—when aiming for the Magic Knights, she accidentally hits and kills Ascot. She attacks the girls in a rage but is defeated. As she begs them to kill her, Hikaru offers her a hand in friendship instead. Caldina reaches out... and is instantly vaporized by Inouva.
  • There's a bit of Nightmare Fuel exclusive to the manga too. The penalty for failing the test to become pillar. Whomever fails the test ends up disappearing and not in a peaceful manner like their bodies fading away. Their bodies get ripped apart. Hikaru's attempt to defy this and save Eagle results in her body being ripped apart as well. She was even screaming in agony. If Umi and Fuu hadn't saved her, she would have perished.
  • The second season's 15th Anniversary DVD box set cover art. It shows Nova carrying an unconscious Hikaru with Lady Debonair showing a leering Slasher Smile in the background, with half of her face looking like a skull.
  • After their confrontations with the leaders of Chizeta and Fahren respectively, Umi and Fuu receive a horrific vision of Hikaru screaming their names for help as she falls into a deep dark pit. Then they see and hear her Evil Counterpart, Nova laugh maniacally, Debonair smile evilly, and Alcyone in a position of stasis, and then see Hikaru fall into the pit again. They immediately start fearing for Hikaru's safety and become desperate to come to her aid.
  • Alcyone's death scenes in both versions. In the manga, she begged Zagato for another chance to kill the Magic Knights. Zagato refuses, and lets Alcyone die from her wounds from the Magic Knights, with her body disintegrating while she shouts a Big "NO!".
    • Her death in the anime was arguably even worse. You know how some gangster movies have the mob boss threaten to kill the witness if they reveal a secret about him? Debonair kind of did that with Alcyone. As soon as she tried telling Umi and Fuu that Debonair's base of operations was in Cephiro's alternate realm, a black shadow wrapped around her like a large snake, and even started squeezing away at her neck. When she does tell them, the shadow increases in size and starts electrocuting her, causing her to scream in agony. Then it swallows her up and leaves no trace of her behind.
  • The fatal illness that Eagle Vision was contracted with. More so in the anime where he even coughs up blood. The scariest thing about that is that there are fatal illnesses in the real world that have that as a symptom as well.