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YMMV / Magic Knight Rayearth

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For the manga and anime series:

  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • Among retro gamers, the Sega Saturn game is what comes up when the series is brought up, for the game is significant as the console's final U.S. release.
    • The OVA series is the only incarnation of the franchise known among some casual otakus and many non-anime fans who first rented it on VHS and DVDs during the early years of anime localization in the States when it was still a niche.
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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In the manga, did Zagato actively kill Alcyone or simply stand by as she died of her wounds? Her cry for "mercy" could be interpreted either way.
  • Awesome Music: All three opening and ending themes.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The breast discussion in the second season is almost this, but for the Foreshadowing about "Presea's" birthmark, a clue that she's not who she says she is.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Zagato. Yes, his true motivation wasn't evil, but he still did plenty of evil things to try and achieve it and was incredibly callous to his own follower, Alcyone.
  • Fanon:
    • Fans and reviewers will often describe Fuu as shy or a wallflower, even though her very first action in the series is to walk up to a complete stranger and give her a gift. In fact, she shows no inclinations towards shyness or timidity through the entire series. Being thoughtful and an avid gamer does not overlap with shyness, people. Plus she's next to Hikaru and Umi for most of the story, and most people would look quiet and reserved next to those two.
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    • The assumption that Hikaru is poor because she doesn't go to a fancy private school like Umi and Fuu and her house is a kendo dojo. But it's definitely a Big Fancy House anyway, just a more traditionally Japanese one—which means the Shidous are just as loaded as the Hououjis and Ryuuzakis.
    • Some fans from Latin America think that the Pillar of Cephiro can only be a woman, as Eagle is depicted as female in the Spanish dub.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Although Umi/Ascot is kind of a Beta Couple (though it's almost only on his side) in Part II, Umi/Clef is a very popular pairing in the fanbase because of the way their initial antagonism gives way to mutal respect and concern. Doesn't hurt that Umi admits having to feelings for him in the anime, even if they appear to be one-sided.
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • Eagle Vision has white hair, golden eyes, and a black outfit. The same coloring as a Bald Eagle. Which is the animal symbol of the United States of America- the country that Autozam represents. While the Middle East (represented by Chizeta) and China (represented by Fahren) are older cultural/geographical zones with many distinctive symbols, the USA is rather young and does not have those many distinctive elements. The Bald Eagle is one of the few easily recognizable ones.
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    • You can easily spot that Presea in Season 2 is not even Presea at all but Sierra before the dialogue with Clef: In the manga Season 2, Presea would still continue to express her annoyance to Mokona, in the anime, Sierra had a more normal relations with Mokona and never tried to threaten it with punishment.
  • Genius Bonus: One of the dub names for Fuu is "Anemone", which may seem an odd choice because anemone is most commonly known as a sea creature. However, it is also the name of a genus in the buttercup family, which are known by the common name of windflower.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Or should we say, Latin Americans Love Las Guerreras Mágicas. It's not without reason: in Mexico it aired in between the 6th or 7th rerun of Los Caballeros del Zodiaco, Dragon Ball hadn't hit yet, Ranma ½ was silly, Slam Dunk was on a chaotic rotation, The Vision of Escaflowne took ages to get anywhere, and B't X also had a hectic airing. And in Perú, the series was aired two years before getting the first part of Sailor Moon, and a fair amount of people could see its Peruvian airing from other Latin American countries via parabolic antennae in some neighborhoods. Rayearth was in comparison a well balanced, well written, both-genders-appealing soap opera with action and adventure. The tune was catchy too, and it was one of the first anime series to air with its intro mostly intact since since Mazinger Z.
    • It's also popular in the Philippines with those who grew up watching it in The '90s and The 2000s. There were reruns of the anime even in The New '10s and you can find Filipino musicians that covered both Japanese and local versions of the first theme song in YouTube.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The second opening of the anime features a shot of Rayearth and Regalia about to fight in front of Tokyo Tower, but it never happens, since the Rune Gods never materialized on Earth. About two years later, Rayearth OVA was released and it turned out that Rune Gods fighting on Earth is bad for the planet.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Same with the above but on a brighter side. In Super Robot Wars T, it's this Lighter and Softer version of the Magic Knights that would fight in the Earth sphere, and unlike the OVA, the Earth is a Crapsack World to begin with but there are other heroic entities protecting it.
  • Ho Yay/Foe Yay:
    • Eagle and Lantis.
    • Also, Eagle and Geo Metro. But Eagle is that pretty.
    • Averted in the Spanish dub, where Eagle is depicted as female. And hilariously, while they tried to avert Ho Yay... that dub actually created Les Yay between girl!Eagle and Hikaru.. Oops?
    • Presea's attention to Hikaru early on, and Hikaru's practically drooling over Fuu for at first. CLAMP is well known for this, though.
    • Innouva is in love with Zagato, just like Alcyone - minus the Ax-Crazy, add I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
  • Jerkass Woobie: There are two, but their state is a rather big spoiler.
    • Alcyone betrayed Cephiro, Clef and Emeraude all in the name of her love for Zagato and has a sadistic streak, and even in the anime, isn't above tricking and manipulating her own allies. Zagato completely ignores her, calls her useless for her constant failures despite her loyalty and left her for the dead as he prepared for his final demise against the Magic Knights, rendering every of her crimes in the name of love useless. Second season rolls in, and Alcyone came back as a Brainwashed and Crazy minion of Debonair, but her love for Zagato remained. When she was broken from her trance, she became some sort of Empty Shell that could only react to Lantis because he looked like Zagato and pretty much crossed the Despair Event Horizon, thinking that she has no more reason for existing since Zagato is gone and her life has been nothing but being thrown away like trash. And just when she found the motivation to exist by revealing Debonair's location, her Geas kicked in and erased her from existence, but even after all those, she still loved the Zagato that threw her away. Geez.
    • Nova was born from Hikaru's anguish and sorrow that accidentally got thrown away into Cephiro and was picked up by Debonair, whom she sees as a mother figure. All she wanted is just to play with and be loved by Hikaru again, except thanks to Debonair's teaching, she thought that the way to do it is to hate anything Hikaru loves and kill them messily so she gets to keep Hikaru all for herself. In the end, she's only a girl who wanted to be accepted by anyone and is loyal to her dear mother Debonair... who proceeded to throw her away the moment she failed her mission. Thankfully Hikaru has figured herself out at that point, forgave Nova and accepted her back.
  • Memetic Mutation: The Unyielding Wish came true explanation 
    • Hikaru is the Queen of Mecha Explanation 
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Alcyone was crazy and probably psychotic, and dragging herself on the ground because of the wounds Umi inflicted on her, but did she really deserve to be abandoned by Zagato?
    • Debonair abandoning and then trying to kill the local Jerkass Woobie, Nova, who can be considered as her daughter. And then killing Eagle and Alcyone - and in the second case, when she was this close to a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Narm:
    • The way the beam of light shoots from Mokona's jewel to Umi's forehead when she learns her first magic spell looks a little odd.
    • Lantis' introduction in the anime. He comes in carrying an unconscious woman. Everyone in the room completely fails to notice her, even when he puts her down on a couch and explains that she was hurt trying to get into the castle. Then they all freak out because he has a tiny bit of blood on his hand—even Fuu completely overlooks the unconscious person with unknown injuries in favor of something that looks little worse than a cat scratch.
  • One True Threesome:
    • Given how close the girls are, how much they care about each other, and their frequent hand-holding, whenever Les Yay shipping happens it often involves all three of them.
    • Thanks to Hikaru's Love You and Everybody and Eagle and Lantis' preinstalled Ho Yay, they're also a popular threesome.
  • Padding: Because the manga's story moves very fast, the anime had to add new things to fill 20 episodes. Most of this is Character Development and further exploration of Cephiro, which many consider to be beneficial since it allows viewers to see the world that the girls have to save. However, there is some blatant padding when the trio discusses topics that have already been covered and flash back to things that happened the last episode.
  • Periphery Demographic: The Swords and Sorcery and Humongous Mecha elements have attracted a share of Shōnen fans as well. (A few of them insist that it is shonen for Girl-Show Ghetto reasons, but they're incorrect. It's a shoujo story with giant robots.) The Humongous Mecha element also made the show very famous amongst Super Robot Wars fandom that they wished for its appearance in any SRW games, a wish that was only fulfilled 20+ years after the series aired.
  • Squick: Really, any shipping between the Magic Knights and the men of Cephiro can get this reaction if you think about it hard enough. This is because the people of Cephiro can use their willpower to change their appearances, including physical age, meaning it's possible that all potential pairings could be between 14 year-old girls and adult men. This is most obvious with Umi/Clef, as the latter is explicitly stated as being over 700 years old.
  • The Scrappy: Primera the fairy isn't very well liked by the fans, due her Small Name, Big Ego behavior and her constant meddling between Hikaru and Lantis.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Whenever Primera tries to get between Hikaru and Lantis, Mokona intervenes by doing things like chasing her away or chewing her up and spitting her out.
  • Toy Ship: Aska and Sanyun.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Aska wants to be beautiful. She is asked "beautiful- but for whom?". This series was created in Japan, where gender roles are tighter than in the West, and where a woman was likelier to want to be beautiful to please someone else. In the USA, being beautiful for herself and wanting to be healthy in order to do the things she enjoyed would have been satisfying enough.
    • There is a very dated moment in the second season of the anime where Umi gently scolds a young boy for trying to look up her skirt and Mokona responds by ramming his face directly into her ass, which is treated with great hilarity.
  • What an Idiot!: In episode 12 of the anime, the girls are "attacked" repeatedly with unsteady ground, falling boulders and trees, etc. They quickly conclude that the dangers are illusory, which Hikaru proves by allowing a large tree to fall on her unscathed. When they duck into a cave for shelter, they see... Clef! Who was petrified in the first episode! Now telling them that he rescued Emeraude himself and she's a-ok! This despite the fact that people have repeatedly told them they need to resurrect all three Mashin first and how the Magic Knights will be the only people able to save the princess, because all the Cephirans who have tried it failed miserably. And the girls... believe him with just the slightest hesitation. Fuu is the only one to suggest that his story is fishy. Cue shock from Hikaru and Umi when—once again—Clef and Emeraude turn out to be illusions and attack them.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The original story is something like Emeraude calling three girls from another world to save Cephiro. Seems simple enough, right? Well, it's not. The real reason the Knights were summoned was that only someone from another world can kill the Pillar. And they have to go through with it. It really tears Hikaru up, and in the anime it splits her into two parts, a girl about to cry and her evil half. Despite this, the manga belongs to the Shōjo Demographic.
  • The Woobie:
    • The three Magic Knights after killing Emeraude.
    • Also Sierra. Say what you will in regards to the plot holes surrounding her appearance, but her inadequacies in regards to her dead yet still beloved older sister as well as her feelings for Clef are very powerful Woobie material.
    • Emeraude can count. She erased her brother's memories on his request and fell hopelessly in love with Zagato, prompting her to summon the Magic Knights to kill her and Zagato to kidnap her. The majority of the time Emeraude is seen, she either has a sad look on her face or is in tears. The only time she's seen smiling is when the Knights kill her and she gets to reunite with Zagato.

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