Soon after Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu return to Tokyo, the three of them meet at Tokyo Tower to talk. Hikaru says that she wishes they could return to Cephiro and do something good for the land that Princess Emeraude protected so dearly. Umi and Fuu agree. Suddenly, a light appears in the sky and they are transported to Cephiro. Clef explains to them that with no Pillar to keep Cephiro peaceful, it has fallen into chaos. Monsters are multiplying and the land is becoming desolate. All the remaining inhabitants of Cephiro have moved into a magical castle. Clef also tells the girls some alarming news; three other countries, Chizeta, Fahren, and Autozam are trying to invade Cephiro and take over the Pillar system for their own purposes. The girls must stop the invaders as well as the mysterious and evil Lady Debonair, who believes she is the rightful Pillar, all the while desperately hoping and searching for a new Pillar to make Cephiro into the beautiful land it once was.
I personally felt this didn't live up to the first season. I really felt the impact of the ending of the first series. Sure it left things open, but it still felt conclusive at the same time. I thought the ending was really touching and you really feel how the three magic knights bonded with one another and you really see that. To me, making a sequel just takes away the impact the ending had on me. Personally, I thought if they were going to do a sequel, they could have just made them stay in Cefiro instead to try solve the remaining problems it
had and would eventually come and then end it the same way the first season did. The series doesn’t really have the same unpredictable plot twists the first series had impact wise. And I just really didn’t like the newer characters. The Chizeta twins and Lady Aska just came across as annoying and I didn’t like the rest of the cast. When you have your antagonists as your comic relief and not acting serious, it just goes down the toilet.
I thought the magic knights were developed enough already and they were able to use their maturity and experience, but they just simply couldn’t develop any further to some extent. To me, at that point, they just hit their peak. If they didn’t go back and have that ending where they are embracing each other and crying, then this story would have worked out better. It’s just my main beef will always be that the ending had an incredible impression on me filled with emotion and resolution But by going back, and then coming back, you truly do see their development of how much they cared about protecting Cefiro.
Along with the characters, we now have a lot of new elements to the series with design. Like the Autozam people represented industrial and robotic technology. Of course with the Magic Knights have those Mashins looking like mechs, the Autozam people have their own mechs like the FTO and the GTO. Their costume designs are pretty nifty as well. It has a descent balance of being fantasy and sci fi features to it. The FTO that Eagle pilots bares a very strong resemblance to the Dunbine from Aura Battler Dunbine which I thought was pretty cool, but had more of a First Appearance Iron Man twist to it. I also like how the other antagonists from Fahren and Chizeta were more cultural looking. Fahren was based on ancient China and Chizeta was more Arabic but they spoke in Osaka dialect. To combat the Mashin’s, Lady Aska brings a drawing that resembles her servant to a gigantic form and the Chizeta twins can use humongous genies.
Which leads me to the action. It is more reliant on the lets say “mech action” and we don’t see much sword play or magic. I guess that takes away from using excessive recycled footage. I really like the action, but I just really miss the approach and how it tried to distinguish itself from other magical girl anime. Now it tries to be more like a mech anime. Granted I do like the designs of the Mashins and the FTO, but giant genies and weird drawings once again comes into why I didn’t like the humor.
And the miniaturization of the characters isn’t really as prevalent as it was in the previous season.
Ferio now being revealed to have royal blood is now dressed up more formally, and lets say Caladina shedded some clothing.
Other than that, it’s the same old CLAMP school of how they draw eyes and faces. It’s a pity thanks to the circumstances of the story, we don’t get to see much of the scenery that the first season had which brought a great imagination element to it.
Well, I couldn’t get past an episode of watching the English dub in the first season, so I never really bothered watching the dub for the 2nd season. But anyway, the cast still remains the same that were initially introduced in the previous series. The original cast still do their roles very well and convincingly. I still love how passionate and emotional Hikaru always comes across. Juurouta Kosugi who played Zagato is also back and this time he is playing his brother Lantis. I don’t think the role really requires his charisma or his dark voice, but character wise, it was important.
Some additions to the cast are Inoue Yo and Hisakawa Aya as the Chizeta princess twins, Tatra and Tetra. Inoue Yo still has that calm voice you always hear in other roles as Belldandy from Ranma and Kasumi from Ranma. But she brings a more humorous tone with how she likes to joke around. Hisakawa Aya who has played Sailor Mercury as Chizeta is not really as recognizable as Inoue Yo. She is more darker toned and tends to sound more angry and serious.
Some of the background music is still the same from the first season. Like instrumental versions of Yuzurenai Negai are still sometimes used and still plays very orchestrated music. A lot of the new background music is well cultural appropriate to some of the characters. Especially that of Tetra and Tarta who represent more of an Arabian kind of background and that kind of music is played to represent them. So I think it’s really well appropriate to the mood as usual.
I can’t really get into the new opening theme, Hikari to Kage wo Dakishimete Mama. Sure it’s still sung by the same singer of the previous song, Naomi Tamura, but because I don’t like the themes of the story, the song also does a good job of telling it but doesn’t have the kind of pacing or the kind of emotion that was appealing that Yuzurenai Negai had. But on the other hand, the video clips does go pretty synch to the song.
Well, in terms of story, on a conceivable sense, it was a great idea. I thought it took a very original and distinctive approach. I really miss the Japanese style RPG like characteristics it had. And as a result, there are no video games based on this particular story arc in considering the fact I do happen to still enjoy the Sega Saturn and Super Nintendo games. And with the art and animation, since the 2nd season aired a week after the first season ended and didn’t have a year break like how other anime seasons do, they really couldn’t do much to have any significant improvement in the design. But the newer characters were fresh, but not really that exciting or distinctive. The music is still alright and didn’t really change too much.
Magic Knight Rayearth 2 is the telling of the second arc of the manga. While it differs from the manga, it is still a good story. The tone of the series becomes much darker in this season, and it deals much with the past of the pillar. We see the sorrowful role the pillar really is.
This is emphasized by the three nations invading the crumbing Cephiro, each who have their own reasons for invading, but eventually, two of the three decide the better, and actually help to save Cephiro during the final battle.
Besides the invading nations, there is the mysterious Nova and her
"mother" Debonaire. They are, in fact the only real bad guys in the story. The characters from other nations are all likable. It's neat how they play off of different civilizations too. Even the music matches, which is very good!
The series develops Hikaru more, from the naive hyper girl into a much more mature girl. She also has her first experience with love. What I dislike about this season, however, is that too much time is focused on Hikaru, leaving Umi and Fuu pretty much forgotten about.
It's also nice to see the bonds that have formed between the former villains of the series. Lantis is an interesting addition, but is far too emotionless. I find a lot of CLAMP's male characters, especially the tall skinny black haired ones, to be hard to tell apart, and somewhat emotionally dead. But it's great to see Ferio back, now fulfilling his position of royal blood. And the romance between he and Fuu is shown a little more.
The story is moving, i would say it is even more moving than the first season. While it is missing some of the beautiful scenery, it is made up for by the story.
Besides focusing too much on Hikaru, I also did not like the mecha theme that was there. The knights spend most of their fighting time in their mashins. But the battles where they do use magic and swordplay are good.
The music is amazing, especially the last opening theme. The first opening theme of the season is meant to link the two stories together, each showing scenes from the first season as well as the current. The song kind of sucks. But the last opening theme, Hikari to kage wo dakishimata, is beautiful.
The end of the series is also very emotionally involved, but on a happier note than the first season.
Overall, this season is very good, and if you liked the first season, you should definitely watch this one. (as long as you avoid the dub, then again, I have never seen a good english dub, I don't even bother anymore!)
Personally, I think it's kind of silly the way people go on about this season being worse than the first season. It's actually the opposite. It's better. It's just got more in it than season 1 does. Not only does it have Nine additional episodes, making it the longer season of the two, but the enemies are much cooler looking, it's got a darker story and atmosphere than the first season, and new characters are introduced to the series like the head commander over Autozam's fleet, Eagle Vision, and High Priest Zagato's younger brother, Lantis.
Ok, so to give a briefer on this seasons story.
The Magic Knight's get summoned back to Cephiro, except they don't know exactly who did this due to Cephiro no longer having a Pillar over its lands. It turns out that three outside nations, Autozam, Chizeta, and Faren are trying to take over Cephiro to have complete control over it, with the addition of a creation of darkness by the name of Debonair that is essentially a manifestation of all the hearts of Cephiro that fear.
During this season, Hikaru's heart gets darkened by a shadow of herself, called Nova. After Hikaru in Rayearth lost to Eagle in his FTO, and then when her Escudo infused sword snapped by the hand of Nova in her Regalia, Hikaru's started to feel dark inside herself. Nova gained access into her heart, which emphasised all of Hikaru's negative feelings toward herself. It is up to Hikaru to regain her Will Power to Fight and save Cephiro from all these outside Envadors.
Art: The Art/Animation for Magic Knight Rayearth is unique in its own right, and very attractive to look upon. Especially Hikaru's character design! ;)
Sound: Some of the songs got a little tiresome in this season, such as the music that plays with Chizeta's Guardian Spirits are fighting against the Magic Knight's. But overall the music in season 2 continued to be just as good as it was in season 1.
Characters: Loved the character designs in Magic Knight Rayearth. From Hikaru, to Ascot, to Caldina. Great characters with lots of unique personality.
Enjoyment: I kept telling myself while watching season 2, do I really enjoy this season as much as I enjoyed the first season? I know that there's quite a number of people out there who didn't find season 2 to be as good. But having watched both seasons several times, I honestly feel that the enjoyment for season 2 was just slightly a notch higher than it was for season 1. But both seasons are both neck and neck in enjoyment.
Overall: Had to give the series a 10/10. I'll never understand how something as good as this anime gets ratings under 7/10. It just doesn't add up?
Well, watching this season hard on the heels of the first season is a mistake. You should allow yourself a couple days between them simply to absorb the first season fully.
That said, however, this season is as good in some ways as the first one. Granted the land is missing and you have only one scene that isn't a spaceship or in space, but they manage to make do with what they do have.
The story is what I like to focus on, and there this season is a worthy successor. It took what could have been an awkward ending to
the first season and continued it along logically and believably. I was not upset by the reuse of a plot device, and there was less of a video game feel to it, and more of a real emergent situation that needed to be dealt with now.
You get some more backstory in this, but in my opinion it focuses too much on one character, leaving the other two to languish in near obscurity. They do have their moments however. Additional characters are introduced, and the only complaint I have with that is that the three invading nations who are coming appear to only have two or three people on the entire huge capital ships until nearly three quarters of the way through the series, then you find out there are actually other people there. True, those others are cutouts and one dimensional, sometimes nearly literally, but they do exist.
The stories weave together in a tight whole though and I was very interested to watch it. The plot twist at the end is nearly anticlimactic as they have been hinting at this, and giving it away in the main opening sequence, since the series started. However, that said, the REAL plot twist really does surprise.
If you enjoyed the first season, you will enjoy this one more. I think it's a good sequel, and I would have liked it to continue on, with the heroines resting on their laurels in the place they helped create.