Magic Knight Rayearth 2

Mahou Kishi Rayearth 2
Also Known As: MKR2
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 3 Volumes
Allegiance: Kodansha Ltd./Tokyopop
Mangaka: CLAMP
Vintage: 1995-1996
Intelligence Agency Report by: I
Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are summoned once again to the magical land of Cephiro to find it barren and near death with the entire human population living within a gigantic castle, the only place where anything can survive. The cause of this travesty is the death of the Pillar, Princess Emeraude; to keep Cephiro from disappearing altogether, the Magic Knights must work together again to find a new Pillar of Cephiro. But what are all of those foreigners doing there and why are they fighting for the position of new Pillar of Cephiro?

Field Agent Report by: I
Overall 8.75
(not an average)
In most cases, sequels aren’t nearly as good as the original: just take a look at the Matrix movies or Steel Angel Kurumi 2. However, Magic Knight Rayearth 2 far surpasses its predecessor in almost every way, shedding the skin of the original Magic Knight Rayearth and taking on a fantastic life of its own; everything has changed for the better in this sequel, though some elements of the title remain better than others.

What has changed the most in Magic Knight Rayearth’s sequel is the plot: far from being the RPG-esque story the original was, MKR2 includes science fiction elements such as mecha and futuristic technology. This change in genre greatly adds to the originality of the manga, but the sudden introduction of different worlds and the futuristic crises happening there clashes with the setting introduced in the first Magic Knight Rayearth. Despite this compatibility issue, the story is interesting and the pacing is neither too rapid nor too slow, making for a solid script and a fun read. The characters have improved as well; the main characters are less clichéd and have deeper personalities this time around, and the side characters maintain their entertainment value. Romantic ties and other character interactions are, however, made obvious but dropped as abruptly as they’re brought up and seldom discussed again.

MKR2’s artwork is superb. Although CLAMP’s trademark tone work has been put on the back burner, the consistency in their drawings is close to flawless and the useless two-page drawings that appeared in the first Magic Knight Rayearth have been entirely eliminated. CLAMP decided to take a simpler approach with the artwork in this comic, using more blank space in their panels and avoiding detailed background art or thick layers of screen tones. Although this different approach puts aside the much-loved detail CLAMP normally incorporates into their work, this gives a cleaner feel to the manga.

Magic Knight Rayearth 2 is, like Magic Knight Rayearth, not the most groundbreaking or influential title released. However, it far surpasses its forerunner with superior plot and character development and clean, precise artwork. This manga is definitely worth looking into.