Magic Knight Rayearth season 2
further thoughts: It diverges quite a lot from the manga, and IMHO that's good, because that makes it more interesting than the manga. The animation quality is consistently good. Minor nitpick that also applies to other Magical Girl shows (and the Super Robot genre): The girls gain new ultimate attacks with close to zero foreshadowing except character development, which kinda feels like asspull...Magic Knight Rayearth OVA
: Oh dear. Alternate universe, inversion of quite a few plot elements, and all that stuffed into three episodes, what could go wrong? The first episode starts off giving next to no explanation for how and what, making the behaviour of various characters quite jarring. Most of the villains; and also the girls up to a degree, are flat characters (that seemingly are murderous without a clear reason in the case of the villains). Some of the girls' lines are very strange, referring back to things that happened in the series that they didn't experience in the OVA, and yet they talk about it as if it happened to them (most obvious: Fuu reluctantly saying she killed Ferio as if he meant more to her than the villain he is in the OVA, before he even gave her his name
). The third OVA info-dumps the setting on you. Everyone has a mashin, some of which violently explode at one point and are completely destroyed, and then mysteriously are more or less intact again in the next scene or OVA, only to then violently explode again. The pilots usually are obliterated together with their mashin, only to show up alive a moment later. Rayearth is either earth itself or the fusion mashin of the three girls. Hikaru's mashin has been redesigned and renamed, and looks like the unholy fusion between the title mech from Cybernetic Guardian and a Pokemon (i.e narmy). Sometimes something happens offscreen, the aftermath of which you would think would show up in a later episode, except it doesn't (Alcyone is dead? Or still hanging there? What about the inhabitants of Tokyo who were spirited away to a time warp but in fact maybe not because Fuu witnesses some of them vaporising?). A large part of Tokyo gets leveled in the fights. The girls gain knowledge of their magical girl transformation out of the blue.
It's like a cross between every type of major geeky Japanese show (kaiju, magical girl, horror, mecha) with the Rayearth crew thrown in while intoxicated with some strange drug that causes them to act out of character.
Curiously, it was made by the same studio as the TV series and supervised by Clamp...wait, maybe that last bit explains everything.
Oh well, the animation and art is quite pretty.
Anime Ltd. second box thoughts: The last Bluray is stuffed with bonuses, some of which appear to come from Media Blasters' 2005 DVD release. The interviews with the Japanese crew members are interesting even though the subtitles are incomplete and have some spelling errors. Some of the interviews with the US dub voice actors are unwatchable due to a high level of background noise (which idiot thought it was a good idea to interview someone in an arcade hall?). Now I usually watch my anime in Japanese with subs, so I figured I'd watch the US trailer - cue voice-over with cliché-storm so bad I didn't bother finishing it (why do US anime trailers always suck so badly? They almost always involve someone trying to sound super serious/mean and blurting out kewl words
). All of the openings and endings are included in high quality: original Japanese, US, international, with and without text. Also included are various Japanese promotional videos, in glorious non-remastered quality (and in one case likely pulled from a VHS tape instead of the original master), which get a bit repetitive after a while, but are a nice bonus. There also are a few art galleries which include art from the various art books, unfortunately in self-playing slide show format. The box itself also includes a few cards with art from the series.