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Episode 1

 

Review by Peter Laliberte

February 4, 2017

 

Summary

 

In the ruined land of Cephiro, a mage named Clef is attacked by a giant humanoid cat like creature but he manages to escape. Elsewhere a woman named Emeraude snuggles up to an unmoving man named Zagato. Her brother Eagle appears and tells her they'll soon arrive on Rayearth. At a middle school on Earth, Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, and Fuu Hououji reflect on their impending graduation. Hikaru waits for the others under a cherry tree and she thinks back to when they discussed the legend about it. If one makes a wish under the tree, the fairy living in it will remove any obstacles standing in the way. They wished to be friends forever but in the present Hikaru thinks the legend is stupid. An earthquake hits causing a strange creature, Mokona, to fall out of the tree and it walks off before Umi and Fuu arrive. As the three hang out after school Hikaru tries to explain she saw the cherry tree fairy but the other two think she's just rattled by all the recent earthquakes. Umi and Fuu are both moving away after they graduate, which has Hikaru feeling sad. She sees Mokona across the street and as she runs after it she hears a voice asking why she is doing so. It asks if she's running away from her pain and she finds herself in a strange place. Inside a bubble Hikaru sees an image of the Earth being destroyed and the voice tells her the future depends on her. A gem appears on her hand and the voice explains Mokona grants it to those with a pure wish. She then finds herself floating above Tokyo Tower where the voice points out Clef to her. The voice says their future depends on the test Clef is undergoing and that she will have to undergo a test too.

 

Hikaru is sent back to the street where Fuu asks about the gem on her hand. The gem glows and Mokona jumps onto Hikaru's shoulder, with Umi and Fuu able to see it too. On Tokyo Tower, Clef identifies Hikaru and her friends as the ones chosen by the deities of Rayearth. A woman named Alcyone appears in a crowd of people and freezes those around her. She mocks Clef for being powerless to stop the approaching Cephiro. Clef summons a griffin and then begins to cast a spell. Fuu notes that they're the only ones who can see Mokona and wonders if it can really grant their wish. Umi notices Clef's spell casting and Alcyone, realizing his intentions, attacks with large shards of ice. This causes some rubble to fall on Hikaru, Umi and Fuu, but Hikaru's gem glows. Clef finishes his spell, wiping out Alcyone's attack and enveloping the entire planet in light. Clef collapses and hopes he's bought some time. Eagle encourages his sister to sing to inspire the people of Cephiro but a man named Lantis holds a sword to his throat. Lantis tells Eagle to stop, but Eagle asks if he's supposed to just let Cephiro end. He explains Emeraude's wish was for the people of Cephiro to love her and Eagle wants to grant it. Lantis stays his hand, but tells Eagle it's already over for him before leaving. Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are safe because fire came out of Hikaru's gem and protected them. They notice that the people around them are translucent and pass right through them. The people disappear entirely and the three of them are the only ones left. Hikaru wonders if their wish caused this and Mokona also vanishes. The griffin flies around with an unconscious Clef while a boy named Ascot is disappointed there's no one around to play with. He tries to attack Clef but is stopped by a man named Ferio. Ferio says their divine test only involves dealing with the three girls, but that they can leave Clef to Alcyone.

 

Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu confirm there's no one around and wonder how they'll get home since they aren't old enough to drive and public transportation isn't working. Hikaru wonders if it's not just the people nearby who vanished but everyone else too but Fuu tells her not to think about it right now. Clef's griffin flies over them and they chase after it until they discover Clef. Clef wakes up and recognizes Hikaru. He asks if her gem has been glowing since she got it but she isn't sure. Clef introduces himself and starts explaining that he's from another world but Alcyone interrupts him. Clef tells the girls to run and attacks to give them cover. As they escape the stairs beneath Fuu collapse with Hikaru and Umi save her. Clef notes how close the three are and believes it might cause a miracle to occur. Alcyone cuts them off and asks Clef if he's forgotten Emeraude's wish. He replies that because of that wish he can't let a world be destroyed. Alcyone tells the girls that Clef trapped all the other people on the planet in a time warp and he confirms it. Hikaru wonders if it's her fault because she couldn't understand. Alcyone, well aware that her magic is no match for Clef, merges with her cat spirit beast to become a deity, the giant humanoid cat like creature. They try to escape on Clef's griffin, but an attack causes Hikaru to fall off. Hikaru apologizes to Umi and Fuu for dragging them into this and that she should have realized she wasn't the only one in pain. The voice from earlier tells Hikaru she's beginning to see the answer and she's wrapped in flames. The owner of the voice, a flaming lion like creature, asks Hikaru why she made her wish. Hikaru doesn't know, but says if she stops now her wish will cause everyone to disappear. The beast agrees to help her and says she must become a deity. Alcyone corners the others as the door to Cephiro opens above Tokyo Tower.

 

Alcyone prepares to finish off Clef and the others but Hikaru appears with her spirit beast. Alcyone identifies to beast as Lexus and he uses his flames to melt her ice. Hikaru merges with Lexus to become the deity of fire. Hikaru battles Alcyone, but any damage Lexus takes is reflected on her own body. Hikaru wonders how she can win when Alcyone is so fast, but Lexus assures her she's not alone. Umi and Fuu appear to be caught up in the destruction and Hikaru harnesses her anger to turn the tables. She uses her Arrow of Fire attack to finish Alcyone off. Hikaru is relieved to see her friends safe but then they hear Emeraude's singing. Tokyo Tower turns into Cephiro castle and Hikaru asks Lexus if they can take it on. Lexus says it's up to her. Hikaru prepares to attack and Clef says either the castle will crumble or Lexus will. He tells Umi and Fuu they can also become deities, Umi with Ceres and Fuu with Windom. Clef moves them away from Hikaru, who unleashes a huge blast of flames at the castle. Another deity exits the castle and blows Hikaru away. Alcyone prepares to finish off an unconscious Hikaru but Lantis protects her and forces Alcyone to retreat. Fuu wonders if Hikaru is okay and Umi says she must be. If she broke their promise to stay together after all that, Umi wouldn't forgive her.

 

Commentary

 

If you came into this OVA expecting more of the TV series' mix of fantasy and humour then I have some bad news for you. This alternate take on the story is much darker and almost devoid of levity (though a particular shot of Lexus daintily holding his arms up is pretty amusing). Some won't be happy with this but I welcome it. The mix of old and new elements gives you a sense of familiarity while also keeping you guessing on where it will go next. Unlike the original, Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are long time friends who are soon to be separated instead of total strangers, and Hikaru's desire to stay together results in everyone else vanishing. Oops. Earth is the land that needs saving this time and setting the stage more for the mecha than the swords and sorcery. While Hikaru beats Alcyone, she is taken out pretty easily afterwards. Hopefully this means Umi and Fuu will come into their own more quickly since Hikaru isn't around to carry them. Perhaps not the most exciting way to begin things, but with the set up out of the way the real fun should begin.

 

Overall Rating

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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Rayearth OVA Episode 1 Rayearth OVA Episode 1

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