We’re in the eighth week of the season, and I should write my mid-season review soon–perhaps this Sunday. Yet, so many shows are about to expire on Hulu: Tide Line Blue, Project Arms, Magic Knight Rayearth, etc. My determination to at least sample from these fine old shows has inspired me to write the following article on Magic Knight Rayearth. (Also, I did finish the Dirty Pair OVA, which I hope to review soon–and no, that show is not as bad as the title makes it sound.) This series falls into the genres of shoujo and fantasy, along the lines of Pretear and Escaflowne. (I apparently have completed five shows which fall into both categories, all of which have a rating of four stars or higher from me.) Magic Knight Rayearth has greatly amused me by the realistic reactions of Umi and Fuu when faced with monsters: scream and run away! (There is a reason why history has not recorded conquering armies of high school girls.) However, Hikaru is much more spirited than the other two, and they are gradually rising to the challenge of saving the world from the evil
Il Pallazo Zagato and his minions.
This manga from which this show is adapted was published in 1993, but its focus on hope, following one’s dreams, and the importance of will power manifest strong influence from the eighties. The eighties were an incredibly upbeat time, which can be felt especially in its popular music, and that quality draws may people to have a fondness for that decade. What made it so upbeat? From an American perspective, I can point to two reasons: 1) economic prosperity and 2) Ronald Reagan. The latter reason probably made someone’s eyes roll, so I shall endeavor to explain the mood of the country prior to his election, as I have gleaned it from books, my parents, and others who experienced them. (I myself only lived through four of those years.)
During the latter part of the Veitnam war until Reagan’s election, the United States entered into a period of malaise. President Jimmy Carter told the voters, suffering from an economic recession, that America’s best years were behind her. The communists had won a great victory over America and liberty in Vietnam–the only war the U.S. ever lost, even though we never lost a battle–and communists were besieging the West from without and within. One member of the media, fearful of another world war, made the cowardly remark that he would rather live on his knees than die on his feet. But, along came Ronald Reagan with his faith in American values and liberty. Against the zeitgeist of defeat, he claimed that we could win against communism, secure liberty around the world, and turn around the economic downturn of the 70’s. And, he poured all his heart and soul into these battles and won.
One sees a similar aura of defeat surrounding the world of Sephiro, where our three heroines have been magically transported through the will of Princess Emeraude. The princess has been imprisoned by the nefarious high priest Zagato, who was slowly solidifying his grasp on Sephiro by disposing of dissidents. This state of affairs and their terrible enemies terrify our heroines, but they resolve to fight evil despite their terror and weakness. Only the assurance that they are magic knights and the awful consequences of defeat keep them going. Each victory, however, encourages them, and I have no doubt that they shall see the day when Zagato’s evil empire is torn down.
There are two essential points promulgated by this tale: good always wins and fighting yields hope. Neglecting to fight evil brings despair, and this is nowhere more true than in the life of Faith. All Christians are similar to magic knights: the indwelling presence of the Trinity gives us the power to conquer evil, especially the sin threatening our souls. There is no escape from this battle, and the consequences of defeat are eternal damnation. Despite these dire consequences, many people despair of salvation, especially if they are afflicted by sins of the flesh or against faith. I myself have had occasions of wanting to give up, but God has again and again led me to take up the sword of prayer and the shield of faith. God has already won for us the victory against evil through Our Lord Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, and we shall share in that victory if only we do not give up and lose faith.