Akira and Amelia decide to adopt the not-so-0fierce demon kitty. Amelia heals him, and Akira names him Night. Akira and Night form a new pact as master and servant, which will allow the demon king to still be able to see everything with the link inherent between demon king and all demons, but will give Akira and Night special abilities. Night reveals that there are three other dungeons in the world, and each dungeon challenges a different aspect of the character's skills. A portal opens at the end of the labyrinth, and Akira decides to travel to the next labyrinth in the forest of the Elven people, where Amelia is being hunted by her twin sister. With Akira caught right in the middle of the power struggle in the Elven kingdom, will he ever make it to the labyrinth to continue his development?
Rayearth is one of those interesting series broken up into parts. While this is volume four if this series, it's labeled as "Part Two: Book One." In the 25th Anniversary Edition, Part Two is in a different boxed set than Part One.
Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are still reeling from their major battle that closed out Part One. The three try to adjust back to normal life, but the weight of what happened in Cefiro weighs heavy on them. The three meet up in Tokyo Tower again to try to come to terms with what has happened when suddenly, they are transported again! This time, the world they enter is in shambles. The ocean is gone, the sky is black, and the only thing they can see is a castle standing tall above a jagged, rocky island. The three are taken to the castle, where they reunite with what’s left of the old cast, and they are told what grim fate has befallen Cefiro. They also discover that there are several invading forces from other worlds desperately clawing at Cefiro’s borders, all vying for the chance to install themselves as a new ruler. Our Magic Knights pick up the mantle once again in defense of this once-beautiful world.
Illustrated by Hiroyuki Aigamo
Akira has retreated back to the labyrinth his class went to in volume one, determined to gain maximum levels in as much as he can. He’s been in the labyrinth a month before he finds Amelia trapped inside a slime monster. She’s an elven warrior who has come to the labyrinth for the same reason, and the two decide to team up to defeat the most challenging monsters at the end of the labyrinth. Back in the castle, Kyosuke, another classmate whose class is samurai, wakes to find himself in the princess’s chamber, having just cut through six black crystals. He has no idea what he’s doing or what the crystals are until the next day when hero Tsukasa announces he’s going off to fight the demon king. The rest of the class ridicules him, all except six classmates, Kyosuke among them.
Illustrated by Hiroyuki Aigamo
This has a really long, very Japanese title, but it's overall a fun story. Akira’s entire class gets suddenly transported to another world where they are tasked with fighting the Demon King and saving the kingdom. Each pupil, upon entering the world, was given skills and a job class that best suited them. Tsukasa, the class president and star athlete, was obviously the hero, and he has to lead the charge against the Demon King. Akira, however, is an assassin, and his stats are much, much higher than Tsukasa’s as the hero. Not everything is as it seems in this world, and Akira uses his max level [conceal presence] skill to find out what’s really going on. He befriends the commander of the guard and trainer of the Class, and uncovers a plot that speaks of more sinister intentions than just fighting a Demon King.
Illustrated by Sando and Misaki
Lizel finds himself in a strange place that feels very similar to his home. He immediately pawns his sword and sets about finding himself a local guide. He stumbles upon Gil, and adventures nicknamed “Single Stroke.” Lizel, an obvious noble by his stature and demeanor, decides he wants to become an adventurer too! He charms the attendant at the Adventurer's guild, provides critical insight to a team trying to solve a labyrinth, and takes on his first quests to level up.
The final volume in part 1 of this series, and it's quite a whirlwind! This entire story seems like it happens over the course of one day, and moves extremely quickly. In this volume, our heroines find all three Rune Gods and have to prove themselves worthy of their power. Each one has a showdown with another Zagato minion, and has to outsmart them as well as out-fight them. Through it all, the adorable Mokona guides them to every temple and conveniently hides during every battle. Then, it's time for the final showdown with Zagato, and a twist ending you most likely will not see coming!
In the Forest of Silence, where magic doesn't work, the girls meet a mysterious swordsman named Ferio, who seems to also want to become a Magic Knight. Fuu strikes a bargain with him that forces him to escort the ladies to the Spring of Eterna in order to obtain the legendary mineral, Escudo. The Spring is nothing like they all imagined, and the trial to obtain Escudo is more challenging than they were expecting. Ferio lets it slip that only those close to the princess know of the legend of the Magic Knights, but he fails to say how he came across this information before he disappears into the wild blue yonder.
As with many series of my childhood, Rayearth has been republished in a hardback anniversary edition with enlarged pages and beautiful covers. In honor of the 25th Anniversary, I will be providing reviews of every volume. I have also reviewed this 6-volume series previously in one review.
Rayearth begins with a mysterious young girl praying for the Magic Knights to save her world. We then join several schools on a field trip to Tokyo Tower. Three girls - Hikaru, Fuu, and Umi - from separate schools are singled out and pulled into a magical realm known as Cefiro (previously published as Cephiro). These three ladies careen through the sky of a land that is very clearly not Japan. They are rescued by a sorcerer, Guru Clef, who explains to them that the Pillar of Cefiro, the kidnapped Princess Emeraude, has summoned them to the world to become the legendary Magic Knights and save them all. Clef bestows upon them magical armor and points them in the direction of a weapon-maker, just before he is overtaken by evil minions. The three find out from Presea, the weapon maker, that they will need to adventure to obtain materials for their individual weapons, and all of this will culminate in awakening the Rune Gods in order to save Emeraude and Cefiro.
Fushigi Yûgi has been in and out of publication since 1995. The original series, Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play, is one I've previously reviewed. There is also another series, Genbu Kaiden, that came out after the original, but not one I have had the chance to get my hands on. Genbu is a prequel to the original series. Byakko Senki is set after Genbu and before the original, but you don’t really have to read any of the others in order to understand this story. This book makes reference to Genbu, but Watase explains all you need to know.
Suzuno is a sweet, ten-year-old child who loves her parents very dearly, growing up in 1920s Tokyo. Her father has a book, The Universe of the Four Gods, that he forbids Suzu from touching. Then, the Kantō earthquake of 1923 strikes and destroys her home. Suzu’s father tells her to open the book in order to save her, and she is transported into the book to the country of Xi-Lang. There she meets Ning-lan, a woman who can turn into a tiger. Later, Ning-Lan and Suzu meet brothers Karm and Kasal, who tell Suzu the legend of the Priestess of Byakko. When Ning-Lan turns on Suzu, Suzu is transported back to Japan, and is immediately beset upon by human traffickers. She is rescued by a boy named Seiji and Dr. Oikawa, a friend of her father’s, but she loses the book in the process. A significant time jump occurs. Suzu is in high school, struggling with dreams and slivers of memories from losing her family to being attacked by a tiger. Seiji joins the military in hopes of establishing a life for himself, and while an injury ends his military aspirations, he asks Dr. Oikawa for Suzu’s hand in marriage.
Fushigii Yūgi - Yū Watasei
Fushigi Yūgi is a shōjō, and it was originally released from 1992-1996 and has been re-released several times. It is another classic Isekai following the adventures of Miaka and Yui. The two young ladies begin their adventure in a library, and the reading of a book transports them back to Feudal China. Yui manages to escape back to the "real" world rather quickly, but Miaka finds herself the Priestess of the god Suzaku, tasked with gathering the seven celestial warriors in order to summon the god. She ends up falling in love with Tamahome, one of the seven warriors. Yui, meanwhile, works diligently to retrieve her friend Miaka, only to come back into the world of the book and find Miaka in love and seemingly unmoved by her disappearance. Jealous and outraged, Yui becomes the Priestess of Seiyū, gathers her own warriors, and declares she will do everything to stop Miaka from summoning her god.
I've been reading Manga and comicbooks for years. Now, it's time to share my knowledge with you.
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