Magic Knight Rayearth by CLAMP
This was one of my absolute favorites growing up, and it's a short, powerful series that readers will love. This series is written by CLAMP, a group of female mangaka who have also written CardCaptor Sakura, Wish, Clover, Chobits, xxxHolic, Tsubasa, and many others. MKR is an Isekai story that follows three junior high schoolers who are magically transported to the crumbling planet of Cephiro, and they must travel the land seeking the blessings of three gods in order to save the planet from the evil Zagato. Zagato has imprisoned the Pillar of Cephiro, limiting her ability to pray for the planet and its people, causing its destruction. In Cephiro, one's will becomes reality, and the girls use this to their advantage as they gather power to defeat Zagato and his horde of followers. There's something here for everyone - magic armor that evolves as they do, fluffy cute creatures that sold extensibly as real-life plushies, brooding, mysterious gentlemen, elaborate costumes, and more. If your readers like these three volumes, chances are they'll also enjoy Magic Knight Rayearth 2, the three-issue series dealing with the fallout of the end events from MKR 1.
This story has a lot of the classic elements of Japanese stories - friendship, trying your hardest, selflessness - all wrapped into an adventure story that is not what it seems on the surface. There is fantasy violence and lots of magic casting, with some blood here and there, but nothing else to push this title into the hands of a more mature audience. The three heroes start off very immature, which might put older readers off at first, but the girls quickly slough off their little-kid vibes as they take on more of the mantel of warriors.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability level: Grades 5-12
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Elementary School, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Fantasy, Magical Girl
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