Magic Knight Rayearth is a Japanese manga series by CLAMP, serialized in the magazine Nakayoshi from November 1993 to February 1995, followed by a sequel (Magic Knight Rayearth 2) from March 1995 to April 1996. Both manga storylines received an anime adaptation by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, which aired from October 17, 1994 to November 27, 1995.
Shortly after the anime was first released, Tokyo Movie Shinsha attempted to market the series worldwide and had mandated specific localized names to be used in the adaptations (these can still be seen in TMS International's catalog entry for the series):
- Hikaru Shidou became Luce (relating to light)
- Umi Ryuuzaki became Marine (relating to the ocean)
- Fuu Hououji became Anemone (relating to the flower, Greek for "daughter of the wind")
Tokyo Movie Shinsha first enlisted Ocean Studios for the production of a pilot, which was made at some point in early 1995. The pilot used the above name changes, as well as a new opening theme. This pilot was heavily criticized by fans who had the chance of seeing it screened at conventions, as well as by those who had worked on the English adaptation of the Rayearth video game. Little is known about the voice cast of this pilot, other than Venus Terzo, who had apparently voiced Hikaru ("Luce"), which was given in an article in Animerica during production of the pilot.
An entire first season (of at least 13 episodes) was reportedly dubbed as well, through the Summit Media Group , a New York-based company who would later be involved in production with Pokemon. This dub was pitched to networks such as Fox Kids, and there were hopes to air it in syndication by September 1995. However, due to the lack of interest or buyers, this adaptation fell through and was shelved. It is suspected that the ratings flop of Sailor Moon may have played a part in networks not wanting to pick up the series. This dub also used a changed opening theme and the TMS International names for the Knights.
After the U.S. rights to Rayearth lapsed a few years later, Media Blasters acquired the rights and produced a new English dub in 1999. This adaptation kept the original Japanese names for the characters. No clips or footage have surfaced of the Ocean pilot, or of the episodes dubbed through Summit Media.
However, the Ocean pilot was allegedly screened at FanimeCon 1996. The pilot may have also circulated at other conventions around the same time. It is unknown what may have happened to the tapes of the shelved first season as well, although it was common practice to give master tapes back to the original licensor after the rights expired, so they may still lie with TMS or may have been wiped/destroyed.
Discotek released the Ocean pilot as a bonus feature as part of the Magic Knight Rayearth Memorial Collection DVD and Blu-ray set on January 31, 2017.
- Magic Knight Rayearth, TMS International catalog. Retrieved November 25, 2013
- Usenet posting, Googlegroups archive. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
- Googlegroups archive. Retrieved November 25, 2013
- Press release announcing the Summit Media group's acquisition of Rayearth, Usenet/Googlegroups archive. Retrieved November 25,2013
- Post referencing the pilot, Usenet/Googlegroups. Retrieved November 25,2013