Shojo & Tell: A Manga Podcast

Magic Knight Rayearth (with Asher Sofman)

Episode Summary

Covers all of MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH by CLAMP (that's six volumes across MKR I and II) Take a trip to Cefiro, grab a sword, and get in a mech in this wild and beautiful Clamp classic. Asher and Ashley do a character walkthrough that’s mostly gushing about how pretty everyone is (Eagle! Lantis! Umi! Fuu! Hikaru! That's only 1/100th of the number of characters in this six-volume manga!), debate whether Princess/Pillar Emeraude committed suicide and how this relates to controversies over assisted suicide, and of course, fail to escape hitsuzen because everything is hitsuzen. Plus, the Ashes solve global problems that plague many nations, laugh at how many characters/places are named after cars (AUTOZAM! CLEF!), and fawn over how cute all the (problematic) ships are.

Episode Notes

Covers all of Magic Knight Rayearth by CLAMP (that's six volumes across MKR I and II)

Take a trip to Cefiro, grab a sword, and get in a mech in this wild and beautiful Clamp classic. Asher and Ashley do a character walkthrough that’s mostly gushing about how pretty everyone is (Eagle! Lantis! Umi! Fuu! Hikaru! That's only 1/100th of the number of characters in this six-volume manga!), debate whether Princess/Pillar Emeraude committed suicide and how this relates to controversies over assisted suicide, and of course, fail to escape hitsuzen because everything is hitsuzen. Plus, the Ashes solve global problems that plague many nations, laugh at how many characters/places are named after cars (AUTOZAM! CLEF!), and fawn over how cute all the (problematic) ships are.



Episode Transcription


ASHLEY: Welcome to Shojo & Tell, where we discuss shojo manga, tell who’s hot and who’s not, talk about themes, and just generally geek out. Today, June 30th, 2018, we’ll be shojo and telling about the series Magic Knight Rayearth, by CLAMP. I’m your host Ashley McDonnell, and I’m joined by Asher Sofman. What’s up, Asher Sofman?

ASHER: Not much, Ashley McDonnell.

ASHLEY: [laughing] Okay! Asher, who are you, besides the person that was on the Maid-sama episode that people may or may not have listened to.

ASHER: Well… I’m Ashley’s roommate from college, which is obviously the most interesting thing about me.

ASHLEY: I mean, definitely.

ASHER: Definitely. It was an interesting time, honestly. I was a rabbinical student; I have since left that path and am now looking for—I don’t know. I guess that’s not relevant. Uh, but—

ASHLEY: Hey, if anybody has a job for Asher—!

ASHER: If anybody has a job for me, uh, I’m great at communications, although maybe that’s not so obvious from this introduction. I’m good at writing, I was a writing major.

ASHLEY: He is good at that.

ASHER: I’m pretty—I’m okay at that, you know?


ASHER: I also like manga and Magic Knight Rayearth is one of my favorites. And one of the first ones I ever read, if not the first.

ASHLEY: Okay. I feel like that explains a lot. ‘Cause reading it, I was kinda like, “This is Asher… Asher wanted to be on this one? Seems too, too serious for Asher, but…”

ASHER: It wasn’t serious at the beginning. It was all nice and cute! And, uh… then it took that dark, dark…


ASHER: ...CLAMP turn.

ASHLEY: [Laughing.]

ASHER: Yeah. But actually, I think if you—the sixth volume, I think, is… I was reading that again, I was like, “Oh my god, if you read this, you can see where I got all my adult beliefs about, uh, how the world should work.” Ooh, boy.

ASHLEY: Oh, that’s true.

ASHER: I was—yeah. The sixth book is pretty Asher, if you ask me.

ASHLEY: It’s true. It does end on a, on a hopeful note. So…

ASHER: Sure does!

ASHLEY: Fair enough. All right.

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: You wanna give a plot synopsis? Can there be a plot synopsis given about Magic—

ASHER: There can.


ASHER: There can. All right. So, Magic Knight Rayearth is a six-volume series, split very clearly into two parts. In the first part, three young women, age fourteen, are kidnapped from Tokyo Tower by a magical… being, who asks them for their help to save this fantasy world. They go on your sort of typical JRPG adventures to get their weapons, get their magical evolving armor, and unlock the Spirits, or the Mashin—I actually don’t know how they were translated in your copy, Ashley.

ASHLEY: It was M-A-S-H-I-N.



ASHER: Okay, yeah. Uh, yeah, it was translated as Spirits in mine, so I actually lost that awesome double, uh, meaning.

ASHLEY: Oh, yeah. See, Asher was reading the Tokyopop versions, and I read the Dark Horse versions, and I’m not sure—I think that just creates more confusion and inconsistency within the fandom. Who knows? I’m pretty sure Mashin is the real thing, though.

ASHER: Mashin is definitely the real thing, because back in the day before those Dark Horse publications came out, they were called Mashin by, you know, the people who read it in Japanese and thought they were better than everybody else.

ASHLEY: [Sarcastically:] Cool.

ASHER: So I—even—I knew they were called Mashin, even though they’re called Legendary Spirits in my version.

ASHLEY: [Even more sarcastically:] Cool.

ASHER: But you lose, you lose the cool “machine” joke.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I was like, that’s a very clear “machine” joke in both languages…

ASHER: Yeah.


ASHER: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So, they have to unlock these Mashin and rescue Princess Emeraude, who is the Pillar—the Princess—of Cephiro, who holds up this magical world with the force of her prayers. She—they’re told she has been kidnapped by her own high priest, Zagato, who, you know, is depicted as this large, tall... beautiful hair, creepy man… And they fight some of Zagato’s minions as he tries to stop them. It’s very… If you’ve, if you’ve played any basic RPG, you have played this story.


ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: If you’ve played Final Fantasy X, you’ve like, definitely played this story…

ASHER: If you’ve played ANY Final Fantasy, ANY Final Fantasy…

ASHLEY: Whatever.

ASHER: The only difference is that their weapons and armor evolve, instead of you having to buy new ones at every single stop.

ASHLEY: Yeah, there’s no currency that is exchanged.

ASHER: They… you know, CLAMP didn’t want to deal with that, and they still got to DRAW all the different kinds of armor they wanted, so, you know, win-win!

ASHLEY: Win-win, good job. Okay. So, Asher, why is this your favorite series? Please explain it to me in a non-spoilery way.

ASHER: [Blows out air]

ASHLEY: If you can. [Laughing] Yeah, yeah, you’re like—

ASHER: I didn’t even, I didn’t even…

ASHLEY: —spoilers…

ASHER: I didn’t even, um, summarize the second half.

ASHLEY: That’s true, but I feel like that’s all spoilers.

ASHER: It is all spoilers. Are we not—oh, this is the un-spoilery part. Okay! I’m glad I—I’m glad you stopped me.

ASHLEY: Stop! That’s why I was like, can it be explained? No!

ASHER: It cannot be explained without spoilers. Uh, but it—I—this was, I am almost completely sure, the first manga I read through from start to finish. I had read little bits and pieces of Cardcaptor Sakura before. Because it was on TV at this time.


ASHER: But I found, uh, Magic Knight Rayearth back in, uh, Barnes and Noble, when I still went there.

ASHLEY: [Laughs]

ASHER: And, uh...

ASHLEY: When bookstores still existed, yeah. No.

ASHER: Yeah. And I just devoured it. ‘Cause, at that—this was middle school. I read this, I think when I—I couldn’t have read it before I was eleven. Correct?

ASHLEY: I assume, I don’t know when it came out in English.

ASHER: I’m pretty sure it was published in English in 2001.


ASHER: It started. Or some of the books were 2001. And as a… young person who did not identify as male at the time, uh, having these heroes that were girls and awesome—and the art was so pretty, and the little chibi things were so cute—like, this was… incredible. This was unbelievable.

ASHLEY: “I can’t, I can’t think of a word good enough for this!”

ASHER: Incredible! ...Is such an empty-sounding word. But like, having these characters and this adventure that was everything I loved in an adventure at that age, and all female-led, was awesome. Um, it was super-important to me. I have read these books so much, uh, the first one has COMPLETELY fallen apart. The binding is COMPLETELY gone.

ASHLEY: You should buy the new Dark Horse ones so you can see how everything is spelled now.

ASHER: Spelling is an illusion.

ASHLEY: Okay, yes. It’s true.

ASHER: And the fifth and sixth books are also a little bit falling apart. I had to be careful as I was re-reading these. Um… I took them to summer camp with me. Uh, Hikaru formed some of my understanding of what a hero should be, although going back now as a 28-year-old, I’m a little, like… less interested in her. But, no, there are still interesting things about her. The things I found compelling as an eleven- or twelve-year-old are not the things I find compelling now.

ASHLEY: Okay, but you—is—does it still hold up now?

ASHER: Oh, uh, I—


ASHLEY: Like, when was the last time you read it before now?

ASHER: There are parts of it that don’t, like characterization. Uhhh…

ASHLEY: You wanted the characters to be consistent? Lol, funny.

ASHER: You know, like… It’s only six volumes long, they COULD be consistent.

ASHLEY: They could be, but they’re not.

ASHER: But they’re not. And the development of relationships leaves a lot to be desired. But! The art is still as gorgeous as it always was, even if in volume 1, it’s a little rubbery, ehhh, or, eh, um. There’s something a little weird about it in volume 1...


ASHER: ...But in the second half, it’s just so frickin’ gorgeous.

ASHLEY: Yeah, there are also so many spreads where I’m just like, yes.

ASHER: Right?

ASHLEY: Please give me more spreads of badass girls being badass.

ASHER: Right? And oh my god, like, I have not read a CLAMP, uh, manga in a long time, and like… they, they make no attempt to justify having all that gorgeous hair everywhere, and I don’t want them to justify it, I just want more of it.


ASHER: Oh my god. Emeraude’s hair is un—it’s incredible.

ASHLEY: That’s what you really read this manga for, the hair.

ASHER: ...Yeah? What do you read it for?

ASHLEY: I’m in it for the girls with swords!

ASHER: Okay, yeah, that too. Obviously.

ASHLEY: Obviously. So many things to be in this for.

ASHER: I’m kinda—I’m kinda sad, I’m kinda sad Fuu, uh, got a different weapon than a bow.

ASHLEY: That’s true. That didn’t need to happen.

ASHER: I feel like—no. I feel like CLAMP didn’t… I think—I feel like Fuu suffers the most from CLAMP not knowing what to do with her.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Definitely!

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: ‘Cause it starts with Hikaru being the cool person, like, admiring Fuu. But that lasts for like, literally a page. And then… And then, like, Umi suddenly becomes cool, and Fuu, like…

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: ...No longer is like, this silly character. And I’m like, what’s happening right now?

ASHER: Yeah. And I think that has led to Fuu being the most, uh, intriguing character for me NOW. ‘Cause like, what on earth were they trying to do? And I’m like, I like the, um… Well, we can talk about characters when we get there.

ASHLEY: Sure. I will say that I never read this before ‘cause I’m bad at all the things, I guess.

ASHER: No, you’re not.

ASHLEY: Uh, sure. But uh, I did really like it. It’s very pretty. It reminded me that, you know, CLAMP is four people, and they obviously switch around who leads what, and that’s why the art is always different.

ASHER: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: I had a lot of Tsubasa feels, which is both good and bad, I think.

ASHER: [Laughs.] Oh, Tsubasa. For those who don’t know, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles is one of CLAMP’s later works that borrows heavily from all their previous works, like… the whole point of it is that it’s like, uh… What would you call it. It’s a CRAZY crossover.

ASHLEY: Oh, yeah, like, just one massive crossover.

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: And more… like targeted to be shonen instead of shojo like they normally are.

ASHER: Which is a mistake.

ASHLEY: [Laughing] A mistake!

ASHER: I think it was a mistake. Like, I think CLAMP really shines in bringing these crazy stories TO shojo. But I guess we can talk about that later, too.

ASHLEY: That’s true. It’s like, you know, what—what’s great about Rayearth, too, is the mash-up of many genres. Like, you get mechs, which is like, awesome. Girls in mechs, give me that! More of that! Like, no dudes in mechs! I mean, there’s like, a dude in a mech, but he doesn’t count.

ASHER: But, but, like, give—give me, like… not-quite-as-sexualized girls in mechs. ‘Cause there are girls-in-mechs series that are a little…

ASHLEY: Yeah. But this is just like, naw. These girls are just in mechs and they’re still—they have clothes.

ASHER: I mean, they’re a little sexualized. But like, in, in sort of a way, CLAMP sexualizes everything? So it’s like—

ASHLEY: Yeah, I was like, mmm...

ASHER: Equal-opportunity sexualization!

ASHLEY: Yeah. Everybody’s sexy in a CLAMP manga.

ASHER: Everybody is super gorgeous.


ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: And, uh, so I think that’s, that’s what’s fun about Rayearth, is just this… But like, when you put that in a shonen manga, that’s just what a shonen manga is by default, you know, like?

ASHER: Yeah. Um, also, I guess, though, the one thing, I guess I didn’t say what one thing I really love about Rayearth is, like, yes, initially it drew me because of, you know, girls with swords! But I think the second half is really what has long had staying power for me, is the sort of the inversion of the heroic tropes that this, the first half sort of sets up.

ASHLEY: Yes. Uh, it definitely had a lot of twists that I was like, you know what? That actually did subvert what I thought was gonna happen. Damn it! Not as, not as good—

ASHER: I don’t have that luxury anymore.


ASHER: I’ve read this too many times.

ASHLEY: You’re like, I’ve read this ten million times, Ashley, I know what exactly what’s happening.

ASHER: Roughly. Roughly.


ASHER: But then, then of course, then I go back and I’m reading it, and I’m like, oh, no, this has such tragic, um… uh… foreboding whatevers.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Yeah, I thought we were gonna stay on this light, fluffy RPG path, but no.

ASHER: Haaaaa haaa!


ASHER: You expected that from CLAMP?

ASHLEY: What a fool! I know, right? What a fool!

ASHER: You fool. You fool.

ASHLEY: Such a fool. Okay, as we have mentioned, uh, we have, you know, alluded to this manga does have several translations in English, because it was initially published by Tokyopop, back in the day when Tokyopop existed. It now exists again, but, you know, it lost all its licenses, that doesn’t really matter, they’re getting new licenses, whatever, that’s fine.

ASHER: I have a question, I have a question.

ASHLEY: You have a question?

ASHER: Mixx—Mixx Manga, was that Tokyopop?

ASHLEY: I don’t even know! Let’s look it up. Oh, god, yeah, apparently it started as Mixx Entertainment.

ASHER: Okay. All right. Then yes, it was published by Tokyopop first.

ASHLEY: But anyway, now it is published by Dark Horse, because Dark Horse got most—got a lot of the, like, CLAMP rescue licenses when Tokyopop went under, I think? CLAMP publishing in America is just generally very confusing, ‘cause then Del Rey had a lot of them for a while, but Del Rey died. Now Kodansha basically gets all of them. Publishing is confusing and I’m sorry, people, like… who don’t work in publishing. That’s basically it, um. You can get the—all six volumes for pretty cheap from Dark Horse, too, like. I bought the digital editions for like, twenty-three dollars total. It was dope. So buy that.

ASHER: That is SO much less than I paid for these. Oh man.

ASHLEY: That’s right!

ASHER: Uh, do I have the price on here? Nah. Oh, yeah! $11.95. Sixteen years ago.

ASHLEY: Ew, that’s disgusting! Ew!

ASHER: Yeah. Yeah. For, for a book whose binding fell apart completely.

ASHLEY: Gross, ew.

ASHER: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: Definitely go hit you up some Dark Horse editions, y’all. Okay? I guess we should also acknowledge that there is an anime.

ASHER: Oh, god.

ASHLEY: Neither of us has watched this anime, right?

ASHER: I’ve watched—There’s actually two anime.

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHLEY: Yes. I watched bits of both. Um. Oh, man. There’s a funny story in that, we—I mean, this was back in the dark days of anime and manga…

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: ...Where you got random crap at the video store—this was back when videos existed.


ASHER: And—yeah. Uh, you really just grabbed what you could get. And, uh, first we grabbed Rayearth. Uh, first of all it was the third one of three.

ASHLEY: Cool. You really wanted to know what happened.

ASHER: [brightly sarcastic] Yeah! So we grabbed this Rayearth OAV, and the OAVs are super, super dark. [laughing] And weird, and very different from the story.


ASHER: Yes. Uh, I was in middle school, so I was like, WHAT is HAPPENING, I don’t remember this happening. And then the anime—like, the actual anime that is NOT the OAV—is not as dark, I believe? It is physically brighter.

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm, okay!

ASHER: Like, the OAV’s actually dark-looking. And it has the same two-part division as the manga, but it’s a lot longer. There’s a lot of filler, honestly, and the second half introduces, like, twice as many characters as the second half in the manga.

ASHLEY: Yeah. What I read is that the first part of the anime seems like it’s like, mostly faithful to the first part of the manga?

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: But then the second half of the anime, it just—they diverge a lot.

ASHER: Yeah. It adds more of the, uh, like, fantasy-adventure stuff.

ASHLEY: Interesting.

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: So that is all to say that if you have only watched the anime, I cannot guarantee that you will follow this discussion super well.

ASHER: I mean, the story’s the same…?

ASHLEY: Oookay.

ASHER: Mostly. I wouldn’t, I didn’t read [sic] the second one.

ASHLEY: I make no guarantees. Uh, and now we’re gonna spoil all the things, because obviously it’s, you know—I feel like this happens a lot in shojo manga, where there’s like, the light and fluffy first half that draws you in with, like, a premise, and then it’s like, hey, you know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna destroy that whole premise in the second half. We’re gonna get real dark. Here’s the, like, life sucks and gets real arc.

ASHER: Is that really true?

ASHLEY: I think, I think it’s for the most part, it’s true. I think that’s why it’s frustrating, like, part of the reason I didn’t want to do a shojo anime podcast is because I feel like all those arcs are always left out.


ASHLEY: Like, the, the stuff gets real arc is never there. It’s always just light and fluffy first half.

ASHER: I, I don’t know that that’s so much of a shojo manga thing so much as an… any ongoing story ends up getting darker, I feel, as the authors get comfortable in what they’re allowed to do.

ASHLEY: Well sure, I don’t want to say it’s like every series, but like. Distinctly for some series.

ASHER: There’s a lot of them. Yeah, exactly. Like, I’m thinking… One Piece does it. Naruto definitely did it ‘cause it started out with like, school, and that’s…

ASHLEY: It started out with school.


ASHLEY: I feel like it manifests very differently between shojo and shonen, though.

ASHER: True. True, yes. I think—I think shojo actually ends up subverting more tropes. I was thinking about this earlier today…

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: That shojo and female creators are more willing to bring stuff further from mainstream.

ASHLEY: Right. And I think, yeah, just the way that shonen will manifest it is just like, well, at first we’re just fighting for this thing, but then really we’re fighting—like, it just will escalate the stakes, kind of? Which makes it darker, ‘cause then it’s like, oh, the whole world’s gonna be destroyed, like, whatever, fine.

ASHER: Right, right.

ASHLEY: But like… shojo manga’s, like, and now I’m gonna go for your FEELINGS, and like—

ASHER: And your beliefs!

ASHLEY: Yeah. It’s like, I’m gonna alter your worldview, the—what’s, what’s at stake is not the world, what’s at stake is your worldview.

ASHER: Well, sometimes it’s also the world.

ASHLEY: It’s both!

ASHER: It’s both, it’s both.

ASHLEY: Which is even more terrifying.

ASHER: Yeah. Well, I think worldview is definitely more terrifying than world, ‘cause with shonen, you always have the belief that the world IS going to be saved in the end. Not so! With shojo, necessarily, I think.

ASHLEY: Yeah, no! I really never expect it to end happily, like…

ASHER: Well, you should’ve known when this was an Asher series that it would be okay.

ASHLEY: That’s true, I really should’ve. I was like, oh boy, I really feel like—is she gonna become the Pill—I really thought Hikaru was gonna be the Pillar and then, like, have to break the cycle some other way.

ASHER: I mean, she is. She is.

ASHLEY: That’s true. It just got all wacky at the end.

ASHER: It is not at all clear.

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: It’s not—it’s not at all clear what happened. But it’s fine!

ASHER: It’s fine! Everyone’s happy! Although they DID say, it’s not perfect. They did say that.

ASHLEY: Because nothing can be perfect?

ASHER: Nothing can be perfect. But it sure looked pretty perfect to me.

ASHLEY: You’re like, it ended pretty perfectly in my mind.

ASHER: It’s uh, I mean, everyone was happy, they were having a picnic. Eagle was takin’ a real long nap.

ASHLEY: Yeah! All right.

ASHER: [Laughing]

ASHLEY: Okay. Tell me about the three main characters and their struggles and why you do or do not, perhaps, like them. [4:24 PM]

ASHER: I like all of them.

ASHLEY: That’s good.

ASHER: I don’t think there’s a character in this thing I don’t like.

ASHLEY: Oh, that’s nice.

ASHER: There’s some that didn’t make a huge impact.

ASHLEY: Yeah, well. Like, there are—okay. There are a lot of characters and there’s only six volumes, and I was just like—

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: —Why are there more?

ASHER: Yeaaah. Well, I like the new characters. Well, obviously, I have a bias towards the second half of the series. Okay, but we can talk about the girls, since they’re in both, and they’re important.


ASHER: And they have to make an impression. Are we starting with Umi?

ASHLEY: You can start with whoever you feel like.

ASHER: I mean, I think it’s... interesting that you’re starting with Umi.

ASHLEY: Well, see, it’s confusing, ‘cause right, Hikaru is the, is the main one. But she doesn’t get her… Then it’s like, well you gotta reverse it, ‘cause she needs to get her Mashin last.

ASHER: Yeah. Well, she got her magic first.

ASHLEY: Yeah, that’s why it was confusing!

ASHER: But she is the main girl. Well—no, yeah, that’s fair to say. She is the leader, she’s the strongest.

ASHLEY: I think that’s fair to say. She is the Magic Knight of the Rayearth.

ASHER: That is true. Rayearth is hers.


ASHER: All right. All right, let’s start with Hikaru then.


ASHER: Okay. I loved Hikaru. I have always loved Hikaru. I personally...

ASHLEY: You will forever love Hikaru.

ASHER: I WILL forever love Hikaru. I found her slightly less interesting this time around.

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm.

ASHER: I think just because I’m 28 years old. And her archetype is one that I’ve seen a lot by now, and have grown away from myself. But I’ve always appreciated her, you know, boyish nature, although now I have to question why does boyishness make her cooler than everybody else, you know?

ASHLEY: Mmyeah.

ASHER: Yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: This is a thing I struggle with always, Asher, forever and always.

ASHER: I know. I know. I haven’t needed to struggle with it quite as much lately. Yeah, but I always liked her. I love her dog. Her dog is gorgeous. That is not a dog, I think that’s like a—horse.

ASHLEY: That’s a wolf.

ASHER: Wolf, yeah. Um, I question why her dog is named Hikari when her name is HikaRU, that must be confusing.

ASHLEY: [4:37 PM] [5:00 PM] I was like, this—did I read this right? Okay, I did. That’s not cool.

ASHER: Yeah. But it’s awesome to have, like, a small, go-get-’em fighter girl. You know?

ASHLEY: Yeah, I’m all about it.

ASHER: I know you’re all about it.

ASHLEY: You know I loved Hikaru the most.

ASHER: You did? I wasn’t sure if it would be Hikaru or Umi, with you.

ASHLEY: [Sighs] It’s just like, Hikaru has the most consistent characterization out of all of them, too. I think that’s part of, perhaps, her appeal. ‘Cause you know, Umi and Fuu—for the first volume, I was like, Umi and Fuu, I kind of don’t like either of you.

ASHER: Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: Then it smoothed itself out, and I was like, okay, we—we can be cool, but like, you’re not my faves.

ASHER: Right, right. Right! I feel like Hikaru does have the most consistent characterization, but I feel like she also… There’s something about that consistency that I didn’t find compelling this time.

ASHLEY: Well, it—yeah, you can also, on the flipside I guess, it’s like perhaps she grew the least of them, then? She would—yeah, yeah.

ASHER: Yeah. Yeah, I don’t think—I, I don’t want to say that, because I think she did grow a lot between the first and second… not between, but like, from the first to the end of the second, I think there’s… much more strength to her.

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm.

ASHER: And much more depth that they didn’t really... get into, actually, but it’s there. Does that make sense?


ASHER: Do you agree?

ASHLEY: Umm, yeah, I mean, it’s kind of like what we were saying with all this, like, worldview stuff, is kind of, you know: the first half is all light and fluffy, they had a quest. I mean, I did always question why they never questioned the, the quest? ‘Cause I was like, y’all have not been given enough information about what you’re doing.

ASHER: [Cracking up]

ASHLEY: Like, you’re just like, been transported to this world, and some people told you to do a thing, and you’re like, “That’s cool, let me do that!” And I’m like, mmmm, no.

ASHER: Well, I think that’s part of why I struggled with Hikaru a little bit more this time. Because she was all—NEVER questioning any of it. Umi and Fuu actually did, every now and then.

ASHLEY: That’s true, they did—they questioned, like, how things were possible, though, not necessarily why they should do a thing. Right? That’s how I remember it.

ASHER: Right. But Hikaru really bought into all of it.

ASHLEY: Right, because Hikaru is a pure, pure-hearted maiden who wants to go on a journey.

ASHER: No, no, no, she’s a pure, pure-hearted hero. She’s a, she’s a shonen character.

ASHLEY: Exactly! [Both laugh] She’s like, we’re going on a journey right now, y’all, just deal with it!

ASHER: Yeah, like… I, I also loved that all three of them were very into, apparently, RPGs. Like, they knew how they worked.

ASHLEY: Yeah, they were like, this is an RPG. We’re in an RPG right now.

ASHER: Yeah, I, I appreciate that all of them had that nerd knowledge. Like, I didn’t realize until reading it this time, that, you know, that that’s actually kind of a weird thing for a fourteen-year-old character in a nineties, in a ninety-f, in a, in a manga from ninety-three to know.

ASHLEY: [Laughing:] Yeah.

ASHER: A fourteen-year-old girl, rather.

ASHLEY: Video games—well… Video game discussion is a whole other, like… Video games and gender, specifically, is a whole other thing that I think is fascinating. From my own personal experience, it was kinda like—you know, my parents bought me video games—

ASHER: Oh, sure.

ASHLEY: —because I don’t think that they understood the gender dynamics of it. Like, I think there was a period where it was, like, all the cool kids, just cool kids play video games. Now it’s become, I think, more of a gendered thing, which is weird and problematic and I don’t like it, but.

ASHER: I agree, uh, sort of. I, uh, hmm. I don’t know if that was the culture or just our age, because, you know, ninety-three…

ASHLEY: We’re three. [Laughing]

ASHER: I feel like—what?

ASHLEY: We’re three.

ASHER: We’re three, yes. Uh… well I mean, obviously this came later to us, later than ninety-three.


ASHER: Uh, or to me, certainly. To you, definitely. Um, but—

ASHLEY: Came to me in 2018, y’all.

ASHER: Yeah, yeah. Uh, some of it feels really dated, but um. I feel like… I don’t think cool kids had video games in my experience, but like, uh…


ASHER: It wasn’t gendered the way it is now, yes, I think that is true.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Uhh… so that’s weird and interesting. Fun, video games, always a source of fun.

ASHER: Absolutely.

ASHLEY: But yeah, so like, you know, the, the… Hikaru’s the one who’s, like, most into it in the first half, just like, not questioning this adventure, and all these things.

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: And then in the second half is the most, like, devastated by having to have killed the princess. And like, then like, “Oh my god, this quest was not at all what I expected it to be!” -sort of deal.

ASHER: Yeah. And in a way, she always is the most invested in Cephiro. So it’s really not surprising that she, uh, won the Pillar thing, even if she wasn’t, you know, the main girl.

ASHLEY: Yeah, you know for a while there, I thought Lantis was gonna become the Pillar? But then I was like, oh right, we kept saying that Eagle and Hikaru are the same. Sure, fine, Eagle can do it, too, whatever.

ASHER: I was surprised by how little Lantis figured in the second half. I remembered him being there a lot more.

ASHLEY: Right! He was set up to be so cool. And then I’m like, y’all—you did nothing.

ASHER: He was there to be pretty. Which, you know, I actually appreciate, like, yeah! Let the guy be there and be pretty and do nothing.

ASHLEY: That’s true. Just let him be eye candy for Hikaru. That’s fine.

ASHER: That is absolutely his purpose.

ASHLEY: I love it. Great. But Umi and Fuu, what do, what do they do?

ASHER: Are we—okay, Fuu. I… Hm. So, I mean, initially reading and probably for years, I did not find Fuu very, uh, like… She’s so strange, um! And I think the inconsistency of her character was a, was a turn-off when I was younger. But now I—and, and sort of, the… it’s really hard to identify with Fuu. She, um… The—what she thinks and feels is much harder to read than Umi or Hikaru. Both because she’s so, she’s the smart one, and because she’s also the airhead. It’s such a weird…

ASHLEY: Yes! Oh my god. Yes.

ASHER: I feel like that, uh, dynamic doesn’t turn up very often nowadays. Uh, but absent-minded professor is, uh, you know, it’s a trope.

ASHLEY: That’s true, but it definitely came off as like, like, for two volumes, I was like, is Fuu the smart one or the airhead? I don’t know. I, okay.

ASHER: She’s both! She’s both.

ASHLEY: Why not both? That’s always the answer, isn’t it. It’s always the answer.

ASHER: I, and I appreciate that duality of her, as a smart person [laughing] who is also not so observant.

ASHLEY: You are Fuu.

ASHER: Nooo…

ASHLEY: [sarcastically] Nooo.

ASHER: Nooo. I still don’t think that’s true.

ASHLEY: Okay, it’s definitely just because of the hair and the glasses, but I looked at Fuu and I was like, you’re Anthy from Utena.

ASHER: Oh, no, it’s not just because of the hair and the glasses, she has that Anthy smile also.

ASHLEY: Oh, yeah, yeah. It’s also kinda like, you know the airheadedness plus being cunning, like—

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: —sort of lends itself to Anthy as well. Yeah.

ASHER: Yes, yes. Except with Anthy, it’s all manufactured, whereas with Fuu it’s sort of hard to tell.

ASHLEY: Yeah. We’re not sure who’s controlling Fuu yet.

ASHER: Yeah, and like, aw, man, poor Fuu. Like, she had the bow and then she didn’t, and then she had the healing and then she didn’t… I mean, she still does, but like she never does it again.

ASHLEY: What she. She still has it, but yeah! But then all their wounds become—she’s like, I can’t heal your internal wounds. I can’t heal—heal your mental health, that’s not a thing I can do. You know, like?

ASHER: Right. And also, like, after the first one, whenever they leveled up, they, you know, they got all their HP back. But I think the fact that she faced herself in the, in the trial, is the most fascinating thing about the trial.

ASHLEY: Yeah? Why?

ASHER: Well, I mean, I guess I’m bored of the, “Ohhhh, your loved ones are fighting you, but they’re not actually your loved ones,” so what is actually being sacrificed here? Nothing.

ASHLEY: Nothing. That’s true.

ASHER: But Fuu’s was her! She was really hurting herself. And then her response was like, I will just heal my wounds after this battle, and like—if that is not the most metal thing you’ve ever heard a fourteen-year-old girl say, like, dang.

ASHLEY: I’ll—yeah. I liked it because I was like, ah, yes, like… I think her reasoning behind it was also interesting. I’m trying to remember the intricacies of her reasoning.

ASHER: Oh, god. Her reasoning was that she values herself because of her family, like, if she hurt herself, her family would be hurt. And I, I… find that kind of weak. But they’re trying to make these characters sympathetic. Like, they don’t want…

ASHLEY: They don’t want her to be selfish, right?

ASHER: Exactly, exactly! BE selfish! I want selfish girls.

ASHLEY: You’re like, Fuu, own it!

ASHER: Own it, Fuu! But, you know. Oh, and also, like, imagine, like, if the HEALER were SELFISH? 

ASHLEY: Oooooh.

ASHER: When do you EVER see that?

ASHLEY: Never. The healer is always…

ASHER: I wanna read—CLAMP, hire me.

ASHLEY: CLAMP…! Just rewrite Magic Knight Rayearth.

ASHER: Oh, please, please, let me write Ma… rewrite Magic Knight Rayearth. I’d be so good at it!

ASHLEY: Ohhh. Tell me about Umi.

ASHER: Like, I like Umi. I, I don’t actually have that much to say about her. She’s just, like… relatable and likeable. She, like, overreacts to all the things that normal people would overreact to.

ASHLEY: Yeah, she’s, she’s us.

ASHER: She’s us.

ASHLEY: She’s us, questioning the things.

ASHER: Yup. And she’s beautiful! Like, what’s not to like about Umi?

ASHLEY: She is beautiful, it’s true. She had the best uniform, just gonna throw that out there.


ASHLEY: For the record.

ASHER: She has the best hair.

ASHLEY: The best eyes.

ASHER: I don’t know about that, Hikaru’s are very pretty.

ASHLEY: Okay. I’ll accept that.

ASHER: She also has the most ships, actually, in the fando—okay. My…

ASHLEY: In the fandom, not, like, canonically.

ASHER: I, I guess I can’t say that—[snorts] No, not canonically. None of them have a great number of ships. But, okay, my experience with the fandom is also fifteen years old. [clicks tongue.]

ASHLEY: [Laughs]

ASHER: Does anybody feel old yet? But um…

ASHLEY: I definitely feel old.

ASHER: Like, people would ship her with Clef, which I never liked as a kid.


ASHER: Yeah, yeah. I don’t like it now, either.


ASHER: Uh, ‘cause they don’t like Ascot. ...Is his name Ascot in your translation?


ASHER: Okay. Okay. I think that’s his real name.

ASHLEY: But also, still, no. I don’t accept that.

ASHER: Right. Yeah, I—yeah. Clef is too old for everybody. And also a child at the same time.

ASHLEY: And also his hair is stupid, can we just throw that out there?

ASHER: His hair is stupid. I remember one of the reasons I re-read book 5 so often was because, his stupid tiara thing melts and his hair just flops back down, and I was like… I just would go back to that page.

ASHLEY: You’re like, you deserve this.

ASHER: It just looked a lot better!

ASHLEY: This is what you needed all along.

ASHER: Except that when, when, when that happens, he looks like Syaoran and it’s very confusing.

ASHLEY: Ooh, I don’t remember getting that vibe. Now I should go reread volume 5.

ASHER: I mean, if, aheh. If I look at this timeline… Yeah, they started, uh, Cardcaptor Sakura right after they finished MKR 2, so…


ASHER: Their art style is the same.

ASHLEY: Mmm. Well, but you can definitely tell a different one of them is leading CCS.

ASHER: Really?

ASHLEY: Yeah. The… This… So, that’s what is confusing to me, is that I think what I have… I haven’t read every CLAMP series. I think I haven’t even read, ike, half of CLAMP’s series, right?

ASHER: Right. There’s a lot.

ASHLEY: So, take—take what—yeah, there’s a lot. Uh, so take what I say with some caveat. But I think it explains my confusion, is that when I read this, Magic Knight Rayearth, I was like, oh! This art style seems more like new CLAMP to me than old CLAMP.

ASHER: Oh, no.

ASHLEY: Then, then I was like, I think it’s just because different people are leading it. Like, Cardcaptor Sakura has far less shading.


ASHLEY: Like, they won’t do any shading, like, under the necks, and, like, on their neck or anything and stuff. From what I remember. So like, you can tell that it’s different people.

ASHER: Oh, no, no, you’re right. I don’t know that it’s different people necessarily. They’re a four-person team, and actually in the back of the first three volumes of this, they have—do they have this in yours, where they have the omake stuff that’s all about the team?

ASHLEY: No. I’m gonna go with no. There are two things in the second half about them, like, writing about their cat, and like, working on the anime.

ASHER: No, no. No, that’s not what I’m talking about.

ASHLEY: Then no, I’m gonna go with no.

ASHER: I don’t think that’s what I’m talking—no, it’s not. Um, no, uh. So what they say is that, in the back here of my Mixx Manga edition that is completely falling apart, Nanase Ohkawa calls herself CLAMP’s leader. She wrote the story for Rayearth. Mokona Apapa did the art. She did the character and the background art, rather. Satsuki Igarashi is the assistant designer and production coordinator. And apparently she cooks a lot, too.

ASHLEY: Hashtag relevant.

ASHER: She’s also drawn as a squirrel, I think?


ASHER: And Mick Nekoi does the final edit—did the final editing work and direction, and drew the mini characters. And she designed Mokona. I mean, that’s what it says in the back of this. I would believe they just do different… slightly different styles… Like, it makes sense for CCS to be a little lighter and softer than Rayearth.

ASHLEY: Yeah, like, the lines are less heavy.

ASHER: Yes. But I think the shapes are the same, and, and the eyes are the same. And… and the faces—!

ASHLEY: That’s true, that’s, that’s what tipped me off that this was old CLAMP.

ASHER: Old CLAMP character designs are so distinctive!

ASHLEY: [laughing] What do you mean, the shoulders, is that what we’re talking about?

ASHER: It’s a little bit what I’m talking about.

ASHLEY: The shoulders are fiiine. That’s how humans work.

ASHER: Oh, yeah.

ASHLEY: How human men work.

ASHER: Human, human men are seven heads wide.

ASHLEY: duh.

ASHER: And, and, and their waists are one head wide.

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm. Don’tcha know?

ASHER: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, no, it was eventually the eyes that tipped me off, ‘cause I was like, no, new CLAMP eyes have no shading in them. Like, they’re all just black. Black pits of darkness.

ASHER: Yeah. And they’ve gotten a little bit better about differentiating bodies and faces and… everything.

ASHLEY: That’s good. Good job, CLAMP. Okay, so you like the second half a lot, but there are fifty million characters and I don’t know if we should mention all of them. But they exist.

ASHER: They exist. I think the ones that are important to mention that are new are Eagle and... Lantis.


ASHER: Like, straight-up.

ASHLEY: Do you ship them? I definitely do.

ASHER: Uh, yeah! I mean, you’re supposed to, I’m pretty sure. CLAMP has never been shy about queer ships.

ASHLEY: Well, until Clear Card, apparently, but that’s a different problem, okay.

ASHER: What? What? Now, now I’m not gonna watch or read Clear Card.

ASHLEY: Well, so, I don’t know if it is in the manga. That’s the caveat. Watching the anime is definitely far less queer.

ASHER: That’s very disappointing.

ASHLEY: I know. Um, but yeah, Eagle and, uh, Lantis. I—as we said before, I really thought Lantis was gonna be a bigger deal. He is the brother of Zagato, who was the lover of the princess. And that’s why they, she had to die. She’s not allowed to love anything but Cephiro to keep it going.

ASHER: She—yeah. Like, she has to actively spend all her time loving this planet in order for it to continue existing peacefully, which is terrible because these people are immortal. Like, can you imagine?

ASHLEY: I know, right? I’m like, what the heck is this world? This world’s stupid.

ASHER: Well, that’s what they all concluded too.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I know, and that’s—so that’s fine. But like, so obviously stupid. Obviously not to Mokona, who apparently is God. See, it all gets wacky here.

ASHER: Super wacky when you realize that Mokona is named after one of the CLAMP manga-kas.

ASHLEY: And they’re God.

ASHER: Well, she’s the one that does all the art, so yeah!


ASHER: She is God.

ASHLEY: Yeah. So, but Lantis comes and, like, his deal is that he wants to, you know, break the world ‘cause it sucks.

ASHER: Is that what they said? He want—I…

ASHLEY: That’s what I got.

ASHER: Yeah, I guess that’s true. He wants to destroy the Road to the Pillar, is how it was translated in mine.

ASHLEY: Right. But because he’s like, being the Pillar is awful, right? Like…

ASHER: Right, right, right.

ASHLEY: The Pillar leads to ruin.

ASHER: Yeah, I guess that would—I guess that would destroy Cephiro.

ASHLEY: Yeah. And then it would die, so...

ASHER: Yeah. And he was down with that. I would be too, if it ruined my life like it ruined his life.

ASHLEY: And, uh, Hikaru has a crush on him for whatever reason.

ASHER: Well…

ASHLEY: ‘Cause he’s pretty.

ASHER: Well, I wonder about that.


ASHER: ‘Cause like, Hikaru seems incredibly oblivious to romantic love.

ASHLEY: Yes. There is—there are moments where they’re like—

ASHER: “Moments.”

ASHLEY: Moments. All of the moments? Um. What is it, like… uh, Lantis is explicitly like, “What would somebody say to express their love?” or something…

ASHER: And she said, wi—uh, “Will you marry me?” And he’s like, “What does that mean?” He’s like… and she’s like, “Be with them forever!”


ASHER: And he’s like, uh, “Is there anyone you wanna marry?” First of all, this is super creepy ‘cause she’s fourteen and he’s, who—God knows who old.

ASHLEY: He’s like, five times as tall as her. It’s fine. It’s fine. [laughing]

ASHER: It’s CLAMP. Uh, and she’s like, first she mentions Eagle and THEN Lantis, which I found hilarious. [Both laughing] She’s like, Eagle and Lantis! And he’s like, “Can you marry more than one person?” She’s like, “Naw! But I also wanna marry Umi and Fuu and… God, everyone in the entire world!” Like, okay, Hikaru.


ASHER: I will say that, uh, Magic Knight Rayearth fanfiction was my first introduction to the concept of polyamory.

ASHLEY: Oh, nice, yeah.

ASHER: Yeah!

ASHLEY: I mean, it definitely was lending itself to that.

ASHER: Absolutely. Yeah. I ship that.

ASHLEY: Yeah, right? I’m like, yeah, marry Eagle and Lantis, let’s go. Fine.

ASHER: Do it. And let Eagle and Lantis marry each other, too. Obviously.

ASHLEY: Yeah! Uh, duh, they’re in a… You know, they all love each other. It’s a literal love triangle. Um… what’s Eagle’s deal. He, for some reason, lives in a dystopian country where… He lives in the now. He lives in the… uh…

ASHER: He legit, yeah. Autozam, if that was not based on America, I don’t…

ASHLEY: You’re like, it definitely was, yeah. 

ASHER: It definitely was.

ASHLEY: It’s the technological city that’s like, “why can’t my technology stop the environmental erosion that is caused by the machines?”

ASHER: Right? Why can’t my planet-polluting machines stop pollution?!

ASHLEY: I know! I don’t understand, why can’t I build a machine that does this?


ASHLEY: So then they want to, they want to steal the Pillar system to save their world. Right?

ASHER: They, they do. EAGLE has other plans. He wanted to become the Pillar for Lantis, basically. He didn’t want Lantis to suffer and lose his planet.

ASHLEY: Because he loves Lantis.

ASHER: Because he loves Lantis, yes. I mean, God, who wouldn’t, look at him.

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: Exquisite! I don’t know anything about his personality, but he is beautiful.

ASHLEY: That’s okay, that’s all you need to know.

ASHER: Yeah… And uh. So he was going to become the Pillar and then immediately become brain dead, was his plan.

ASHLEY: Right! 

ASHER: [laughing]

ASHLEY: Of course, obviously.

ASHER: So he was gonna move all the people of Cephiro to another planet, and put Cephiro and its Pillar system into eternal sleep. For Lantis. He didn’t really care about Autozam. He lied. To his dad.


ASHER: And to his dad friend.

ASHLEY: Also saying Autozam over and over has… In reading about their weird names, apparently they are all named after cars? 

ASHER: Yes. Eagle and Lantis—


ASHER: Lantis is actually named after a car, too.

ASHLEY: Yeah, everybody is named after a car, is what I learned.

ASHER: Everybody?

ASHLEY: I feel like almost everybody, yeah.

ASHER: Oh, that makes sense, I guess. Zagato sounds like a car.

ASHLEY: I don’t know about Zagato, but like Tata and Tatra are definitely cars.

ASHER: Oh, really?

ASHLEY: Yeah, apparently.

ASHER: Who would name a car Tata? Is it because of her tatas?

ASHLEY: Wait, what? [laughing] It’s some Indian car company, apparently.

ASHER: Oh… okay.

ASHLEY: Also these are, these had to be cars from the ‘90s.

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: So it’s even worse now, right? Like. We’re like, do these cars exist? No, probably.


ASHLEY: AUTOZAM! [both laughing] Such a dumb name.

ASHER: Oh! I get it! Because they all, they were all traveling on roads! [laughing]

ASHLEY: Ahhh! Autozam! And they’re cars! And they’re on roads! It’s the Utena movie, okay.

ASHER: Everything is cars! Did this come out before or after Utena? Certainly before the movie, right?

ASHLEY: The movie? Well let’s look it up… Utena movie. It came out in 1999. Utena’s copying Magic Knight Rayearth.

ASHER: I mean if you think these guys didn’t read each other…

ASHLEY: Oh I definitely think they did.

ASHER: They definitely did. Do we have any other characters to talk about, other Cephiro guys? Oh we should probably talk about Mokona.

ASHLEY: Yeah, we should probably talk about God, why not, that seems easy and doable.

ASHER: [laughing]

ASHLEY: Please tell me about God. You’re three fifths of a rabbi, so let us know.

ASHER: I’m a rab.


ASHER: I mean, I don’t know…. It seemed very cool as a kid. It seems a little pat now. Though maybe that’s because so many other stories have come out with themes like this since this.


ASHER: Yeah. I do, I do… I don’t know… I’m struggling a little—so I am firmly in camp free will, everyone should, you know, have their own choices, so like, the end result of Mokona’s little experiment here is appealing to me. But it’s so self-congratulatory, I guess, that I feel weird about it.

ASHLEY: Interesting.

ASHER: Which I guess is less about Mokona and more about the destruction of the Pillar system, but I guess that goes hand-in-hand. Or little weird marshmallow paw-in-paw.

ASHLEY: Whatever Mokona is.

ASHER: He’s a pillow pet.

ASHLEY: Yeah. I was just like, reading this end and I was like, I think my brain is broken now.

ASHER: Mokona created Earth!

ASHLEY: Yeah, Mokona created the earth, y’all, so…

ASHER: Yeahhhh.

ASHLEY: Bow down to Mokona.

ASHER: And then he got so upset with it that he made the Pillar system.

ASHLEY: And Autozam.

ASHER: And, theoretically, Autozam and Chizeta and Fahren, although it is never, it’s—he said he made Cephiro, it never said he made those other planets.

ASHLEY: That’s true, but I like to think that he did. [laughing] Maybe the black Mokona—

ASHER: I think it’s more interesting if he didn’t, because then where did they come from?

ASHLEY: No, the other ones came from the black Mokona that’s in xxxHolic.

ASHER: That guy’s in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles too, isn’t he?

ASHLEY: Well yeah, because they cross over. It’s the cross over in the cross over, don’t you see how meta it is, Asher?

ASHER: I never finished xxxHolic.

ASHLEY: Neither did I.

ASHER: I finished TRC


ASHER: Oh, really?

ASHLEY: Oh yeah no, I find xxxHolic to be pretty boring, to be honest.

ASHER: Fair enough. Wow that’s weird, we don’t usually agree on that sort of thing.

ASHLEY: Yeah I know, it’s magical, isn’t it? [both laughing]

ASHER: Although we both liked MKR, so that’s exciting.



ASHLEY: That’s because it had badass ladies in it. 


ASHLEY: Yeah, Mokona is god, I still don’t know how to feel about this

ASHER: Oh oh, I do like that Mokona did help them in the end. That even Mokona, as creator, as god, is not immune to wanting to help—is Mokona a boy? Are we using male pronouns for it?

ASHLEY: I don’t—did they? I don’t remember.

ASHER: I don’t remember either, although gender pronouns in Japanese is always a question.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I guess it’s like, I’m probably projecting Tsubasa Mokona pronouns onto it. 

ASHER: Yeah, well, whatever.

ASHLEY: They were like the bro pack, you know?

ASHER: Right, right, right. I think they did call him “he” in my translation, at least, but we can’t rely on that being…

ASHLEY: We can try to use “it.” [laughing]

ASHER: That sounds so—


ASHER: Dehumanizing. [laughing]

ASHLEY: Mokona isn’t human!

ASHER: Dehumanizing a little pillow pet. Well were humans made in his image?

ASHLEY: Yeah. I don’t know. Apparently.

ASHER: Hmmm. Question mark.

ASHLEY: Question mark. Were humans Mokona’s creation? Yes.


ASHLEY: So Mokona in the end… So Hikaru becomes the Pillar, and then is like, I don’t want Eagle to die though. And then is like, “Mokona, stop being a little brat about this! Let me bring Eagle back, dammit!” [both laughing] And then Mokona’s like, “hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, okay.”

ASHER: Well what Mokona does is send Umi and Fuu to help her.

ASHLEY: Right, because Umi and Fuu appeal to Mokona, being like, “No, we fought together all this time, why are you being a little brat and making us fight apart now?”

ASHER: Right. Right. And I think there is a strong message here that I don’t think I picked up on, at least consciously, as a kid, in that you can’t be alone. Like human beings are not meant to work alone. And I found that being explicitly stated to be very nice, I guess. Like it’s nothing new, but I forgot it was there.

ASHLEY: Yeah no I agree, especially after talking with—So I went to visit Loyola, who’s also been on this podcast, right? 


ASHLEY: And we had a discussion about of course, my favorite thing ever, The Hunger Games. [both laughing] And she was like, “I hated the ending.” And I was like “Why? I don’t think it was that bad. It can be a little cheesy, but the book is a little less cheesy than the movie, at least.”

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: And she was saying that she hated that, you know, in the end, it reinforces this idea that Katniss and Peeta and Haymitch, like, need each other to survive, and I was like I feel like that’s a fairly realistic portrayal of humans, though, like…

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I think it’s fine.

ASHER: I think it’s good that they didn’t, like, leave Haymitch by himself. Like Katniss and Peeta are kind of a foregone conclusion, but— [both laughing]

ASHLEY: Right? But she was saying from a mental health perspective, that it’s not good that like—


ASHLEY: They’re not taught that they can survive without each other. And I was like, I think that they could, it’s just, it’s easier when they’re together, you know?

ASHER: Yeah, and I think that they do need someone around to talk to who understands what they went through, and nobody else is left!

ASHLEY: Yeah, like most other people are dead, so… [laughing]

ASHER: I’m still upset about that.

ASHLEY: And it’s a similar thing here, Fuu and Umi and Hikaru—

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: —kill the princess together, so they, they need to stick together.

ASHER: Yeah, and I’m, I’m glad that Kuu, Fuu’s sister, said that she needed to talk to someone. That’s, I would be…

ASHLEY: “You need a therapist.”

ASHER: Yeah, I don’t think that’s something that, like, I don’t see that a lot in Japanese creations.


ASHER: In general, and certainly not, like, I wouldn’t expect that in American creations in the nineties.

ASHLEY: That’s true. Even though Japan’s all about, like, community and stuff, it’s still…

ASHER: They’re about community, but they are not about weakness or accepting help or talking.

ASHLEY: Yeah. Right.

ASHER: Or mental health.

ASHLEY: Perhaps they’re getting there, like, like America’s getting there.

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: Slowly, surely.

ASHER: One can hope.

ASHLEY: Yes. Um, but besides Mokona being God, [laughing], we’ve got lots of other mechanics going on that are strange and fascinating and fun.

ASHER: Oh, sure. What else are we gonna talk about?

ASHLEY: Well, this power of belief clearly has limits, right? Or does it?

ASHER: Well, if one person can uphold the entire world, I am not sure the system itself has limits or can have limits? Hmm.


ASHLEY: Okay. Okay. That’s a good point. But, hmmm. I guess I’m still—I like the mechanic of Fuu not being able to heal people’s hearts or whatever.

ASHER: Oh, hmm, yeah.

ASHLEY: But, like, that doesn’t seem like it’s limited by her belief. That seems like it’s limited by something else.

ASHER: No, that would be—well, when everyone’s will decides things, you cannot override that will, I guess is the thought.

ASHLEY: I guess.

ASHER: Like, Princess Emeraude could not change Zagato’s heart and, I mean, I don’t think she wanted to, but I’m sure she…

ASHLEY: [laughing] The key here is that she didn’t want to, so she couldn’t.

ASHER: She didn’t want to, but like, I think there is an unstated ‘You cannot change other people’. Otherwise, we would have seen more, like, actual legit mind control.

ASHLEY: Manipulation. Yeah.

ASHER: The only ones we saw do that were Caldina, which seemed more like a body thing, like they were not mentally present. And Aska, who definitely, it was just a body thing. Like, we saw Umi struggle.

ASHLEY: Right, and we saw, like, strings, like them being puppets.

ASHER: Yeah, yeah. So I think that was an unstated limitation.

ASHLEY: Unstated limitation to belief.

ASHER: Oh, but Zagato did mind control Lafarga, who is “Rafarga” in yours.

ASHLEY: You really don’t like him being Rafarga in mine.

ASHER: I, it, I think that’s harder to pronounce. But that was, that also seemed like an external thing, even though it was mind control, ‘cause he had those marks on his face, and his eyes were all funky. So, it didn’t change him, and he was able to revert to his normal self. It was something on top of him, in a way.

ASHLEY: I see, I see. Yeah.

ASHER: It didn’t change his will.

ASHLEY: I like the acknowledgment, with the character of Aska—I feel, this is what happened with Aska…

ASHER: Mm-hmm?

ASHLEY: It’s that she was portrayed as like, the silly, kind of delusional about her own power one.

ASHER: Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: And I’m glad that there was at least an acknowledgment that belief can come from people who are just delusional? You know? [laughing]

ASHER: Yeah, I do like that. Like, have you noticed that some of the most powerful characters are depicted as looking like children?


ASHER: I found that, as a young person, really powerful. Like, I noticed that as a twelve-year old, and like, there is a strength in simplicity, like you can see it now.

ASHLEY: Yes. [laughing]

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: How old is Ferio supposed to be?

ASHER: I don’t know. He’s younger than Clef, he’s younger than Emeraude, that is all we know.

ASHLEY: He’s just a dude. Yeah, he’s fine.

ASHER: The only one whose age—okay, we know four people’s ages. And that’s Clef—

ASHLEY: Who is ancient.

ASHER: —and the three girls. Yeah.

ASHLEY: And the three girls. [laughing]

ASHER: Yeah, Clef is seven hundred and forty five. Clef is seven hundred and forty five, and the girls are fourteen. And then, I think—I don’t know, there’s something so weird about the way age is handled in this series.

ASHLEY: [sarcastically] Really?

ASHER: Yeah, little bit. Mainly with Ascot.

ASHLEY: Right, okay, wait! WHAT happened with him? What, what was this? [laughing]

ASHER: [laughing]

ASHLEY: Please explain this to me!

ASHER: Uh, canonically—

ASHLEY: Canonically.

ASHER: —according to Caldina, he got bigger to impress Umi.

ASHLEY: But, I’m, his belief made him bigger? Is that—

ASHER: I think that’s what happened, yes.

ASHLEY: Okay. That’s fine.

ASHER: He became more mature as a person, I think, due to Umi’s influence also.

ASHLEY: Well, yes. That part was more believable than him just growing to be an eight-foot tall person, after being, like, a foot tall.

[Both laughing]

ASHER: Oh god, I wish his eyes became normal. Whatever.

ASHLEY: [laughing] He couldn’t manipulate his eyes.

ASHER: The eyes are the window to the soul, you know?

ASHLEY: Yeah, so he had to keep those!

ASHER: Right. God. The other person we saw with a dramatic physical change is Emeraude, actually. And that happened to her after she lost Zagato, so there’s something, I guess, about love and wanting to be like someone else and be close to them in that way—


ASHER: —that I’m perhaps completely reading on to the situation, based on two people.

ASHLEY: No, I think that’s valid. I think that is definitely something I did not actually pick up that heavy on.

ASHER: I mean, the other thing is that, like, tragedy makes you mature, which—

ASHLEY: Well, yeah.

ASHER: —I don’t, I don’t like, but…

ASHLEY: [laughing] Of course you don’t like that!

ASHER: I never, I never like that!

ASHLEY: You’re like, “Actually, tragedy just breaks you and makes you sad and cry a lot.”

ASHER: I mean, it doesn’t have to break you, either. But, like, people can become stronger through surviving tragedy, but I don’t think tragedy itself and suffering is a value. I think that’s a very Christian mindset.

ASHLEY: Yeah, stupid Christians. [laughing]

ASHER: But, I mean, it’s in other religions, too. But, like, I don’t know. I just…!

ASHLEY: This is the one thing you can’t deal with?

ASHER: It’s the one thing I can’t deal with. Suffering is not a value, it’s what you learn from—I, ugh.

ASHLEY: Right, but then you need to suffer to learn from it.

ASHER: You need to, you need to expend effort to learn things, not necessarily suffer.

ASHLEY: True, true, true.

ASHER: ‘Cause suffering teaches you how to suffer.

ASHLEY: [laughing] Which isn’t helpful, ‘cause you shouldn’t suffer.

ASHER:  I mean, suffering is a part of life. It’s there, like, learning how to endure suffering or get through suffering or take things from it is a value. I don’t find suffering itself to be of value, no.

ASHLEY: Fair enough. Hikaru breaks that cycle, that’s why you like this.


ASHLEY: I’m curious what we think about the use of mechs in this.

ASHER: [laughing] I think it’s a funny joke. MASHIIIIIIIIN!

ASHLEY: You’re like, “There’s nothing else to it! It’s just a dumb joke.”

ASHER: I don’t know, maybe it’s because—in my books, like, I can’t open the pages real wide, so I can’t actually appreciate the mech designs all that well?

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm.

ASHER: Um, I also like the Mashin, I guess, I like the spirits better when they’re their animal-like selves, before they become the mechs.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I mean the fire wolf one is dope.

ASHER: Yeah!


ASHER: And that comes back in TRC. 

ASHLEY: Because it’s so dope.

ASHER: So dope. Rayearth is hot.

ASHLEY: It is!

ASHER: Ba-dum tish! Yeah. I don’t know, like, I kinda feel like they were just there.

ASHLEY: Uh, maybe they were just cute.

ASHER: They were just there. I didn’t, they didn’t, I liked that in the mechs—the, it felt like they were just under their own power. That was cool. I liked watching them do things as the mechs, or rather, I liked watching the mechs do things, represented as the fourteen-year old girls.

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: I thought that was more interesting. They had more expression. They had prettier hair.

ASHLEY: They get, like, a wardrobe upgrade.

ASHER: Yeah, like, and when I watch mech shows—I’m not, I’m never in it for the mechs, so I guess I’m not the best person to ask about, like, mech design, “Do we like? Do we not?”

ASHLEY: Well, the designs are certainly…uh…interesting.

ASHER: They are.

ASHLEY: They’re unconventional.

ASHER: But they’re, they’re kinda hard to make out on the page, I find.

ASHLEY: Yeah, they definitely—when I read briefly on Wikipedia—I don’t know what this was citing, but it was definitely talking about how CLAMP was like, apparently complaining that because the mechs are so large, it’s hard for them to, like, portray anything else, beside [sic] from just “draw the mech on the page” —

ASHER: Yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: —so that’s why they, like, mostly just drew the girls.

ASHER: And good for them!


ASHER: [laughing] Although, I did like seeing the difference in the weapons that each country brought to bear in the second half. Like, watching the Mashin fight Eagle’s FTO, that was cool.

ASHLEY: I feel like the fights don’t leave an impre—CLAMP fights are so hard to follow, I feel!

ASHER: Yeah, yeah, they are.

ASHLEY: ‘Cause they’re so—so much is happening, so many lines that…

ASHER: So much is happening, yeah. But they’re pretty!

ASHLEY: I remember, I distinctly remember sitting for, like, minutes just staring at Tsubasa pages, trying to be like, “WHAT is going on, on this page.”

ASHER: [laughing] Yeah.

ASHLEY: Like, I must follow the lines very carefully!

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I feel like, for this, I was just kinda like, “I…they’re fighting. It’s fine.” [laughing] I don’t particularly care.

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Um, are there any other fun mechanics that we want to talk about?

ASHER: Fun mechanics…

ASHLEY: Or should we talk about the darker things?

ASHER: Ooh, let’s talk about the darker things!

ASHLEY: DARK things. Okay, you want to talk about suicide and agency first or what? [laughing]

ASHER: Sure!

ASHLEY: Okay. I guess my first question is, do you think that Princess Emeraude committed suicide?


ASHLEY: Okay. Defend your position. [laugh]

ASHER: I think she, I think that’s giving her too much agency.

ASHLEY: Oh, okay!

ASHER: Like, she summoned the Knights.

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm.

ASHER: And the Knights killed her. Like, I do not believe she committed suicide.

ASHLEY: I, I…it felt like she did, to me. 

ASHER: I think, and I think that’s a perfectly valid way to read it. I just, I—it doesn’t seem right to me. Like, Hikaru—the girls could have not. It would have destroyed the world, but they could have not.

ASHLEY: They had a choice.

ASHER: They had a choice! And it was a terrible choice, but it was still something they did, with her like—it’s not something they did in a vacuum, of course. But it wasn’t something that she did to herself, either. Like, it was out of her hands.

ASHLEY: But because she couldn’t do it to herself…

ASHER: Right, and that is weird. And I don’t—yeah.

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: Like, yeah! Like, her whole thing is that she’s the most powerful person in the world and she has no agency.

ASHLEY: She has ZERO percent agency.

ASHER: ZERO agency.

ASHLEY: Like, negative percent agency.

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I don’t know. I guess it just reminded me of like, stuff that I’ve read, the controversies over like, assisted suicide.

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: Which I’m trying to remember, because it’s been a couple years. But like, assisted suicide is legal in some countries, where it’s like, if you want to die, medical professionals will help you.

ASHER: Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: Which is, you know—a thing that, in America, we perhaps ideologically are very against. We’re like, all about “life is valuable”, like whatever. I don’t know. [laughing]

ASHER: I don’t think that’s across the board in America.

ASHLEY: Well, sure.

ASHER: This is actually something like—I have not read up on the assisted suicide, like, debate specifically, in a while.

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm.

ASHER: But having done a lot of work with older populations and sick people, we have had—in rabbinical school, in our introduction to like, ethics course—like, we do talk about, “How do we counsel people who are nearing end of life?” How do we talk about, like do we preserve life at all costs? Like, do we counsel them to do that? Do we tell them to, do we encourage them to seek out like, palliative care or not to take experimental things that only have a certain percentage chance of succeeding to preserve life? Like, it’s a very complex issue, obviously.

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: And the chaplain’s sort of place in it is complex, but yeah. I don’t think preserving life at all costs is the American ideal everywhere.

ASHLEY: That’s fair. We are a very large country. We have states, they all do different things.

ASHER: Yeah, and we have all different religions, too. Like yes, the Jewish ethi—like, the traditional Orthodox Jewish thought is yes—preserve life above all.

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: And it’s not necessarily what I was taught.

ASHLEY: That’s fair. I just think it’s very like, reading the princess’s story—I was definitely just like, hmm. This perpetuates—it felt like it perpetuated the myth, sort of, that people get very mad when others commit suicide, ‘cause they’re like, “That’s the most selfish act you could have done!”

ASHER: Mmm. Mm-hmm.

ASHLEY: Sort of deal…and they get very mad about it, and they’re like, “Now you’re going to hell” and all these things. And I’m like, “Eeeeh, okay. I don’t know.”

ASHER: I have never understood—I mean like, I intellectually understand why people get so angry about it.

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: And it certainly hurt EVERYONE in this story!

ASHLEY: Right, that’s like, kind of the point of it, right?

ASHER: Right, but like, I have never understood why people feel so, like, ownership over other people’s lives.

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: Like, in this case—this is not a good test case for this.

ASHLEY: Yeah, right, yeah.


ASHLEY: And it’s like, because they do, and you know like—her attempting to kill herself is kind of the one thing that she’s trying to have agency over, right?

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: ‘Cause it’s kinda like, everybody else does sort of own her life. 


ASHLEY: Like, she feels responsible to them, and they don’t—we’re not shown that they like, pray to her or whatever. I guess they protect her, but it’s kinda like—

ASHER: Yeah, we do! No, no, no!

ASHLEY: They do?

ASHER: We see Presea—Presea prays to her.

ASHLEY: Oh, that’s nice. But also, we are shown only people who are like—I guess I don’t know how close Presea is…

ASHER: Oh, she knew her. Yeah.

ASHLEY: But like, seemingly everybody else is like, part of some high court ruling nonsense.

ASHER: Yeah. Yeah. Like, I don’t know for sure what Presea’s rank is, but she is up there. I don’t think just any swordsmith would be—A) friends with Clef, and B) able to make the legendary magic knight weapons…


ASHER: MASHIN! She didn’t make those, she didn’t make those. She made the keys.

ASHLEY: Yeah, she made the keys. Fine, fine, fine. Um…I guess I had pulled out a line that, in my mind, supported suicide, which was—I didn’t go back to check if Hikaru said this. I think it was Hikaru? It was, you know, somebody explaining some stuff.

ASHER: I think this was translated different in mine. Uh…

ASHLEY: Really?

ASHER: That’s probably from volume four, right?

ASHLEY: It has to be four or five.

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Um, but it’s that, the quote is: “She tried to kill us with the heart that loved Zagato, and she tried to kill herself with her heart that loves Cephiro.” And I was like, “Yes, exactly. She tried to kill herself.” That’s very… [laughing]

ASHER: Oh! You’re right. Actually, it’s—that is what she says.

ASHLEY: That’s right! I know how to write down words.

ASHER: Oh no, but it’s—no, it’s actually different in mine.

ASHLEY: Wait, what is it in yours?

ASHER: It is. So she says—the first part’s the same. “During the battle, Princess Emeraude tried to kill us with the part of her heart that cared about Zagato, the part that was saddened by his death.” And then at the bottom, it says, “But she still tried to save Cephiro with what remained of her heart as Pillar.”

ASHLEY: Hmm! That is different. That is a different interpretation. [laughing]

ASHER: Yup, super different. I’m more inclined to believe yours.

ASHLEY: I am too, just because Tokyopop is trash.

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: Controversial opinion? Not, no—that’s not even controversial. It’s not controversial. Just, everybody thinks Tokyopop’s trash at this point.

ASHER: Poor Tokyopop.

ASHLEY: But yeah, so…

ASHER: Yeah. I’m not surprised they would change that for an American audience. On the whole, I think that Americans are very much more anti-suicide than a lot of other cultures.

ASHLEY: Right! That is what—I think that’s what I’m trying to get at, is that America as a whole feels like it’s much more unaccepting of suicide on like, so many levels than other countries.

ASHER: Yeah. Yeah. Now I would agree with that.

ASHLEY: Which is not to say that we’re like, being pro-suicide here. It’s just that, like…

ASHER: [laughing]

ASHLEY: You have to like, have some level of empathy for people that commit suicide, that I don’t think is always shown in America.

ASHER: Yes, and—oh yes, and even if you can’t show empathy, you could at least not lay claim to somebody else’s life and decisions, is my thought.

ASHLEY: Right. Yeah.

ASHER: I think that’s a lesson that America could use across the board.

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: ACROSS the board.

ASHLEY: Cool. Yeah, so it was an interesting—it was very interesting to watch portrayed in this manga, is basically my conclusion. We have different opinions about the suicide, whether it was suicide or not, so that’s good.

ASHER: Right. Right, but like, yeah. Of course it’s good. I mean…

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: We usually disagree more than this, dear listeners!

[Both laughing]

ASHER: I guess maybe we both like, had CLAMP as an influence in our lives so long ago that like, we can’t disentangle it. Um, yeah.

ASHLEY: Okay. Well, you want to talk about, you know, the other dark thing? Conquering and gentrification?

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: Was the word gentrification used in yours at any point? ‘Cause it was in mine! I was like, “Wow, what’s up?”

ASHER: No! Where was it used?

ASHLEY: Okay. “Where was it used” is a good question. It was early on—I think it was in the first part—and Umi, it was Umi talking, and she was making some joke about how long Clef has lived. And then she was like, “It’s okay. I’m sure he’s lived through enough, he’s lived long enough that like, he’s been gentrified at some point.” 

ASHER: WHOA, no, that did not—that was not a thing in mine! Wow.

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: I assumed not, but—

ASHER: Dark Horse getting current.

ASHLEY: —I know. I was like, “Ooh, okay.” Fourteen-year olds sayin’ the word “gentrify”, what’s up?

ASHER: Oh man, okay. Although I do, there is—this has nothing to do with gentrification, but—

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: There was something else. We said that it was the first time I saw it in print, and [laughing]…

ASHLEY: Oh, yeah?

ASHER: It was in volume five, and she’s talking to Clef, and she’s apologizing to him for how she acted at the beginning. And she called herself “really bitchy”, and I—can you imagine twelve-year old little Asher, who has never heard a curse word in his life…

ASHLEY: [laughing] You were like, “oh my god!”

ASHER: It’s like, “Oh my gosh. Who, who, who let them use this word?” So, I’m cringing—

ASHLEY: “What is this rated?”

ASHER: I’m pretty sure it was the first time I saw—

ASHLEY: It took away your innocence, I know.

ASHER: It wasn’t the, it wasn’t the first time I heard a curse word, but it was the first time, like, I saw it in something I was reading.

ASHLEY: Your innocence was taken by Magic Knight Rayearth.

ASHER: Oh, absolutely. I think it was also the first time I saw like, so many naked girls. Like yeah, everything was tastefully like—there weren’t any nipples.

ASHLEY: They don’t have any outlined—

[Both laughing]

ASHER: Yeah, none of that. But like, I had never seen that. Anyway, sorry! We were talking about conquering and gentrification.

ASHLEY: I’m glad. Yeah, we were talking about gentrification. God, okay. [laughing]

ASHER: Are we really talking about gentrification? I feel like that has a more specific meaning that doesn’t really apply here.

ASHLEY: Yeah, it’s more, you know. It’s more conquering. [laughing]

ASHER: Okay, fair enough, fair enough.

ASHLEY: I just really like that Umi said the word “gentrification.” 

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: It made my day. Some woke fourteen-year olds in nineteen nineties.

ASHER: Yeah, not really.

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: But yeah, so I mean, we got a lot of—three worlds are trying to conquer another one that’s being defended by people from a different one.

ASHER: Right. Right. Right.

ASHLEY: That’s a thing, that seems—in the end, this little utopian universe tries to spin it like, “Well that’s what God Mokona wanted, for us all to communicate and live happily ever after”, basically.

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: I don’t think—

ASHER: Hmmm.

ASHLEY: Hmmm. Clef’s exact line.

ASHER: Yeah, that is what—no, yes. That is what they said. I was just wondering if that was Mokona’s actual intent.

ASHLEY: That’s true.

ASHER: Mokona was very anti…uuuh…anti…uuuh…”relying on people”, with the Pillar system. So—

ASHLEY: That’s true, but was that his real—it’s like, in Mokona’s deepest, darkest hole in its heart, it’s like—did it really want that all along, you know?

ASHER: I do think Mokona had some kind of wish for everyone to have free will and take care of themselves. Otherwise, why would he have made Earth first, you know? He only made Cephiro ‘cause he was so disappointed.

ASHLEY: Yeah, he was so disappointed in the Earth. [laughing]

ASHER: If only he could see us now.

ASHLEY: [laughing] Oh god, alright.

ASHER: Ha ha, oof.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I mean, so the wishy-washy thing that Clef says is, “For us to look at others, talk with them, understand them, in order to build a better world—maybe that’s what the creator wished for.” By like, making the world—‘cause Mokona, in the end, is revealed to have summoned the Magic Knights back, where before, we were told that only a princess could bring them to Cephiro. And so, Clef is like, “Maybe Mokona wanted this all along.” He, like—

ASHER: Well, I thought he, I thought he was referring specifically to putting Cephiro near other countries—

ASHLEY: Yeah, and that too.

ASHER: —not necessarily—well, actually, yeah, that includes the whole Magic Knight Rayearth thing. ‘Cause like, there’s really no need for them to come from another world.

ASHLEY: Right. That was their whole argument. They’re like, “There’s no need for this mechanic to exist.” Well, the end.

ASHER: Right. Well, the idea is that nobody in Cephiro can hurt the force that keeps Cephiro alive. Like, that does make sense to me, but it didn’t have to be from—like, why didn’t they have Magic Knights from Autozam, you know?

ASHLEY: Right, right, right. Yeah.

ASHER: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: So, they explicitly are like, “Well, this mechanic doesn’t make sense UNLESS!” His ulterior motive all along was…

ASHER: Right, was to have influence from this place where will, individual will, is I guess democrati—I don’t wanna go there.

ASHLEY: I mean, come on, it’s definitely playing with democracy here. [laughing]

ASHER: Right, right. It does go from a monarchy to sort of a democracy.

ASHLEY: Some, some democracy that they’re definitely still figuring out for themselves.

ASHER: For sure.

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: Yeah, and I was like, “Cool,” but also like, “Conquering nations, yay plan?”

ASHER: Right, right.

ASHLEY: Problematic.

ASHER: Yes. I mean, do we go into any CLAMP property expecting it not to be problematic?

ASHLEY: Do I go into any property period, thinking it’s not going to be problematic?

ASHER: Right. I mean, you shouldn’t. All, all things are problematic, and if it doesn’t seem problematic now, it will be.

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: That, or you are, you know, benefitting from the whatever, from the status quo.


ASHER: But yeah, I don’t know. I never—hmm. I agree with Clef, actually. Like, I think it’s a good idea to look at other countries and learn from them. I mean, obviously I don’t think countries should be going around conquering each other.

ASHLEY: They shouldn’t fight for the Pillar with each other, and then almost kill each other.

ASHER: Right. Right, right. But I don’t think anybody does anyone any good by being isolationist, either.

ASHLEY: Yes, as we are going to quickly learn in our isolationist future. [laughing]

ASHER: Right, I wasn’t, I wasn’t even—

ASHLEY: Present.

ASHER: Well, yeah. I wasn’t, I wasn’t thinking of that specifically, mostly because I avoid thinking about that wherever possible.

ASHLEY: [laughing] Yes.

ASHER: But I was also thinking about like, how isolation breeds extremism in any, any kind of extremism. Like, people get farther apart as they do not talk to one another. Like, that’s really obvious here in this country and really obvious in Israel, where I was recently—and I assume, obvious in other places, too. But then, there’s so much debate on the internet over the past few years about cultural appropriation as well.

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: And I think a lot of it goes too far, in that—yes, cultures touch. They exchange things. Yes, it’s bad when you like, make money and steal from other nations, but I don’t know that like, claiming ownership exclusively is— A) possible or B) like, helpful.

ASHLEY: Yeah, especially when it’s like, if people are doing things that they admire from other cultures, it’s because they admire it. You know, it is—I think— usually from a good place.

ASHER: Right, and that doesn’t mean like—like, good intentions can have bad results.

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: But I’m very suspicious of any argument about cultural appropriation.

ASHLEY: Good to know.

ASHER: Right. Like, I do think it exists. I don’t think it is as problematic on the regular as people make it out to be. Although, maybe that’s my experience as like, a member of two model minorities—more than that, I guess, like privileged minorities, relatively.

ASHLEY: Right. I was like, “What are the two? I know the two. I’m silly.” [laughing]

ASHER: You know the two! I’m Jewish and Asian.

ASHLEY: Yes. [laughing]

ASHER: And I’m also LGBTQ, which is in a weird place right now.

ASHLEY: Yeah, that’s uuh…hmm.

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, and I mean, I like CLAMP’s—I think in a Japanese context, it like, makes a lot of sense. Right? Given the history of Japan?

ASHER: I mean, given Japan’s very uuh…extreme experience with isolation and isolationism—


ASHER: I’m not sure if it’s strange that it’s coming from a Japanese source, or it makes sense. This was also—I don’t know enough, I don’t know enough about like, the cultural milieu—I can’t pronounce that word. I don’t know why I tried. Like, I don’t know about the zeitgeist in Japan in the early nineties—


ASHER: —and how they felt about global, globalization. I…hmm…I do think it makes sense, given their structure, that they came up with such a pat ending. 

[Both laughing]

ASHER: If they had had, like—

ASHLEY: They’re like, “How else can we end this?”

ASHER: If they had had three more books just for this second half, I think it would have been more nuanced.

ASHLEY: Yeah, it definitely is lacking in any nuance of like…

ASHER: [laughing]

ASHLEY: “Hey, this nation that like, destroyed itself over here, wants to come and conquer this other one.” [laughing] Um…

ASHER: Right, right.

ASHLEY: And then, these other two are like—there also is a racial dynamic to it with…uh…the one that I can never remember.

ASHER: Chizeta.

ASHLEY: Yeah, Chizeta.

ASHER: Or CHEE-ZAY-TUH. I don’t know how to pronounce any of these things, ‘cause I didn’t watch the anime.

ASHLEY: You know, I’m pretty sure—yeah, I know, right? That was the one thing that I was like, “The anime would be helpful for this. Okay.” [laughing]

ASHER: Yeah, yeah. I mean, there’s a racial thing with all of them.

ASHLEY: There’s a racial thing with all of them—oh, because, um, what’s the other one—

ASHER: Fahren is China.

ASHLEY: One of them is—

ASHER: China.

ASHLEY: Yeah, Fahren is China, but I always read its name and was like, “But isn’t this a German name?” Whatever.

ASHER: Is it? [laughing]

ASHLEY: I’m pretty sure Fahren is some sort of German word, yeah.

ASHER: Alright, alright. There’s a gender thing too, ‘cause Autozam is represented by all dudes—

ASHLEY: Oh, yeah.

ASHER: —and Chizeta is all girls, with guy spirits, which was kind of—I’m not sure what happened there.


ASHER: And then, China has a child girl ruler—I just called it China. I meant Fahren.

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: It’s clearly China, dammit!

ASHER: I mean, it is clearly China. Um, yeah. And then her servants are dudes, although—do we see her other servants, besides the old man and—I don’t know how to pronounce his name in your spelling—“Sanyun” is how it’s spelled in mine.

ASHLEY: I mean, that’s probably how it’s supposed to be pronounced then. I think they were just trying to go with the closer, perhaps Chinese, spelling then?

ASHER: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, okay.

ASHLEY: Yeah, no, I don’t remember seeing anybody else but those, those two.

ASHER: Okay. I think she may have had like, background girls.

ASHLEY: Oh. That’s so not important. [laughing]

ASHER: I could not remember. It’s not important, but like—I do think that the gender presentation of these nations is important.

ASHLEY: Right. That’s interesting that America is the male one. Is it? That makes sense, I guess.

ASHER: It makes sense to me.

ASHLEY: [laughing] You’re like, “The patriarchy is strong with this one.”

ASHER: Yeah, it is. Oh, yeah, no—Chizeta has girl servants. Hmm.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I don’t remember seeing any but those two. Yeah, but Chizeta was all women, plus there’s clearly some—

ASHER: India.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I mostly was like, uncomfortable with the portrayal of India, basically.

ASHER: Yes, naturally, of course.

ASHLEY: Of course.

ASHER: ‘Cause they’re all sexy babes!

ASHLEY: They’re all sexy babes, they made fun of their like, genies the whole time.

ASHER: Yeah, yeah.

ASHLEY: I was like, “Ugh, come on.” [laughing] That’s the most problematic aspect, actually.

ASHER: Yeah. Oh, yeah. And I have a feeling that this is not limited just to Magic Knight Rayearth. Like, I think that a lot of East Asian countries that have Buddhist influence don’t entirely know what to do with India—‘cause they, they got Buddhism from China—so like, China was king of the world, of that part of the world for a long time, and still is in a lot of ways. And India just doesn’t have that sort of historical prestige like, in the common perception.


ASHER: Even though it’s the origin of a lot of thoughts and philosophies and—and I think language as well? I would have to look that up again. I don’t, I don’t remember what Sanskrit became all over the place.

ASHLEY: [laughing] So, yeah. So India and China and America were trying to conquer—let’s be real, Cephiro is kind of the mirror image of Japan.

ASHER: Yeah, except they’re all like, all the Cephiro natives look—well, I guess this is a, you know, like a manga thing—but they look European and they have European-ish names.

ASHLEY: Right, that’s the confusing thing about the names being all cars!

[Both laughing]

ASHER: Right, right.

ASHLEY: And then, we have—oh, I can’t remember any of their names. God.

ASHER: Presea. Caldina.

ASHLEY: Yes, Caldina. 

ASHER: Oh, really?

ASHLEY: I was like, “Not Presea!” [laughing]

ASHER: But Caldina’s from Chizeta.

ASHLEY: Right, but it’s fun that she like, immigrated. [laughing]

ASHER: Oh yeah, that is cool.

ASHLEY: To Cephiro, that’s fun. Immigration is cool, conquering is not, is basically the conclusion.

ASHER: I’m cool with that. I’m cool with that. I like that.

ASHLEY: Sharing ideas willingly, cool.

ASHER: Very cool, yes.

ASHLEY: Imposing ideas, bad. [laughing]

ASHER: Very bad. Boooooo!

ASHLEY: Booooo. Glad we solved world problems. [laughing] Um, I guess the only other—obviously, it deals a lot with sacrifice, what can or cannot be sacrificed. Apparently, nothing can be sacrificed. Is that an accurate statement?

ASHER: Yeah. It’s a very shonen lesson, I think. Like, you can have your cake and eat it, too.

ASHLEY: Oh, definitely! Oh, so much cake-having and eating it, too.

[Both laughing]

ASHER: Yeah. I mean like, I don’t think it goes quite as far as “all sacrifices bad”?

ASHLEY: Sacrifice of life is bad.

ASHER: Yeah, and like, sacrifice of yourself is bad.

ASHLEY: Mmm. Giving up your true, your true nature heart?

ASHER: Yeah, like compromising your ideals and also like, your mental health—like, it doesn’t want you to be sad.

ASHLEY: [laughing] I am so very curious to like, read all of CLAMP’s works eventually.

ASHER: Oh, a lot of it’s depressing. [laughing]

ASHLEY: Right, and to see the evolution, ‘cause they’re all dealing with kind of the same ideas, right? Like they’re very, they have lot of, they’re very fraught on the grim dark sacrifice. It is the thing that troubles their creative minds the most, perhaps.

ASHER: I would agree with that, yeah. I’m on the CLAMP Wikipedia page, and it does say that a lot of what they deal with is fate. And it says here, apparently they come up with a different theme to work on each time, but I do think the themes sort of go together. “Their works often deal with the theme of human fate that relates to Okawa’s view on life. Okawa believes that fate is something you choose, not a mystical force manipulating your destiny, and that with determination and resolve, you can change your fate.” Although, then the next sentence starts, “Also common is the idea of soulmates, or couples tied together by fate.”

ASHLEY: [laughing] Right.

ASHER: I guess if you choose your fate, I guess I can agree with that, but—

ASHLEY: Then you choose who to be with forever.

ASHER: Exactly, exactly.

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: I think that makes sense. But like, I also don’t agree with the idea of soulmates, but—

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: I also don’t like fate period, so whatever.

ASHLEY: You’re like, “There is no fate.”

ASHER: Fate is BUNK.

ASHLEY: Right, but I think that CLAMP itself just puts itself in more and more elaborate situations in which creating your own fate is hard. [laughing]

ASHER: Oh yeah, they’re into it. 

ASHLEY: They’re super into it.

ASHER: I mean, “hitsuzen”. Hitsuzen is fate, right? Like, that’s their thing?

ASHLEY: Okay, this is what I had. I was like, “Jeff, is ‘hitsuzen’ just a normal Japanese word? Like, why did that not get translated in xxxHolic and Tsubasa or whatever?” Because apparently, it is used in Magic Knights Rayearth at some point. But, you know, it gets translated—

ASHER: As fate? Oooooh. Is the legend of the Magic Knights ‘hitsuzen’?

ASHLEY: Well, it’s supposed to be something that—it means like, ‘inevitable.’

ASHER: Right. It’s been a while since I read TRC. I know they actually define it in TRC.

ASHLEY: Well, the Japanese word apparently just means ‘inevitable’.

ASHER: Okay. Huh.

ASHLEY: Which, I mean, I guess is what fate does or is supposed to do.

ASHER: I do think there is a different quality to ‘inevitable’ than ‘fate’. I’m like, more okay with inevitable.

ASHLEY: [laughing] Okay, interesting.

ASHER: Yeah, I think it’s that inevital, um, inevitable, [laughing], implies that something will happen, but it doesn’t imply that you will make a certain choice. I guess it’s just my weird—

ASHLEY: But like, you can make a series of choices that just lead to the same inevitability?

ASHER: No, no, I think—I was thinking of it more in the opposite direction, I think, in that—say, the situation will happen, but then, you choose what to do with it.

ASHLEY: Mmm, so like, you make a choice. It is your choice, but it leads to a different something inevitable.

ASHER: Yes. Yeah, I guess so. Or like, the idea that certain people will meet. I think I like ‘hitsuzen’ in the concept of people meeting more than in like, yeah.

ASHLEY: Aww, meet-cute stories! [laughing]

ASHER: Yeah, I guess! Look, there, I think there is like sort of an idea that like, certain people will meet. Like, due to whatever. But then, I don’t like the idea that our life choices are handed to us, I guess.

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm.

ASHER: I don’t know. It’s kind of, it’s weird.

ASHLEY: There are degrees with you.

ASHER: I don’t like dealing with fate and predestination…

ASHLEY: And sacrifice and hard things…

ASHER: Sacrifice, sacrifice like, I’ve gotten better about, I guess.

ASHLEY: Aww, that’s nice.

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: [laughing] You’re like, “Is it?”

ASHER: I mean, I’m still not down with like, self-sacrifice. I guess because I grew up on things like Magic Knight Rayearth but, and shonen. But like, I’m not, I don’t believe in a life without sacrifice, I guess.

ASHLEY: Right. I guess, I guess for me, it’s kinda like, “I wish that the end”—like ‘cause, it definitely does feel a little saccharine—is that how you say that word?—I don’t know.

ASHER: Yes, yes.

ASHLEY: Yes—to be like, “Well, here was all of the mechanics that we were given, and in the end, we broke all the mechanics, but we saved everything.”

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: “Except the princess.” [laughing] And Zagato, I guess.

ASHER: You can’t undo death.

ASHLEY: Yeah, you can’t undo death. But like, “After that, we managed to salvage everything.” And I’m kinda like, “I don’t know. I feel like you could have saved all the people and maybe just actually destroyed the world.” That would’ve been—


ASHLEY: —like, the world can be sacrificed.

ASHER: That’s interesting. I like that, actually. Or like, sacrifice the world and then let the Pillar create a new world. That’d be cool.


ASHER: Or let them create a new world, yeah.

ASHLEY: Something had to give, but nothing did. And I was like, “Oooh, come on.” [laughing]

ASHER: They, they didn’t have too many pages left by the end there! [laughing]

ASHLEY: Structure this differently, CLAMP. [laughing] Or quickly.

ASHER: Well, have they ever been good at that?

ASHLEY: We got twenty-eight volumes of Tsubasa, but only six volumes of Magic Knight Rayearth.

ASHER: Good god.

ASHLEY: Actually, we got thirty-one volumes of Tsubasa if we include World Chronicle. God.

ASHER: Right. You know, like, I think they’ve actually gotten worse.

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: Brevity! They used to be able to contain it!

ASHLEY: But that’s because, I think, in their—like, they keep going back to like, they haven’t solved whatever is hung up in their minds, and they keep trying to add more and more, I suppose, nuance and then you just get six Syaorans, I don’t know.

[Both laughing]

ASHER: Is that how many we ended up with?!

ASHLEY: I don’t know. There were a lot. I don’t know. [laughing]

ASHER: There were a lot. There were at least three.

ASHLEY: Yeah. [laughing]

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I think that’s the story of CLAMP. I think I’ve summarized it pretty well here. [laughing]

ASHER: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, actually you—they had another Hikaru very shortly after they finished Magic Knight Rayearth.

ASHLEY: Really?

ASHER: Angelic Layer started in—what does it say—1999? Yeah, 1999. So, Magic Knight Rayearth finished in ninety-six. Angelic Layer is, it’s cute. It’s a little thing about, basically like, really small—it’s a tournament manga. They fight with little action figures, like literal action figures, ‘cause they act.

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: And the main girl’s named Misaki, but her angel is named Hikaru, and she actually based it off of Hikaru from Magic Knight Rayearth. Magic Knight Rayearth was a manga she read, so it was cute.

ASHLEY: Okay, cool.

ASHER: It was cute! It was cute.

ASHLEY: IT WAS CUTE. [laughing]

ASHER: I liked, I liked Angelic Layer. But it was, I think, maybe emotionally more subtle and complex than Magic Knight Rayearth was.

ASHLEY: Really?

ASHER: Maybe, ‘cause it does end—

ASHLEY: You haven’t read that ten million times, so you [laughing]…

ASHER: I haven’t read it ten million times, I’ve maybe read it five million times.


ASHER: It takes place in the real world, for one thing. And I think they have more of a—hmm—they have to be a little more realistic with emotion, I guess, in the real world. It’s not, things don’t end up perfect, I guess, in the world of Angelic Layer.

ASHLEY: Mm-hmm, as nothing can in a CLAMP manga.

ASHER: Right, except that Magic Knight Rayearth…tries—or tries to say it isn’t perfect when it looks real darn perfect.

ASHLEY: Yeah, exactly! [laughing] I’m like, “No, y’all gave up nothin’!” Like, you want—you set up a world in which you had to give up a lot of things, but—

ASHER: Yeah. Yeah.

ASHLEY: You have your innocence, I guess, but you didn’t so much give it up as like, learned stuff.

ASHER: Right.


ASHER: Well, and I think that’s a good thing. I don’t think innocence—if innocence is ignorance, I’m not into innocence.

ASHLEY: That makes sense.

ASHER: I think we’ve had this conversation before.

ASHLEY: Probably. We talk a lot.

ASHER: [laughing] We do.

ASHLEY: Okay, but we can talk—let’s talk about the cute things, which is in Shipping Corner.

ASHER: Okay! Yeah.

ASHLEY: Yeah, okay, but there is actually a lot of ships. I really didn’t think that that was gonna happen.

ASHER: Uh, yeah. They packed a lotta ships into six volumes.

ASHLEY: They packed a lotta ships in there, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!

ASHER: But CLAMP always does, actually. Like, they are very—I don’t know, maybe I’m just thinking of Cardcaptors, but—

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: —oh no, uh, what’s it?—Chobits does it, too.

ASHLEY: That’s true.

ASHER: Everyone’s in a relationship.

ASHLEY: But I guess it’s just—those things are set up to be more like—I guess I just didn’t expect this fantasy romp to be romantic. I mean, you know, Tsubasa is also a fantasy romp, but it centers around the romantic relationship of Syaoran and Sakura.

ASHER: Right, right, right.

ASHLEY: Like, that’s the whole thing.

ASHER: Right. They didn’t want—like, Magic Knight Rayearth is not a romantic love story.

ASHLEY: Right. But all the—

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: —I will say that all the ships were very cute. I’m just gonna put that out there before we name them.

ASHER: Okay! Alright, I’m glad. I thought, I mean, some of them are a little weird and probl—they’re ALL a little problematic.

ASHLEY: They’re all definitely problematic! [laughing]

ASHER: Because they all, everyone in Cephiro is like, a zillion years old and they’re—and the girls are fourteen.

ASHLEY: They’re fourteen.

ASHER: Anyway. Anyway! I have long had problems with CLAMP and their age difference ships.

ASHLEY: Well, yeah. So, the weakest ship that I—I think I put these sort of in order of strong to weak?

ASHER: Oh, that’s interesting! This is, this is your order?

ASHLEY: I said kinda! Okay? [laughing]

ASHER: Fair enough, fair enough, no, no.

ASHLEY: Uh, I tried.

ASHER: Oh, do you wanna list them, then? And so people can have the list and see what your rankings are?

ASHLEY: [snort] You want me to just say them right now?

ASHER: Yeah, go for it!

ASHLEY: So, first I put Rafarga and Caldina, ‘cause I think that was limited to literally a panel.


ASHLEY: Maybe two.

ASHER: That was literally a panel, no, one panel. Oh no, there was a second one in the sixth book, I guess. At the end, you know, when everybody’s happy.

ASHLEY: Yeah, so literally two panels of that. Umi and Ascot. Fuu and Ferio. Hikaru and Lantis. Eagle and Lantis. Hikaru and Eagle. All three of them together, really, should be there too, but I didn’t want to bring—

ASHER: Yeah, I would [laughing], I honestly think that one like, you don’t break that one up. You don’t make the—

ASHLEY: That one is just all together! Just the three of them.

ASHER: All together OR Eagle and Lantis, ‘cause they were there first.

ASHLEY: Okay. And Emeraude and Zagato.


ASHLEY: Those—I think that’s a comprehensive list.

ASHER: It’s a pretty comprehensive list.

ASHLEY: Do you have a favorite? Who’s your OTP?

ASHER: My favorite is Hikaru/Lantis/Eagle triad.

ASHLEY: Okay, I mean, I should’ve expected that.

ASHER: I don’t think that’s very surprising.

ASHLEY: [laughing] You know who mine is? Can you guess? Do you know me?

ASHER: I want you to tell me, ‘cause I’m very curious, actually. 

ASHLEY: Fuu and Ferio.

ASHER: Really? Huh! That’s not what I would have guessed.

ASHLEY: What were you gonna guess?

ASHER: I don’t know actually, off of this list.

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: But I didn’t think it was gonna be Fuu and Ferio.

ASHLEY: I think I didn’t expect Ferio to pick Fuu, and then like, they get the most adorable scenes. And I’m like, “Alright, I’m gonna ship Ferio and Fuu!”

ASHER: Like, that’s cool! Like, I do agree that all of these are very cute—well, I don’t know if Emeraude and Zagato is cute, so much as it’s like, deeply heartbreaking and tragic.

ASHLEY: Yes, more deeply heartbreaking there.

ASHER: And a little uncomfortable, ‘cause she looked ten, but—

ASHLEY: Eeeeeeverybody else is cute.

ASHER: I have, I have some questions about Umi and Ascot also, but like, yes. Everybody is cute. Actually, I have questions about all of them, ‘cause the girls are fourteen!

ASHLEY: Yes! But the scenes that they are given are cute! [laughing]

ASHER: They’re super cute. If Ferio is like, the Cephiro equivalent of fifteen, I’m super okay with it.

ASHLEY: I mean, yes, he looks the most close in their age, right?

ASHER: Right. Right.

ASHLEY: Like, so that one’s fine.

ASHER: Fuu and Ferio look like the most typical couple, which is great.


ASHER: ‘Cause they’re both such weirdos. [laughing]

ASHLEY: They’re both such weirdos, and yeah, they just do cute things. Like, their flirting is cute, and I’m like, “I am here for this. Please.” [laughing]

ASHER: Oh, did your translation give Ferio an accent?

ASHLEY: Ooh. It was very light, I think. There were some moments of—

ASHER: Huh. Oh, it was obnoxious in mine.

ASHLEY: Oh, no.

ASHER: Then it kind of disappeared entirely in the last, in the second part.

ASHLEY: Again, yeah, I think it was inconsistent, is the thing. [laughing]

ASHER: Okay, okay, okay.

ASHLEY: But I don’t think it was heavily present in Dark Horse’s version, no.


ASHLEY: What accent does he have? Just like, droppin’ the R’s or the G’s—

ASHER: Yeah, droppin’ the R’s and G’s and—


ASHER: I think he said “darn tootin’” at some point, and I was like, “Oh, come on.”

ASHLEY: DARN TOOTIN’. [laughing]

ASHER: I think he said—what was he talking about?—I think he was talking about Zagato. He said, “He’s darn tootin’ strong.” And I was like, “Nobody talks like that.”

ASHLEY: Nobody says that!

ASHER: Nobody says that.

ASHLEY: That’s amazing.

ASHER: I love that Ferio’s a prince also, like when he does—

ASHLEY: Yes! Wait, I didn’t expect that twist either! I was like, “I should’ve seen that coming.” I am a very gullible story-reader, despite how many stories I read.

ASHER: No, it’s honestly impossible to predict that Ferio’s a prince. Yes, you can infer that he knows the princess, but he doesn’t look a thing like her.

ASHLEY: That’s true. He does not. Also, he has a bunch of dumb little scars on his face, and I’m like, “That’s fine.” [laughing]

ASHER: [laughing] I hate his ponytail, though.


ASHER: Please fix his hair.

ASHLEY: He reminds me of like, the 009 basically, from Cyborg 009, with his hair, minus—

ASHER: They do have the same hair.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I know, right? That’s why I like him.

ASHER: What’s-his-name doesn’t have a ponytail though, right?

ASHLEY: Yeah, no, he doesn’t have a ponytail.

ASHER: I mean, come on. Ponytail’s stupid.

ASHLEY: The ponytail is—

ASHER: If your hair is that short, you don’t need a ponytail.

ASHLEY: You don’t need to do this little rat tail thing, yeah!

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: That’s fair. But otherwise, I’m like, “Yeah. Fuu. Ferio.” They got—he’s just so good at flirting.

ASHER: He’s great at flirting. I love that like, she was trying to be manipulative at first, and then he just like, destroyed her. [laughing]

ASHLEY: Yeah! I love it so much. [laughing] So fricking good. Yeah.

ASHER: He’s a real—he is good at being romantic.

ASHLEY: This little boy. He’s probably like, a hundred and fifty years old, but you know, whatever. [laughing]

ASHER: Oh, I think he’s more than that. Like okay, so Clef is seven hundred and forty-five.

ASHLEY: Yeah, and he’s the oldest one, right?

ASHER: And he’s the oldest, he’s the oldest! He’s older than Emeraude.

ASHLEY: Right.

ASHER: But Emeraude’s pretty darn old, too.

ASHLEY: [laughing]

ASHER: So Ferio could be anything.

ASHLEY: Ferio could be anything, it’s true.

ASHER: He could be a couple hundred years old. [laughing]

ASHLEY: Whatever. [laughing] He doesn’t look it.

ASHER: Although the fact that he—he doesn’t look it—the fact that he looks like a young man and not a child makes me think he may be pretty young. Just judging by the people of Cephiro.

ASHLEY: Minus Clef. Everything’s confusing. Who knows? It’s a—just, I don’t know.

ASHER: Yeah.

ASHLEY: I also thought that Umi and Ascot had like, good cute moments. 

ASHER: They do!

ASHLEY: Even though I’m like, “What are you doing, Ascot? I don’t understand.”

ASHER: They’re really cute. I think they used to be my favorite ship.


ASHER: Now I’m just sort of really confused and uncomfortable with like, the implications of maturity and age in Cephiro.


ASHER: I just, I really don’t know what to do with that.

ASHLEY: Don’t know what to do with that. But obviously, I also do support Hikaru marrying both Eagle and Lantis.

ASHER: Right.

ASHLEY: That’s, that should happen.

ASHER: That should happen.

ASHLEY: Maybe when she’s a little bit older, and they’re not like—

ASHER: When all of them are a little bit older. She’s like—give it ten years.

ASHLEY: Give it ten years and see how you feel, you guys. Yeah.

ASHER: Yeah. I also—like, if it doesn’t work out for Hikaru, I think Eagle and Lantis should marry each other.

ASHLEY: They should do that first, and then, you know, Hikaru can come up—

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: And Rafarga and Caldina are just—they’re there. Apparently, that’s a thing.

ASHER: They’re there, yeah.

ASHLEY: It’s a thing. I don’t know.

ASHER: It’s a thing. I hope, I kinda want Emeraude and Zagato to like, reincarnate and have another chance.

ASHLEY: Oh, yeah? No, that would defeat everything.

ASHER: Oh, you want to keep some element of tragedy, I guess?

ASHLEY: Yeah, man, I’m all—I was all about the romance in this. [laughing]

ASHER: Okay, okay, okay, okay, but what if, what if, what if—

ASHLEY: Okay, what if, what if?

ASHER: —what if one of these couples had a baby that was one of them?

ASHLEY: Oh, yes, please bring in all my favorite fan fiction tropes right here. Like, let’s, you know!

ASHER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s make it—let’s make it Eagle and Lantis’s baby. [laughing]

ASHLEY: Yes! Eagle and Lantis’s baby.

ASHER: And make it Emeraude! Make it Emeraude.

ASHLEY: Yes. I agree.

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: And then who, who has Zagato?

ASHER: Another country!

ASHLEY: Another country, yes. The genies have Zagato.

ASHER: [laughing]

ASHLEY: I think we solved it. We got it.

ASHER: We fixed Magic Knight Rayearth.

ASHLEY: Yeah, I know! [laughing] You got any other thoughts about anything you wanna share?

ASHER: This is not a strong ship, but they’re the only ones left, so Presea and Clef? Thoughts?

ASHLEY: No, I can’t ship Clef with anybody.

ASHER: Fair enough, fair enough.

ASHLEY: He seems like an asexual little boy.

ASHER: Fair enough. He’s like, everybody’s grandpa.

ASHLEY: Yeah, like I do want—hmm, who would I put Presea with? That is a good question. She deserves somebody.

ASHER: She’s a lesbian.

ASHLEY: She’s a—[laughing]—okay, well, that’s fine! Like—

ASHER: How about…uh…the older princess from Chizeta. Or both of them!

ASHLEY: Yeah, both of them, they’re, yeah—

ASHER: No, hmm.

ASHLEY: —no, that’s weird, they’re sisters. [laughing]

ASHER: Well, I guess, no, they could share. They share everything else!

ASHLEY: That’s true. Polyamory doesn’t have to be—it doesn’t have to be a full triangle. [laughing]

ASHER: Right. Right, right, right. Exactly.

ASHLEY: Okay, I’m down.

ASHER: Alright.

ASHLEY: Now we officially fixed Magic Knight Rayearth.

ASHER: Exactly.

ASHLEY: Yeah, do I have any final thoughts? No. I think we fixed Magic Knight Rayearth.

ASHER: Yeah. We can just end now. We fixed it.

ASHLEY: Thanks for listening to Shojo & Tell. Comments? Questions? Constructive criticism? Concerns? Can I say a lot of C’s in a row? No?

ASHER: [laughing] You apparently can’t, yeah.

ASHLEY: I can not! Need to gush about your OTP? I’m gonna let that that stand.

[Both laughing]

ASHLEY: E-mail, or leave a comment on, or @shojoandtell on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr. Asher, where can people find you on the internets?

ASHER: I also have a Tumblr at asherdashery, and I am working on a long-term podcast project myself called “The Thousand Tree”, so if you search, or if you type in “”, no, wait.

ASHLEY: No, wait. [laughing]

ASHER: TheThousandTree, no spaces, no hyphens, dot tumblr dot com.

ASHLEY: Cool. Are you excited every time you see a new episode from us? If so, please consider leaving a rating in iTunes or Stitcher. This will help our podcast reach more hearts or at least ears. Thanks again for listening. Bye!