CLAMP Interview – Magic Knight Rayearth Materials Collection (January/1996)

Rayearth’s end commemorative special interview

CLAMP-sensei just finished the final chapter! Are they at a banquet after this!?

Rayearth was very enthusiastic from the beginning.

© CLAMP / 講談社

Are the art materials the first thing you buy?

Mokona: Is it case by case, I think? On the spot, there are times when I suddenly keep going from a draft (laughs).
Nekoi: But Rayearth is a work that was set up quite finely from the beginning.
Mokona: For Rayearth, we set all the characters and colors before the series started. I was so excited (laughs).

But many of CLAMP’s works are animated. What about the settings in such case?

Ohkawa: The OVA is only animated after the original work progressed considerably, so the anime staff will see the original work and make the necessary settings. If they need new clothes, we may draw them.

In that case, for example, what about the colors?

Mokona: There are color samplers, so the color setting will be decided from these.

The setting of Rayearth is more overwhelming than other works.

Ohkawa: I agree. Some of them were drawn by Tokyo Movie-san. Tea bowls, tables and fans (laughs).
Mokona: I even drew cymbals that only appear in one cut (laughs).

In what order do you usually draw?

Mokona: I listen to the basic story, consult the original concept with Nanase-chan, and decide. I may ask for more details, or they may leave it to me. When the scenario is specified in detail, I will show what I designed on the spot at the stage of drafting and proceed.

You drew the concept design when Ferio was small in the conference room of Kodansha (laughs).

Mokona: That’s right (laughs). With Tokyo Movie is more immediate, so I started to draw right away (laughs).

Was the Rayearth concept design easy to do?

Mokona: In the case of Cephiro, it was decided from the beginning where the jewelry was put and how decorations in other countries were like, so there was little trouble in that area.

What is the most difficult concept design?

Mokona: The shape of the battleship of Autozam was the most difficult (laughs). Fahren’s dragon is a Chinese style, and the Chizeta battleship is a curry pot (laughs). For those two, I had an image from the beginning, but the battleship of Autozam is useless if it comes close to insects, and it is useless if it comes close to animals (laughs). Since Cephiro is about animals, I say that beasts are useless too… (laughs).

The battleship of Autozam is really cool.

Mokona: That’s not true. I can cut it once and for all (laughs). The anime NSX is really cool. There is a rough drawing by Moriki-san[1] of the design at home, but it is really cool. It’s like a man’s boat (laughs). The prototype design I did is completely different. When I draw, the NSX becomes a hairdryer (laughs).

How was the Mashin design?

Mokona: Yamane-san[2] was in charge of the Mecha design and arranged what I drew for the original work to the anime. The color of the body, the face and the details are different. Of course, the anime design is also super cool (laughs).

The original material is included in the Materials Collection.

Mokona: Yes. Everything in this collection is drawn by me and Nekoi-chan.
Nekoi: I drew only cute animals for the anime (laughs).
Igarashi: The ones from episode 8[3], right?

This Materials Collection also includes the Game Gear[4] concept design.

Nekoi: Yes, that’s right.
Mokona: It also contains the design of Fuu’s bow for the Sega Saturn.

The rest of the Materials Collection is Magic Knight Rayearth Gaiden[5](laughs). It is nostalgic (laughs).

Igarashi: We got together and went on (laughs).
Mokona: It is something that I drew for Run Run magazine.
Igarashi: It was drawn just before the final chapter of the first part (laughs).
Nekoi: People really thought it was the last time they would see Rayearth, and we received letters (laughs).[6]
Mokona: It’s nostalgic (laughs).
Ohkawa: I don’t know the feelings of the readers, but it was fun for us to draw (laughs).
Igarashi: Yes.

Magic Knight Rayearth Gaiden is based on the story of the video game for the Game Gear. Did Ohkawa-san think about the game story?

Ohkawa: I just talked about the general idea during a chat with the game staff, and the rest was something that Sega-san thought about.[7]

The Mashin and the Magic Knights have standard tones.

The hardest thing about drawing the manga of Rayearth is!?

Nekoi: The Mashin’s tone and the final form of the Magic Knights’ armor is painful (laughs).[8]
Igarashi: The Mashin keep the same tone on the third volume of the first part (laughs).
Mokona: I also drew Magic Knight Rayearth 2 while watching the third volume of the first part (laughs).
Nekoi: Rayearth had a very standard tone. There were a lot of tone parts that I had to basically put on, such as clothes, hair, skin, and so on.

But there are many tones in other works.

Nekoi: Basically, I think that there is most in Rayearth. There are three school uniforms for each Magic Knight with different tones (laughs), and even if the Mashin appear, each one has a different tone… (laughs).
Igarashi: The second part was really hard, with people from other countries also involved (laughs).
Nekoi: Also, it was hard to put the tone on hair or small places on the long shot of Ferio (laughs).
Satsuki: For example… Umi-chan’s skirt and chest ribbon have the same tone. It’s easy to put on the skirt tone, but the small ribbon on the chest is hard (laughs). The tone on smaller spots could fade quickly or take a saturated tone. To get the right tone takes more time, that’s why you leave the ribbon until the end… (laughs).
Mokona: The second part has many characters. In the first part, even if an enemy character comes out, the next character will not come out until you defeat the first one (laughs). In that sense, the last two or three chapters of the second part were very difficult with lots of characters (laughs).
Igarashi: By the day the three countries joined, it was already a tone hell (laughs).
Nekoi: Oh, but as result, there are times when we do not put tone on hair, clothes, skin, etc. on purpose.
Mokona: It’s just on purpose.
Igarashi: It feels suspicious when emphasized, but it is true (laughs).
Nekoi: If it is too small, the tone collapses and becomes dirty, so I judge if there are some parts that are not uniform.

Nekoi-san assigned the tones for this work?

Nekoi: That’s right.

Do you have a manual for putting screen tones?

Nekoi: When a character appears for the first time, it is determined which tone will be applied to them, so you can copy it and keep it.
Igarashi: A reference note is made for each work.
Nekoi: Come to think of it, there is a prototype to determine the tones of the school uniforms of the three girls that we made before the series. Since it wasn’t yet decided which uniforms would be for who, there are things like Hikaru-chan wearing Fuu-chan’s school uniform (laughs).
Mokona: That can make you laugh (laughs).
Igarashi: Unfortunately, it is not included in this Materials Collection (laughs).

How long does it take to complete the manga of Rayearth?

Okawa: It’s 42 or 43 pages every time. It takes about four or five hours to write a script. After that, the storyboard takes a day. Drawing is five or six days… isn’t it? However, it’s taken seven days because the lines increased.

Anyway, it’s fast.

Mokona: No, when we entered the second part, the number of Mechas and characters increased… (laughs).

When a magazine publication is made into a comic (compilation volume), it is possible to do it again.

Nekoi: No, in the case of Rayearth, you don’t need to make any extreme changes.
Mokona: In other works, for the compilation volume, I redrawn nearly two-fifths of it (laughs).

What was the hardest part of comparing the work of the manga and anime?

Ohkawa: In the story part… I think of the story at the very beginning and all the way to the end. So, the manga was fine, but in the anime, the story was changing rapidly with the opinions of various people, so the hints I thought at the beginning could not be used (laughs).
Mokona: There was nothing special in drawing, but I was told that I needed to make the concept designs for the anime, and because I had to put it out within a day, I was a bit sleepy (laughs).

How was the fact that the manga and anime proceeded at the same time?

Ohkawa: It seems that some readers and viewers mixed various detailed settings in the manga and anime. In particular, there seemed to be that Eagle had many relationships. The anime and the manga are just different stories. Please note that there are some parts that may not be acceptable if mixed together (laughs). In the manga, Umi-chan does not show that she likes someone, and Mokona does not eat anything at all (laughs).

What I wanted to say was that there is no absolute justice

Then, what was the best thing about the manga?

Ohkawa: Let’s see… In my work, I can see a very individualistic thing (laughs). So, I think that there are some people who understand it… I wanted to draw that there is no absolute justice. There are people in the world, you and others, and no one is the same as yourself. That’s why I want people to respect others and themselves.

About the pillar system and Princess Emeraude!?

Ohkawa: I believe that a world where one person decides everything and moves everything will eventually have to be broken. But Princess Emeraude did all she could do. It is not possible to convince all people by one person’s idea; therefore, I think many people can’t understand her thoughts and actions, but I think Princess Emeraude couldn’t live or die any other way. What I wanted to do in the first part was to show the cruelty of Cephiro, a magical country that could do anything.

What about Zagato trying to save Princess Emeraude?

Ohkawa: Zagato’s method may also be wrong. Some people said he was a villain. But I don’t know if he’s wrong. He thought it was the right way for him. The same goes for the second part. Everyone just went on. However, conflicts arise only because each thought is different.

Everyone thought they were right.

Ohkawa: I agree. If Aska-chan was right, Cephiro would become a country full of sweets (laughs). I think that Princess Emeraude, the final enemy of the first part, and Eagle, the one of the second part, are the same after all. Both Emeraude and Eagle know exactly what they are doing. They know they are selfish. But they had to choose that way. That’s why I think that Hikaru-chan hoped to return to Cephiro with Eagle, because she couldn’t save Princess Emeraude. Princess Emeraude that Zagato cherished, while Eagle is a friend that Lantis values. In some way, the two parts have the same schematic, but the Magic Knights went beyond some tragedies and searched for a different way in the second part.

In the final round of Rayearth 2, why isn’t the combined form of Rayearth fighting?

Ohkawa: Let’s see. In part, the combined form Rayearth came out to eventually annihilate Princess Emeraude. For the second part it was used to bring back Eagle alive. The second part was aiming for a large circle that would welcome it without fighting (laughs).

What did you want your readers to feel through Rayearth?

Ohkawa: That perfection has no justice. There are always other people around you who are not yourself, and each one has a different way of thinking. That’s why I want people to understand and interact with each other.

I want you to believe in yourself and think about the people you love.

Is it like a sense of distance between yourself and others?

Ohkawa: That’s correct. Hikaru-chan, the new pillar, ended everything, but Princess Emeraude made another decision. Princess Emeraude really loved everyone, but she may have not believed in it so much. Not even in Zagato, which she should have loved the most. But Hikaru-chan had Umi-chan and Fuu-chan, and they were able to find a new way with a heart that believes.

A heart that believes is very important.

Ohkawa: First of all, think that you can be happy, and believe it from the bottom of your heart, then hope that the people you love will be happy too. If you like someone, surely someone likes you too. So, if you don’t want to see that person to grieve, take care of yourself. The words that have been repeatedly said in Rayearth “A heart that believes becomes power” are meant for you to believe in yourself and believe in those you love. That’s why there are three Magic Knights instead of one.

As I said earlier, I don’t think there is an answer or a constant justice that is the correct one for everyone. Justice is fair only to one person. It’s ideal to have a world where everyone can be happy, but it’s going to be difficult. There are many people in the world, and some people think that the world should be somewhat disrupted (laughs). But remember, everybody has their own way of thinking. Values are really different. Just because you don’t like something that you don’t agree with, don’t judge it as bad. But that diversity is only achieved with the basic thought of not hurting yourself or others.

If we really want to create a world where everyone can understand each other, we have to accept the values of each other.

Ohkawa: That’s right.

Why didn’t the people of Cephiro come out in the manga?

Ohkawa: Because the people of Cephiro are very lethargic for me. They lived every day in such a way that they would achieve happiness without doing anything as long as Princess Emeraude prayed. However, there are some people who are satisfied with it, so it is not possible to decide if they are very bad people. Rather than actually portraying the lives of the people of Cephiro in the manga, I wonder what the readers think of the people of this world. What would you think if you were a resident of such country? I hope you will think about it. After that, Fuu-chan says in the manga that because the Magic Knights are the ones who killed the pillar, Clef wouldn’t understand their feelings.[9]

Was there a great response for Cephiros situation?

Ohkawa: Yes. Some people were angry to see the situation of Cephiro, and to others it seemed to be the ideal home. But their impressions are also different. There is no correct answer to the things you saw in this work.

Mokona’s true identity was so great…

Please, each of you tell us your final thoughts.

Ohkawa: Although it was a long work for three years, I am happy because my first goal was to finish drawing it. After that, we’re having a banquet (laughs).
Nekoi: This is the first time that such Materials Collection is released, not only because it was made into a TV animation, Rayearth was a really memorable work. When I think that I will never draw Mokona anymore, I feel desolate (laughs).
Igarashi: I’m glad it ended (laughs). Every time one series ends, it’s a rule of CLAMP to have a banquet with the four of us (laughs). I am looking forward to it.
Mokona: Rayearth is a work packed with various elements, and it was really fun to draw. Mokona’s true identity was so great that I was shocked too (laughs).

Finally, do you have a message for the readers?

Ohkawa: Ah! That was all I had to say! (laughs).
Mokona: Ah! That’s right!
Nekoi: Yes (laughs).
Igarashi: I almost forgot (laughs).
Ohkawa: CLAMP’s works are based on almost the same settings except for fantasy ones. Modern ones have the same stage settings.
Igarashi: They are connected somewhere.
Ohkawa: But Magic Knight Rayearth is treated as a fantasy, so it’s a completely different setting (laughs).
Nekoi: Yes. Otherwise, the earth in X would be the one created by Mokona (laughs).
Mokona: The god of X also becomes Mokona (laughs).
Ohkawa: That’s right (laughs). So, keep in mind that Rayearth doesn’t link to the world of X (laughs).
Igarashi: It is good to remember (laughs).
Ohkawa: So far, you have supported Magic Knight Rayearth. I would like to thank you very much for the work that will be serialized soon.[10]

Thank you very much. Thank you for your next work.

January 25, 1996[11]



[1] Mokona is talking about Yasuhiro Moriki, who was in charge of the anime design.

[2] Mokona is talking about Masahiro Yamane. He not only did the Mecha design, he was in charge of several things for the second season.

[3] Actually, the animals that Nekoi designed appear on episodes 3 and 8.

[4] CLAMP did the monsters design for the first video game for the Game Gear.

[5] Magic Knight Rayearth Gaiden was originally released inside Run Run magazine in its January issue of 1995. It was released before the last chapter of the first part was published in Nakayoshi magazine

[6] Readers really thought that there was not going to be more Rayearth because you must remember that Magic Knight Rayearth 2 was announced on the last page of the end of Magic Knight Rayearth.

[7] We can assume that Ohkawa set the general idea of Mokona disappearing and the girls searching for Mokona around all Cephiro; while Sega came up with the battles in the game.

[8] Nekoi is not talking about the armor the girls receive on the second part, she is talking about the armor the girls use when there are inside the Mashin.

[9] Ohkawa is talking about the time in Magic Knight Rayearth 2 (Volume 2) in which Fuu and Umi, searching for Hikaru, start to talk about what they think about the pillar system.

[10] Yes, Ohkawa is saying that thanks to the support that Rayearth received, CCS was decided. Curios thing, CCS was announced until the May issue of 1996 of Nakayoshi Magazine. Therefore, she was giving a hint in this interview

[11] This interview was way before the last chapter of Magic Knight Rayearth 2 was published. CLAMP ladies are so amazing!


Translated from Japanese by shidouhikaru15.



Interview originally published in Magic Knight Rayearth Materials Collection (Kodansha), released on March 28th, 1996. Original text available upon request.


If you found mistakes in this translation or would like to contribute with translating other interviews, please contact me.