Magic Knight Rayearth (lost Summit Media Group English dub of anime; existence unconfirmed; 1995)
Magic Knight Rayearth is a Japanese manga series by CLAMP, serialized in the magazine Nakayoshi from November 1993 to February 1995, followed by a sequel (Magic Knight Rayearth 2) from March 1995 to April 1996. Both manga storylines received an anime adaptation by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, which aired from October 17th, 1994, to November 27th, 1995.
Shortly after the anime was first released, Tokyo Movie Shinsha attempted to market the series globally. In the English-speaking world, this included the production of a localized pilot ahead of a planned 13-episode dub prepared for American television. Ultimately, those plans fell through, and the series would be released direct-to-video by Media Blasters several years after. That adaptation retained the original Japanese names for the characters.
Tokyo Movie Shinsha first enlisted Ocean Studios for the production of a pilot, which was made at some point in early 1995. Sarah-Anne Dafoe directed, wrote and served as the casting director. The pilot used a different set of character names, as well as a new opening theme. Little is known about the voice cast of this pilot, other than Venus Terzo, who had allegedly voiced Hikaru ("Luce"), as reported in an Animerica article during the production of the pilot.
The name changes had been mandated by TMS and were also seen in several dubs of the series in other languages:
- Hikaru Shidou became Luce (relating to light)
- Umi Ryuuzaki became Marine (relating to the ocean)
- Fuu Hououji became Anemone (relating to the flower, Greek for "daughter of the wind")
The pilot was reportedly screened at FanimeCon 1996. It may have also circulated at other conventions around the same time. Due to the name changes and replaced intro, the pilot wasn't well-received by many who had seen it.
For years, footage from the production remained scarce, with only the intro making it online courtesy of TMS' licensing sites. In 2017, the pilot was included in Discotek's home video release of the series.
In January 1995, it was reported that Summit Media Group had acquired the first 13 episodes of the series for a planned launch on U.S. television that fall. This dub was pitched to networks such as Fox Kids, and there were hopes to air it in syndication by September. However, due to the lack of interest from buyers, this adaptation fell through and was shelved. It is suspected that the initial viewership flop of Sailor Moon may have played a part in networks not wanting to pick up the series. The art style was also reportedly an issue of concern for some broadcasters.
As this incarnation of the dub never made it to market, it's not known how much, if any, production work was completed. Nor is it known if it had any ties to the earlier pilot. Victor Ireland, whose company, Working Designs, localized the Rayearth Sega Saturn video game, alleged that the entire first season was dubbed - though, he later admitted that the anime's release wasn't something he was too familiar with.
When asked if Discotek had knowledge of Summit's production, the show's producer said, "I don't think it actually exists."
- Sarah-Anne Dafoe. Retrieved 07 Sept '17
- The post referencing the pilot, Usenet/Googlegroups. Retrieved 25 Nov '13
- Discotek Media on Twitter: "To recap: we'll be including the original English dubbed pilot episode of MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH with our forthcoming release!" Retrieved 11 Nov '21.
- Rayearth comes to US television fall 95 Retrieved 11 Nov '21.
- Re: Magical Knight Rayearth - US TV Retrieved 11 Nov '21.
- Usenet posting, Google groups archive. Retrieved 25 Nov '13.
- Brady Hartel on Twitter: "I've never heard of the Summit Media version- We found the ocean pilot but that's it. I can ask but I don't think it actually exists?" Retrieved 11 Nov '21.