Magic Knight Rayearth, also referred to as MKR. A borderline magical girl series with a strange yet appealing combination of adventure, drama, and silliness; created by the quartet of awesome ladies of CLAMP. It is both a manga series and an anime series. The manga is made up of two parts, each with three books, and the anime has two seasons, the first with 20 episodes and the second with 29 episodes.

The story starts of at that most venerable of anime landmarks, the Tokyo Tower, where three different 8th grade classes are having their field trips. From these three classes come the three heroines of the story: Hikaru Shidou, short, genki, enthusiastic, extremely nice, honest, and pure, plus slightly clueless; Fuu Hououji, calm, collected, extremely polite, and the brains of the trio; and Umi Ryuuzaki, who is is easily irked and exasperated, speaks her mind clearly and never beats around the bush.

At the tower, there's a flash of light, and these three are magically summoned to the world Cephiro, where everything is controlled by one's will. Guru Clef, the head wizard of Cephiro (who looks like a 10 year old boy, but is actually 745 years old). He tells them that they were summoned by Princess Emeraude, the Pillar of Cephiro, as her last desperate act after being kidnapped. The Pillar supports the peace, happiness, and the very reality of Cephiro with her prayers, and since she's been kidnapped monsters have started appearing and war has ravaged the land. They can't return to Earth until they have granted Emeraude's wish and saved Cephiro.

Since none of them can use magic, Clef grants each of them a magical specialty, and then sends them off to save Cephiro. They soon meet up with the required cute anime critter Mokona, and the fun begins. ;-)

While this might seem like typical anime, the first story arc ends with a very surprising twist (which I can't describe without giving it away). In the second story arc the trio are once again summoned to Cephiro, and have to deal with the consequences of that twist. I haven't seen the anime version, but the manga version is very nice, and worth a read.

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