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Magic Knight Rayearth: 4 Others

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Primera prepares to cast her healing spell on Lantis
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 2
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Added 11/10/2017
Updated 1/7/2018
Episode 23 (Autozam’s Invasion and Lantis), cut 212. After Hikaru notices Lantis has been injured, she starts to aid him. But at once she's brushed aside by his loyal fairy companion Primera, who begins her own magic healing spell with a smile and a wink.

This fine full-frame rough (or layout correction) of this feisty, likeable character came only with the layout that it corrected (thumbnail). Both show Primera’s confidence, verging on smugness, as she takes control of a minor injury her beloved master Lantis has incurred saving a maiden from one of the monsters now marauding Cephiro.

The artist represents a bit of a puzzle, however, as the animation director for this episode was credited as 渡部 迅子, which Anime News Networks renders “Tokiko Watanabe.” However, as this episode is the only assignment credited to this personage, this can’t be right: animators work up to a job like this through an apprenticeship involving inbetweening and key animation. And if an artist gains the extra experience and credit for directing the animation for an entire episode, then typically that assignment is followed by more. Still, my initial searches for 渡部 迅子 on Japanside anime websites yielded the same result.

So ... an animator under contract to another studio working anonymously under a pseudonym? Or a mistake in the credits?

Then, on looking at the complete list of MKR episode animation directors on Wikipedia, I noticed that two other episodes, 29 and 34, credited 阿部純子 for animation direction. Two characters in this name are the same, two different. Could the kanji have gotten jumbled up at some point in the production process? If so, then the episode animation director could be Junko Abe, an artist with the expected wide range of inbetweening (Wonderful Adventures of Nils) and key animation (notably for Case Closed/Detective Conan and the long-running kiddie series Soreike! Anpanman). Abe also did key animation for MKR’s first season, as well as for the Rayearth OAV, but she is best remembered as character designer and chief animation director for Saint Tail.

Indeed the rough does make Primera look a bit like Meimi, the protagonist of this series. But lacking direct confirmation, the artist of this fine sketch can’t be conclusively identified.

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