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Akari Kagamine and the Rainbow Mirror (鏡音アカリの虹色鏡 Kagamine Akari no Nijiiro Kagami?) is a 1991 fantasy novel written by Hinata Kazunori. The novel concerns the daily life of a magical girl named Akari Kagamine who has the ability to use mirrors to transport to other places across her homeworld, generally using it to escape her abusive grandmother after her parents divorced and had to live with her grandmother for the rest of her life. Another one of her abilities is the ability to use paint to dye her hair an assortment of colors, giving her stealth abilities to evade from her enemies. The book was critically acclaimed by critics, spawning an anime series, two video games, and numerous merchandise.

PlotEdit

The plot follows the story of 15-year-old Akari Kagamine who belongs to a poor family, after an evil scientist named Nurr D. Wort had destroyed their home and crushed their trees when Akari was nine. After the destruction of their home and being unable to afford a new one, her parents divorce and being unable to keep Akari, she is forced to live with her muggle grandmother, who was often abusive and raunchy.

After being hugely mistreated by her grandmother for a long four years, and upon hearing the news of Wort killing a lizard with rainbow-colored skin, Akari goes out to the investigation site. Upon touching the graft, its power is immediately Akari, which gives her the ability to dye her hair in any color instantly. Upon returning home, she also learns she has the ability to go into mirrors and use them as a method of transportation.

Through this method, and at one time while Akari is at her home, she receives a letter from a 17-year-old boy named Haruki Nijimoto from an alternate universe, of which he dubs himself "The Creator of the Rainbow Mirror" and "The Prince of Rainbow Lizards". She eventually meets him at her school and often visits his universe during non-school days. The duo eventually begin to fall in love with each other, and after their school year ends, Haruki tells Akari that he won't be meeting her again.

Although Akari has the rainbow mirror's power, and the next time she goes into Haruki's universe, she learns that he was gone. Making Akari sad, it leaves her lonely, with Haruki holding a special place in her heart. While visiting Haruki's universe again, Akari meets Haruki once again but this time Haruki had aged seven years into his future and was already a soon-to-be-coronated king.

Upon hearing Nurr D. Wort being ready to launch a deadly all-out attack on Akari homeworld, Akari learns from Haruki that it would be too dangerous for her to battle Wort like this. In Haruki's castle, she is taken to a spring that can give her vital powers, of which Haruki used to age seven years. Before Akari goes in, Haruki asks her to think of her happiest memories with him when Haruki was still young. And upon going in, the chemicals inside cause Akari to grow from a 15-year-old girl to a nubile young woman in her early 20s.

After Akari's transformation, the duo venture to Akari's homeworld and locate Wort's whereabouts. Upon sighting it, the duo attacks his base, stealing his goods and weapons. Through the use of both Akari's and Haruki's weapons, they engage Wort in a battle against them. During the battle, Akari learns that her grandmother's, as well as her parents' souls, were captured by Wort's army before the battle. After a lengthy battle, Nurr D. Wort is defeated by the duo's power. Going back to Haruki's kingdom, the kingdom holds a post-battle celebration. During the banquet, Haruki asks Akari to marry him and be his queen. Upon Akari accepting Haruki's request, they get married and coronated as the monarch of Haruki's kingdom.

CharactersEdit

Akari Kagamine (鏡音アカリ Kagamine Akari?)
Akari Kagamine is the main character of the novel. She lives with her abusive grandmother after her parents divorced from the destruction of her parents' house and sent off to live with her abusive grandmother. Her only "happy places" when she is not home with her grandmother is school and other places of interest. She gains the ability to change her hairstyle in many colors after she exposes herself to a chemical that gives her that ability.
Haruki Nijimoto (虹本ハルキ Nijimoto Haruki?)
Haruki Nijimoto is a half-youkai student who is an upperclassman with a beard. He is the prince of a kingdom in an alternate world, where he gives Akari a magical mirror and powers from a rainbow lizard that Nurr D. Wort kills. Akari met him when she entered school as a first year, and many mistake him as a father. Akari often calls Haruki by Haruki-senpai (ハルキ先輩?).
Nurr D. Wart (ナー・D・ワート Nā Dī Wāto?)
Nurr D. Wart is the central antagonist of the novel, who wants to defeat Akari for resorbing the rainbow mirror's power. He specifically heard of a prophecy stating he could be defeated by Akari and sets out to defeat her. However, with the help of Haruki Nijimoto, Akari and Haruki team up to defeat him.

MediaEdit

AnimeEdit

Main Article: Akari Kagamine and the Rainbow Mirror (anime)

A two-season anime adaptation produced by El TV Kadsre Animation was produced between 1994 and 1995. The series aired on El TV Kadsre during that time.

Video gamesEdit

An arcade game by Seymour Games called Akari Kagamine and the Luminous Bricks was released in the summer of 1996. The game was ported to the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and home computers by Drillimation Studios. Seymour also produced another arcade game, Akari Kagamine and the Stick of Alchemy, was released in the spring of 1997.

Akari and Haruki appear as guest characters in Driller Engine Grand Prix 7.

MangaEdit

Susumu Takajima did a manga adaptation of the novel, which was serialized in Nakayoshi from 1998 - 2003. The series was split into more than 9 volumes.

ReceptionEdit

The novel was critically acclaimed by critics, calling it a "must-read" for magical girl enthusiasts and El Kadsre Daily Inquirer calling it "a terrific novel". Critics praised the novel for its lighthearted tone at the beginning of the novel but was criticized for the theme getting darker towards the climax of the novel. The novel specifically inspired Susumu Takajima to create the Chuhou Joutai series. In fact, Takajima's wife, Kagami Ochiai, specifically enjoyed the novel and anime herself. More commonly or not, she interviewed Kazunori about her experience, with Ochiai stating, "it's basically the opposite of what happens in the Princess Maker series when you poorly treat your daughter and the opposite happens." In the same interview, Ochiai also stated, "my favorite part is where Akari transforms into a nubile woman."

The novel has inspired many Japanese fans to visit El Kadsre to specifically recreate scenes from the novel and anime. At one point during a homecoming festival at Shinjuku High School in Tokyo, where Takajima attended senior high school, Takajima proposed to Ochiai while cosplaying as the two main characters themselves, and had their wedding in the same vein as the novel.

Internet popularityEdit

Since 2000, the franchise has generated a massive fanbase on the internet. The popularity began in 1998 when VidSpace user GensouSpace19 uploaded a video where the intro to the anime sped up every time Akari's name is uttered, titled Akari Kagamine Intro But Every Time They Say Akari It Gets Faster. In its first year, the video got more than 1.5 million views. This inspired other fans to create other parodies and remixes as well.

Some of these famous remixes include Akari Kagamine But Every Time She Appears Marisa's Theme Plays, where clips from the first episode have Love-Colored Magic from Touhou 2: Story of Eastern Wonderland play every time Akari would show up, Guile's Theme Goes With Everything: Akari vs. Nurr, where Guile's Theme from Street Fighter II would play over the clip of Akari fighting Nurr, and Akari Kagamine Intro But Everything is Slow Motion High-Pitched, where the entire intro to the anime is slowed down in a high pitch.

The franchise has also been popularized in memes as well, where the quote "Just look at you, you're ready to fight the Wort and become my queen!" uttered by Haruki became popular when the phrase "Fight the Wort" became popular among users on 4chan. The quote originated in the scene after Akari's transformation into a woman, where Haruki would tell Akari that she was ready to become queen of his kingdom. In 2004, the quote started spreading to other websites, including social media, instant messaging, and even Drillimation Online.

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