Mai Hime feels like a game that has been turned into an anime, or an anime that will shortly be turned into a game.
Tokiha Mai seems to be a reasonably normal young lady. She and her sickly younger brother are traveling by ship to go to an exclusive school. On the way, a young girl is rescued from drowning by Mai. She is followed by an older girl who seems to be trying to kill the young girl. Mai finds herself involved in a huge fight that ends up destroying the ship.
In the next few episodes, as we rush to introduce every one of the gazillion characters in the cast, we learn that Mai has special powers, as do many of the girls in this school – including both the young, feral Mikoto and uber-cool, Kuga Natsuki. Mai learns that, along with Mikoto and Natsuki, she is a HiME (Highly-advanced Materalizing Equipment…which makes about as much sense as it sounds) and is prone to manifesting shiny energy bands about her limbs, floating and shouting “Arrrrh!” as she pours forth magical/bad science energy and defeats the whatchamcallit bad ceature which, in this case seem to be called Orphen.
There’s lots of Digimon-type creature fights in this anime, which are good, if you like the kid-and-his or her-monster-type story. I do, so I’m happy enough.
And the characters aren’t bad. Mai doesn’t have too many bad habits yet, nor much of a personality, really. But Natsuki’s bad-ass-ness and uber-cool, which is probably masking social retardation of immense proportions is fun – and she rides a motorcycle, which automatically means she’s a lesbian. You know the rules. ^_^
Mikoto gets lots of fanservice Yuri groping in, but she’s so feral, it means about the same as if your cat sticks his claws in your chest.
There’s a ton of suggestive undertones in the three girls’ interactions with some of the older characters, particularly Shizuru – who is either quite hedonistic, or just loves teasing poor Natsuki to ruffle her. Either way, Shizuru is currently my favorite character.
The most open yuri in the series is the entire closing credit sequence – and that may or may not have anything at all to do with the actual story. The jury is still deliberating.
There seems to be a character stereotype for anyone and everyone in this series, so if you don’t mind watching a show in which character development will take place between giant creatures fighting, and a plot that is clearly a marketing tool for a game, you’ll like Mai HiME just fine.
Story – 7
Art – 7
Music – 7
Yuri – 6
Overall – 7
Goofy fun with Yuri subtext – turn your Yuri goggles way up and see what happen.