There were so many things wrong with Mai Otome (or Mai Zhime if you prefer,) that I had very low expectations of it from the first. And with the cataclysmically badly written reset ending that made the first 24 episodes of Mai Hime meaningless, I expected a train wreck at the end of this series.
I’m pleased to report that my low expectations were surpassed. ^_^
Don’t get me wrong – Mai Otome is not Haibane Renmei…or even Stellvia. It’s a fanservice-filled action romp through several tedious fetishes with a plot thrown in for good measure. But given that, the ending was pretty damn good. The key point, I think, is that unlike Mai Hime, which was very serious in all the moments outside the fanservice-based moments of “humor” (look, heh heh, her tits are big! Heh, look she has no underwear, heh), Mai Otome was actually fairly light hearted, (with copious amounts of fanservice-based “humor,” as well, duh.)
Things the end of Mai Otome *didn’t* have:
– Giant Shizuru x Natsuki lovefest reunion
– Nina getting a clue
– Mashiro comprehending that rebuilding the palace was *still* a bad idea for her subjects – even if it had her happy giant sunflower on it, instead of a giant laser.
– Spontaneous reincarnation of every person who had previously died. (They sort of brought back a few key people, but that was done with an actual tie-in to the plot. And it was nothing like the “our viewers are idiots” mass reincarnation from Mai Hime.) In fact, they so very did NOT bring some people back, that I can only assume that that was the major complaint they had heard on the first series.
Things the ending *did* have:
– The calvary thundering down the hill to the rescue about three dozen times. And as stupid as each one was, I enjoyed it every time. :-)
– A really amusing, if obvious, gag involving Miss Maria.
– Chie and Aoi lovefest reunion
– Haruka getting a moment of actual cool
– All the Otome getting a moment of actual cool
– An epilogue which not only made some sense, but gives the most obnoxious plot complication (Nina and Sergey) a chance to reset in a semi-organic manner.
Art – 8 (On a head-to-head comparison, the art for Mai Otome is SO much better than that for Mai Hime)
Characters – 8
Story – 7
Music – 7
Yuri – 5
Service – 8
Overall – 7
Overall, I really think that this ending was as good as we could have hoped for from this series. This summer there are 4 Mai Otome movies slated for release…let’s see if they can manage to not ruin the TV series for us, shall we? ^_^