Well, it’s not often that I can say that something made me want to gouge my *ears* out. And yet, Mai Otome Drama CD, Miss Maria was Watching: Garderobe Secret Diary, Vol. 1 absolutely made me feel this way.
I have always assumed that fanservice was primarily a visual medium – it’s well known that men respond to visual cues more strongly than women when it comes to things sexual. (Incidentally, they also respond to colors differently, which is why, ladies, your guy thinks that woman over there looks hot, when you think she looks cheap. Just FYI.) So I thought “How bad could it be?” when I got this Drama CD.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you know two things about me: 1) I love Drama CDs and; 2) It takes a lot to make me squirm.
This Drama CD made me squirm. It made my lips peel back in disgust and once or twice I even flinched. I mean really. This last was particularly bad as I was driving at the time so, as a warning, maybe you should only listen to this CD on the bus or plane. And only then if you your aisle-mates won’t mind you occasionally going, “Ewwww!” or “Argh!” out loud.
The basic plot is simple (it would have to be, as this is clearly written for several steps below the Lowest Common Denominator) Miss Maria, the disapproving hypercompetent head teacher of Garderobe, keeps a secret diary of everything that goes on in the school. Each scene on this Drama CD covers one of the more vile occurrences. Miss Maria gives us a bland summary and then we hear what “really” happened.
Okay, that’s not fair – not every scenario is vile. Just most of them. They mostly deal with underwear, nakedness, exploitation and the like, usually with a cheerfully clueless Arika happily moving through her days not being able to identify situations that any sane person would run from.
One of the more notably amusing scenes is one where Akane finds herself at Backstage, greeted by what appear to be Headmaster Natsuki and her pet Shizuru as employees of the store. In reality they are employees dressed up as Natsuki and Shizuru, voiced by the same voice actresses, which totally worked for me. As the story goes on, it become plain that they are, in fact, really Natsuki and Shizuru, pretending to not be themselves…and they are *not* employees, but actually owners of the contraband store.
There is a story in which Erstin loses her mind and ravages all the available females around her…it’s all fake, of course, she’s just pretending to have lost her mind. Let’s put it this way – she doesn’t ravage *everyone* – just those that you’d expect Erstin to desire. ^_^;
The lowest point of the whole thing comes when we learn about the origin of Tomoe’s infantilism fetish. I will not tell you how that came about. You wanna know, buy a copy of the CD yourself. I’m just trying to forget I ever heard it at all.
The bonus track is a cute (for this CD, anyway) retelling of Natsuki and Mai’s early years at Garderobe as roommates, and a lovely little scene where Natsuki reveals her hardcore crush on Shizuru-oneesama. We’re also introduced to lil’ Tomoe, who hadn’t yet developed all her later issues and as a result, is kinda cute.
If the best thing about this CD was the end track, the worst had to be what they did to Chie. Her 1000% lesbian cool power-up cred from Mai Hime to Mai Otome took a HUGE hit on this CD.
Lastly, the epilogue was, I have to admit, rather amusing. Arika, Nina (unwilling and whiny, as she has been throughout the thing) Irina and Ers all decide to steal Miss Maria’s infamous diary. What they find is not at *all* what they expected.
Story – Ugh. Ughughugh. Ugh.
Characters – Erstin – 10, everyone else 3. Arika fails completely for stupid, Nina for whining.
Yuri – 8 but it’s all service all the time. There’s nothing approaching one woman’s actual heartfelt attachment to another’s, except for Natsuki’s feelings for Shizuru.
Service – 12
Overall – 4
You want to either be a real perv, a real hardcore fan of Otome or one of the voice actresses before you want to get this thing. Or me, irresistibly drawn to the siren call of Drama CDs. Sigh.