While digging around the intewebs for the picture I wanted to illustrate this review, I couldn’t help but notice people’s shock as they realize that Mai Otome Zwei does not have a real plot! Oh noes! I had to laugh, because apparently these same people are suffering from that selective memory rewrite that fandom frequently resorts to when they “forget” that they are watching trash. ^_^
Folks, I’m here to remind you…Mai Otome was trash. But it was *fun* trash. So lighten up and enjoy the OAVs which will also be trash, but sillier. And, as in the case of this OAV, have more Yuri fodder. It will also likely have the Sunrise Reset we all loathe and abhor, as Arika’s love and belief and faith and hope and lots of other intangible good things completely dispels the largely pointless display of strength shown by the bad guy/gal/entity. Just like Mai Hime. Because Arika is the H-E-R-O.
Okay, so this OAV focuses on the doing in Elias, home to our favorite President/Otome comedy pair, Yukino and Haruka. I have long loved Haruka, from the moment she fought her own death long enough to haul off and belt Shizuru in Mai HiMe. I have to respect that kind of bull-headed tenacity. I like Otome‘s Haruka even better. In the beginning of this OAV, we learn that I am not alone.
Elias is in the middle of a terrorist threat. Chie (whose “cool” rating bounces up and down like a heart meter during the Tour De France during this episode) has developed “Operation Silent” in order to surround and disarm the terrorists. So, of course Haruka shows up with a giant megaphone and starts screaming at them. Stupid? Yes. I loved it – laughed like a hyena just for the fact that Haruka has a *giant megaphone* stowed in her tank.
As I said, I am not alone in this – when Yukino’s rival for the Presidency shows up (with ladder-climbing ex-evil Otome Tomoe in tow) the watching crowds shout him down saying that they LIKE the Yukino/Haruka combination – it’s goverment and entertainment all at once. The crowds go on to cheer Marshal Haruka because she’s 100% Haruka and nothing else.
In the middle of this tense, highly realistic scenario we find that Arika is one of the people on the bus being held hostage. She does not yet know this, because she is sound asleep. When she does wake up, she immediately gives up her identity, and the fact that she can’t materialize anymore, because Mashiro is missing. Always a bright bulb, our little Arika. Chie is about ready to explode with frustration, when Operation Silent begins.
Yukino, who had gone out, bravely, insanely, to speak to the terrorists alone, ends up with Arika on the bus, having been traded for all the innoncents who have been set free. There ensues a very touchy-feely conversation whose sole purpose is to remind us that Yukino and Haruka are a couple. This becomes important in a second.
There’s lots of shininess as the Otome all swing into action – and an extra measure of kaboom and swoosh when a “Child” suddenly appears and attacks everyone. (Yes, like a “Child” from Mai HiMe only, not.)
Chie’s Otome powers appear to have turned her into Saint Tail, a joke which very few people will get, but the ones I care about will, so I don’t care. Magician Chie is one the one hand quite sexy and on the other mind-bogglingly stupid. But it makes for great fanart. “Hey Aoi, watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat!” …Another reference that no one will get. Still doesn’t matter, I’m on a roll!
When Yukino’s life is more endangered than it was before, Haruka moves heaven and earth to save her – their coupleness is reaffirmed in the perfect love perfect trust and perfect understanding they have with one another, which ends up in the cool screencap above.
So, when Haruka goes down, like all the Otome before her, we actually feel *bad*. Because we get to see how truly brave and yes, insane, but powerful, loyal yadda yadda she is – and how much she really loves Yukino. Like her “death” in HiME Haruka’s moment of being a hero in Zwei was full of win.
The end of the OAV leaves us with one less powerful Otome in our arsenal, but a last minute appearance by the one person who was missing will surely even the score. (No brain cells will be needed for the final OAV, I’m thinking. “I believe in you, Nina! “I believe in you, Arika!” Arrrrhhhhhhhh!!!!!! Whoosh! We win. Yay.)
Art – 8
Character – 8
Story – who cares, I mean really
Yuri – 6
Service – 6
Overall – 8
Peronally, I LOVED this OAV. Loved it with all my love. Yukino and Haruka 4tw.