This review has been brought to you by the generosity of Okau Hero Brent A, I believe – there was no name on the shipping label. In any case, my sincere thanks for his generosity and kindness. This is another of the items off my Amazon Wish List, which I am exceedingly glad to review for you all, as promised. :-) If you would like to sponsor a review, just go ahead and choose something off my wish list – I’ll be sure to acknowledge you with genuine thanks and warm, fuzzy feelings.
So, in Volume 2 of My HiME, we continue filling in the ranks of HiME, get some backstory on a few of the characters and commit the first of what will be a series of heinous crimes against the viewers. The things that were good about this volume were also the things that were bad, so it was an interesting watch from my perspective.
Let’s talk technicals first. The subtitle issue was not resolved for Volume 2, so unless you have state of the art DVD players or computers, you will not be able to see the subtitles. Luckily, since I reviewed Volume 1 I did indeed get both a new DVD drive and new software. Not, you understand, so that I can watch this disk, but because my previous DVD burner began to melt. So, I was able to see the subtitles. And boy oh boy, I understand why they want them to be hard to see! Bandai…appears to be using the teeniest, most pixelated yellow subtitles they can find. I’m not asking for fancy text effects (Ogma knows they’re wasted on me) but I’d like to be able to *see* the subtitles. My laptop screen is 15″. I’m old. They were small and hard to read. And pixelated! That’s all I’m saying.
Once again., let me stress that the animation for My HiME, despite your faulty recollection, is *significantly* worse than that for Mai Otome. Really. If you think I’m lying, you just don’t remember. Because the animation for this volume is *awful*.
Volume 2 deals primarily with two things – the addition of two HiME who function for a *very* short time as foils for one another, and Mai’s personal backstory. The backdrop to all this is rain, so you know it’s dramatic. In fact, the first episode is called “Rain and Tears” in case you miss the point of just how dramatic it is.
But as fast as we gain HiME, we lose at least one in this volume and, in the process, we learn the true risk of being a HiME…that the person (not yourself) that is most important to you will disappear if you’re defeated. On the one hand, we gain a HiME who thinks of her role as a superheroine – and revels in it, much as she revels in her obvious lies about herself and, on the other hand, we lose a HiME who probably wouldn’t have hurt a fly otherwise.
The Monsters of the Day turn up the conflict a notch, Nagi continues to be irritating and wow – is it freakish watching this volume after having been so thoroughly brainwashed by Otome. The level of angst is SOOOOOOO high, that it was hard to take seriously, since I know that all the pain and suffering will…well, I won’t rant about it again. It just seems more like *this* is the fanfic now, where someone took all these happy-go-lucky Garderobe characters, made ’em kids, stuck ’em in a school and upped the angst.
Let me digress a bit and talk about angst. In my Fanfic Writing Workshop, which you can find on “Worldshaking” Fanfic (or at a con near you that is also near me), I discuss the concept of “hand of god” writing. Many people – especially young people, like very angst-heavy stories. There’s a lot of reasons for that that I won’t get into, but I will say this – from the author’s side angst is MUCH MUCH MUCH easier to write. You know the saying, “Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard”? This comes from the stand-up comic circuit and it is absolutely true for writing, as well. That’s why so much fanfic sounds like this “Person X is forced to react when Person Y is killed doing something or other.” That’s hand of god writing. To me, the very best writing of all is the kind that plays out in small details. So a lot of anime fails in terms of writing, for me, but some are better than others. I was all for My HiME’s hand of god until the end, where the entire series was invalidated. (Dammit, I promised not to rant again… oh well.)
I had completely forgotten that Nao was Mikoto’s age in HiME, that was really weird. LOL In any case, I found it a tad depressing to watch this volume this time, but if I treat it like a fanfic of Otome, it’s not so bad. ^_^
No Yuri, really, even if you squint and turn up the Yuri goggles, unless you’re counting Mikoto and Mai. Which I’m not.
Last up, the DVD extras. They were universally disgusting. Oh, wait, no, the last one wasn’t disgusting, just pathetic. I know that they are just service for the fanboys, but gawd…how do you guys stand it? I was gagging trying to get through them. (Just another good example of how what lesbians think is sexy and what guys think is sexy is nothing like the same thing…)
Art – 5
Character – 6
Story – 6
Yuri – 2
Service – 9
Angst – 8 and going up quickly from here on in.
Overall – 6