So there I was, all ready to wallow in what I felt was a well-deserved bout of Schadenfreude, so I popped Mai HiME, Volume 3 into the player. Well, pfft on me, because this volume was primarily fluff with an emphasis on comedy. Oh, sure, there was a little bit of plot and character development…and the kernel of what will later become a bigger crisis of conscience for Mikoto. But mostly it’s just stupid. ^_^;
The first episode is a a suspect “everyone is at the beach” episode. Mai is lifeguarding as one of her many jobs, when every single other character in the series just happens to drop by. This episode is notable for Shizuru’s harem who compete to put lotion on “Shizuru-oneesama.” Natsuki becomes the butt (pun intended) of yet another joke for basically no reason except that no one slaps writers when they add stuff like that in. We really need to retrain them a bit.
This was followed by an Iron Chef parody with more than its fair share of “girl trips and knocks cake over” gags. In fact, I think the episode used up every anime ever’s share of that particular joke. For ever. The only genuinely funny thing about the episode were the cakes at the end. They were just…funny. The “funny” Orphen eating the cakes…not so much. The punchline is that it is Mai’s birthday. The surprise party waiting for her at the end of the day keeps the episode from having to end wallowly and maudlin.
The last two episodes revolve around several things: there appears to be a vampire attacking girls on campus, (or perhaps a pervert – in any case, the girls are found stripped, with holes in their neck) and Miyu’s relationship with Alyssa (is it bad of my to like her better as a bird?) Haruka mobilizes the student council to try to catch the vampire and the HiMe mobilize themselves to fight the Orphen it clearly is. Natuski helpfully gives us incomplete information about the “1st District” which is also involved, and the “1st District” folks helpfully ramble on about a new Golden Age that will, of course, require a massive downsizing effort in the number of people on the planet. This never makes any sense to me anyway, but when Miyu tells us that the Searss Foundation already runs the planet, my thought was, “well what the hell do they want then – they’ve already got the world.” I’m sure the Golden Age will be ever so much better/different than what we have now. @_@
The volume climaxes with a big throwdown between Miyu, whose name is really a silly acronym that rivals HiME for “huh?” points and Mikoto, Natsuki and Mai. This is what, episode 12? And there’s 26 in the series. So…you can guess that it’s a draw.
Notable in this last episode is Yukino’s discussion of “like” with a fairly clueless Mikoto. Yukino realizes that her “like” of Haruka is in fact the kind *we* like, while Mikoto will now begin to obsess about her own understanding of “like” for the rest of the series.
Oh, and we get another HiME. She might have been more of a surprise, except that she was getting an awful lot of screentime all of a sudden.
The DVD extras were marginally interesting. They are basically, as Serge describes most ero-games, “Powerpoint” presentations. And the voiceovers frequently have nothing to do with the underwear or bathing suit shots on the screen. But Youko-sensei’s verbalization of our opinions of Midori (she’s cracked, but kind of fun) and Yukino’s discussion of what Haruka means to her were very decent.
Art – 5
Character – 7
Story – 6
Yuri – 3
Service – 6
Overall – 7
I know it’s not fair, but the more I watch of Mai HiME, the more I really like Mai Otome. Yukariko is so much better as a teacher than a nun.