Yuri Anime: My Hime, Volume 6 (English)

October 18th, 2007

You wake up on the wrong side of the bed, stub your toe on the dresser and almost choke on your cereal. When you sit down to watch anime under circumstances like that, the *last* thing in the world you want is something happy and carefree. No, you want to wallow neck deep in someone’s life that sucks more than yours does.

Welcome to My HiME, Volume 6.

Despite the uptick on the misery quotient, this is my favorite of all of the volumes for this series. And my deepest thanks to Ted who provided it for review and the entertainment of all Yuri-kind.

Mai’s life isn’t getting any better and now, as Nagi predicted ever so snarkily, the HiME find themselves turning on one another. Nagi sort of misread the feminine mind there when he told them that the winner gets Highlander-esque powers. Because they didn’t really care about that. But once a whole bunch of manipulative assholes dig their fingers into a situation like this, and the natural inability of the human under pressure to think clearly, with the addition of hormones and outside stress levels, you just know someone is going down.

And down they go.

Despite the losses from our ranks in this volume, there are some really great moments.

One of the best has got to be when Mai and Mikoto accidentally witness Akira and Takumi in an embarrassingly tender moment. We know Akira is a girl, but they don’t, so it has a little gender-bendiness to add to the titillation and cringe-making cuteness.

Of course, for Yuri fans, this volume also offers the horribly over-used, abused and mused upon scenes where we learn, at last, what we already knew – that Shizuru is very gay for Natsuki. Really? We’re shocked. SHOCKED, I tell ya. We also get to see Shizuru jump all sorts of aquariums of sharks and go from competent and crushy to ragingly mad rapist and psychotic murderer. Hey, but she’s so cool – clearly Natsuki’s an idiot for passing that up.

(Which makes me wonder why there was never any hue, cry or outrage that Shizuru was the tedious psychotic lesbian stereotype? When Sharon Stone did it, everyone screamed in anger. Why did everyone continue to idolize Shizuru when she went batshit crazy? I know why *I* liked her. She has a polearm and I like psychotic women. But that’s me. Surely that can’t apply to every nutball in Yuri fandom? ^_^)

This is probably not a spoiler anymore (and all my posts are at least partial spoilers, and I will say some mildly spoilery stuff after this as well,) but I imagine that someone will get pissed at me for writing it (again). So if you do not want massive spoilers, stop reading here and pick up again after the second set of thre asterisks.

***

Some extra spoiler space for the weak of constitution

As much as Shizuru’s descent into madness is interestingly animated, with nice background music, lots of purple lighting and a cool polearm. It is Yukino’s defeat and Haruka’s reaction that makes this volume purest win.

Shizuru defeats Yukino heartlessly (and somewhat pointlessly, as well. Yukino was never a threat to Natsuki in any way. But try reasoning with a madwoman….)

As we all knew, Yukino’s most important person is Haruka and immediately, she begins to disappear. Of course, she has no idea at all what’s going on, but she gets all the points in the world from for forging ahead and punching Shizuru up the conk as she fades.

If that was not your favorite moment, well, then, you’re not coming over for lunch anytime soon. That’s all I’m saying. ^_^

That moment was so win, that clearly the writers realized that they had made the wrong person in that pair a HiME. They corrected the oversight for Mai Otome. ^_^

Extra spoiler space on this side for symmetry.

***

Other stuff happens too. We delve into mostly every HiME’s backstory and find that each one is essentially human, and therefore manipulable. And Miyu gets resurrected, because, we need Ayanami Rei clones in order for this to be a real anime. Also Mashiro turns out to be something other than what she seems.

The DVD extras are sort of interesting and sort of not. The first is a long, slow, lingering look at an inexplicably bound and hunkified Reito. No hollow-chested lad here – he’s so muscular he looks western. I imagine that this was service for the three gay guys who watched this series ’cause let’s face it, no one but me likes the hunky guys – everyone else seems to go gaga for the hollow-chested lads. Blecch. Next up is a retrospective by Natsuki about how much she treasures Shizuru’s friendship. She is clearly talking about friendship and nothing more, but that hasn’t stopped hordes of ShizNat fans from pointing out that she is also talking about Shizuru and not, say, her mother. The last extra is a bunch of words randomly spoken over pictures of Midori and Mai in bikinis.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 7
Characters – 7
Yuri – 7
Service – 7

Overall – 7

So, sure, we all get beat over the head with the misery stick and sure our “best lesbian candidate goes nuts (along with mostly everyone else) and sure the rewards for lesbian love are death, destruction and despair.

But hey, it’s a great volume! ^_^;

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16 Responses

  1. neo_hrtgdv says:

    “Which makes me wonder why there was never any hue, cry or outrage that Shizuru was the tedious psychotic lesbian stereotype?”
    Maybe (and just maybe) it’s because she is an anime character and gets suspended disbelief about her madness, I don’t think its the same to see a psychotic woman in real life than it is to see a Shizuru animated (plus I loved her snake Child). Maybe this is why Chikane who did around the same got the protection that a rapist female character would NOT have had in an actual movie. but those are just my thoughts.

    About your favorite scene. I also like Haruka a lot (in general) and she gets a nice scene right before.. ohh! spoiler >.>

  2. Kieli says:

    Umm, actually there was lots of nasty commentary back and forth about Shizuru (and I still maintain that there is no concrete evidence whatsoever that she “raped” Natsuki…the implication still makes me bristle). Animesuki erupted in a near war about that particular part that lasted quite a long time.

    Since you don’t usually frequent the forums, it stands to reason that you missed out on the brouhaha. Sadly, after AS was hacked, much of the diatribes were lost.

  3. Koalina says:

    in the “Mai Hime novel animation” or something like that , the author makes clear that Natsuki is IN LOVE with Shizuru…

  4. punistation says:

    Yukino lost?

    I too am shocked (SHOCKED!). I was SO sure she had the winning personality and was paired with just the right pokemon to beat ’em all and claim the prize.

    I mean *c’mon*, her pet had not just ONE tentacle, but MANY! And it sporred stuff that let her SEE things! How could she lose?

  5. AnimeJock says:

    Mai Hime is definitely one of my new favorites that I stumbled on a couple of months ago. I saw the whole series in one sitting one weekend and the Shizuru-Natsuki build-up was the primary reason. I am one of those ga-ga fans over the two of them. I think with these episodes in particular, they really revealed Natsuki’s vulnerable side and although Shizuru goes slightly crazy (understatement), we fully understand why.

    It’s clear that Natsuki cares for Shizuru although as most of us know it’s not necessarily the same love that Shizuru feels for her. Yuri fans really try to look between the lines with these two, and god knows how many times I’ve tried to convince myself of their mutual love for eachother. As it was mentioned before, apparently in a book and I think a drama CD states what we all want to hear, but most of all we want to see!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Haruka is cool in all her iterations, but one thing that made her HiME version extra cool was that she kicked so much ass despite *not* having any special powers or pet monsters. She was just a normal, ordinary human — and yet she *kicked a tank.* *Twice.* Or was it three times?

    P.S. My word verification is “oishi”. How curious.

  7. > Since you don’t usually frequent the forums, it stands to reason that you missed out on the brouhaha.

    I don’t read the forums because people give me agita, but I absolutely was aware of the noise. I was thinking of the larger issue – not whether Shizuru molested Natsuki, but why weren’t people outraged that yet another cool lesbian character, had been turned into damaged and dangerous goods.I was thinking of it from the perspective of “lesbian representation in media” rather than “did she or didn’t she?”

    Shizuru *is* clearly unbalanced, whether she simply laid down naked with Natsuki or comitted an act that was more criminal.

    There are two kinds of lesbian characters in western mainstream media – the homicidal maniac and the victim of a homicidal maniac. I was commenting that, instead of sticking with the “cooler, better looking, more intelligent and powerful” lesbian stereotype typical of anime, that MH had strayed into western media stereotypes.

    Again, this was corrected for Mai Otome, as was the fact that Shiho was a better character when she was a raving lunatic than she was when she was a whiny kid.

  8. Kieli says:

    I don’t read the forums because people give me agita, but I absolutely was aware of the noise. I was thinking of the larger issue – not whether Shizuru molested Natsuki, but why weren’t people outraged that yet another cool lesbian character, had been turned into damaged and dangerous goods.I was thinking of it from the perspective of “lesbian representation in media” rather than “did she or didn’t she?”
    Ah, I see your point. Though I do remember some of us raising that issue at the time, we were drowned out by the influx of Shizuru hate after that episode. People really lost their minds about the whole deal. It was difficult to have a reasonable discussion about it amidst the hue and cry of “rapist” from the Natsuki fanboys (and probably a few fangirls).

    Shizuru *is* clearly unbalanced, whether she simply laid down naked with Natsuki or comitted an act that was more criminal.

    I think Shizuru became unhinged in her quest to protect her most important person from her own self-destruction. In trying so desperately to keep Natsuki from harm and win her affections, things went horribly awry. I found it interesting that Shiho’s insanity (she DID try to kill Mai, after all) was forgiven, for all intents and purposes, but Shizuru was practically burned at the stake.

    I don’t think Shizuru was always mental. I just think that stress of the very precarious position all of the HiMEs were put in just broke her. Granted, I wanted to see her less perfect side, but psycho killer wasn’t really what I had in mind. -_-

    Again, this was corrected for Mai Otome, as was the fact that Shiho was a better character when she was a raving lunatic than she was when she was a whiny kid.
    Ugh, Otome Shiho I could at least find some humour in. HiME Shiho made me want to gouge out my ears with a blunted pencil.

  9. patrique says:

    Which makes me wonder why there was never any hue, cry or outrage that Shizuru was the tedious psychotic lesbian stereotype?

    Actually, there was. A lot of fans thought that Shizuru’s sudden change of behavior was totally out of character and obviously nothing but a warning that lesbian crushes lead to all kinds of bad things. I myself also wonder why lesbians in anime or manga rarely try to get closer to their objects of affection in a more normal fashion, like giving candy or flowers… or (gasp) asking them out on a date. Maybe it is becaused the male writers think that lesbians are from another planet or something.

  10. EK says:

    “in the “Mai Hime novel animation” or something like that , the author makes clear that Natsuki is IN LOVE with Shizuru…”

    Agreed. It’s already stated in official interviews and in the book that Natsuki returned her love. In Japan, it’s clear and understood that they are a couple. Only on this side of the alantic, people are still debating about their relationship.

    Though I’m glad they corrected the physco representation in Mai Otome.

  11. Frea says:

    Beyond the convoluted mess that is the relationship of Shizuru and Natsuki, it is Haruka for the awesomest win evar.

    In the beginning, she was nothing but a loud-mouthed complaint fest (as we were supposed to believe) but maaan, when stuff started heating up.. ohhh, wait a minute now. She had me way back in episode 14 when she took on an armed guard and kicked a freakin’ tank. This champion of the non-HiME could do nothing less than rage, rage against the dying of the green sparkles.

    And the fact that the HiME thing gets completely dropped in her lap at the last second, she’s bursting into sparkles, has no powers whatsoever, but she still manages to headbutt that bubuzuke woman, is all the more win.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I weep… Mai gave up hunky, muscular, metrosexual REITO! for, of all people, Tate? What the hell is up with her damn it? Does she have no taste?

  13. Anonymous says:

    “”in the “Mai Hime novel animation” or something like that, the author makes clear that Natsuki is IN LOVE with Shizuru…”

    Agreed. It’s already stated in official interviews and in the book that Natsuki returned her love. In Japan, it’s clear and understood that they are a couple. Only on this side of the alantic, people are still debating about their relationship.”

    Pandering to the fanbase. You might as well suggest that the final stage of devolution the Tenchi Muyo franchise reached was representative of the first OVAs.

    Mai and Natsuki should have been the couple from that show. Everything in the first episodes is pointing to it. Then it became necessary to please the id of the home viewers, and HiME went off the rails and gave us the fandom we know today.

  14. ippikiookami says:

    Mai and Natsuki should have been the couple from that show. Everything in the first episodes is pointing to it. Then it became necessary to please the id of the home viewers, and HiME went off the rails and gave us the fandom we know today.

    That’s what some ‘MaiNat’ fans want to believe LOL. But if you were to look at all the early concepts from the art guide books for Mai Hime as well as interviews of the director, it was always intended to be Shizuru and Natsuki.

    I remember in the early concepts, Mai was also armed with a gun and there was some major, spiteful (I wanna kill you) rivalry between Mai and Natsuki. It’s a shame they didn’t leave that in there but as for the first episode indicating Mai and Natsuki? Nahhh…..LOL

    Mai Hime was a series of red herrings and just full on surprises…the screenwriter wanted to keep everyone on their toes. If there were scenes that wreaked of obvious ‘story paths’ it would be completely different in the next episode or two.

    Now Mai Otome on the other hand waas just completely predictable and it was the intention of the director and screenwriter. Mai Otome was a parody type show anyway and what too many people don’t know was that Mai Hime was also a ‘parady’ show.

    After speaking with one of the international distribution liaisons (from Sunrise) when they visited our Bandai location, I found out that Mai Hime was a loose spoof of sCRYed….can you believe that? LOL

    –Lone Wolf

  15. Burnouts3s3 says:

    Hahaha!
    Well said, Ms. Friedman.
    I have to agree with you on Shizuru’s behavior. The writers did such a good job with her in the beginning of the series and they changed her into the crazy lesbian stereotype. But overall, they manage to redeem her in some artificial way.
    But again, splendid review.

  16. krakas says:

    bubuzuke lady LOL

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