Nothing like finally wrapping up a review of a series I first reviewed 2 years ago. Such a sense of accomplishment, I tell ya. Thanks to Ted for not only making this review possible, but for the nifty gift box, as well! (Daniel, Ted’s ahead of you now – quick buy me more stuff to catch up! LOL) Here’s a link to the nifty box version, if you, dear reader, decide that you want one too. The picture is linked to the DVD-only version. And btw, Bandai – I think the nifty box for the last DVD makes a lot more sense than for the first.
I watched this DVD on the plane. I figured that after sitting through an episode of Baccano my rowmates would be thrilled to have something so tame. lol It kind of had all the bells and whistles people who are not anime fans expect from anime – gratuitous service, bloodless violence, colorful battle scenes and lots and lots of tears.
Yes, this volume covers the final, dramatic battles between the HiME, the Obsidian Prince revealing another absurd plot to create a new world, and all the other stuff we were supposed to care about. But since we really only cared about Natsuki and Shizuru, I’ll jump to that.
I’m not a ShizNat fan, but I really think Natsuki stepped up here. It was the right thing to do and the right way to do it. I’m never going to be happy at Shizuru’s behavior, as logical as it wasn’t. Crazy people are crazy, so her “Since I think you’re rejecting me, I’ll just have to kill you” scans pretty much as what one would expect. But, bleah. I did like the Kiyohime reference with the bell. That was a nice touch. One of the few in this volume. Also, I note that the translaton made Natsuki come down on the Yuri side of the equation, which was different than how I heard it originally – more on the, thanks, I’m happy you felt that way, but I can’t love you that way. I’m fine with this version of it.
In episodes 24 and 25, most of the characters undergo some serious self-reflection. That part was very good. And much of the rest was just typical fighting anime blah blah blah. I was extremely disappointed that, when Reito tells Mai that she won’t be able to call her Child anymore, she didn’t say that she could because the most important person to her now was herself. That *had* been where all the stuff that came before was leading, it was what Takumi said to her and Tate, and it seemed like a REALLY big ball to drop.
I found the “HiME sentai” team unforgivable for three reasons:
1) They were pointless. At least in Otome, they did a thing. In this, they basically rush off to land and watch Mai cry.
2) The loss of an incredible opportunity for Shizuru to restablish her sanity and apologize deeply to everyone for the horror she put them through. Instead the cute face and false apology made me want to scream.
3) Natsuki called them a sentai team. Right.
The MOST pointless thing was the final scene between Mai and Mikoto, where Mai is emotionally brutalized for no good fucking reason whatsoever. I was so livid at that, that I had a hard time not putting my fist through the computer screen.
And the final thing that was simply unforgivable throughout were the eyebrows. WTH was going on with their eyebrows? They were horrible.
The epilogue begins off okay, but quickly devolves to the reset that so bugged me and most of my friends. So much character development had occurred in 24 and 25, that to sort of ignore all that and move right back to the same people behaving the same reeked of pathological denial.
The final moments of the series were sweet, as Mai, Mikoto and Natsuki – all smiling – run off to do something fun for a change and a girl from the middle school walks by with a clueless look. We’ll get to see a lot more of that clueless look in Otome since the girl is Arika. And the epilogue was as disturbing in places as it was cute in others. I thought Haruka and Yukino’s moment was great, and I was particularly fond of Akira slicing the apple at Takumi’s bedside. Miyu and Nao as nuns was just cosplay to set up a gag.
The extras were re-visits with the three stars of the series, Natsuki, Mai and Mikoto, with bump-up in the Yuri for Natsuki, and nice self-recognition for Mai and Mikoto. All about love. No other extras, except for the nifty box.
Art – 7, except for those eyebrows
Story – 7, with points off for all those balls on the floor so 5
Characters – 7, with points off for the step back at reset, 6
Yuri – 6
Service – 6 (My seatmate on the left looked up just as naked Natsuki appeared on screen. She laughed. The guy on my right was as turned far in his seat away from me as physically possible. lol)
Overall – 7, but honestly, it was rife with lost opportunity
I think, if I had to pick one thing I really liked about this final volume, it would be the fights between Childs. They were shiny and colorful.
Oh, and by the way – Daniel, I’m only joking!