How many of the Mai series have you followed? I slogged through some of the HiME and Otome manga before calling it quits and I avoided Arashi completely. (For some reason, the manga is so much more vile than the anime and light novels, it’s genuinely intolerable to me.) I’ve watched all the anime, read the light novel and listened to two of the Drama CDs. Much of which I have reviewed here at Okazu. :-)
Which brings us to today’s topic, the newest of the anime releases, Mai Otome 0~S.ifr, OVA 1. (Available in English from Funimation.) This series clearly looks like a step back in time, an origin myth if you will. And like all epic beginnings, it starts off with good epic CGI, epic action and epic background music.
Sifr Fran, our heroine, starts the episode off having been kidnapped by our old friends, the Schwarz. She is saved by a Windbloom combo of Bruce Windbloom and his Meister Rena, with an assist from Sister Shion and her Meister Raquel and one of the Five Pillars of Garderobe, Elliot Chandler.
Once Sifr is safe and sound, we introduce everyone, including Arika’s eventual mother Rena Yumemiya, who pretty much doesn’t look at all like what we would expect. And if you have been keeping up on all of the different iterations, you may recognize Shion and Raquel as Shion and Mayo from the Mai HiME: Destiny light novel. For sanity’s sake, I refuse to even think of that at the moment – it’s just easier to take S.ifr as a whole new ball of wax and learn everyone the way they are presented to us.
Rena is greeted with much Yuri loving by Elliot. Apparently Elliot and Rena were in school together and Elliot misses Rena *a lot*. This is followed by some teasing of Shion, that in a lot of ways was very annoying, because even as they were implying that Yuri relationships exist in both Garderobe and Church, they explicitly state that its forbidden in the Church, and it’s a dirty little Otome secret. UGH.
We’re also treated to some bath service and nudity, because apparently we like that kind of thing.
Sifr is still the target of Schwarz, and while Elliot appears to be on our side, she receives an order from the Garderobe headmistress to kill Sifr if Schwarz gets a hold of her. Schwarz helpfully attacks, there’s some good action that Sunrise animates quite well, much better than the “peacetime” scenes, all of which precipitates two things. Peace-loving, violence-hating Rena is forced to materialize fully and fight off a Miyu unit, M-9, and Elliot is forced to show her hand. Rena wins the first battle, and ties on the second and the world explodes as Schwarz flies off with Sifr.
Personally, I’m betting no one died.
Lots of stuff to come in the second OVA, including Rena getting her sapphire robe, and erm… stuff.
Art – 8
Story – 7
Music – 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – 5
Service – 5
Overall – 7.5
For a first episode, I think S.ifr had pretty much every bang we can expect for our buck. I particularly liked the fact that there were less panty shots than usual, (replaced with the slightly less scuzzy obsession with adult breasts) and there were definitely more adult characters per square inch than in all the other Mai series. I’m looking forward to getting to know Garderobe’s new Headmistress, especially. She has EPL written all over her. ^_^