My-Hime Manga, Volume 3 (English)

March 29th, 2009

Let’s talk positives and negatives, strengths and weaknesses.

The original Mai HiME anime was good. It has some clear areas of strength – shiny, colorful action and strong, likeable characters. The intense dramatic angst could be seen as either a positive or negative depending your particular interest, but for the moment I’ll reckon it as a positive, because it definitely worked. Significantly negative for me was the fact that the ending made all my (and the characters’) emotional strain irrelevant. And, again for me, the service got pretty tiring pretty fast. I’m sure there’s someone out there for whom the implication that Natsuki has no underwear on is utterly thrilling.

The plot of Mai HiME was not simple, but it was not hideously complex. in traditional battle manga style, when one enemy was neutralized, another, greater enemy was realized and, in typical fashion, the bad guys are always one step ahead of the good guys. The plot was a weakness, but not one I hold against it, since it’s typical of it’s kind.

In stark contrast, the My-HIME manga is full of an inexplicable, overcomplicated and insensible plot, unlikeable characters and overdrawn action. Above all, it’s greatest weakness is that the dialogue frequently makes no sense at all. Sure, with time and effort, you can kind of figure out what’s going on…but screw that. *You’re* the storyteller. You tell me what I need to know, don’t make me go hunting for key pieces of information hidden in the babble.

In fact, the impression I get from My-Hime, Volume 3 is this:

Person A: I will use my super power to do something amazing and stupid!

Person B: Yes, thanks, I will have the tuna salad for lunch.

Time after time, I stare at the pages and say, “Whah?”

And before you ask – no, it is not the translation. I read the original and it was just as bad. In fact, props to the translator and adaptor who probably were forced to drink heavily to get through the constipation that passes for dialogue in this series.

There is no Yuri in this volume. Shizuru appears on – maybe – two or three pages and Haruka and Yukino barely appear either. As they are the more Yuri couple in this series, a chapter without them is a sad and lonely chapter.

So. What exactly happens in this volume? Honestly…I’m not sure. A random hot springs nudity scene suddenly turns into a cave-in and everyone runs around screaming. This is folowed by the “Mai does too much” plot side-by-side with the “Tate’s birthday” plot. The end of the manga brings a shift of focus. Mai learns that if a Child is defeated, the Key is destroyed, so she tells Tate to leave. The Searrs Foundation (and thus Alyssa and Miyu) show up, as do Shiho, importuning Tate to leave with her. Natsuki’s mother mysteriously returns as a part cyborg HiME, from ten years long absence. The Searrs Foundation stop the Orphans, Nagi is beheaded (woo-hoo! best part of the volume.) All of this followed by a completey random bathing suit service page.

The End.

You wanna know what happened, really? You read it and tell me.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 5
Characters – 5
Yuri – 0
Service – 5

Overall – 5

Completely accidentally, today we must again thank Okazu Hero Elaine B for her contribution to our collective confusion. Thanks Elaine for sponsoring today’s review!

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9 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Mai Hime manga is a hideous train wreck. That you could read this far and not throw yourself off a cliff is a testimony to you having a stronger stomach than myself. I got two chapters in and was forced to run screaming into the night.

    (I loved the anime, though the failure of it to at least have some lasting emotional impact on the characters was a huge downer. My response, of course, is to write massive fanfiction, because that’s the internet way.)

    John Biles

  2. “though the failure of it to at least have some lasting emotional impact on the characters was a huge downer.”

    What are you talking about? I for one think that the lasting emotional impact is present in the end. Unlike most plot convenient “Reset Switches” that plague stories like this one, at least the characters remember what has transpired and move forward with their second chances.

    Too convenient? Yes, but at least Sailor Moon didn’t wipe everyone’s memory so they could all have a normal life. :P

  3. Turtle says:

    Well at least it has a pretty cover ^^ but serious that manga is bad and if I remember correctly it gets worse. At the end I even started skipping over dialogue just to get it over with.

    That’s one tough job you have…

    But speaking about characters that come back from the dead, do you plan to review Cutie Honey the Live once more now that it’s finished?

  4. @Ted – Mai (and the viewer) were forced to endure harrowing loss after loss. She was stripped of everything she had and then, in a handwave, it was all back. No real explanation, barely an apology from Shizuru and we all live happily after ever. I felt that was pat and ridiculous, as well as an insult to the audience’ intelligence.

    In contrast, in Sailor Moon, Usagi specifically desired that everyone return to a “normal” life, unaware of what they had gone through. Also a stupid idea and ultimately unsucessful, but she is only 14 and never a good decision-maker.

  5. @Erica – Well, I’m just a viewer with an opinion and I totally understand your reasons behind not liking Mai-Hime’s resolution. I myself also seek justice and closure for the bad deeds characters do! I guess I didn’t watch this show with a high degree of intelligence to be insulted with since the series felt like a show I’ve watched many times before.

    And compared to the likes of say…Darth Vader, Shizuru isn’t really all that bad. :)

  6. @Ted – You’re right, Shizuru wasn’t bad, I had just hoped more than a “tee-hee” as an apology. :-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    In a way, I actually liked Shizuru’s “brushing off” the issue in the end, just because really, it wasn’t a fitting time for them to go over wrongs and apologies. They’re on giant mecha animal things flying in the air, about to blow a star out of the sky. Really, not the place for resolving issues.

    I guess I kind of assumed that there was resolution AFTER the ending (revealed through fanfiction, hehe). I know that the writers should have put it into the show, or at least hinted at it, but with less than an episode to go, how much conflict management could they realistically have accomplished?

  8. @Anonymous – Some? Any? :-)

  9. I, uh, just looked at the pictures. It felt pretty well drawn, but after the first volume, i didn’t feel that the story had any particular substance. i guess that’s a vote for the story being an entire train wreck. the anime was much better, in terms of story; not as many super powered battles between girls in skimpy outfits, though.

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