Archive for the Mai Hime Category


My-HiME Manga, Volume 5 (English)

June 10th, 2009

My absolute favorite panel of My-HiME Volume 5 is the first page. We see TWO gaudily dressed women, arrogantly posed, smiling condescendingly and clearly labeled “Three Cosmic Beauties.”

Eventually we learn why the third of the three Cosmic Beauties is not present in this panel, and I agree that a label stating “Two of the Three Cosmic Beauties” would not have been as dramatic, but…still. Totally typical of the whole My-HiME experience. ^_^

In case there hasn’t been enough screaming in the previous four volumes, the decibels are upped a few extra notches for this one. Pretty much everything is said in REALLY BIG LETTERS!!! so we know they really mean it. Nagi returns from the dead only to be killed again, which is pretty darn satisfying and, since there’s only one person in the whole world Mai loves more than anything, of course she has to fight that person. Tate gets both girls, sort of, and they beat the bad guy and save the world. Yay us.

Haruka and Yukino have a shiny hero moment which ends with Haruka’s apparent death, but that is of course reversed in a totally Haruka moment at the end of the volume. Second best line of this volume – Shizuru, at Haruka’s reappearance, “Waste of a good funeral.” Youko and Midori get a snuggly moment which pleased me, since they always seemed a more likely pairing to me than Midori and some random old guy.

In conclusion, ShizNat fans should avoid this series like the plague, as should anyone with a shred of dignity. Haruka x Yukino fans will find some sparkly bits hidden among the muck.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 5
Characters – 5
Yuri – 1
Service – 5

Overall – 5

I shout out, well mumble anyway, thanks to Okazu Superhero Bruce McF for sponsoring today’s review!

Oh, best line of the volume? In the author’s note at the very end, Kimura-sensei recalls, “Ken-etsu-sensei kept saying disheartening things like ‘Let’s try not to get cancelled!’ when we rode on the train together.” Says everything you need to know about this series, IMHO. ^_^;

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My-Hime Manga, Volume 4 (English) Guest Review, by Jason T.

April 20th, 2009

So I was bitching rather genially about My-Hime, Volume 4 on Facebook and Twitter and got an email in reply from writer/editor/manga expert and all-around fun guy Jason Thompson.

He agreed vehemently that this was a dreadful example of manga and went so far as to graciously allow me to use his description of this series from as yet unpublished, Manga: The Complete Guide materials. I therefore offer up to you as our latest guest reviewer, the pithy thoughts of Mr. Jason Thompson:

MY-HIME (Mai-HiME, “Dancing Girl/My Princess”) (舞-HiME) • Noboru Kimura (story), Sato Ken-etsu (art) • TokyoPop (2006-2008) • Akita Shoten (Weekly Shônen Champion, 2004-2005) • Shônen Sci-Fi Battle • 18+ (language, graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations)

Adaptation of the anime series. Yuuichi transfers to a special school where certain girls possess an awesome power: the ability to summon a “child,” a big mechanical monster, when in the presence of the right boy, called the “key.” Yuuichi turns out to be the “key” of not one but two hime girls, Mai and Natsuki, who bicker over him in endless superpowered catfights. Sloppily drawn and crammed with too many female characters to keep track of, My-Himehime is Japanese for “princess” but here stands for “Highly Advanced Materializing Equipment”—is a tedious manga adaptation of a cynical “high-concept” anime, mixing “harem” romantic comedies and battle manga about people who team up with mecha or monsters. Characters we don’t care about fight one another, make passes at Yuuichi and tear up the landscape, leading up to an incoherent climactic fight with the aliens from the “Princess Star” which is the origin of the himes. The books are padded out with interviews with the anime staff, one of whom tells the reader “Reading My-Hime isn’t enough, so go for the anime, the figures, and radio and become a My-Hime Ph.D!” The worst feature of the art is the slack-jawed inexpressive faces.

.5 (HALF A STAR! -_- )

Thank you Jason for stabbing taking a stab at this series. Your brevity should have been matched by the series itself. Despite the craptasticness of the manga, I would like to thank Okazu Hero Elaine B. for bravely wading in and sponsoring today’s review!

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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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My-Hime Manga, Volume 2 (English)

February 11th, 2009

The cast of characters grows, the battle rages and, unexpectedly, there’s at least one something that we can twist into a Yuri-ish thing in Volume 2 of My HiME.

In Volume 1, as you may remember Tate, the least interesting character since Tenchi learned that a peaceful life will never be his, with his magical ability to call disaster and calamity from the heavens down upon himself and everyone around him. By which I mean he’s the most important person in the story.

After formally introducing Nao, Mikoto and Akane, an inexplicable duel pops up between Natsuki and Haruka in which they are each meant to represent their own team of HiMEs but is, in some more nefarious way, the by-product of Chairwoman Mashiro’s meddling. Nagi appears, has his name spelled two different ways, is waved over everyone’s head as a threat, then disappears. And finally, with a lot of sound and fury, Midori arrives.

(Thanks god for Akane, who remains the closest to a normal human. It’s good to know that at least one HiME isn’t completely broken.)

Shizuru’s affection for Natsuki is set on the back burner of the story, taken out only to provide a light Yuri coating to the two panels they spend in each other’s company.

But the big fight between Haruka and Natsuki offers a pleasant dollop of implied Yuri, when it quickly becomes a battle between Natsuki and Mai, who can’t play nice and share Tate, and Haruka and her own beloved key and another HiME in her own right, Yukino. Since we’ve already seen some less-than-subtle sexual implication about HiMEs and keys, we can draw our own conclusion about Haruka and Yukino. I’m sure you all know what my conclusion is. ^_^

In a few places in this volume, I found myself completely befuddled by either the story or the translation of the story but, after a moment, when I realized that I really honestly don’t care at *all* what the story itself is, it was a fine volume. Good luck if you do actually care what’s going on. My takeaway was that the writer didn’t really know what was going on, either and was making it up as he went along. ^_^ (My wife says, “Good for him for filling a book with derivative fluff!”)

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 3
Service – 5

Overall – 6

Many thanks to today’s sponsor and brand new Okazu Hero, Katherine H.! Your heroic efforts will be eternally memorialized on the Okazu Hero Roll – and email me for your very own Okazu Hero Badge!

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My-HiME Manga, Volume 1 (English)

December 30th, 2008

In Volume 1 of My Hime, strange things are afoot at Fuka Academy. Monsters are appearing, girls with magical powers are fighting…and all of it seems to surround one boy, a transfer student by the name of Yuuichro Tate.

Tate is trying to redeem himself after a series of unavoidable choices caused tragedy to both him and the girl who admired him most. Instead of redemption, Tate finds himself in the middle of a storm, in which exceptional girls with exceptional powers want him to provide them with the means to fight.

Unlike the My HiME anime, this story is not about Mai, or Natsuki, or Mikoto. And unlike the anime, the service here has a nasty edge. Welcome to Champion Red and it’s special brand of woman-hating seinen manga. Despite the fact that you can expect to see woman depantsed, and deshirted with steady frequency, and the occasional rape thrown in for good measure, there are still some things to like about My Hime. The story is similar enough to the anime, that you can at least follow it,and there’s no Duke Nagi putting women in chains and beating them, for one thing. But that’s not what I was referring to. What I was referring to, of course, is…the Yuri service.

Shizuru remains a decidely Yuri character, with fangirls falling over themselves to be close to her. She also remains eyes only for Natsuki, so if that’s a key feature of the My/Mai franchise for you, then rest assured. The implied frottage between Mikoto and Mai is of questionable value to me, but I think that for this manga’s audience it’s spot on for appeal.

And despite the fact that this manga series is not about any of the many interesting characters in My HiME, instead focusing on the least interesting character in the known universe, it’s really quite all right for a trashy fantasy about trashy fantasy. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 2
Service – 7

Overall – 6

Speaking of fangirls, I am a huge fangirl for today’s sponsor, Okazu superhero Ana M! She is the absolute bomb! And btw, please notice the spiffy new “Hero Roll” on the right sidebar. Become an Okazu superhero by sponsoring a review and you too can be enshrined there for our permanent admiration.

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