Archive for the Mai Hime Category


Drama CD: Mai HiME Destiny, Ryuu no Miko, Volume 2

August 28th, 2008

In Volume 1 of the Mai HiME Destiny Drama CD, everyone ran around screaming, with a few thoughts here and there for the mystery of the new girl with the Dragon handcuffs and the incredible power.

In Volume 2, all of that is set aside in favor of an extended investigation into who is taking, copying and selling pictures of the various girls with their underwear down. This issue takes up about half the CD. The short answer: It’s Tomoe.

The second half of the CD is far more interesting, as we actually briefly touch upon the mystery of Mayo and her powers. Because, it turns out, some of the photos appear to have been taken in the past – or perhaps the future. More importantly, there are people in the photos that are not *at* the school right now. Several of the older students and staff recall that Mayo’s powers were held by a previous student, the legendary Mashiro. And the equally legendary Yumemiya Arika is mentioned as being one of the people in the pictures.

Quite suddenly, a bunch of the characters find themselves in an alternate world (past, future, we don’t know) and we meet both Mashiro and Arika, who are exactly the same as in the Otome anime, except now they are the previously mentioned legendary former students of this Garderobe. Like Mai and Mikoto in Otome, this Mashiro and Arika simply live outside the confines of the normal world. Everyone is appalled to find that the legendary students act like a squabbling couple of 17 year olds, but then the dragon arrives!

Mayo’s powers as the Dragon’s priestess take a hold of her – and the Dragon, accompanied by severe winds, attacks. The wind is felt in Garderobe, where Fumi and Reito comment on what will befall them should the Dragon not be stopped.

Just as it looks like it’s too late to turn the tide, Shion leaps in and kisses Mayo, sealing her powers and putting Mayo to sleep. She admits to having had that ability since childhood (and so, admits to having known Mayo since childhood, which she had completely denied up until now.)

And you know…I don’t have the vaguest clue how the Drama CD ends. I think with Mashiro and Arika arguing. ^_^

This DCD is set up just like an anime epsiode – it has an opening scene, an OP, commercials, and EP and a “next time on…” segment. It also has more Yuri in the commercials for Mai Otome than it has in any of the actual story segments. At least once Shizuru makes suggestive comments to Natsuki, and Tomoe says something suggestive about Shizuru.

The best thing about this series is the way in which they’ve integrated the HiME and Otome characters into yet another alternative Garderobe that has some slight sense of three-dimensionality. I’m kind of fond of the constant rehashing of the same characters in mostly the same situation, but everything is slightly different, setups. I’d like to see them continue this ad nauseum, just to see how crazy they’ll become trying to come up with the fifteenth version of this story and these characters. ^_^

Ratings:

Story – 3, then 7
Characters – 6
Yuri – 2
Service – 6

Overall – 6

The bits of this story which are not pandering to bottom-feeders are actually quite good. If you skip the first couple of tracks or so, you’ll get to the bits which don’t suck. ^_^

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Yuri News This Week – June 7, 2008

June 7th, 2008

We’re trying something new this week. This is pre-recorded programming. Cool, huh? Even as you are reading this post, *I* am in NYC at Puck Building, joining the fab folks of Prism Comics for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Art Festival today. If you are in or near the NYC area, drop by. It’s an amazing event full of amazingly talented independent comic artists from all over. The MoCCA event is a don’t-miss event if you like comic art!

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Yuri Anime

It’s pretty much the all Mai edition this week! First off, Bandai has announced that they will be releasing all four of the Mai Otome Zwei episodes on one disk. In the past Bandai ran into some serious clashes with the fans over Japanese-style DVD releases (two TV episodes or one OVA per DVD.) In this climate of contracting markets and struggling anime sales, it’s nice to see that they’ve gotten a clue.

Speaking of Mai devoted reader Eric P. points out that Bandai has announced a new Mai HiME series, starring a girl named Mao. There’s not much more info available, but I expect it to be the same service with a light negligee of plot that the rest of the series wears. :-)

While I’m beating the Mai series to death, I just want to say that I have added the Mai HiME/Mai Otome/Destiny Light Novels to the Light Novel Page on the Yuricon Shop. I had no idea how many Mai novels there were!

And for those three of you who were wondering if there’d *ever* be a new Mai Otome ~ S.ifr, the answer is – yes. Look for episode two of that OVA to arrive sometime in July.

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Yuri Manga

Speaking of July, you can look forward to a new edition of Yuri Hime Wildrose coming out that month. (Yes, yes, pun intended.) Look for more girls who are not lesbian having sex with other girls, even though they don’t quite know what girls do in bed. This will be released on the 18th, the same day that the next Yuri Hime magazine hits the selves.

Looking for a quick fix of 4-koma goofiness with a light flavoring of Yuri? Rakka Ryuusui, Volume 3 is already on sale in Japan. Get your fill of kyuudo klub komraderie and inexpressible puns. :-)

Here’s an interesting piece of news – Hayate x Blade is switching not only magazines, but publisher as well. Up through Volume 9 it will continue in Mediaworks’ Dengeki Daioh, but as of the September issue, which ships in August, it will be running in Ultra Jump magazine and the collected volumes will be printed by UJ Comics. How interesting…. Makes you wonder what went on there, doesn’t it? LOL It was reported on Hayashiya Shizuru’s blog. (Thanks to Erin, btw, who made me *read* what it actually said, because when I scanned it the first time, I completely missed what she was saying. lol)

Also of note, creator of Yuri OEL manga Steady Beat, Rivkah, has some very interesting things to say on her Livejournal about the reorganization of Tokyopop and what it means for the third and final volume of her story! She includes some of the pencils from the climax, so definitely check them out.

And Sean reminds me that Strawberry Marshmallow, Volume 5 is shipping next week. For all us Miu fans.

And for those who have Internet Explorer, don’t mind downloading Digital Object Reader and can navigate basic Japanese, Young Gun Carnaval has been made into a free manga distributed through Flex Comics’ Yahoo Japan site. I’m told there’s Yuri in the novels. I don’t know if there actually is. There are girls who kill people. That’s good enough for me. :-D

For fans of Mnemosyne, there is a manga for the series “Daughters of Mnemosyne Manga: Miss Black” running in Comic Valkyrie. Has Yuri-service just like the anime. :-) I’m not sure at this point if it is a one-shot or not. I’m sure someone will weigh in with details.

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Other Yuri News

There is a very interesting blog which I have mentioned before – Ultimo Spalpeen – which follows the American anime and manga industry in Japanese for a Japanese audience. The writer, Komatsu-san, has been a terrific supporter of Yuri in general and Yuricon, ALC and Okazu in specific. Last week he emailed me with a question about the title of my Light Novel, Shoujoai ni Bouken. He asked me if I knew that it wasn’t quite right Japanese. I told him my little secret about the titles for SnB and the sequel Saiyuu no Ryouko, i.e., SnR. I *chose* to use not-quite-right Japanese for the titles on purpose, since it always fascinates me that so much anime/manga/doujinshi use English in a way that is not-quite-right. lol We had a long conversation about the whole thing and he’s transcribed the entire thing in Japanese for his readers. Thank you, Komatsu-san for all your support!

Now on to much more important things, like Strawberry Panic fighter jets!

Anastasia Moreno posted on her Manga Gunkan blog that Friend of Yuri, soulassassin547 realized, after learning that Ana is a ex-Marine who translates Strawberry Panic, that Astrea Hill would be the natural location for an air base. To that end, he designed the StoPani fighter jets…and one special Lillian squadron. (Commander “Ice Queen” Ogasawara. Swoon….)

Also from Ana’s blog, this Pixel Maritan AMV. The song is from the CD that accompanied the book I reviewed. There are subtitles in English, so you can enjoy it fully. You all have to watch – this way you’ll get a feeling for how insane this series really is. I believe Ana told me that she wrote the English lyrics for this song. My favorite line is “Let’s beat those evil fuckers now!” (Yay!)

Last up, a non-Yuri item, but it may be of some interest to readers here – and feel free to pass it on to other MLs and groups you know of:

The Kurodahan Press Translation Prize

It gives us great pleasure to announce the Kurodahan Press Translation Prize, awarded for excellence in translation of a selected Japanese short story into English. We hope that it will be possible to continue this prize as an annual event.

Kurodahan Press was established to preserve and circulate contemporary and historical observations of Asia, and to produce informative and entertaining translations. The Japanese literary world needs no help from us in producing outstanding works, but they cannot be introduced to a broader, global audience without skilled translators capable of rendering delicate nuances and atmospheres into another language.

The Kurodahan Press Translation Prize is held to help locate and encourage these translators.

The short story to be translated is 笛塚 by 岡本綺堂, and is about 9500 characters in length.

Submissions will be accepted through September 30, 2008, Japan time.

Three judges will select the winning entry (alphabetical order by surname):
– Juliet Winters Carpenter, Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts
– Meredith McKinney, Visiting Fellow, Japan Centre, Australian National
University
– Royall Tyler

The winning entry will receive a cash prize, and an additional payment for first English publication rights in the upcoming kaiki anthology. Submissions will not be returned, but translators will retain all applicable rights to their work.

For additional information and a complete contest package download, please see our website:http://www.kurodahan.com/mt/e/khpprize/

or write us at:

Kurodahan Press
3-9-10-403 Tenjin
Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
810-0001 JAPAN

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It’s been a long post, but finally, that’s it for today! See you next week!

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Mai HiME Destiny: Ryuu no Miko Drama CD, Volume 1

April 11th, 2008

This may well be the dumbest review I will ever write because, to be honest, I didn’t understand a bloody thing that went on in Mai HiME Destiny: Ryuu no Miko Drama CD, Volume 1. And it basically followed the book, so there’s really no excuse for me, is there? ^_^

If you’ve read the Light Novel, Mai HiME Destiny, you know that the focus of the story is Kagura Mayo, a girl who wanders onto the campus of distant Fuuka Academy, a school for young people with extraordinary powers, wearing a pair of unbreakable dragon handcuffs and bearing an uncontrolled and uncontrollable ability. The first novel was mostly expository, re-introducing for the umpteenth time the characters that inhabit Fuuka. Shizuru is cooler and more adult (and favors black,) Natsuki is a bit more sociopathic, Haruka and Yukino are as we remember them, Nao is a troublemaker (duh,) Chie and Aoi watch everything and comment like a Greek chorus on events, Nagi is annoying, etc, etc. The only other new item is another student with a mysterious past, Shion, who Mayo claims to know but who insists she’s never met Mayo before.

In between the random bits of pointless service, a story slowly develops: the clubs are battling it out for supremacy and Nagi, for reasons of his own, is trying to pull strings. Shizuru, the Principal and the Chairman (one of whom is Fumi and one Reito, but I can’t remember which is which) all seem to know that something else is afoot. Mayo’s mysterious powers, which she can never remember using, and her handcuffs, are never explained, although the author quite exhaustively speculates on how she gets dressed and goes to the bathroom and other important stuff, with those handcuffs on.

The Drama CD covers much of the same material as the LN, without most of the plot. That has been sacrificed, because it was obviously too complex for the audience, in favor of the panty battle between Mayo and Nao and the kissing scene between Shion and Mayo. There’s a lot of screaming too, and some sound effects that lead me to believe that there is fighting.

What makes this DCD so hard to follow (aside from the sneezing and coughing on my part) was that every other track is a *commercial* for something else. These inserted tracks are so jarring – and so full of screaming – that it made it almost completely impossible for me to figure out what anyone was saying. Threw me off every time. The other thing that made it hard to figure out what was going on was that there’s was an awful lot of silly voices being used. Natsuki was practically barking her words, and Chie – what on earth was going on with that voice? I have no idea what she said at all.

The Light Novel stopped just after all the players were introduced (or, I should say, all the players from the original Mai HiME anyway) and I kind of wondered where the story was going, if anywhere. Looks like the story continues in the Drama CDs. The end of this DCD covers a bit of Mayo and Shion’s back story – in a frameless memory kind of way. Looks like, if we want to know what’s going on in this universe’s Fuuka A., we’ll need to tune in once again.

Ratings:

Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 2 (1 point for Shizuru pursuing an especially passive-agressively closeted Natsuki, and 1 point for the faux Yuri Shion x Mayo thing)
Service – 4

Overall – 6

It’s nothing as traumatizing as the one Mai Otome DCD that I listened to, or as blatantly disgusting as any of the manga series. But other than a lot of screaming, I’m still not sure what actually *happened*.

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Yuri Anime: My HiME, Volume 7 (English)

November 2nd, 2007

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.

Ratings:

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!

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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.

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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.

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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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