Archive for the Mai Otome Category


My-Zhime (My Otome) Zwei Anime

June 26th, 2009

It is just after the end of the My Otome TV series, and Arika is a hero, but things aren’t any easier for her. School is still tough, she and Mashiro have a fight and are separated and, just to make sure that nothing is easy, a new, powerful bad guy appears. Welcome to My Zhime Zwei.

Sensibly, the bad guy takes out all the powerful, cool Otome first, leaving all the smaller fry (and not coincidentally, our heroines Arika and Nina) to take them on and win the day for all. Really, there’s never even the remotest concern that Good and Right won’t win. If you’re hoping for something like that, you’re totally watching the wrong franchise. ^_^

Because of the relative intelligence of the baddy, Shizuru and Natsuki are apart for the bulk of this series. Aoi and Chie have little time together, hardly sharing a panel. So for Yuri, we have to turn our attentions to the far more amusing comedy couple Brigadier Haruka Armitage and her President, Yukino Chrysant of Aries. In episode two they bring it, with fireworks and ticker tape and a really big megaphone. For the second episode alone, this volume is worth the cost. It’s full of big grinny Haruka awesomeness. If – and I mean that with a sense of complete certainty that it will not happen – IF, I were to ever feel compelled to write a Mai-anything fanfic, it would be Haruka, Yukino, some things that go ka-boom and awesome. Just like episode two of this volume.

Nina and Arika beat the bad guys, no one kills Nagi and everyone lives happily ever after. The end, until they come out with S.ifr here, or manage to come up with another anime addition to the set.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Characters – 8 Haruka for the win. Even as a block of stone she rocks.
Story – 7
Yuri – 4
Service – 5

Overall – 7

I want to express a sincere disappointment and frustration for the execrable quality of doujinshi for Mai Otome. I have a number of them, and they are all so very bad. I have developed a theory based on this, but don’t have energy to expound right now. Someone remind me next week to discuss it. I’ll call it “six degrees of service” as a mental reminder.

Many, many thanks to the sponsor of today’s feast, Okazu Superhero Ana M, for her kindness, generosity, and all around subarashii-ness. Ana, you’re da bomb! Or whatever tanks shoot. Shells, I guess, right? You’re an absolute shell. ^_^

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Mai Otome S.ifr Anime

December 28th, 2008

When last we left Rena and Sifr in Mai Otome 0~S.ifr (舞-乙HiME 0~S.ifr~) it was so many months ago that I pretty much had completely forgotten who, what, where, when and why. How always involves three things – partial nudity, explosions and lots of screaming, that one’s easy. ^_^

But the story was easy enough to catch up on. Sifr is the bastard child of the Windbloom family and thus, has the power to make the Harmonium work. Garderobe’s babealicious, but misguided headmistress has decided to kill Sifr to keep that from happening. On the other side, the evil-eyebrowed Schwarz is running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trailing a captured Sifr behind them. (Surely I was not the only one who thought them taking her to outer space then blowing up the station and taking her back to earth was just about the stupidest waste of fuel ever?) Defying both sides are Bruce, Rena, Shion, Mayo and Eliot. And Mayu, who obviously could have taken care of all of this on her own, but doesn’t, for whatever reason.

I kept getting the feeling that series continuity was being ignored in this OVA. Probably because in Mai Otome, the Harmonium had been been buried and forgotten for ages, but s.ifr only takes place a generation before. Or maybe it’s just an alternate universe. Or something else. But, it had the three things we cared about – a hot Garderobe headmistress, Rena getting to be uber cool as the Blue Star Sapphire Otome and some Yuri service. We even got the added bonus of Sifr having some brass. So really, who cares about the rest? It was shiny and colorful – exactly what we want out of our Mai.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 7
Music – 8
Characters – 7
Yuri – 2
Service – 4

Overall – 7

Oh, and I completely forgot! An adult female kissed an adult male and he did NOT nosebleed or pass out or anything else idiotic. He blushed – totally approved behavior for being kissed by a pretty girl.

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My Zhime (My Otome) Anime, Volume 7 (English)

October 17th, 2008

As we begin Mai Otome, Volume 7, the world is poised for war; Meister vs Meister, Otome vs Otome, Garderobe and its allies lined up to do battle against Nagi and his forces of Chaos. What do we want most in a situation like this? We want *heroes*! We want the damn cavalry to come thundering down the damn hill and we want it to be shiny, and colorful and we want the horns of Rohan to blow wildly and we want it now.

Boy oh boy do we get that in Volume 7. ^_^

One scene after another, we think we (“we” being the good guys, of course,) have turned the tide in our favor and Nagi pulls yet *another* trick out of his ear, even going so far as to manipulate his own Meister by shooting Sergay and using Nina’s desire to save him to wreak havoc. (His manipulation-fu was a little weak and if Nina hadn’t been such a mopey sop, she might have noticed, but we needed her to just go with it to set up the final confrontation anyway.) Each time calling for yet another triumphant entry of the next wave of the good guys, accompanied by epic background music.

One after another, the Meisters arrive and add their strength to our forces, and time after time, our strength is neutralized until, in a gigantic display of Miyu ex machina all the contracts are cancelled, the Meisters set free and they can *all* take on Nagi’s last-ditch efforts to break toys and pull the wings off of flies.

Of course the world is saved by Arika. Were you worried?

And everyone lives happily ever after, even Tomoe who really should have died horribly. Several times.

Volume 7 also offers a mixed bag of Yuri for our various pleasures. While the volume attains utter fail for Shizuru’s and Natsuki’s completely unromantic and untouchy reunion, we can’t blame them too much, they were both a bit distracted by being in the middle of a war zone. We get a quick retrospective of Shizuru’s playtime with Tomoe (who assumably was a good girl) and for Ers x Nina fans, there’s Erstin’s moving letter to Nina upon which I am sure many a fanfic is based. ^_^ Of course there’s the climax of the whole series where an embrace by Arika brings Nina back from the brink of destruction, and although I am not an Arika x Nina ‘shipper, I know they are out there. Haruka and Yukino continue to be the best manzai government ever. Lastly, but not at all least, there’s Chie’s moving reunion with Aoi. (That’s everyone *I* can think of. I’m sure there are others, so feel free to add in whatever ones you’ve made up in your head to the list of those I’ve made up in mine.)

Mai Otome was never intended to be high art. It was, and remains, a very silly, action comedy-drama with loads of service frosting. A great time for the whole family…assuming your family is like mine. ^_^ (D’oh! I should have watched this with my Dad last time he was here – he would have loved it! Oh well, next time.)

Ratings:

Art – 8
Characters – 8 (We love you Miss Maria, oh yes we do…)
Story – 8
Yuri – 3, but with nuts and candy filling
Service – 5

Overall – 8

And *speaking* of heroes, all my thanks today goes out to the hero of the day, Bruce M, for his sponsorship of this fabulous volume of a lots o’fun anime. (My Dad thanks you too, although he doesn’t know it yet.)

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My Zhime (My Otome) Anime, Volume 6 (English)

September 24th, 2008

It is entirely thanks to the kindness and generosity of Eric P that I am able to bring you today’s review, so everyone say “Thanks, Eric!”

Volume 6 of My Otome does something completely unheard of in the
Mai series to date…it begins to *answer* some of the questions asked in the earlier episodes.

Who is the true Queen of Windbloom?

What is the Harmonium’s power?

What really happened to Mai?

And more of your favorite hits in this volume of…

There’s a lot going on in Volume 6. The story is moving rapidly towards a climax that feels, at this point, as if it might *actually* climax, unlike other Mai series we could name.

The action comes fast and furious. Arika and Mashiro, having found themselves a haven, are ripped untimely from it and deposited safely in the bosom of the legendary
Black Valley, where they encounter a bunch of ridiculous legends which are all true.

Nina becomes the possessor of the Harmonium’s power through a gambit that I actually thought was incredibly clever and deserves the writers a pat on the kepi.

The Valkyrie squad is deployed. Tomoe jumps at the opportunity to crush people
she thinks are beneath her like a bug, which is to say, everyone. Chie plays it more cautiously, and finds herself in a lose-lose situation. But we trust that she’ll come out on the right side of it because, after all, she has 1000x lesbian power. The forces of evil seem to have the upper hand, but the forces of good are beginning to set their playbook up in the background. Meister we don’t care
about die, while ones we do care about seem to be hanging in there, biding their time.

Yuri comes mostly in the form of Tomoe’s fixation on Shizuru. And her…interests. We also briefly get a glimpse of Chie reunited with a presumed-dead Aoi. She was only mostly dead, apparently.

But Yuri isn’t the point here. The point is war. That’s what we’re gearing up for and that’s what we have to be ready to deal with next volume. We’re ready, I say.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Characters – 8
Story – 8
Yuri – 4
Service – 6

Overall – 8

And let us not forget the hallucenogenic effects of Maki-maki-ing.

 

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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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