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My Otome, Volume 3 is a total gyroscope of a story. You know how a gyroscope spins so fast that it looks like it isn’t really moving? That’s pretty much the feeling you get watching this volume of My Otome. Nothing is happening, but it’s not happening so fast that there’s an illusion that the story isn’t moving. Only, it is.
The first big exam for Otomes-in-training has arrived, and as is usual, the protagonist has no clue what anyone is talking about. Every else in Garderobe knows that this cross-country trek and cooking competition is a major portion of their grade – how Arika manages to not have heard of it even a little approaches a kind of genius. Sabotage strikes Arika and poor Erstin, and although they both survive, lots of nothing-really-happenings happen as a result. Sergey and Arika have a tense encounter, Nina starts to move her dislike for Arika out of “rival” into “person I most want to see die horribly” and Tomoe turns out to be Evil, and Psychotic. We’ve already seen evidence that she is a Lesbian, so we can add her to the list of EPLs.
The other main “nothing really happens” arc, actually explains a lot to us, the viewers, although just about none of the characters have enough pieces to put anything together. In a thoroughly predictable twist of fate, it turns out that Queen Mashiro, Nina and Arika all share a birthday. Huh, how ’bout that.
Mashiro meets and is befriended by the Prince of Zipang, Takumi, but as both are incognito, they just think that the other is a commoner. Arika (because of course, with all the graceful, accomplished and beautiful Otomes-in-training at Garderobe, the only one who could possibly take Mashiro’s place is the one bumpkin in the place) pretends to be the Queen, while poor Akira, who is already pretending to be a boy, now has to pretend to be the Prince of Zipang as well.
Shizuru proves that her gaydar is good and sees right through Akira’s drag king act. Later, when Akira *has* to use her mouth to give Takumi medicine, Shizuru is completely unflappable as everyone else reacts to what appears to be a m/m kiss by pointing out that that’s another type of love. So the Graceful Amethyst comes through like a seasoned lesbian. Points to her.
Important stuff does really happen in the middle of all this silliness and chaos. Among them, the development of a definite triangle between Nina, Sergey and Arika is probably the most icky-making, but it is pretty significant.
On the good side, we get to see Chie and Akane materialize. ^_^
It’s episodes like this that pissed off a lot of viewers. Where My HiME was, about this point in the story growing very serious, My Otome simply refuses to. I see that as a positive – we’re not being fooled into taking this more seriously than it deserves. But I can see where the humor wears thin, too. I will give it this – until Mashiro used Marie Antionette’s line about “let them eat cake” I’d never really thought about it as an expression, not of disdain, but of complete cluelessness. (I’m not in the habit of thinking about Marie Antionette much, I’ll admit.)
The one extra is bizarro world side story as Shiho “maki-maki”s everyone, causing much of the havoc that fills the exam arc.
Art – 7
Characters – 7
Story – 6
Music – 7 (I like the various materialize themes)
Yuri – 1
Service – 7
Overall – 6
My *only* complaint about the anime remains the same as was the first time. What complete ass makes girls trek cross-country in the woods wearing bloomers and boots? That’s just absurd. I hate the writers for doing that, and every single person who found that cute, sexy or otherwise in any way not completely dumb.
I’d also like to register a complaint with Amazon. PICK A SPELLING, for pity’s sake. My Otome, My Hime-Z, My Zhime. Pick ONE. Stick with it. Thank you. It’s like Ikkitousen all over again.