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Mai Otome 17
Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mai Otome | Episode 17 | The Blue Dance/When Dreams Fall

Massive Spoiler Alert. This episode of Mai Otome has everything coming together pretty explosively and the first cast death, so if you don't want to know who dies or what happens then don't read any further. Anyway without further ado lets jump to the Otome arena where Schwarz (or Shibaratsu as seems to be the other name consensus here, I've called them Schwarz since it's easier to type) are launching an attack on Wind Bloom!

John Smith (the most unconvincing villain in the world ever) blasts the arena scattering everyone and injuring many. Slaves swarm the city as well as the Schwarz minions. With Mashiro, Aoi, Erstin and later Sergey in tow, Arika desperately avoids trying to let Mashiro get captured. However Mashiro's unpopularity among the people is evident as a woman tries to turn them over to the Schwarz to make them go away.

Midori and her cyborg proteges are approaching the school during the confusion and after smacking their way through Irina and Tomoe are faced with Shizuru and Natsuki in full Meistar glory. All the Otome are in a state of emergency after Natsuki authorized the activation of all their robes via "Shinso-sama" (the giant computer like thing in the Mausoleum presumably with the schools founders soul inside or something similar), and a few students watch this showdown with bated breath. Midori and Co are planning to steal the Otome technology before Smith gets his hands on it but with Shiz and Nat in their way a battle soon erupts as Midori summons her slave to her side. It's really cool here just to see Shizuru and Natsuki working as a team, it's clear they are very confident and comfortable fighting alongside each other. However, the victory is short lived as Smith attacks the Mausoleum with an energy beam and all the Otome earrings are shut off.. all of them.

Finishing up the scene here slaves advance of the schools position and Midori and her allies flee. Not before Youko has come out and shouted after Midori and Reito *coughs* I mean Rado, once again showing the link to their pasts. The Otome are surrounded by slaves and Nao takes the opportunity to run for it, as does Natsuki under Shizuru's instruction. Natsuki bumps into Nao as they both flee, and drags her along with her as they escape. Around this time one of the few "lol" moments of the episode occurs too, with Shiho trying to "maki-maki" a slave. Shizuru fights to the last as the slaves around her, perhaps wanting to protect Natsuki more than anything else, but when they threaten to kill Tomoe and Irina, she surrenders.

Back with Arika and company John Smith has turned up and is demanding that the defenseless Arika turn over Mashiro. However, Sergey quickly tells Arika to use the Azure Sky gem as Otome with a master wont be effected by the shutdown of the robes. Arika and Mashiro don their gems and Arika is ready for battle. Of course, Arika isn't counting on the fact that the traitor in Guaderobe happens to be..... Erstin.

Erstin (admittedly crying while she does so) summons a slave under Smith's orders and declares that Mashiro and Arika must surrender. Arika beats the slave off slightly, but is still worried about Erstin as when she hits the slave, Erstin is hurt. It's interesting to point out here that Erstin says she is doing it because she thinks everyone should have the Otome technology "It would stop all wars" she proclaims (or something to that effect). This once again raises the question as to who really the good guys are here, is the Otome technology inherently wrong being limited to Otome as has been claimed by many others?

Everything takes the final turn for the worse here as Nagi turns up, with Nina by his side (Sergey had sent Nina to locate Nagi earlier). After describing his scheme out loud to everyone (we find his troops will "liberate" Wind Bloom from the slaves so he looks like a good guy and can presumably marry Mashiro and take over) he orders Erstin to attack Arika again. As Erstin's slave closes in for the kill Sergey blocks the attack with his own body, injuring himself. As this happens the hankerchief Arika made and sent to her Oji-sama last episode floats from the gash in his clothes. Arika and Nina both realize Sergey is Arika's benefactor. Oh dear. Sergey stumbles to his feet and says that Nagi can't kill Arika as she is the real princess, to which Nagi responds by calling Sergey a traitor for not telling him earlier.

Nagi takes matters into his own hands here, as two black gems fly from a medallion around his neck one landing in his ring, one in Nina's ear. Nina at this point looks totally psychotic, consumed with rage and jealously that Sergey holds Arika in such high respect. Nina's obsessive father complex hits overload as she agrees to become Nagi's Otome and excepts the Meistar gem "Ultimate Black Diamond". Nina swoops down on Arika in rage after activating her robe and Nagi promising to spare Sergey if she eliminates Arika. Erstin however with a sudden change of heart, moves her slave in the way of Nina's attack so the slave gets smashed to pieces instead of Arika. Unfortunately this means that Erstin is too... .

Cue tragic death scene as Erstin dies at the feet of Nina and Arika. Nao and Natsuki watch from some bushes too as Erstin bids a tearful goodbye to her friends. We see Erstin fought for Smith to bring an end to ear by sharing the Otome technology... , so she was not really a baddie. Erstin becomes the first cast member to exit the Otome cast as Arika and Nina (both presumably blaming the other for the friends death) leap into combat causing a huge explosion that brings the episode to a close.

I'll keep this brief as there isn't really much to say about this episode than it's the best in the series so far. Action packed (although perhaps not quite as combat heavy as it could have been), plenty of revelations and a tearful moving death scene. Everything has pretty much fallen apart in one episode, and with nine more to go I hope it only gets better and more dramatic from here.

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posted by Mangaminx On Sunday, February 05, 2006  
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