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Mai Hime Part 2 (Episodes 5-8)
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Once again seeing as I'd seen all of Otome before any of these Hime episodes I'm probably coming at it from a different viewpoint than most fans. The fact that I find myself comparing the entire cast to their Otome counterparts (and while I prefer the Hime storyline and action sequences I still slightly prefer some of the Otome character incarnations of the cast at this point) is probably something I shouldn't do as they really are different shows, I can't help it. Anyway four new episodes covered here, featuring bus accidents, shrine monsters, the most horrific fingernails in recorded history and Miyu sticking a spike through Akane's child and killing Kazu. After Otome, I was surprised how quickly events got dramatic and into things here and it was certainly a bonus to see things moving a long at such a pace in these four episodes. Viva la action!

I'm still finding it fairly hard to like Mai and Mikoto from the leads, they are "allright" characters and I don't hate them or anything, but watching these four episodes I'm inclined to agree with Nao that Mai is far to much of a goody-two-shoes. I like my leads to be a bit less one dimensional than Mai seems to be at this point in time, but hopefully she will change a little at least as things progress (I'm sure there's characters I like that are one dimensional it just seems more apparent to me with Mai just now, although Arika isn't a good lead in Otome either). Mikoto is mildly amusing but that's about all I can find in her character at the moment, her spicy ramen escapades in the school festival were funny and her apparent obsession with using Mai's breasts as a pillow are funny too. That's about all I have to say on her, she's rather uninteresting but again there is still plenty of time for her to develop as a character. Natsuki remains my favourite of the three leads, infinitely better than her Otome incarnation and very cool.

Midori, Nao and Akane (who presumably isn't one by the end of the disc) make an appearance as Hime's here. I'm not quite sure if I prefer bouncy happy, incredibly irritating Midori (she reminds of Yukari from Azumanga in this disc, with Yoko as Nyamo) or emo "my friends are dying" Midori from Otome yet. But still I don't hate her which is always a good sign. Nao remains as great as ever with her fingernail related antics. The introduction of a Hime that is far from being a nice person is timed perfectly and I'm interested to see what part Nao will play in further events here. The fact that in their very first meeting as Hime she attempts to kill the others made me think she was vastly unstable compared to the rest of the cast, and even Nagi was unable to stop her. Moving on to Akane finally she has the worst luck here, in the very episode she reveals herself to be a Hime her rather crappy child is killed by robot Miyu, and as a result Kazu dies too. Very short lived, and leaving her presumably without her Hime powers and as a total emotional wreck. Personally I don't like Akane (in either this or Hime), but I couldn't help but feel sorry for her as the episode showed her all alone, having lost everything.

Fairly low on yuri this volume I felt (but then I realize that the series is nowhere near as heavy as Otome on yuri, and there will be more Shizuru and Natsuki stuff later), but still a few moments. The series has spawned so many pairings so the fangirl in me is always looking for subtext and the like between the cast. I particularly liked Haruka and Yukino (Yukino in her ghost outfit was hilarious), cowering in the camera room of the ghost train ride together. It was also quite sweet to see the normally aggressive and rather macho Haruka so nervous. There's probably a fair bit of grounds for Mai and Mikoto subtext here too, but seeing as they aren't characters I particularly care about it passes me by.

I also took in the four character specials for each of these four episodes, none of which were particularly interesting. Mikoto, Shiho (her recently released Otome special was far, far more entertaining), Nao and Akane & Kazu all get their specials and its a shame none of them were actually any good. I can't say I'm really a fan of these Hime specials and I'd far prefer ones like the Otome specials to have been made, but hey they are o.k and a bit of an addition to the episodes is always a good thing in the long run. Anyway, there are my random thoughts on the characters and events in this volume, I preferred the first four episodes overall but episode eight was great as it brought the drama hurtling in. Oh and a special mention to Nagi for being my favourite male character in the series so far, way better than Otome I just love his kind of "evil imp" type behaviour (zzzz Reito and Tate, I don't really like either of them).

Mai Hime Episodes 5-8
Artwork 8
Music 6
Characters 8
Contents 7.5
Overall 8

(said Id score things like this ages ago, then promplty forgot it)

posted by Mangaminx On Thursday, May 11, 2006  
  • On Thursday, 11 May, 2006, Anonymous Ace of Spades said…

    Comparing the two series is nearly inevitable, trust a long time Mai-HiME fan (watched it as it came out in Japan) who sat for three weeks after Otome first came out nearly going insane trying to place a connection between the two (which I have my theories about, but I digress less I ruin HiME for you). In order not to risk giving away anything, the only thing I can say is if you liked Otome, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

  • On Thursday, 11 May, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    I too am searching for connections as I watch it (I suppose it's just the natural thing to do). I do know the general story of Hime as friends have taken it upon themselves to spoil it for me in the past ;) although I appreciate you not wanting to risk giving anything away! I enjoyed Otome and so far I find Hime slightly superior, which is of course a good thing. Hime seems a more serious show at this point, something I felt was rather lacking from Otome.

  • On Sunday, 21 May, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, either way, the director did mention that both series were melodramas...almost parodies as it covers almost every genre out there...ot at least they tried to. But yeah, I watched the Mai Hime series too when I was staying in Japan and it definitely is better than the Otome series, though I did enjoy that one as well. Now I'm looking forward to the OVAs coming out in July...WOOHOO. More ShizNat!!!

  • On Sunday, 21 May, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    Hopefully the ShizxNat content in the Otome OVA's will be better than in the series. I'm not really expecting much bar mindless fan pandering, but it may be fun.

  • On Monday, 22 May, 2006, Blogger Sarahbeth said…

    I think it's interesting that you're watching the series in reverse... I happened to love Mai-Hime. I thought it had a really really excellent story, and I applaud the producers on an overall-job-well-done! It's probably my current favorite series of all time. The problem I have with Otome, having seen them both in order, is that Otome's characters are merely shadows and generalizations of their Hime originals. Hime's characters had so much development and depth to their personalities that I can't really enjoy Otome as much in comparison. Not that I didn't watch the whole series anyway, I just griped about it the whole time : ) (and Chie is still really cool, I loved her in Hime too, she's a great support character, except no playboy-ness)

  • On Monday, 22 May, 2006, Blogger Mangaminx said…

    One of the reasons I rushed to start seeing Hime after Otome ended was because many people were griping about how bad Otome was in comparison while I watched it, and I myself thought Otome was good fun. While I've seen only eight episodes of Hime so far it's easy to tell its the superior show just by these eight and thats for sure.

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