Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|My-Zhime My-Otome Complete Collection |
Actor: Artist Not Provided
Genres: Anime & Manga, Animation
Arika Yumemiya realizes a lifelong dream when she is accepted by the prestigious Garderobe Academy to train to be an otome, peacekeeper and protector
My HiME; with added maid costumes.
Aion | England | 02/25/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Can an anime that involves teenage girls/virgins wearing maid costumes and, from time to time, having 'relations' with their own gender amount to being anything other than a guilty pleasure? Even though the answer will seem like an obvious one, Sunrise provided an 'answer' that might just prove a lot of people wrong!
First of all, let's get the 'My/Mai' explanation out of the way: My-Otome is a 'sequel' (of sorts) to My-HiME, and the start of what appears to be a series of loosely linked 'My/Mai' titles. Numerous characters from My-HiME return in My-Otome to play new roles. Some of the returning cast have considerably different personalities, such as Mashiro, but the vast majority have the same personalities fans of My-HiME know and love. It's close to being described as having an alternate universe setting, but there are more than enough hints that suggest it happens in the same universe, far into the future.
So, is it any good? Well, with My-Otome having a premise involving 14-year-old girls going to an all-girl school for 'magical girls' (the girls wear special gems as earrings, gaining the ability to 'materialize' battle robes and weapons) in the hope of one day becoming 'Otome': virginal, maid costume wearing, servant (most have masters for power activation purposes) protectors of the planet Earl, who are forced to never have sex in order to keep their powers and get pushed towards lesbianism in order to forget about penises, you can forgive me for not having much hope for My-HiME's distant 'sequel'. In fact, before I even knew much of anything about it, I expected it to be a poor cash-in, with the same cast from the 'prequel' copy and pasted for easy money. But, after importing it on a whim and sitting down to watch it, I was actually pleasantly surprised: it turned out to not be too far away from the overall quality of My-HiME.
Much like My-HiME, My-Otome starts out with lots of humour and a good dosage of perverted silliness. One of the early episodes even involves eels and a tentacle rape monster; the comedy that ensued being amplified by Nina, an important character in the story, being so ticklish she practically orgasms when touched. But, very much like My-HiME, it becomes much more serious towards the end, and the early, light-hearted sections that went before greatly assist in getting the viewer attached to the cast; making the melodramatic events that follow far more powerful. It never reached the Battle Royale levels of seriousness of My-HiME, but it certainly had some dramatic twists and a tear-inducing death or two.
I wasn't sold on the series to start with. The story setup is a cliched 'lost princess' one where, during an attack on the kingdom of Wind Bloom some 14 years before, the king and queen were killed and the 'real' princess lost. When the story of My-Otome gets going, Arika, the female lead of the story, arrives at Wind Bloom, expresses her desire to become an Otome because her unknown mother was supposed to have been one and, through a series of comical/lucky events, she manages to enter the Otome academy. The problem is, for much of the series she remains a shallow, simple-minded, easy going type; one who never gives up and never thinks too deeply. In comparison to the lead of My-HiME, Mai, her childish and somewhat annoying personality is quite noticeable. Where as Mai had a realistic love triangle, a believable close brother-sister relationship and a degree of maturity, Arika struck me as being Mai without any of her character development, and with smaller boobs (a huge negative for male viewers, I'm sure!) By the end, I didn't hate her--if anything, I cared for her a fair bit--but her character certainly could've been better.
Up to yet, I haven't been positive about the story, and that's for one very good reason: My-Otome, like its 'prequel', is a melodramatic, character-driven title. The story details remain vague until the end, keeping the viewer interested in the process, but the story is always a means to an end; a stage for the drama to play out on. The early parts of the series focus on developing a friendship between Arika, Nina (an anti-social, serious... yet kind-hearted and caring girl) and Erstin (a quiet, sweet girl, with big boobs and an even bigger heart.) Then, around the middle of the series, a love triangle develops between Arika, Nina and her adoptive father; Sergay (an older version of Tate from My-HiME, and Arika's 'secret' sponsor.) This triangle works surprisingly well, considering Arika's shallowness; mainly because of Sergay being the most mature and well-rounded character in the show, with a taste for sarcasm, and the father/lover dynamic of Nina's relationship with him. The love triangle never quite reached the intensity of Mai's love issues in My-HiME, but the issue did add an... edge to the series it would've lacked without it; intensifying the drama.
Something I haven't yet touched upon in any real detail, which may or may not be the most important part of this review for fans of My-HiME, is My-Otome's many links to its 'prequel'. To start with, pretty much all of the important characters from My-HiME appear in My-Otome in one form or another, and the relationships they shared previously remain very similar to their relationships of old; often near identical. The blue-haired tsundere, Natsuki, returns as a headmistress/Otome in her 20's (like all the MAIN cast from the 'prequel'); everyone's favourite lesbian rapist and the #1 Natsuki fangirl, Shizuru, returns as one of the Otome elite (and a CLOSE 'friend' of Natsuki!); Tate returns as Sergay... and so forth. There are also numerous nods towards My-HiME inserted throughout the series, the series actually opening with a scene reminiscent of how Tate met Mai. My favourite 'repeat' has to be Natsuki's attempt at getting a car to stop for her--I'm sure people most will know what I'm talking about here!... Basically, there's a lot of content inserted that will increase the enjoyment of My-HiME fans immensely.
As for the art, animation and sound aspects, there's nothing to complain about. Sunrise very rarely disappoint when it comes to drawing sexy girls and adding bright, eye-catching colours, and they didn't fail to impress with My-Otome, either. There were a few 'off' facial expressions and whatnot but, on the whole, the artwork remained impressive throughout and, for both an anime fan and red-blooded male whose rather fond of boobs, it was pleasing to look at. The animation also flowed nicely. As expected of a TV series, there were a few 'shortcuts' used, and it certainly didn't have movie/OVA levels of quality, but the consistency of the animation throughout impressed me; putting some of Gonzo's titles to shame. And as for the music, I probably only have to say Yuki Kajiura's name in order to get people interested - she's one of the best at what she does. I will say that I was slightly disappointed with the small amount of heart-pumping, fast-paced vocal tracks since I had expected every track to be amazing going on some of her other work, such as her work on My-HiME, but there are certainly some excellent tracks that helped pull me into the story.
In summary: My-Otome is easy to recommend to My-HiME fans but, because of Sunrise's not-so-subtle attempts to make it more marketable, it's advised that people new to all this watch My-HiME first; it requiring less understanding of... otaku culture. My-Otome has more than enough plus points to warrant any anime fan watching it and should score highly with most in terms of pure enjoyment but, really, it'd be a totally different experience if you watched it without being able to go, 'Wow, I remember that from My-HiME!' So, do yourself a favour and watch the two in the order they were released--you'll end up far happier with your 'My/Mai' experience if you do so.
Before the end of the review, here's an example of how watching My-HiME first can make watching My-Otome more enjoyable: having watched My-HiME in advance, My-Otome's rather poor ending actually impressed me because, in comparison, My-Otome's ending wasn't so bad, despite it featuring a battle in space and two girls surviving breaking through the Earth's atmosphere, naked. One character actually stayed dead, and another survived without fully recovering, and you'd understand why that pleases me if you've seen hate worthy ending of My-HiME! I suppose My-Otome's ending at least suggests there's hope that the endings will, slowly but surely, continue improving in the future 'My/Mai' anime!
Review for My-Zhime
David Robertson II | Illinois | 02/06/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have seen My-Hime and liked it, then you will like this one. It has even more fanservice then My-Hime and a very different storyline. All that I can really say is that I enjoyed it as much as if not more then the original series and if you do too then check out My-Zhime: My-Otome Zwei It is also great!"
Zico Gordon | Kingston, Jamaica | 01/17/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bought MY-Hime and watched My-Otome online and found it just as enjoyable as the former considering they used many of the original characters and design but it made for an entertaining thrill ride and as usual had a twist much like its predecessor."