"I finally found my dream. So call me reckless or whatever, but I'll do it."Mai-Otome
— Arika Yumemiya
is a 2005 anime series, from the creators of Mai-HiME
Sometime in the future, on a distant colony world that has almost forgotten about Earth, the rulers of the various nations are accompanied by super-powered female bodyguards
called "Otome". These Otome are ordinary girls who have been transformed into fearsome weapons of war through training and nanotechnology
, acting as protectors and military deterrents. The Otome are admired as the pinnacle of grace and beauty, to the point where every little girl wishes to be one when they grow up.
Only one place in the world possesses the Lost Technology
needed to create Otome: Garderobe Academy, an elite private school in the city-state of Windbloom. Arriving at this place is fourteen-year-old Arika Yumemiya, an energetic young girl determined to follow in the footsteps of the mother she never knew and become an Otome. Armed with a mysterious amulet
and no shortage of bull-headed enthusiasm
, Arika wins her way into Garderobe only to discover that the road to becoming an Otome is much harder than she ever dreamed.
As Arika trains to become an Otome, a conspiracy to seize control of Garderobe's Lost Technology
begins to emerge, linked to a cult known only as "Schwartz". The realities of Arika's idealist dream — and what it means to be an Otome — slowly come to light as the world ticks towards all-out war and the deadly powers of the Otome are called into service.
The series is notable for recycling virtually the entire cast from Mai-HiME
, with lots of in-jokes based on the differences a character might have between the two series: for example, a Yandere
character in Mai-HiME
is in a happy and content relationship with the girl she lusted after in the original series. The last few episodes imply that the series exists in the same universe as Mai-HiME
is every bit as fun a ride as its predecessor, and in spots is strongly reminiscent of Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind
. Highly recommended.
Followed in 2006-2007 with Mai-Otome Zwei
, a four-episode OVA
. A three-episode prequel, named Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~
, has also been released, featuring Arika's mother, a young Miss Maria, and two canon immigrants
from the Alternate Universe
novel series Mai-HiME Destiny
Has an attendant manga
, which actually started first and was produced at the same time. Opinion over that one remains divided
. Keep in mind that it was never meant to be
a direct adaptation, and they were just given the same concept.
Available in North America from Bandai Entertainment for English-speaking viewers, although it's inexplicably retitled My-HiME Z: My-Otome
For more information on the characters themselves, please direct your attention to the Mai-Otome character sheet
Mai-Otome provides examples of the following tropes:
- Adventurous Irish Violins: Mai-Otome uses more playful variations on this to invoke the optimistic adventurousness of our Country Mouse heroine Arika Yumemiya.
- Air Jousting
- Airplane Arms: Arika, in the last moments of the final episode and in the closing credits.
- All Up To You
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: That new castle Mashiro wanted to build? Schwarz territory by the end of Episode 16.
- Aloof Ally: Nao.
- Alpha Bitch: Shiho doesn't like the idea of Arika coming to the academy without much money or any backing from a country.
- Amazon Brigade: The Five Pillars.
- Applied Phlebotinum
- Arc Words: The song that is known only in pieces.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Grand Duke Nagi and King Argos of Cardair certainly don't have the best interests of the world in mind.
- Attempted Rape: Arika nearly succumbs to this, until Sergey and Nao show up.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Among the Otome, the Meisters get all of the most powerful weapons, GEMs, and spiffy-looking costumes. Holders of this position are usually of high status - heads of state or members of the royal family.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Shizuru and Haruka, in the finale.
- Badass Army: The Aswad again.
- Badass Longcoat: Natsuki subverts this; while she is badass (kind of), her longcoat is perfectly ordinary. Mysterious Protector Miyu has a spiffy black longcoat, and a Nice Hat to match.
- Beach Episode, lightly subverted: The beach turns out to be the starting point of a grueling survival test. Everyone besides the students (and Shiho, who loses a straw draw and has to hold down the fort), however, is enjoying themselves until the time comes to evaluate the students' meals.
- Beam-O-War, subverted: The beams from Natsuki's BFG and Schwarz's Wave Motion Gun collide, but one of them is knocked off course and disables the Fumi system a second time.
- Because Destiny Says So
- Bifauxnen: Akira, Chie.
- Bifurcated Weapon: Nina's "Ultimate Black Diamond" sais.
- Big Bad: Nagi.
- Big Eater: Mikoto both the human and the cat(s).
- Black Cloak: Some of the Schwarz cultists.
- Black Knight: Rad. His real name was Reito, but he doesn't use that anymore.
- Bloodless Carnage
- Boarding School: Garderobe resembles one.
- Body-Count Competition: Haruka requests one with Shizuru just before they battle an army of Slaves.
- Break the Haughty: Attempted by Shizuru and Chie with Tomoe, but it doesn't work. There's also Mashiro, whose entire character-arc is basically one giant Break the Haughty.
- Butt Monkey: Natsuki.
- By the Power of Grayskull!: Subverted: the Otomes' powers can only be activated by the vocal command of their "masters".
- Catch a Falling Star: Akane, in the first episode.
- Catch Phrase: Shiho's "Maki maki!", part of her Running Gag. Other characters (mostly Chie) conk her over the head later for doing it during "serious" events. During the great battle, she actually weaponizes this!!
- Cat Smile: Mahya.
- Character Development: Used well with Mashiro, who starts as a bratty and reckless princess, and emerges from the story's central conflict as a confident leader and much less of a jerk.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Shizuru and Chie.
- Close-Call Haircut: Shizuru takes a bullet through her hair in EP 13 when she has a Slave Lord cornered.
- Closer to Earth: Arika, occasionally.
- Clothes Make the Superman
- Cool Ship: Ultimate Desert Dreadnaught Suzushiro. Essentially a submersible battleship that floats on/dives into sand. Haruka enjoys being The Captain a little too vocally. Unfortunately does not get to see much screen time...
- Country Mouse: Arika.
- CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): Erstin to Nina and Arika.
- Credits Running Sequence: Arika has one in the closing credits.
- Cross-Popping Veins
- Dark Is Not Evil: The Aswad dress in all black and are capable of summoning Slaves, but their leader is actually benevolent, if somewhat confrontational.
- Dark Magical Girl: Nina and the Valkyries.
- Dark-Skinned Blond: Mahya. Laula Bianchi has light blue hair and dark skin.
- Deus Sex Machina: Inverted; Nina wants to sleep with her father precisely because she would lose her powers in the process. It doesn't happen, even though it'd solve at least a part of the problem.
- Diabolical Mastermind: Nagi, but he sorta loses it when things start turning against him.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: The latter half of Episode 17.
- Demoted to Extra: Mai, aside from a few flashbacks and pictures in early episodes. Her brother Takumi is reduced to a two-episode cameo.
- Disney Death: Aoi, after pulling a Suicidal Gotcha.
- Discretion Shot: Used in episode 24.
- Disturbed Doves
- Double Entendre: "I like taking people from behind, but this is the first time I've been taken." Shizuru, you just had to put it that way, didn't you?
- Double Weapon: Shizuru's Whip Sword.
- Dual Wielding: Midori's twin swords.
- Dunno What's Going On But...
- Eagle Land: Aries, complete with Determinator (read: reckless) Haruka Armitage, Democratic elections and a "Hexagon" as a military complex.
- Earth All Along: Strongly hinted, but never said outright.
- Elaborate University High
- Emergency Impersonation: Episode 12, doubled up.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Between Arika's fangirling, Tomoe's undeniable infatuation, and Natsuki's "closeness", it's safe to say that Shizuru has this trope covered easily.
- Every Episode Ending: The closing theme song fading in. There are a few different versions of the fade-in, depending on the mood at the end of the episode.
- Everything Fades
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Shiho's "maki maki" device.
- Evil Costume Switch: Nina and Tomoe.
- Evil Minions: The Slaves.
- Expressive Hair: Arika.
- Extraordinarily Empowered Girl: The Otome.
- Face-Heel Turn: Nina.
- Facial Markings: Mahya, Anh Lu, and a few others.
- Fake Defector: Chie joins the Valkyries to keep an eye on Tomoe, but finds out that they have a system in place that prevents her from disobeying orders.
- Fan Disservice
- Fanservice: Both sexual and non-sexual, with a side order of Yuri Fan Shipping fuel.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture
- Airies is America.
- Zhipang is Japan.
- Annan is Vietnam.
- Florence is France (even though it's a real world Italian city)
- Artai is a combination of Russia and China.
- Lutetia is Italy/Rome.
- Fighting Series
- First Name Basis: Much more common in this series than in Mai-HiME, as characters who would otherwise use last names tend to use first names, or titles in more formal situations.
- Flash Back
- Flung Clothing: Midori and the Black Knight love doing this.
- Flying Brick: The Otome's basic powerset sans Elemental Powers.
- Four Is Death: Four girls are seen leaving to sign up for the new Dark Magical Girl squadron after their school is taken over.
- Friend to All Living Things: Arika.
- The Future
- Gadgeteer Genius: Irina.
- The Ghost: Arika's late grandmother, whose sometimes prescient advice Arika is always remembering or quoting.
- Girlish Pigtails: Arika.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Nina, Mikoto, and Mai, in her first real appearance.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: Natsuki tries to get the other nations to help her take back Windbloom. They may have all gone to school together, but it isn't easy getting them to work together without violating international laws.
- Grand Finale
- Gratuitous English: Virtually all text in the show appears to be in English.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: One screamingly funny Haruka gag. See In the Name of the Moon for more details.
- Heel-Face Turn: Almost all of the enemy Otomes in Episodes 24 and 25.
- Hellish Pupils: The Lords of the Slaves, after their blood-contract is activated.
- Hexagonal Speech Balloon: Sometimes used, such as in the "This Week's Armitage" special, as the camera shows Haruka and Arika from far away.
- Heroic BSOD
- Heroic Sacrifice: Erstin's attempt to stop Arika and Nina from fighting ends in her death.
- Hidden Eyes: Mashiro.
- High School
- Honorifics: Arika and Mai address the queen as "Mashiro-chan".
- Hot Scientist: Youko.
- Hot Springs Episode: Episode 23 and Special 8.
- Hotter and Sexier: Compared to Hime.
- Human Weapon: The otome are a direct WMD analogy, and therefore fit perfectly with Person of Mass Destruction as well.
- Humongous Mecha, subverted: the mecha are actually supernatural beings.
- Hyperspace Mallet: Mashiro uses a giant squeaky variety.
- Identical Grandson: If you subscribe to the theory that this is set in the future of HiME, it would count. If.
- Idiot Hero: Arika, early on.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Lesbian variant, with Tomoe taking advantage of an imprisoned Shizuru.
- Depending on your interpretation, this could be inverted, with Shizuru taking advantage of Tomoe's feelings and playing her for all she's worth.
- Important Haircut
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: The Robes.
- In the Name of the Moon: Subverted by Haruka: She shouts a dramatic "kick-your-ass" speech and leaps into battle before Yukino gives her permission to use her Robe.
- Intimate Healing: Arika on Erstin, then Sergey on Arika, and Akira on Takumi, all within the span of two episodes.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Maria used to be hot back in her days as an Otome, as evidenced by her appearance in Sifr.
- Jumped at the Call: Arika.
- Karma Houdini: Tomoe, and Nina, depending on whether or not you count Zwei as canon.
- Killed Off for Real: Erstin by Nina (accidental), and John Smith by Sergei. Unlike in Mai-HiME, when people die in Otome, they stay dead.
- Large Ham: Haruka.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Averted, at least in theory. The first years wear a red dress, second years get dark grey, Meisters wear a wide variety and the said-to-be-strongest Lena wears blue.
- Lying on a Hillside: Arika, Nina and Erstin in Episode 16. And right after that...WHAM!
- Leeroy Jenkins: Haruka
- Legendary in the Sequel: Mai from Mai-HiME is a legendary Otome.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to Mai-HiME.
- Limited Wardrobe: Apparently, the Corals have to wear their school uniforms everywhere, even out in the woods.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The show reuses almost all characters from Mai-HiME as secondary characters (which are a lot), plus adds a whole bunch of new, original characters. Interestingly none of the characters feel as superficial as some in Hime because Otome has a plot complex enough to give every character a meaningful role in it.
- Lock and Load Montage: All the Pillars materializing their Robes in sync for the Grand Finale.
- Lost Technology
- Love Makes You Evil: Nina and Tomoe. Where to start...
- Love You and Everybody: Arika uses almost these exact words in the last episode.
- Mad Scientist / Evil Genius: John Smith.
- Magical Girl: Subverted, in that the girls get their powers from nanotechnology.
- Malaproper: Haruka.
- Male Gaze: The ending credits shows Arika running through the universe at a pretty low angle.
- Mars Needs Women: Episode 6, which featured an octopus monster.
- Meganekko: Yukino, Irina.
- Mega Twintails: Shiho has some serious drill hair going on.
- Missing Mom: Arika's motivation for her quest. She eventually finds her...dead.
- The Mole: Many, many, many, including one absolutely heartbreaking one.
- Moment Killer: Kazu and Akane are interrupted in a motel about to commence an evening of love when Cardair/Chaldea's royal guards barge in to carry the former off to his new life as king. Mahya Blythe later appears to apprehend Akane for her "misdemeanour". Mai-Otome Zwei continues in a similar vein with Mahya making moment killing something of a speciality.
- Moses in the Bullrushes: Possibly two.
- Mood Whiplash: To be fair it's foreshadowed, but when it happens it hits hard.
- Mundane Utility: Mai Tokiha uses her ability to create flaming rings to... cook. Meanwhile, the robot warrior Miyu doubles as a spiffy stirrer.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Expected of Otome, who exist to be weapons used in the wars of the various nations. Arika, however, defies this and works to change the system, and her relationship with Mashiro is more one of friends and equals than slave and mistress.
- Mysterious Protector: Miyu.
- Mythology Gag: Lots of them in regards to Mai-HiME.
- Nanomachines: Where the Otome get their powers.
- Nice Hat: Miyu.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The girls pour some salt in order to kill the monster in the pool in Episode 6... but it turns out that they used sugar instead, and it instead turns into a massive monster. Everyone assumes Arika got the wrong bag, but Tomoe had Miya had switched the labels.
- Ninja: Akira.
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Mashiro. Shiho does this, too.
- Nonhuman Sidekick: Mikoto the cat. A humanoid Mikoto also exists.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Done surprisingly effectively, to the point of virtually abandoning the previous milieu of the show, complete with a new opening animation and opening song.
- No One Could Survive That: Aoi and Tomoe (two separate incidents).
- Odd Couple: Arika and Nina; and in a way, also Arika and Mashiro.
- Oddly Named Sequel: Mai-Otome Zwei. There's also an oddly named prequel, called Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~
- Official Couple: Natsuki and Shizuru.
- Off Like a Shot: Mashiro in Episode 5.
- Off Model: Some of the middle episodes had problems with dodgy character designs.
- Oh, Crap: Nagi's last line in the anime.
- Omake: Extras like an interview with Brigadier General Haruka Armitage in the wake of the events of an early episode.
- The Ojou: Several.
- Onee-sama: Several characters, but exemplified most by Akane and Shizuru. It's something of a replacement for sempai at Garderobe.
- One Steve Limit: Averted, seeing as there are two characters named Mikoto: one is a cat, the other is a goddess.
- One-Teacher School: while there are a few other adults in Guarderobe, Yukariko is apparently the only teacher, and she teaches all subjects, from PE to embroidery to chemistry.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: Arika's pendant.
- Parental Abandonment: Most of the cast, notably, Arika, Nina and Mashiro, have lost their parents. The few characters that have their parents alive (such as Akane) only have them mentioned off-screen.
- Partly Cloudy with a Chance of Death: The clouds cover the sun just as Erstin dies.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Shizuru screwing with Tomoe's head, then tossing her the first chance she got, would have been a major Kick the Dog if Tomoe hadn't done literally everything in her power to make sure she had it coming.
- Nao deals with the thugs who tried to rape Arika by tying them to the back of a boat and dragging them through Windbloom's canals.
- Phlebotinum Overload: The Robes are susceptible to breaking down if they sustain too much damage during a battle.
- Also possible if the Otome draws too much power for the Gem to handle, as shown in episode 4 and Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~.
- Physical God: Mikoto.
- Pillar of Light: The Harmonium Organ.
- Pixellation: One girl's lascivious imaginings of what an upperclassman might order Arika to do for/to her.
- Playful Hacker: Irina
- Plucky Comic Relief: Shiho.
- Post-Episode Trailer: And in them, all the characters are aware of their roles in Mai-HiME - to the point of jealousy of another character getting to use her CHILD. A lot of the Mythology Gags are in these, such as an almost word-for-word re-enactment of the Mai Hime trailer in which Yukariko takes Midori's claim to be 17 at face value.
- Posthumous Character: Lena Sayers.
- Power Crystal: The Gems, which are worn as earrings and are touch-activated (usually by a kiss from the Otome's Master).
- Power Echoes
- Power Trio: Arika (Id), Nina (Superego) and Erstin (Ego).
- Powered Armor
- The Power of Friendship
- Precocious Crush: Tomoe's desire for Shizuru begins when the former is a child, but it doesn't get squicky until Tomoe's about 15, when she starts doing actual harm to people she thinks are stealing attention from Shizuru. It culminates in her sexually manipulating Shizuru and forcing herself on her.
- Previously On: Without an announcer's voice over.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Aswad.
- Psycho Lesbian: Tomoe.
- Put on a Bus to Hell: Miya disappears from the series for good after Episode 15, having been kicked out of school.
- Razor Floss: Nao.
- Really Dead Montage: Two of them: one for Erstin (she's not coming back), and one for Aoi (though she kinda gets better).
- Red Baron: The Code Names of all of the Meisters.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Arika and Nina, respectively.
- Regal Ringlets: Rosalie, the king of Florince's Otome, sports them.
- The Rest Shall Pass: Several times in episode 26 as Arika makes her way to Nina and the Harmonium.
- Reverse Mole: Sergey.
- Right Behind Me: Nao complains about not wanting to join "The Old Ladies' Military Club". Maria, one of the "Old Ladies" is of course walking up as she does so.
- Right in Front of Me: Takumi criticizes Mashiro's decisions as queen without realizing that he's speaking to her. He later apologizes for being overly harsh, but his words hit close to home.
- Ring of Fire: Mai's, erm..."explosive" ultimate attack.
- Rival Turned Evil: Nina.
- Robot Girl: Miyu.
- Sacred First Kiss: Erstin, via Kiss of Life on Nina.
- Scavenger World
- Schizo Tech
- Schoolgirl Lesbians: At one point or another, Shizuru, Chie, Natsuki, Tomoe, and possibly also Miya. By implication, most of the Otome at Garderobe, if their Onee-sama is of that mind.
- Sempai/Kohai: Underclassmen are assigned as "room attendants" to the seniors, in a similar fashion to fagging in British Boarding Schools. One student mentions that, yes, the Onee-sama can command her girl to do This and That for her.
- Ship Tease: Mashiro and Nagi, especially in early episodes.
- Show Some Leg: Subverted; Natsuki and Nao get arrested doing so.
- Simple Staff: All Coral and Pearl Otome are restricted to using these.
- Situational Sexuality: Because sperm destroys the Otome nanomachines, and vasectomies don't exist, homosexual relationships between Otomes are encouraged and even formalized (though not all relationships are part of the official Onee-sama dynamic).
- Slouch of Villainy: Nagi does this a lot, especially in the second season opening.
- Smug Snake: Tomoe, and John Smith.
- Something About a Rose: Chie always carries a blue rose around wherever she goes.
- Space Is Noisy: Arika and Nina having an extended conversation in the midst of their climactic space battle.
- Sparkling Stream of Tears: Mashiro.
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Akane and Kazuya.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Is it Sergei or Serg(e/a)y? Lena or Rena?
- Spikes of Villainy: The Valkyries' Robes.
- Spoiler Opening: Both of them, especially the one from episode 16 on (though that one jumps the gun because the big twist is revealed in that same episode. Oops.)
- Stealth Clothes
- Stock Footage: Various Robe activation scenes, but they're short and not abusive.
- Storming the Castle
- Sudden Humility: So Mashiro, how does it feel to be hungry and helpless?
- Superhero School
- Super Soldier: Despite all pretenses, this is what Otome are if not government sponsored Persons of Mass Destruction. Leads to much angsting since many Otome are aware that they may have to one day fight and kill their fellow classmates. Or have already done so...
- Supporting Leader: Natsuki and Shizuru share this role.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Shizuru is helping Arika study in episode 8, she casually asks Arika if she heard the loud noise throughout the city the other day. Arika claims she didn't, then also says she didn't hear an organ playing either.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Akira, but Shizuru eventually finds her out.
- Teen Genius: Irina, who's already studying advanced information and biological engineering in high school (she borrowed the book from Erstin, but still...)
- 10-Minute Retirement: Arika.
- Theme Naming: The Aswad, sans Midori, are named after units of measurement.
- This and That
- Those Two Guys: Yayoi and Lilie.
- Torches and Pitchforks
- Transformation Sequence
- A Twinkle in the Sky: Haruka launching the wrecked airship out of Windbloom castle in Episode 4.
- Tykebomb: Erstin.
- Villainous Breakdown: Tomoe flies into a berserker rage close to the end of Episode 25 when she realizes she's lost all of her "support".
- Virgin Power
- Was It All a Lie?: Tomoe asks this after Shizuru refuses to join her. Shizuru admits to lying to her in order to teach her a lesson about toying with people's emotions. To say the least, the message didn't get through.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Mashiro, at first.
- What Is Going On?: Mashiro's cry after she sees Akira and Takumi together at the end of episode 12.
- Wolverine Claws: Nao threatens her underlings in a brief scene Played for Laughs.
- Wrecked Weapon: Used against a villain when Miyu breaks Tomoe's Valkyrie spear with one slash.
- You Are The Translated Foreign Word: Translated subs refer to the word otome as otome, despite it being meaningless in English. The word actually translates as "Maiden."
- Zettai Ryouiki: Garderobe's uniform is really attention-grabbing.