Reviews: Mai Otome
A vast improvement over My-Hime
My-Otome appears to be a work in which everyone went back saw what they did wrong and fixed it. Characters who where annoying in the first series (Shiho is the best example) are re-developed from scratch to be entirely new characters who are actually enjoyable to watch. The forced plotlines found in My-Hime are completely absent with Tomoe's ruthlessness shown early, and characters actually working together and being much more active and less stupid. The best character is easily Haruka, a kick ass General whose belief in justice, is only rivaled by her impulsiveness. The plot foreshadows plot lines heavily, and comes up with plenty of neat ideas like double subverting the audiences expectation of whose Arika's mother. It also doesn't suffer from the mood whiplash of the previous series by never dropping the comedy completely. The final battle combines both comedy, action and drama liberally across the screen. The animation and music which where the best thing about My-Hime continue here, with brilliant music from Yuki Kajiura when she was at the top of her game. The only really complaint I have is with the relationship that Sergay has with Nina and Arika. Sergay is most likely in his late 20's, early 30's and a relationship with teenagers is completely inappropriate let alone with his adoptive daughter. It drags the series down somewhat because you become disgusted at not only Sergay but Nina as well. The situation between Arika and Nina seems to be a retry of the various conflicts in My-Hime, just without the lead losing what made us like her, Arika get's depressed but she's able to get over it and by the time the final battle starts Arika is still the same person she was at the start of the series, if more mature and competent. Even though Nina makes horrible choices you can see why she made them with Nagi becoming an expert manipulator in this series instead of just showing up and hoping that the hime just start fighting like the Nagi in the first series. You see her as a victim and not an idiot. Overall while this is not a deep series, it's a great series because of phenomenal execution, enjoyable characters, and an engaging plot.