Arika Yumemiya has traveled far in search of her goal: the prestigious Gualderobe Academy. This is the school where young girls are trained to become Otomes, protectors of royal leaders throughout the lands. Here, Arika makes plenty of friends, but some enemies know something about her past that she does not. Nevertheless, her spirit and determination will keep pushing her forward.
Adapted from its predecessor, Mai-HiME, this series is not a direct sequel, but an alternate universe setting featuring some of the Mai-HiME cast (though with different personalities).
First off, please don't flame me as this is my first review.
As a guy familiar with Mai HiME, I expected myself to have no trouble adapting to Mai Otome. However, the first impression I got for Mai Otome was total confusion. This is largely due to all sorts of new names (both terminologies and characters). In fact, it was the characters at first that made me put the show ON HOLD! (That was after watching the first 3 episodes). I had some very hard time liking the main protagonist Arika at first. Maybe I was trying too hard to compare her with Mai (from HiME),
but eventually I grew to liked Arika mainly for her "stupidity" ^.^
Mai Otome introduces some debatable relationships among the main characters. Such as Sergay X Arika or Sergay X Nina (both of which are considered to be father X daughter relations). I believe it is such relationhips that make the anime distinctly different from others (HiME also made good use of Natsuki X Shizuru to capture fans attention).
Since the anime is mainly about school girls saving the world, the creator thought that might be a bit dull, so they cleverly decided that adding some yuri content should keep the audience glued to the TV. I find them pretty good at it throughout most of the series (a great example would be episode 6).
The animation improved slightly from HiME and the overall character designs are much, MUCH more artistic (Otome materializing the robes are always a pleasure to watch). Superb custome design, excellent choice of sound track, great character development, tag along with intense battles all make up for the lacking "emo" content that was evident in the latter part of HiME. A great "sequel" for a great series that still got more to come. Definitely a must watch for all otaku!
For those of you who've seen Mai-HiME would notice the obvious similarities between the shows. Even with all the similarities Mai-Otome still has a lot of great original material to be different from Mai-HiME. Allow me to apologize in advance because I will be referring to Mai-HiME a lot. ^_^
This time around the show follows the story of another redhead, Arika and her dreams to become one of the greatest Otome. Against all the odds she luckily manages to enroll at Garderobe (the academy for Otome) bringing her one step loser to her dream. The story follows the same trend as in Mai-HiME; starting of
as a fully-fledged comedy with hilarious moments. This light-hearted anime is later turned into something much more serious as the story goes on a major plot-twist. This adds a good sense of drama, plenty of action and character development.
Speaking of the characters, the main protagonist was just like Mai from Mai-HiME. Arika is an optimistic redhead, which dreams of becoming an Otome but is later confused by the whole thing. They both have the same little annoying tendencies but if you liked one of them you'll surely like the other. There are a lot of characters that were taken from Mai-HiME plus their personalities and relationships didn't really change during the transition, so expect to see some of the same yuri partnerships. ^_^
The animation was superb with great characters designs except for the over-the-top custom designs. At least one thing that wasn't over the top was the character's facial expressions, whereas in Mai-HiME they were overly emotional which made it seem disturbing at times. The animation as a whole was actually slightly improved from Mai-HiME however one thing that really improved was the action sequences, with a lot more fluid hand-hand and weapons combat. What went well with the action was the captivating orchestra music, making everything seem more dramatic. The really good music was only used during certain situations, making it more noticeably special when played.
Overall this was an amazing anime which had both its fun and sad moments. The story was decent and very easy to follow for those who've seen Mai-HiME first, which I recommend you do so. Even though the story pretty much followed the same trend as Mai-HiME there were a lot of differences in the way it did things. There was less (if any) tear jerking moments on the other hand more emphasis was put into the romance in the story and it even had a better ending. Personally I felt the series could have been better if more focus was put on a girl losing her right to be an Otome and the death of an Otome and her Master, unfortunately that didn't really come up, much.
Other than that this was a great anime series which I recommend for anyone who's open-minded but it did fail to the same amount of substance as Mai-HiME, in my opinion.
My-Otome is nothing less than a total disaster as far as I'm concerned. This semi-sequel to 'Mai-Hime' is one of those shows that tries to combine many different genres such as comedy, action and drama into one; but it is a colossal failure in every way imaginable.
The basic story is, like many aspects of the show, incredibly derivative. It's the tale of a young girl named Arika Yumemiya who wants to enter a highly prestigious school called Garderobe where girls are trained to become an Otome, unbelievably powerful warriors who serve as vanguards of a country's militia. It is through a series of bafflingly
outrageous coincidences that our young heroine manages to enroll at the normally way out-of-her-league academy and from then on, the story kicks off.
Doesn't sound very original, does it? Well the rest of the plot is every bit as standard: Arika manages to make friends at Hogs- *cough*, I mean 'Garderobe' after a somewhat rough start, she is quickly confronted with all kinds of shady characters, ancient conspiracies are unveiled, hidden lineages are discovered, friends become enemies, enemies become friends and there may also be a love-triangle or two to complicate things along the way. Textbook definition of 'cookie-cutter'.
A complete lack of originality can be compensated for by an outstanding execution; but Mai-Otome falls flat in that area. Main offender is the atrocious plotting. Plot-points and characters are introduced only to get put on hold until several episodes later if not dropped entirely, characters 'die' only to turn up (relatively) unscathed later, things happen for no logical reason other than that they're supposed to happen for the plot to move in the direction the creators envisioned (a character even remarks in one of the later episodes that the way some previous events transpired doesn't make any sense) and well-meaning side characters hold back crucial information that may be of great help to the clueless protagonists only to have said protagonists befall some grave misfortune that could have been prevented if they had been better informed.
And this doesn't just happen once or twice. The series is LOADED with moments like this. Pretty much any scene scene that isn't filled with incredibly cheesy fanservice humor (a particular plot-device essentially serves as a setup for countless scenes of ecchi-humor involving girl-on-girl 'action') or third-rate soap-opera level angst about love and/or the duties and burdens of an Otome from some of the protagonists is how I just described.
It's clear by now that the story didn't keep me watching this; so maybe the action-sequences were able to offer some redeeming value? Sadly they weren't. The fight-scenes are incredibly unimaginative and poorly animated, most of them ending with an Otome obliterating an opponent with her strongest attack. And all of that is assuming that fight scenes do occur on-screen. I say this because the series is filled to the brim with moments where two characters are set up to fight, only to switch to other events just as the fight starts. All of this makes for a viewing-experience that is frustrating at worst and unfulfilling at most, even for the biggest of action-junkies.
Production-values are nothing to write home about. The art and animation are unremarkable at best though I will give the series credit for the catchy opening-tune as well as the fact that the many characters are all easy to distinguish from one another (even if a lot of them are recycled from Mai-Hime). Oh, and some of the attacks have effects that look pretty cool.
Between the awful story and largely unremarkable production-values there's really no reason I to check out this series. Even those who were fond of its predecessor, Mai-Hime (which I found to be entertaining though highly flawed), will find little to love. The new characters are nothing special, the action is less frequent and less impressive despite being much bigger in scope and the returning characters (even though they're actually 'alternate reality' versions) don't develop or contribute to the plot in any meaningful way. There's even one particular character whose personality and abilities are a complete 180 from the way she was in Mai-Hime and several who seem to be thrown in just so fans can point them out.
I could go on and on about the abysmal plotting (like how the main character is defeated by a powerful foe only to get launched to another dimension where she just so happens to meet a powerful figure mentioned earlier in the story who can help her get stronger), the paper-thin and highly archetypical characters (you KNOW there's a problem when the most interesting characters are ones that mostly got their characterization from the previous series), the constant skipping out on action-sequences and the complete lack of any creative ambition whatsoever; but I think I have already made my point very clear so I'll just wrap it up.
Whether you're a fan of Mai-Hime or are just looking for a fun-packed action-adventure series, Mai-Otome is totally derivative, awfully written, largely unfulfilling and completely frustrating series that reeks of being conceived for no other purpose other than to make a quick buck. It's not worth your time. Skip it.
Mai-Otome was the next series of the “My/Mai” franchise, with the first being My-Hime (which was an excellent anime IMO). However, Mai-Otome was almost completely different from My-Hime, with the exception of most of the secondary characters. Even with this in mind I had originally dropped Mai-Otome halfway through the 2nd episode when it was originally airing. Due to the incredible praise of many fans, well half of them, I decided to give it another try and do a marathon.
I had originally dropped the series because of Arika. While it can be argued that both Mai (My-Hime) and Arika
are both optimistic and energetic characters, Arika took it too far. Coupled with a childish/naïve nature, Arika was an extremely annoying character. Her combined with Mashiro, the distinct opposite of her quiet self from My-Hime, was what forced me to drop it the first time around. However, it wasn’t just them that made me dislike the series, it was a combination of things, before that on to the rest of the characters. The other main character Nina, was an interesting enough character, but suffers from some out-of-character moments later in the series. Nevertheless, I found Nina to be a far better character than Arika and Mashiro combimed. Probably due to the fact that she didn’t annoy me and that she’s voiced by Ami Koshimizu :P The support characters are mainly from My-Hime and have similar personalities but take on different roles. This creates an interesting effect as it can be seen as constant cameos. Here, I already know and like these side characters, which can detract from the main characters, which I know very little about. For most of the series I was thinking “where’s Mikoto?”, “screw Arika and the gang where’s Mai?!” In the end I never really warmed up to the new characters and the beginning episodes where the characters are suppose to be introduced and fleshed out were mediocre.
Shows like Mai-Otome and My-Hime live and die on the strength of their characters. The beginning of the series serves to build up theses characters and the beginning of Mai-Otome just didn’t make me care and really understand their character. This is due to the fact that the beginning episodes being far too silly, light, and stupid for my taste. Also, I blame the fact that the well establish characters of My-Hime stole many of the scenes. Nina is the only major exception, as she gets plenty of time to flesh out her character. However, she does suffer some serious out-of-character moments in the 2nd half. I have to admit though; she’s not the only one that suffers from character inconsistency.
Throughout the series there are far too many illogical and contrived moments. This is characteristic of the middle part of Mai-Otome. People supposedly dying but somehow surviving were among the most illogical. The battles in space were equally eye roll worthy. I could go on and be more specific but I rather not get into too many spoilers. I already have to accept quite a few things from the beginning, such as the world itself. The second half was simply too much and my suspension of belief could only be held for so long.
So Mai-Otome had a weak beginning and illogical/contrived middle. However, it did have an exciting end that was enjoyable to watch, albeit a bit shallow. Also, it was actually a decent ending, unlike My-Hime’s infamous WTF ending. In terms of pure action the last few episodes were awesome and exciting to watch. Even throughout the series I have to admit there were some really enjoyable moments, sadly there wasn’t enough of them. Mai-Otome improved on its predecessor’s weakness by having a good ending. Also, Mai-Otome changed its OP/ED to reflect the more serious tone of the series.
Animation-wise it’s an improvement over My-Hime and for the most part pretty consistent. That is ignoring those disturbingly large bumps in a certain episode… The battles/fight scenes are also better, featuring more fluid movement and choreography. Art was equally good for the most part, my only major complain was the horrid designs of those uniforms. Music is also done by Yuki Kajiura so it should be as good. However, it just wasn’t as good as her other works, it was as if she didn’t put the same effort into the Mai-Otome ost.
Another thing that bothered me was the pandering with its maid-like uniforms and shoujo-ai undertones. Now that I think about it you really can’t really say Mai-Otome had shoujo-ai undertones/light innuendo…it was blatant shoujo-ai fanservice. Lets not forget the large amount normal fanservice, once again pointless, stupid, and worst of all annoying. My-Hime in contrast had fanservice but, it never detracted from the story/characters.
Mai-Otome features one of the most annoying character I have ever seen, as well as featuring a pretty boring and one-dimensional cast. Part of my dissatisfaction with the new character was due to the old My-Hime cast stealing the show. What makes it worst was the amount of character inconsistencies, especially with Nina. In addition, there were far too many contrived and illogical moments. The pandering via extensive fanservice and shoujo-ai tendencies were far too distracting and annoying. However, despite its weak beginning and contrived/illogical middle it does have some exciting moments and a decent ending. This ending is better than the infamous My-Hime ending and was actually quite exciting to watch. Finally, I find it funny that Mai-Otome improved on 2 of its predecessor’s weakness the ending and improper OP/ED but was inferior with respects to just about everything else.
According to TV Tropes, "spin-offs are when part of a successful show, usually characters, but sometimes a general concept, are taken and given a second show of their own." Fans enjoy revisiting beloved universes, so there have been many anime spin-offs over the years. Read on to learn more!