Yuuichi Tate is overjoyed: He gets to go to a brand new high school. Of course, then he just happens to find out the school he choose is under frequent attack by strange creatures called ''Orphans'', and the school set up a special task force of female members called ''HiME''s, using various elements as their powers, to battle these invaders. That's not all, though. Each member of the HiME task force has their own, unique ''Key'', another person whom, upon being discovered, can team up with the HiME to create a ''Child'', a combative unit specifically needed to effectively battle these Orphans. And with Yuuichi's luck, he just happens to find out he's not just the ''Key'' for one of the HiMEs, but for two... Two highly competitive, rival schoolgirls. And that's only the start of the trouble.
I just re-read this manga last week and it was still amazing, originally the anime came out first for this series. Thing about this series is that the manga and anime are completely different so you don't feel that your going through the same thing on paper all over again.
Unlike the anime, the manga focuses on Yuuichi Tate while the anime focuses on Mai Tokhia. Being a guy I found that I could relate more to the manga then to the anime regardless the anime did bring in good insights to Yuuichi Tate when called upon, it just felt that the anime
was more targeted to felmales while the manga was targeted to males.
This story has a wonderful, character development, griping emotionally scenes that'll keep you reading, it's humorous, tasteful ecchi scenes and just a well put together manga, the only thing about this series is that I felt it could of been longer even though it flowed well it could of been at least 10 volumes apposed to 05 volumes it would of probably made it the PERFECT manga.
With a name like “Mai-HIME,” you would have thought this series would fulfill all of the reader’s wildest dreams about princesses. I came in expecting to get my very own princess in a neat little box. I was disappointed. Well, to save you the disappointment I suffered, please enjoy this review.
I came into this series expecting a decent harem-fighter. What I got was that, a little bit more and at the same time, a lot less.
You see, Mai-HIME’s central problem lies in its awkward pacing. Some of the earlier, less important fights last a few chapters, while later fights with significant build-up (*coughmaingirlshowdowncough*)
are resolved over the course a few pages. To make matters worse, the time between arcs is too short and exposition is commonly dumped before the plot quickly rolls over to the next confrontation. The problems only seem to compound during the later parts of the story, thanks to the larger cast of characters and multitude of fights occurring at the same time.
Another of the key disappointments of Mai-HIME is how quickly it tosses out ideas that, if taken further, would have been fascinating. For all the series’ predictability, there were a few twists (especially after the half-way mark...you know, the same part where the series proceeds to implode in on itself) to the ecchi-fighter formula. Unexpected betrayals and turns toward a more dark and gruesome atmosphere are, ironically, flashes of light in the dark tunnel to mediocrity. Unfortunately, these flashes are so short-lived and sudden that they blind the reader, causing the reader to crash into the wall of the tunnel. By the last few chapters, the reader has to get out of their “plot” car and trudge the rest of the way on foot, only to get to an unsatisfying ending that the reader could see a mile away.
Like the story, the characters of Mai-HIME are typical for the genre and fail to be anything anymore despite bits of potential. Mai, the titular heroine, comes the closest to achieving “greatness” thanks her relationship between her and her brother, Takumi. Takumi himself is an anchor for the series, bringing his workaholic sister and her partners out of their world of crazy fights and love-triangle shenanigans and into a world of self-sacrifice and quiet desperation. The last quarter of the series utilizes this relationship in an unexpected way, but due to the rushed pacing, the execution is ruined, destroying what could have been a major asset. Other concepts, such as the protagonist’s dark past and the secrets behind the HIMEs, are left hanging.
In other words, you know that really cool sword girl and the buxom babe with the giant robot? Yeah, you won’t get to know what they’re all about. Sucks to be you...and me.
While the story and characters do frustrate me due to their wasted potential, it is art that pushes story off the edge of mediocrity. As with all manga, the art is what first pulls the reader into the world of the work, so imagine my surprise when I see that almost a quarter of the cast has the same basic design, barring a few differences. I’m not talking big boobs with an hour glass figure with just different hairstyles. Fujino and the head of Ori-HIME look like twins and the members of SEERs have got be their long-lost cousins. Barring one emotional moment between the protagonist and one of the heroines, the art never goes above average and while the Child (think: spirit animals) and weapon designs complement the characters, they aren’t anything special.
The series never takes a break plot-wise, making the entire work seem like a bunch of fights thrown together. The tiny bits of goodness within, be they comedic goodness or a dose of straight-up tragedy, are steamrolled by the work’s overriding desire to be another rushed waifu war between the two lead girls, character development of other eye-candy be damned.
By occasionally shooting for something greater, the series ends up as something worse.
Due to inconsistent pacing, repetitive art style, insufficient character development and overall lack of artistic direction, Mai-HIME fails both on and off the battlefield, leaving the reader with a sub-par blob with specks of potential buried deep within. Only read if you are dying from an ecchi-fighting fix. This is one HIME I don’t think anyone should own.
I have to say that I was scared by the start of this manga. I loved the anime and this was so different and fan-servicey that it scared me. I persevered and so far I am glad I did. The fan service has died down and the plots are coming together.
It seems like the plots are coming one after the other rather than one arc. That kinda gives me the feeling that they weren't sure where they were going. But apart from that feeling of uncertainty it seems to be going ok.
The characters (if I stop
thinking about the anime) are well concieved and seem like they have depth. They are different to the anime though, same basics but with differences in behaviour and history. Hmmm may have to do a bit of writing on the differences.
It's hard not to compare the two and they do differ very much. It is more than a rehash of the anime. It's most definatly an AU (alternate universe), but that gives it a chance to make it's own path, which I think it does.
*Not yet a Mai-Hime manga fangirl*