Please keep in mind that this is my first review. So, if make any mistakes or the review is not detailed enough; please message me and i'll correct my mistakes.
Every once in a while, as an anime viewer, you happen to watch a show that surprises you. A show you watch because you really have nothing better to do,and your probably not really expecting much. You don't expect the show to touch you, to actually make you care about what happens on the screen.
Mai-Hime was exactly this kind of show for me. I happened to run across it several months ago and, while I thought the first episode was good, I didn't really care about the prospect of watching High school girls fight each other with giant monsters. I just wasn't into that kind of thing, at the time.
Then I picked the show back up and, while some of the earlier episodes are a little to comedic for my tastes, this show has turned into a personal favorite of mine.
The very first episode is fast paced and it raises several questions. But, don't worry these questions do get answered by the end. The first half of Mai-Hime is mostly character development and light hearted in nature. The second half, however, is dark and is when some of the best moments of the series come to the fore. One thing you will have to be prepared for is the fact that people will die, and alot of them to.
This would have been an easy nine, if not for the ending. Which, thankfully, is foreshadowed. So, at least it didn't come out of nowhere.
You don't ever have to worry about telling characters apart because, from the main characters all the way down to the lowliest characters; everyone has their own unique design. Some of the enemy monsters are sort of generic looking, however. All the Child's look unique with Mai and Nao's being my personal favorite design.
Facial expressions are well done, as well. And the battle scenes are well animated, yet there are better looking anime out there.
The Music for Mai-Hime is fantastic, especially the battle music. The Seiyuu are very talented, Mai's in particular. Her seiyuu had to demonstrate range, as Mai goes through several different emotions throughout the course of the series. If I had to say one bad thing about the music, it would be that the intro music may mislead you.
Mai Hime has an exceptionally large cast, probably one of the largest i've seen in any entertainment medium. You may think that there would be no way possible to juggle a cast pushing the thirty's, but Mai Hime does an exceptional job.
To be honest not every one gets as much attention as others, but just enough screen time to establish there personalities.
That said, Mai Tokiha is the main character and gets by far the most screen time. She is, in my opinion, the lifeblood of Mai Hime. In my opinion, no show will ever truly "work" unless the protagonist is well done. Fortunately, Mai is a fully realized character who goes through many different emotions throughout the course of the series.
In a word the series is worth watching just because of her. You may be fooled into believing she is just like any other female in an anime but, believe me, that is not the case.
The Show starts out slow, and those people who want constant battle may not enjoy that element of the series. But, know this: there is always a reason for the fights in this show and the after effects of the battles are just as important as the fights themselves, if not more so.
With great music, realized characters, and an incredibly enjoyable second half; this show would have been an easy ten. If not for the slow start, that I understand some people will not enjoy, and a less than satisfying ending.
That said: The journey to the end is more than worth it.