February 24, 2006

Somehow, after watching a great anime like Mai-HiME, I felt less enthusiastic when I watched Mai-Otome. The main reason why I did so was because I thought it could help me answer some of those questions that I’m dying to know. Well it didn’t.
I may be a little bias here as I’ve watched a few short clips from the series. But Mai-ZHiME (however you pronounce it), as it’s also known, isn’t exactly a direct sequel to the Mai-HiME anime. It’s some sort of alternate retelling set in an alternate world. But, with a little twist. Most of the characters in Mai-HiME are retained in the sense that they are given different roles and make-over, in terms of dressing. Yup, but they have the same names and facial features. So if you’ve watched Mai-HiME previously, you’ll be able to recognise them. Except for Mikoto. She’s a cat now! Maybe it’s because she acts like one in the prequel.
But compared to Mai-HiME, Mai-Otome is more fantasy-like adventure mixed with a little bit of magic in it. We have a new young heroine, Arika Yumemiya, who has an ambition to become an Otome in the prestigious Gaulderobe Academy, where they train young girls to become one. You see, Otomes are some sort of ‘protectors’ or bodyguards for high-ranking leaders throughout the land. Also, every main star needs to have a supporting character, or side-kick/helper/friend should I say. So this time, it’s the serious and hardworking Nina Wong. Well, not actually her best friend (though they’re roomates) as sometimes she harbour feelings of jealousy towards Arika. But you know they’ll kiss and make up and get over it.
Of course, you’ll pretty much guessed it too. The storyline will see her trials and tribulations as she progress closer in achieving her dream. Along the way she makes many friends as well as enemies alike. Plus, there’re groups who want to overthrow the Windbloom Kingdom and thus, Arika and co have to step in and save the day. Hmm… Sounds pretty typical, don’t you think?
Since this is a fantasy-like adventure, the world is also divided into many kingdoms and factions. Just like in medieval times. Although really not related, somehow it reminds me of Harry Potter. Err… maybe not so. And if you like young girls dressed in maid costume (recently, there’s a craze in Japan about women dressing up and serving customers in a maid outfit), royal attire and doctor/scientist long overcoats, this’ll probably be an eye candy for you.
Maybe I should give this anime a shot first. Hey, wait a minute! Didn’t we had a glimpse of Arika in the last episode of Mai-HiME? You know, the part where after Nagi and Mashiro ‘head back to where they belong’ and as the door closes, Mai looks back only to be asked what’s the matter by Natsuki. Then in the background, we could see Arika run zoom pass by, stopping just for awhile. Looks like her. Must be her lah. What about Nina? Isn’t she one of Mai’s classmates ‘without a dialogue/line’? I think so too lah. Must be her also lah.

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