Mai-Otome

TV (26 eps)
2005 - 2006
Fall 2005
3.792 out of 5 from 5,470 votes
Rank #2,198

Arika Yumemiya is a poor yet energetic girl who has come to the city to become an Otome – a female warrior with the power to match an entire army. She quickly befriends her irritable fellow student Nina Wong and Princess Mashiro, the queen-to-be. With the help of her mysterious benefactor and abundant natural talent, she’s able to overcome the trials of everyday life in the competitive Garderobe Academy, but darker schemes are afoot. How will her new friendships fare, when secrets of the past and present are brought forth to spark a fight for the crown, and more?

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Reviews

ThatAnimeSnob
4

Notice: I don’t write reviews for sequels and this case is no exception. My Otome is NOT the sequel of My Hime but an alternative universe. You know, like the Gundam franchise. All similarities between them are not circumstantial but more like slight alterations of the same idea (yes, like the Gundam franchise). At the same time it would help to have watched Hime or read my review about it, prior to watching Otome or reading this one. I mean, why shouldn’t you? Animation is done by studio Sunrise, which means there will be cool robots, mosters and explosions. Directed by Ohara Masakazu who also made The Girl who Leapt through Time, and Accel World. Hardly a talented individual. In my Hime review I described it as an otaku fan catering dark fairy tale. This new version on the other hand is actually a light fairy tale; the amount of gore, death, and insanity went down, while moeshitz went up. It almost feels like a normal sequel in this regard, only it ain’t; IT IS AN ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE! But still, the core concept is the the same; some girls with monsters and superpowers are fighting for the salvation of the world from some cosmic horror.… And if you believed that even for five seconds then you deserve a Ricky Roll video. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CUTE GIRLS YOU FOOLS, WHO CARES ABOUT THE STORY! As before, you are only supposed to allow your emotions being constantly manipulated by the looks of cute girls, overblown drama, and improbable resolutions just to have a happy ending. Only thing, it doesn’t try to shock you as the first series did; which was also the reason it had such a huge fan base (once upon a time). You see, Hime was happy-go-luck in the first half, school life and yuri romance with some battles with Pokemons here and there. In the second half it turned into a death tournament where THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE (queue for some Queen music in the background). Well Otome doesn’t try to do that; to the most part it is all about fluffy feeling. It does try to build tension in the last third by introducing a world threat again, yet it hardly feels exciting. It plays out in a very cliché manner and the death toll is close to zero, so you are simply not made to care. What is even more disappointing is the setting itself. In this version it is a lot more techno-magical and it seemed at first like they would offer an insight to the ancient civilization that created all those weird artifacts in the first series. Yet it didn’t, it was left as nothing but background decoration instead of fleshing out the world and providing immersion to the finer details of the franchise. It all looks fine and mesmerizing with its high production values, when it goes to waste since it has nothing to do with the actual plot. But let’s suppose for a minute that a viewer will not care about minor details such as a good story and focuses more on what really matters in this show. THE CUTE GIRLS! Lots of them! Date-sim and waifu material. Won’t that be enough to be content? No, it won’t. The girls are practically the same from the first series, with slightly different roles. And since there is a lot less death and insanity in this version, they are left as nothing but dried up stereotypes, like in so many similar shows. Heck, even the character roster is considerably shorter and their interaction more basic and unchanged to the most part. Why should you care? This anime shot itself to the foot by refusing to evolve and instead devolved to pure mediocrity. Just like your average sequel does, only this is not a sequel. Whatever, I didn’t like it. The first wasn’t anything super either outside its superficial shock factor but at least you were given something more other than fan catering. This doesn’t do that. It’s worthless.And now for some excused scorings. ART SECTION: 7/10 Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 2/2 SOUND SECTION: 7/10 Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 2/3 STORY SECTION: 3/10 Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 0/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 0/2 CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 Analysis: Presence 2/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 0/2 VALUE SECTION: 1/10 Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4 ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10 Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 0/2, Story 0/3, Characters 1/4 VERDICT: 4/10

Uriel1988
2

My-Otome is nothing less than a total disaster as far as I'm concerned. This semi-sequel to 'Mai-Hime' is one of many anime-shows that tries to combine many different genres such as comedy, action and drama; 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 a 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.

Kaijo
9

Mai Otome is the not-quite-but-maybe sequel to Mai Hime. I say that, because it seems much like an AU, but with vague hints that it's connected somehow to the former series (watch and decide for yourself). It takes place far into the future, on the world of Earl, which has been colonized previously by Earth. 300 years after, the peace of the world is ensured by Otome; super-powered females who serve as bodyguard servants to royalty and high-ranking officials. Each Otome is bound to a person, and when either loses their life, the other will, too. It's a fairly brilliant way to ensure the peace, as any leader who goes to war literally risks their own life, since 1 Otome can easily decimate a normal army. Garderobe is the school that trains Otome, being neutral in the affairs of other countries, who meet at the school he other countries all meet there to decide things related to the school (such as how many otome each country could possess). Now enter Arika Yumimeya, who wants to enroll in the school because she believes her mother was an Otome and wants to find her. Arika's story, and the grander political backdrop, will intertwine in a fairly well-done plot that doesn't pull any punches. In addition to death (some characters you might get attached to will die), there is another aspect explored; you see, the nanomachines that make up an Otome's power, are vulnerable to a Prostate-Specific Antigen, and if an Otome gets it in her system via sex with a male, the nanomachines dissolve and her body builds an immunity to them, making her unable to receive the nanomachines ever again. This aspect is explored several ways, as various girls(and guys) much choose between love and duty, with some opting for female/female relationships. And the prospect of rape to remove an Otome's powers is addressed as well; like I said before, it doesn't pull any punches. That said, there may be a few things that might squick you out, depending on what kind of person you are, as one character does develop a "daddy complex." They aren't blood related, however.   Animation: The weakest category due to not quite enough battle sequences, but what they do have is fairly decent. There are no blatant flaws, and in particular I found much amused in the animation of Arika's pigtails who almost seem like characters in their own right (at least in the more comedic instances).The rest is fairly standard fare, but it does its job well. The Otome transformation sequences where they put on their robe (armor) is fairly short, so even if some is reused, it doesn't feel overdone. While we're on the topic of robes, I do like that the vast majority of their robe armor is practical and functional. It looks nice, and doesn't really play to fanservice much but seems more practical in nature; even things like ribbons and bows serve multiple combat functions.   Sound: There are various themes that really enhance the moods, particularly the haunting female chanting that happens during the more emotional moments; you really have to see for yourself. The operatic chant, almost latin in nature, that happens when most Otome transform or go into battle, is quite a refreshing break from normal magical girl fare, really driving home the point that these are majestic adults going into battle, and they're about to kick some ass.   Characters: This is what really sold it for me. While the anime starts out light-hearted and almost comedic, the drama that begins to ramp up and challenge the characters, really defines them. From Arika's naivte regarding Otome, to Nina struggling to reconcile her dreams of being an Otome, versus her feelings for her adoptive father. The most memorable one, though, I thought, was Mashiro. Starting her journey as a spoiled princess(yes, you might want to bitch slap her a few times), she faces harsh trials later on that really mature her as a character, bringing her into her own and making her understand what it means to be a queen. The layered manipulations and betrayal against the political backdrop of differing ideals on what it takes to maintain peace will give you pause, making you wonder just who is right.   Overall: Mai Otome brings back several similar themes from Mai Hime. Primarily, the multiple factions tugging from various angles, the idea of love/important persons, with the "magical" girls trapped in the middle (I say that in quotes, since their powers seem to be more technological in nature in this one). The humor is improved, and the series never feels the initial slow-pace that seemed to turn many off Mai Hime. Mai Otome adds a larger political feel, however. While the series can be watched as a stand-alone apart from Mai Hime, those who have watched the earlier show will catch a lot of references that will aid understanding. So regardless of whether you have watched Mai Hime or not, Mai Otome is worth a look. I do reccomend watching Mai Hime first so you can catch the references, and it is a good series in its own right, but Mai Otome can stand as its own adventure. Humor, drama, tragedy, betrayal, interspersed with many heartwarming moments await those who venture within. It's also one of those series that you'll want to watch more than once to truly catch everything, as a lot of earlier things make more sense once you understand the later context.

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