Tokiha Mai is transferred to the prestigious Fuka Gakuen high school. After an accident on a boat en route to the school, she finds herself against strange girls with strange powers. After an explosion that tears that boat in half, she finds herself awake at school grounds.
There, she learns about monsters roaming the ground, and the secrets about the powers of the Hime, as appointed by a special birthmark and the ability to see an evil star in the sky.
Sounds cool, doesn't it? In fact, after the first episode, I was pretty much taken in by the entire show. We have girls with special powers, with the ability to make robotic creatures materialize and fight alongside them. What's more, the show initially doesn't seem to take itself TOO seriously, but plays out more like a typical action show with random, though inappropriate, comedy shot in seemingly just for the hell of it.
Sadly, a lot of the comedy comes off as rather stupid, and doesn't really fit in with the more serious parts. I mean, we have an entire episode dealing with a monster that runs around stealing underwear? Oh, and let's not forget the cooking competition, which, oddly enough, shows that Mai, despite her main lead tomboy heritage, actually makes for quite a good cook. Who knew?
With that in mind, the characters in the show are actually one of the better factors therein. Mai, for all her jumping-to-conclusions tomboyishness, is actually a quite nonviolent character, and strangely reasonable for her anime archetype. In fact, all the girls are fairly reasonable and non-judgmental when it comes to their fellow man. And speaking of the boys, they, too, came across as actually quite .... normal. I'm not saying we don't have small amounts of staring and blushing, but outside of that, they're not even half as girl-crazy as in... *cough* ...some OTHER anime titles I've seen. In fact, the normalcy in the show helped me get over some of the problems it has later on.
So, going with that, I was quite able to enjoy the show. Through its ups and downs, the conspiracies woven into the plot suit the show quite well, lending the show the amount of suspense it needs to keep things afloat. Not brilliant by any means, but entertaining enough. It was around halfway in the show (perhaps a little more) that I found out that Mai-Hime has two story arcs, and... well ... if you plan to watch the entire thing, then I hope you like your action with generous helpings of angst with a solid side order of drrrrama. Apparently, "subtle" isn't something Mai-Hime does very well.
And it's at this point that Mai-Hime falls apart. Now, normally I like a little bit of crisis in my anime. Normally. Unfortunately, the last half is apparently there to make up for the first part by putting the main cast through hell -- the full tour WITH all the trimmings. Had this show been angsty in general in both story arcs, perhaps the transition wouldn't have been so bad. Instead, I'm sitting here wondering if I suddenly started viewing a completely different show by mistake, if not for the same cast. And, like I said, the angstmeter is off the scale. (Even though here at THEM, the scale goes to eleven.)
It's still a salvageable show. It's certainly nice to look at, with art being good and animation certainly being decent for a TV show. The characters' faces are expressive and lend the show much of its life (and angst, if you go by the second part). If it weren't for the exceedingly dull opening and ending theme, I would be without complaints about the visual and the audio.
If you plan to survive this show, however, keep in mind that episodes seem to vary a lot between great action and dumb, slightly crude comedy, only to be followed by a rather excessive amounts of angst and over-the-top drama, culminating by perhaps the cheesiest ending known to man. (Or at least the runner up.) Even so, I give this show a tentative recommendation. Had the second half been less obnoxious, I would have looked upon this in a more positive manner. Still, we're left with a quite watchable show nonetheless.
If you think an anime title is rated after how much crap you put the main cast through, feel free to add another star. Personally, I thought it was a bit much. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Needless to say, the violence in this title isn't to be ignored. People and robots fight excessively, often with bloody results. The psychological warfare is cause for parental alarm too, not to mention the death count in here.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, bilingual
Review Status: Full (26/26)
My-Hime © 2004 Sunrise
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