Chie tries pulling a plot out of her magical hat.
A lot has happened over the last three months, but I’m sure most will agree that events worldwide, personal and anime-related must all pale in comparison to the release we’ve all been waiting for- the second episode of Mai-Otome Zwei. In episode one, a mysterious Shadow Otome started petrifying powerful and God Mode supporting characters, Arika and Mashiro had an argument over generic protesters in Wind Bloom, and Mai and Arika protected Black Valley from a giant Slave of the week. This time around, Mai and Mashiro have gone missing for some reason, and on her way to find them, Arika finds herself in the middle of a bus-jacking in Aries. Exciting stuff, eh? No, I didn’t think so either.
Yes, for reasons best known to the dango-addled writers, the majority of this episode revolves around this rather uninspiring bus-jacking, as carried out by some ugly and generic terrorists who wish to force the release of Nagi and the withdrawal of peacekeeping forces from Artai. The chances of Nagi staying in prison always seemed slim, but this is surely a depressing turn of events, and so it is perhaps fortunate that it has not yet come to pass, for even as Yukino, Sarah and Chie resolve to handle the whole thing carefully, Haruka bursts onto the scene with a megaphone, blissfully unaware that the main character is one of the hostages on the bus.
At this point, for some reason we have to digress for some HiME service with the appearance of Wataru Ishigami (or Watarl Ishigermin as it now seems to be); formerly the evil art teacher and deflowerer of Yukariko, but now turned into an irritating candidate for the country’s next presidential election. Alongside him is his potential First Lady, who just happens to be none other than Tomoe (heaven forbid that any character not get a cameo). As if the whole bus-jacking story were not pointless enough, we now have to take a digression to watch him tour his campaign bus around, with Haruka yelling at him all the while.
By now you might be wondering “what the hell is this?” and “when is the plot going to go anywhere?”, to the extent that it actually seems something of a relief to get back to the terrorists. By this point, they have finally cottoned on to the fact that they have the main character in their custody, and they soon get a second named character when Yukino decides to trade herself for the generics on the bus so that she and Arika can talk about HARD YURI.
Fear not, however, for at long last, the action is about to begin, and if there’s one thing that can be said about this OVA, it’s that the hour produced so far has more action than all twenty-six episodes of the TV series combined (although then again, so does a twelve hour video of a man sleeping). Just as our bold Otome move in to defuse the terrorist situation with the aid of fat cat Mikoto, a bizarre and largely pointless series of monsters appear. First, a giant Plant Slave shows up, although according to Sarah, it’s actually a Child, prompting questions as to whether the producers have remembered this is Otome and not HiME they are working on. For some reason, however, the Child (or whatever it is) does not do anything other than split open to reveal some sort of Eva Unit 1 rip-off which everyone gets a chance to fight (except of course Arika since her master is god knows where). With that dispatched, the evil Shadow Otome stops watching from the sidelines and moves forward to fight with Sarah and Haruka, finally petrifying Haruka and flying off to await her next encounter in episode three.
Whilst viewers are left wondering what exactly any of that accomplished, Natsuki and Arika head off to drop into Nagi and presumably ask him about the situation. Meanwhile, in the depths of Artai, Nao is hanging out with moon Mikoto in a bar when Nina and an unknown companion (presumably Sergey) show up to ask when they will be getting some screen time. If it was up to me, they wouldn’t be, but then again, if it was up to me, this OVA would be all about fat cats…
Next episode: Otome wrestling? Seriously, the preview shows a wrestling ring and Nina in a mask, so maybe it’s time for her to put the smack down on Arika. In other news, expect cameos from Shiho, Akane, Rosalie, Laura, Maya and the Romulus and Annam Otome.
Observations and Speculation
- The Shadow Otome now looks a lot like Fumi, so it seems that she must have absorbed the Shinso before she came after Maria. Based on Sarah’s Materialisation, the Pillars are now using a surrogate system.
- Chie is now the leader of a Delta Otome squad in Artai, with what looks to be a generic as the Master of all four of them (the other three seem to be yet more new characters without names or much hope of airtime). Chie’s Robe includes a laughably out of place cane and magical hat.
- For someone who wears a Batgirl robe, Sarah is actually a worthy character; my appreciation for her has tripled in this episode.
- Where did Mashiro and Mai go, and why didn’t Arika know about it? Furthermore, where is human Mikoto? Is she stuck in Black Valley for some reason, or did she go with Mashiro and Mai (I didn’t hear her mentioned when the others said Mashiro and Mai were missing, though, unless she isn’t considered important enough to say anything about).
- What’s the deal with Artai anyway? Please don’t say Nagi is going to be let out of prison to help with the situation.
- There are of course many other questions, but they all run along the lines of “what is the point of this OVA?”, so there’s no point really listing them.