My-HiME Vol. #3 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 12 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: Beez
  • MSRP: ¬£19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: My-Hime

My-HiME Vol. #3

By Bryan Morton     January 25, 2007
Release Date: January 15, 2007


My-HiME Vol. #3
© Beez


What They Say
Juggling numerous part-time jobs by day and an existence as a superhero by night isn't easy for Mai. However, despite her already packed schedule, she still manages to find time to help Natsuki with her investigation of the mysterious Division One.

As the plot thickens, the girls of the campus suddenly find themselves hunted by what appears to be a real-life vampire!! The time has come for our HiME to join forces and bring to light the cause of these strange occurrences...

Episodes Comprise
9 - The Sea, the Maidens, and Natsuki's Secret
10 - Cake Wars!!!
11 - Dance of Light and Darkness
12 - The Smile of an Angel

The Review!
In between major confrontations and revelations, My-HiME continues to make time for the simpler things in life. Like baking.

Audio:
Plenty of language options here, as usual for a Beez release, with Japanese, English, French and German 2.0 tracks available. I stuck to the Japanese track for this release. There's good use made of the sound stage for effects and background sound, particularly during action scenes, while dialogue for the most part is fixed to the centre channel. Music tends to feature quite heavily during battle scenes and adds to the atmosphere without getting to the point where it drowns out other sounds. There were no obvious problems.

Video:
Originally released in 2004, this is a 1.33:1 full-frame series. As for most Sunrise series, production values are quite high and the show mostly just looks great, with plenty of vibrant colours, background detail and fluid animation. The transfer seems to be free of any problems.

Packaging:
A nice piece of swimsuit artwork takes pride of place on the front colver of this volume, featuring Mai, Natsuki and Mikoto. The rear cover has the usual promotional paragraph, along with some images from the show and the disc's technical information.

Menu:
Menus are available in English, French, and Dutch, selectable when the disc loads. I used the English version. The main screen is a static image of Natsuki, standing on the deck of a ship and looking back over her shoulder, with a series of clips from the show running along side her and cherryblossom falling past. An instrumental version of the opening theme plays throughout. Submenus are provided for episode selection, language setup and extras.

Extras:
To start with, there's a 2-and-a-half minute slideshow of production art, set to a piece of the show's background music, and clean versions of the opening and closing animations. There are also another four of the fan-service-filled mini episodes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
Akane & her boyfriend have been missing from class for a few days now - rumour around the school is that they've eloped together, but while Mai suspects something's wrong, no-one knows for sure about what's happened. With the school term having ended, it may take a while for them to figure out, too. Mai's working over the summer as a lifeguard at the local beach - but while wandering down the seafront during the evening, she catches Natsuki in what appears to be a compromising position. Tate, meanwhile, is disturbed to hear about Mai's possible pairing with Kanzaki.

How Mai will ever find time for romance with everything else that's going on in her life, I'll never know, but there are the beginnings of an interesting little love triangle between her, Kanzaki and Tate here that could be fun if it's really explored much further " especially given her HiME powers and involvement in the seemingly random destruction that's been going on around the school. The main event here, though, is Natsuki's little investigation and the revelations about her mother's involvement with District One, who appear to be at least one set of the show's bad guys. It explains her eagerness to find out the truth about what's been going on " and thanks to her contacts, she seems to be doing a fairly good job at uncovering some of the shady goings-on that have been happening behind the scenes.

Episodes 10 and 11 return to the fanservice & fun formula that can make My-HiME so much fun to watch, with the cake episode being particularly good. Even in amongst all the humour, though, there are little bits of information being given out along the way " some more important and surprising than others " so it really is worth paying good attention to what's happening, as you never know when a small scene or throwaway line will come back later on.

The final episode on the disc starts to draw some of the various threads together and picks up the pace a bit. Natsuki's investigations have uncovered a money trail from the mysterious District One leading back to the Searrs Foundation, a shady organisation run by the family of the school's star pupil, Alyssa Searrs. Being her usual direct self, Natsuki takes the direct approach to confronting Alyssa about her family's involvement, but doesn't count on Alyssa " or her bodyguard " being as strong as they are.

Perhaps the best thing about the Searrs Foundation coming out of the shadows here was the way it throws the usually calm and uncaring Nagi " just for once he's been caught out by unexpected events, and it seems the Searrs may have made their move before he's got the HiME ready to challenge them. Of course, while you can now begin to see who's lining up against who, it's still far from clear why all this has been going on, or what the motivations of the various factions are. The Searrs Foundation seem to be the bad guys, controlling events from behind the scenes in a very Illuminati-like way; Nagi seems to be lining up as a good guy, but his general attitude and the way he's never completely direct or honest with the HiME make you wonder about his motivations. There are several layers to what's going on here, and while the action is certainly picking up, I'd be willing to bet that there's still plenty going on that we've barely scratched the surface of yet.

Another aspect of My-HiME that has surprised me is how easy it is to keep track of what's going on " the cast is huge, which normally is a recipe for confusion as you try to remember who's who and what they've done, but the way the various characters have been introduced, and the way their various personality quirks make them stand out (face it, no-one on this series could ever be described as normal), makes it very easy to connect to them all and remember their place in events. That makes it much easier to get into the series.

In summary:
My-HiME continues to impress, as it manages to have both serious and comedy aspects without the join between the two jarring at all. There's always plenty going on, with enough information given out for events to make a certain amount of sense while always leaving you knowing that there's more to what's happening than you can see, and that " along with a great cast " makes this a show that's almost impossible not to enjoy. Definitely worth a look.

Features
Japanese Language 2.0,English Language 2.0,French Language 2.0,German Language 2.0,English Subtitles,French Subtitles,Dutch Subtitles,German Subtitles,Mini-episodes 9-12,Production Sketches

Review Equipment
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.

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