Everything races to an epic scale conclusion with a cast of seemingly hundreds of Otome’s.
What They Say
The operation to liberate Windbloom is in full effect! While the united Otome begin their assault, Sergay makes an attempt to free Nina from the burden of the Harmonium. When Duke Nagi discovers Sergay's treachery, Major Wong is critically injured and Nina is forced to maintain constant control of the Harmonium in order to keep him alive. As the force of the Harmonium draws upon the young Otome her health and sanity begin to deteriorate.
Arika and Mashiro push forward into Fuka Castle for the final
confrontation! Using the newly realized powers of the Blue Sky Sapphire, can Arika save her ailing friend or will she lose Nina forever?
The bilingual presentation of this series is pretty well done as each language track features a solid stereo mix done at 224 kbps. The show has a good mix of action sequences alongside the dialogue while also featuring a very enjoyable Yuki Kajiura score that is nicely expansive. The mix overall comes across well as it handles each of the elements without problems across the forward soundstage. It may lack a bit of oomph and impact in some of the bigger action scenes but it's a solid piece overall. We didn't have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Similar to the My-Hime series, the show has a strong visual sense of color with lots of bold bright colors that stand out but don't dominate overall. The combination of this with some very fluid animation could be problematic but everything comes together in a solid way without any real issues at all. Aliasing and cross coloration is generally non-existent and colors are very solid throughout with hardly any significant noise or noticeable blocking. With an average bitrate in the sevens with lots of spikes into the eights, this is a great looking disc overall that really lets the content shine.
The final installment of the series has a good bit of lightness to it which helps to really make it feel somewhat uplifting. The cast of characters used is pretty good as we get some key ones that have influence Arika but we also get a wonderful shot of Arika with her mother at long last. Not unlike previous covers, the colors are vibrant and the detail to the designs shows through quite well. The back cover has a good design overall with some of the symbols from the show containing artwork and the summary of what to expect. The discs features are clearly listed as are the episode numbers and titles. Technical information continues to be one of the weakest parts of Bandai's packaging as you have no clue as to what to really expect either in terms of audio or video. No insert is included with this release nor is there a reversible cover.
Considering how bad the initial menus were for My-Hime, these come across pretty well even if they are simple. A series of brief clips runs through the center while brightly colored red and blue borders are around it which also contains the various selections. Unlike the previous volumes there's now a bit of instrumental music that plays along to give it a bit more life. Access times are nice and fast and with no transitional animations it all moves about very quickly. The disc did not read our players' language presets unfortunately and defaulted to English with sign/song subtitles.
The extras aren’t a surprise in that they’re pretty minimal here but they are very welcome. We get a clean version of the last episode since the in-show sequences for the opening and closing are kept in their original Japanese form. The best inclusion here however is the My-Otome Vs. My-Hime video extra in which the characters argue over who gets to be the lead in My-Otome 2, which of course doesn’t really exist. They do lightly plug the actual Zwei OVA but they mix in a bit of the mythical movie as well.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The conclusion to My-Otome in a lot of ways feels like how My-Hime ended, though that’s not too much of a surprise. Partially what accounts for the feeling is the disc count of the series as the last two volumes have felt like they’re taking a good bit of time to get through in comparison to a six volume series, stringing out the enjoyment just a bit too far. Like most series of this nature though, the size of the cast is a positive and a negative. You’re bound to find a character you’ll like but you’re also bound to find that they won’t get the level of exploration you’d like them to have.
The final three episodes of the series are all about the action payoff, the resolution to everything that has come before. The character drama that’s been mixed up in all of it is explored as well as can be expected, but the main focus is on the epic feel of the moment and what the Otome’s have to do. Nagi’s grand plan to turn all the Otome’s against each other so that the population can properly feel war and be involved in it has reached its critical stage as several nations have banded against him to preserve their own sovereignty. While a number of nations have gone with him out of fear of exposing their populations to war, the small number that have opposed him now find that they actually have to put their money where their mouth is. Which isn’t a problem for Haruka as she’s always ready to get down to things.
At the same time, other forces are aligning against Nagi in order to stave off his plans. Arika’s time with Mashiro, Mai and Mikoto has been a very positive experience for her as she’s grown closer to Mashiro and also gained a better understanding of her place in the world and her powers. Though the relations to Mai and Mikoto and what they’ve gone through is superficial, they provide a great bit of continuity to the original in an amusing way which helps to solidify Arika’s position as the lead here. The two do come across as quite similar a lot of the time but finally having Mai in the series after being absent in it for so long has helped to make this all a lot more familiar.
So much of these three episodes revolves around either the build-up to the action or the action itself however, which leaves a lot of the good character pieces to little more than small moments strung between the big battles. There are some beautiful pieces to be found, such as Maria’s revelation, Miyu’s involvement in settling things and the way Mikoto appears at the right time for a little bit of closure. The bigger moments do get their time in the center stage, such as the confrontation between Nina and Arika, which is amusingly complete with them both being stripped naked as they fall into the atmosphere. Good to know that skin can survive that but not clothes. There are moments that needed more time though, such as Arika’s finding of her mother and the verbal sparring that should have been more intense between Mashiro and Nagi.
My-Otome didn’t leave me unhappy with the ending, but it reminded me a lot of how My-Hime played out. The size of the cast keeps it from being able to really explore things too deeply. Arika and Nina do get a good deal of time overall which is good considering their positions and relationships, especially with Sergay, but so many others fell by the wayside too often. Even worse for the show is that there are so many other Otome’s brought into these final episodes – many with references to the My-Hime series, that it all starts to blur together too heavily. Add in an average of two months between volumes and it’s admittedly hard to remember who all everyone is outside of the leads with each volume.
My-Otome ends pretty conclusively which is a big plus in its favor, though it obviously has opening for more material which will show up in the My-Otome: Zwei release. Though I have some issues with how the series handles itself at the end, as well as its release pattern, it is a show that I found a lot more enjoyable than My-Hime. And I liked My-Hime pretty well. There’s a greater sense of fun to be had here throughout and some more interesting designs overall considering the locales. A good bit of the fun can also be attributed to the way the show took familiar characters and relationships and mixed them all up, which can frustrate some but proved to be very enjoyable for me. In the end, My-Otome will stand out as a far more enjoyable show for me overall in comparison to My-Hime and it’s one that I can see rewatching easily.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,My Otome Vs. My Hime,Episode 26 Textless Version
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.