But yeah. This one was pretty bad. The one thing that I liked about it was that it reminded me of the King's Blades books by Dave Duncan. Except instead of teenaged fantasy magical swordsmen, it was teenaged shoujo magical girls. The opening and ending themes were pretty catchy and the art was pretty, but that's about all the good I can say about it.
I'm not gonna give it a full review - I originally had the intention to write somethig for every series as I finished it, but Ithink I gave up on that a while ago. But this one's a dud big enough to warn folks about, especially since I had mentioned that I was interested in seeing it.
First off, the character design sucks. Only about half of the girls seem attractive. Problem is, those are the background characters. The main characters are some of the most plain. The heroine is the worst of the bunch. They don't all have to be long, leggy beauty queens like in Sailor Moon, but on the other hand Arika is drawn so plain that she doesn't seem interesting at all. And while in-character I don't mind a normal heroine, this goes beyond that and is simply bad design. Akari from Battle Athletes was a plain, normal girl. So was Usagi from Sailor Moon, Miaka from Fushigi Yuugi, and countless others. But they were cute to look at, despite being considered "plain" by their friends and classmates. Arika also has the annoying trait of her pigtails turning into questionmarks whenever she's confused. It's not as cute as they likely intended for it to be. *shrugs*
Their magical girl outfits, "Robes", are horrible. They have these huge, clownlike bracelets and anklets once they transform, and the uniform is a cross between Robocop and Pretty Sammy. It's a clever idea...I kind of like the back bow being used as wings and the kind of mettalic look to the chest area, but the glowing lights just make me shudder. For an Anime that tries to get by soley on it's cute characters, the ugly girls in uglier outfits is inexcusable.
Their schoolgirl outfits, well, aren't. They wear maid uniforms for some inexplicable reason. Again, this story isn't about the plot apparently as much as it is about the cutesy eye-candy, but the uniforms are a bit much. They're so frilly and so overexaggerated that they're simply out of place. So much so that the actual maid looks normal in comparison. It's blatant that they're only in there for maid fetish fans...if they were overly-cutesy schoolgirl uniforms for schoolgirl fetish fans, I could have delt with it. Because they're schoolgirls. But they're not maids. I don't know what the hell they are, really; every single class I've seen them in so far was teaching them to bow and smile and be cute. One character mentioned how hard the cirriculum was, but so far they haven't done anything.
The shoujo-ai is horribly done as well. Apparently, the younger students are required to bathe the older ones for some, unexplained and likely unbelievable reason. It seems to be tradition or something. And they lose their magical powers if they come in contact with the Y chromosome...the reason they're all lesbians is because cum apparently destroyes the nanomachines they have in their bloodstreams or someting. The only girl-on-girl moments in the entire show aren't so much the result of a sweet, developing relationship between the students, as much as one character randomly grabbing another's breasts for no reason at all.
And that's not counting all of the other, less important plotholes. Like how once city has holograms and nanotechnology, while the neighboring countries have never even seen a telephone before. *headdesk*
Long story short, I should have turned the damn thing of in the very first episode when I saw the monster with the exploding crotch cannon... -__-;
Sorry for the rantage...I suppose if I was going to write that much, I should have actually sat down and put all of this into a coherent review. But the moral of the story is that Mai-Otome sucks ass, at least as far as the five episodes I've seen thus far. It'd have to get a lot better real quick before I'd say otherwise. Until I feel the need to watch any more of this, which very well may be never, it gets only two beers on my patented six-pack scale. =P