Title: Mai Hime aka My Hime
Genre: action, fantasy, comedy, romance
Released date: September 30, 2004 – March 31, 2005
Director: Masakazu Obara
Animated by: Studio Sunrise
Comment: Mai Hime is generally another ‘magical girls’ anime that combines fantasy, comedy, drama and mecha subgenres. It is an exceptionally strong proof of how scary teenage girls can be when they are in love and wield deadly weapons. HIMEs are girls who are gifted with superpowers. They can materialize their personal weapons called ‘element’ and they can summon powerful biomechanical creatures, the Child. Tokiha Mai, along with other several girls who are also Hime, is recruited to Fuka Academy which will serve as the background of the series. Early in the series, Mai and her friends use their powers to defeat Orphans, the monsters terrorizing the school. Later, they learn about their true missions and destinies that can decide the fate of the Earth.
Although the fate of the world is at stake, Mai Hime mostly focused on more personal stories regularly seen in high school animes. The anime’s pace relies heavily on the characters. Mai Hime cleverly creates interesting conditions and conflicts for the characters to struggle through. For example, the ones dearest to the Himes will die if the Hime’s Child are defeated. This condition leads to a great deal of conflicts among the characters both Himes and regular students because many people can do anything when love is involved. Another great technique that makes the story even more compelling is how the anime keeps the true identities of the twelve Himes and the natures of their Childs secret and reveals them slowly, one by one, as the series progress so the viewers will be constantly surprised. The action sequences in Mai Hime are really fun and not too long. The comedy and drama parts also work really well thanks to the deftly crafted relationships between the characters.
There are two significant flaws I notice in the anime. The first is that Mai Hime fools around too much. It wastes too much time making jokes. There is one whole episode about an orphan that steals girl’s underwear. I wondered who came up with this idea. The second flaw is its background story about the very meaning of the Himes and their importance. The viewers are told that every 300 hundred years the Hime Star will approach the Earth and the battle between the twelve Himes will determine the future of the world. But all the viewers see is what happens in Fuka Academy and few brief news reports about the disasters occurring around the world. There are no credible explanation linking together the Himes, The Hime Star, The Obsidian Prince and the fact that the world is coming to an end. To me, it seems like this background story is just an excuse to give the Himes some reasons to fight. Fortunately, this flaw can hardly be noticed during the show because Mai Hime always and successfully keeps the viewers entertained using interesting characters, touching drama, imaginative action sequences and the main theme of the anime that is not saving the world but is simply about the beauty of love. Conclusion: not everything makes sense in Mai Hime. Nevertheless, I find it quite adorable and fun.