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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » My-Zhime: My-Otome, Vol. 6
My-Zhime: My-Otome, Vol. 6
Bandai // PG-13 // May 20, 2008
List Price: $24.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted June 1, 2008 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Series:

Things go from bad to worse in the penultimate volume of My-Zhime - My-Otome.  With Arika and the Queen are hiding out with the desert people, but that doesn't mean that the Schwartz won't find them.  Arika has to fight for her life against one of her old classmates, and on top of that, it looks like the true heir to the throne isn't Arika after all.  The action revs up another notch as does the suspense in this sixth volume.  A great series that hasn't disappointed yet.

Series background:

The planet Earl has lost most of the technological knowledge that they once had.  One of the few pieces of advanced tech that they still have access to are nanobots that can enhance a woman's strength and abilities, but only virgin women.  The women who are injected with these devices are Otome, and act as both servants and bodyguards to the royalty of the planet.  If they ever have sex their bodies will reject the nano-machines however.

14-year-old Arika Yumemiya has traveled through vast deserts to the capital city of the Windbloom Kingdom in search of her mother, who she knew was an Otome.  Arika has a mysterious past, she hardly knew her mother and was raised by her grandmother, and there may be more to the young girl than meets the eye.   Arriving at the capital Arika meets Nina, a top Otome candidate.  Nina is aggravated by the rural Arika but when the new girl spots someone running from guards they both go to her rescue.

It turns out that the girl they saw was none other than Mashiro Blan de Windbloom, the soon to be crowned heir to the throne.  Mashiro isn't grateful that Arika and Nina saved her life.  After all, that's their job.  The princess is a spoiled brat of the first degree, partially because she's been pampered all her life, but also because of the rumors about her, rumors that she's not be the real princess.  Nearly 14 years ago there was an invasion.  The king and queen were killed, and the infant princess was missing.  As soon as the invasion was repelled, a minister produced a baby girl that he said was the princess...but was she really?

Based on her performance saving the queen, Arika is granted admission to Garderobe Academy where Otome are trained, an honor that many aspire to but few achieve.  Getting special treatment doesn't endear her to many of her new classmates however, and the fact that she doesn't have the money to pay the exorbitant tuition sets her apart from the others too.  It seems that passing her classes won't be the only things that Arika has to worry about.

In later volumes the series takes a look at the bigger picture and the political mechanizations of a few groups.  Things come to a head when the Garderobe Academy and the capital city of Windbloom are invaded by The Schwartz lead by Nagi, a young but crafty boy who has great plans.  Many of the students at Windbloom are given Otome powers in exchange for their loyalty, and Arika and the Queen find themselves among a group of people scraping out a meager existence in the desert, Windbloom's enemy the Aswad.

This volume:

Things look bad at the beginning of this volume.  Arika and the Queen are trapped in the desert, and it looks like the Schwartz has solidified their hold on Windbloom.  Not only that, but looking at some old pictures, Nagi makes a startling discovery:  the real Queen may actually be Nina!  He puts this theory to the test.

Meanwhile out in the desert, a group of refugees, the same ones that murdered Mashiro's servant in front of her, arrive near the Aswad encampment and are attacked by desert monsters.  The Aswad aren't willing to risk any of their people to help their enemy, but the Queen starts to mature and can't stand to see her people, even if they hate her, slaughtered.  But what can she do about it?  And even if she could save them, where would they go?

Things get even more tense with the Aswad when a contingent from Windbloom, headed by Nina's father, arrive in the desert and demand Arika and the Queen be turned over to them.  Not wanting to cause any problems for their hosts, the pair emerges, but Arika doesn't plan to go peacefully.

The volume ends with an odd turn of events that finds Arika, Queen Mashiro, and their friend Miyu all in the Black Valley, a strange place where Mai and Mikoto the Cat Goddess live.  Here they learn the answers to some important questions and also have a chance to rest up before the climax of the series in the next volume.

While it's disappointing that there are only three episodes on this disc, the series has been unfolding very nicely.  After seeing what Mashiro has been through, her evolution as a person and a ruler seems natural and justified.  Likewise the actions that Nina takes are just an extension from what has gone on before.  The characters in this series are fleshed out nicely and that adds a lot to the show's charm.

The only real qualm I had was with the final episode on this disc.  In some ways having the main protagonists shuttled off to another area where several questions are answered seems like a cop-out and an easy way to wrap up some mysteries.  It does give the show a bit grander scale, but getting there seemed a bit forced.

The DVD:


Audio:

This series offers viewers the option of a listening to the show in the original Japanese with optional subtitles or to an English dub, both in stereo.  I alternated audio tracks and the Japanese one is superior.  I'm not a person who thumbs their nose at all dubs, some recent English dubs have been fantastic, but this one has some characters with phony accents that sound really bad.  They are minor characters, granted, but we shouldn't have to put up with something like that at all.  Aside from that, both tracks sounded fine.  There were no dropouts, distortion or background noise that I could hear.

Video:

The full frame image looked very good.  The colors were bright and solid and the lines were tight.  On the digital side things also looked fine.  There was just a touch of aliasing in the background, but it was much less than your average anime disc.  Cross colorization, blocking, bleeding were all absent.  Overall I was very happy with this disc's visuals.

Extras:

Bandai includes a short bonus scene with this disc:  The Legend of the Fire String Ruby.  This mini-episode last a few minutes expands on an event that happened in the show.  Mia talks about what really happened when she disappeared and fills out the Legend of the Tragic Otome.

Final Thoughts:

This series has been getting better as it goes along, and this volume was the best yet.  The unexpected plot twists and the way peoples actions are painted in shades or grey make this an engrossing and entertaining series.  Well worth checking out.  Highly Recommended.
 

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