Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~

Title:Mai-Otome 0~S.ifr~
舞-乙HiME 0 ~S.ifr~ (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , ,
Sifr Fran has been kidnapped and is being held by a group of men from an organization known as Schwartz on a high-speed train. She is rescued by a group lead by Bruce Walace, which includes Sister Shion, her Otome Raquel, Otome Elliot, and maid Lena Sayers, a former Otome in the service of Bruce. However, Schwartz is very keen to get Sifr at all costs, forcing Lena to have to use her Otome Robe again to defend Sifr whereby her own powers are too much for her GEM to handle. Complicating matters is the Garderobe Academy's headmaster, Una, deciding that Sifr is too dangerous to live, thus the most powerful Otome (the Columns) are used to try to assassinate Sifr. Will the new GEM provided by the android Miyu from Lena's mother (the Super Meister GEM Blue Sky Saphire) be enough to contain her powers to save Sifr from death or capture?
[3 OVA episodes]

1:06min Promo Trailer - YouTube Video
[edit] The ↗Mai Hime franchise:

Mai Hime (original story): Mai Otome (spinoff/sequel, different setting):
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 8 8 8 7 8 8 Dreamer [series:1717#2279]
I've always been a fan of this franchise... including the original Mai Hime. So picking this one up got me excited.

Art, Animation & Character Designs
Artwork and animation were as good as ever.... speaking of the previous installments. It had a fair amount of detail and animation was on par with most other anime. Character designs were great. I've always liked the the Mai Otome/Hime characters... mainly the girls as most of them look uber cute. Actually, the chracter designs here seemed slightly better than previous installments.

Being that this is an OVA, there isn't an OP. But the soundtrack had some great dramatic beats and instrumentals... as expected of this franchise. The OD was a sort of a lullaby... not bad but didn't seem to fit the series.

Series and Episode Story
It was good to see a few questions answered from the franchise here in this prequel. Yet, at the same time, it introduces a whole new set of questions now I'm really curious to know. The plot was good and right from the start, it was action packed and didn't waste a minute. At the end the plot, we see the real power of the blue sapphire.... which almost seemed too overwhelming and not believable.

Overall, great OVA. As a fan of this franchise, I enjoyed every minute of it and really has me considering rewatching the other series.

Last updated Wednesday, February 24 2010. Created Wednesday, February 24 2010.
Buy 9 9 9 7 8 8 AstroNerdBoy [series:1717#436]
The "Mai-HiME"/"Mai Otome" franchise is one that I've followed from the beginning. There are a lot of items of interest to keep me coming back, though the frustrating part has always been a lack of clear answers. However, when the prequel to "Mai Otome" came out featuring Arika's mother Lena, I was excited to see this. So how did it fare? Pretty good, though with some of the same faults as its predecessors.

I have to say, the writers went all out with this prequel. Right from the start, there is no wasted time getting straight to the action with the kidnapping of Sifr. There is quite a bit of action in this title, especially in the final episode. Things aren't all about the action though as we get some of the humor one might expect from a "Mai Otome" title. Further, the story is pretty good too as it is neat seeing Akira's mother in action. However, the story begged the question of just how was she killed by the time of "Mai Otome" to be used as the mechanism for the Valkyries there. By episode three, Lena is so powerful, she can defeat four Column Otome in under a minute with simple illusions of herself.

This is the area where the whole franchise suffers IMO -- there's not enough explanation of things. I understand that Otome can never marry or engage in sex because that will cause them to lose their Otome abilities by their bodies building a resistance to the nanomachines within them. So Lena marrying Akira's father would weaken her over time. However, with Lena also appearing to have a Child named Artemas, which allows her to activate her Robe without a contract from a master, she's clearly not your normal Otome and so it seems strange to me that she would be killed like that after seeing her withstand a weapon of mass destruction without breaking a sweat.

Also, the writers don't make clear links of Sifr to the Mai Otome series, so you have to be on your toes or do some research. Otherwise, I wouldn't have realized that she's the mother of Nina Wang. One almost needs to rewatch Mai Otome from scratch in order to gain some better insight on things (which I have not done, only having rewatched episodes regarding Lena). Since Sifr is a "Weaver," she's a danger though she eventually becomes queen, has Nina, somehow Nina is taken away, somehow Mashiro becomes the young illegitimate queen, etc. It really can be a tangled web, especially if you are not well versed in things, which I am not.

The Schwartz were strange here. Clearly, they have access to a lot of old technology and weapons of mass destruction. However, once they reach their space base with it's pulverizing beam weapon, once the Otome working with Bruce arrive, Schwartz goes, "time to self-destruct the facility." I didn't understand that quick give-up because it comes off as such a huge waste. OK, maybe the Otome would gather and destroy the station anyway, but the way things play out, it just seems strange to abandon the station and lose all those android fighters (at least to me).

Still, despite the frustration of clearly linking the pieces, I have to say that I like "Mai Otome 0~S.ifr~" the most of all the "Mai Otome" titles. I liked all the new characters and their interactions. I liked how Schwartz is the main villain here (again), but this time the Garderobe Academy is also a foe since they want Sifr dead to keep her away from Schwartz. I also like how this series more clearly sets out the notion of "fake" war (Otome from different countries forced to fight each other to determine the winner) vs. the pain and suffering that a real war could cause. I just wish that in addition to the better explanations for characters, a better explanation of Lena's Child and the linkage to "Mai-HiME" would finally come about.

Bottom line: I'd buy this title, were it licensed because I enjoyed it that much despite its flaws. If you've seen the other "Mai Otome" titles, you'll certainly want to catch this one.

Last updated Tuesday, January 13 2009. Created Friday, February 29 2008.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:1717#628]
(One episode watched):

I've completely lost track of all the different characters and factions in the Mai Otome canon--Meisters, Columns, Schwarz, etc--but that didn't keep me from enjoying this OVA. It was pretty clear who were the good and the bad guys--I mean girls--and I couldn't help grinning at the risque, tongue-in-cheek humor and action of this show. The animation of the fight scenes was pretty wild and fluid, though the music seemed a little overdone to me. I was pleasantly surprised at the enjoyment I got out of this first episode.

My favorite line: "So the rumors are true! Otome are into 'that'!"

Last updated Thursday, February 28 2008. Created Thursday, February 28 2008.

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