Mai-Otome Zwei 4: the end…for now
It’s been a long road, getting from there to here…and sadly, it is by no means over yet. As Mai- threatens to become a mega-franchise to rival the greats, we learn that Zwei is not the end, but merely the beginning of a spate of spin-offs and cash-ins that could last until we are all old and grey. More on that later, however, for now we must go forth and rejoice at the conclusion of this OVA.
OVA closing thoughts
As to be expected of an OVA sequel to a TV series, Zwei started off by introducing a previously unmentioned evil for our heroines to fight- in this case, a shadow Otome who petrified some named characters for no real reason and absorbed the appearance of Fumi Himeno, the first ever Otome. As we learn in this episode, our enemy is actually some sort of superweapon named Yuna who was sent into space by her creators, only to end up causing trouble for our leads. Sadly, thanks to all the time spent on bus hijackings and bathing scenes, there isn’t time to give Yuna much in the way of development- she merely appears, turns a few people to stone, and ultimately gets defeated.
Anyway, on with the plot, and for reasons that remain unclear to me even now, the strange plant things that appear all over the world open up to reveal Children, presumably included as a way of giving the supporting Otome something to do. In an homage to Mai-HiME, the Child that appears at Mai’s location just happens to be Kagutsuchi, letting the powerful cat goddess Mikoto step back and let her Otome fight it whilst she continues to nap.
Meanwhile, Yuna decides to transform into final boss mode, and by randomly using some source of power that just happens to be compatible with her, she transforms into a giant version of Otome Fumi, complete with a connection to the so-called ‘Administar’ in orbit of the planet. Yes, an alien weapon can now connect to a previously unimportant orbiting Shinso, whilst our own Otome are so unprepared for the loss of their Shinso that they have to use a barely functional surrogate system (what is the surrogate system, anyway?).
With the final boss in place, it is time for Arika to go to Mashiro, but whilst Lumen is willing to take her part of the way, once they meet up with Midori and Rad, Arika and Mikoto get stranded in the middle of nowhere for some reason. Not that I don’t understand the desire to leave Arika to perish in the desert, but when fat cat Mikoto is there too, it becomes a different matter entirely. Anyway, for reasons that I suspect will never make sense to me, Mikoto is somehow able to signal for a white dolphin by flashing light off her earring, enabling Arika to reach Mashiro just in time to stop FumiYuna from blowing her away.
Sadly, Arika in puffy pink mode is not enough to defeat the final boss, and so various convenient yet ultimately senseless things have to occur in order to avoid a game over. First, Nina, who just happened to wash up here at the end of last episode, carrying a book that oh-so-conveniently contains some long-lost Otome gems, makes a contract with Mashiro so that she too can join the fight in a brand new Robe. Then, determined not to be outdone, Arika decides to settle her differences with Mashiro with a mutual slap on the cheek, somehow magically re-enabling the much better looking Zwei Mode Robe. Finally, Nagi, who seems to know exactly what is going on despite being stuck in an Artai prison, phones up Natsuki because he somehow knows exactly how to Protect Break the enemies so that they can be defeated without continually regenerating. All I can say is- thank heavens for coincidences.
With all these pieces in place, FumiYuna is defeated, but by exercising her right to a second form, she is able to survive by absorbing Mashiro and turning into the true final boss, FumiMashiro. What drama, what excitement- oh wait, one attack each from Nina and Arika, and she’s been turned into green sparkles.
Meanwhile, Mai has been fighting Kagutsuchi conveniently off screen all this time, but now that we’re approaching the end, it is time to finish the job by pulling its sword out. For reasons that remain beyond my understanding, this causes Kagutsuchi to transform into a small white cat- cute, to be sure, but inexpliable nonetheless. Now, everyone can live happily ever after, and whilst Mashiro and Arika appear to be missing, they actually prove to be floating happily in space (as we have already seen, breathing in space and even entering the atmosphere whilst buck naked are mere trifles to Otome characters), contemplating how they would like to see more of the world.
And so, it all ends- or does it? For, post-credits, we see Ribbon-chan, who now resembles chibi-Erstin more than a black mage (she may even be the reincarnation of Erstin in some sense) resolve to become an Otome one day- surely a recipe for a sequel some day. And even before that inevitable sequel, we have a prequel to look forward to- Mai-Otome S.ifl.
Natsuki is shocked and disappointed to learn that she must stay put with the nameless heads of state whilst everyone else gets action scenes.
“Should I wait in the dressing room until it’s time for my final boss battle?”
Let’s play guess the character! Here are a few clues- it’s a fire element Child whose name begins with K.
“Haruka, come back to me so that we can have HARD YURI once again.”
“ARIKAA!!!! Sergey is mine!!”
“Nina, it’s you that I love!”
“Oh, it was just a budget saving flashback dream.”
Time for some catservice.
“Who left the Book of Twilight here?”
“Launch Gundams, er, I mean Otome!”
“Arika, what are you doing here?”
“I’m here to take up screen time with main character type things.”
(“Damn, there goes my last chance of being able to do anything useful.”)
Nagi plans to make millions by publishing his “Smile Diary”.
“Rad, I wish there was some point to us appearing.”
“You think you’ve got problems- I lost my bishie body before the series even began!”
“Arika, here’s the script for the rest of the episode- written under the influence of sweet potato dango as usual.”
“Okay, we’re just going to fly off and leave you here now.”
“Can’t you take me with you?”
“Sorry, I can’t hear you!”
Bee Train must have assisted with this scene.
Mikoto to the rescue!
Her earring is able to signal for rescue.
Gathering apples is always relevant to the plot.
“Oh, by the way, I also have a Slave crystal- because I am the reincarnation of Erstin!”
“Oh come on- can anyone who isn’t called Mimi actually die in this series?”
“I must only use my powers for cooking!”
“Activate HiME-service and summon Kagutsuchi!”
“This seems familiar somehow.”
“We may be unimportant to the plot, but we’re still alive!”
“Quick, Mikoto, we must power up with HARD YURI!”
“Leave this to me- fans will appreciate the irony.”
“People have been complaining that we just fly around and use energy blast, so here’s an all-new Maraca Attack!”
“Minor Character Gratuitous Cameo Attack!”
“Final Boss Form One- Giant Winged Fumi!”
“Now to strike fear into the hearts of everyone by attacking nowhere in particular with my laser beam eyes!”
I don’t really understand how or why, but somehow “Fumi” is able to connect to the so-called “Administar”.
“Bad news, Natsuki- the plot makes no sense whatsoever!”
Enemies emerge to keep the lesser Otome occupied.
“You can’t attack me- I’m not an Otome!”
“I can’t be blown away- I’m too important! Don’t make me the first significant casualty!”
“Magical star dolphin ex machina!”
For some reason, the dolphin has a Mikoto-earring. If only Sunrise would explain these things.
“Play time is over- it’s time for you to face the main character!”
If there’s a Mikoto shot, you can be sure I’ll take it.
“Get me the director- I need to know why this OVA is so crappy!”
“Say what? If I don’t co-operate, I don’t get any HARD YURI with Shizuru?”
“Who is this, anyway?”
“Natsuki, I am the director!”
(“That explains a lot.”)
“Why am I losing? I thought I was the main character!”
“Nina, the plot needs you!”
“Thank god I have these conveniently procured GEMs.”
“Mashiro, let’s copy the manga and have you make a contract with me.”
“Okay, but let me get one thing straight- I am not a man in drag!”
“Materialise with all-new previously unmentioned GEM- Neptune Emerald!”
“I’m back- and this time I’ll make sure the audience doesn’t hate me!”
“Yay, Nina- let’s have HARD YURI!”
“Hey Mashiro, I can’t outdo Nina without the Zwei Mode I lost in episode one!”
“Fine- we can easily mend our relationship by slapping each other.”
“That feels much better.”
“Goodbye Arinko, hello Rena junior!”
This attack is called Dash Cold Water Spout (no, really).
Yes, everyone else is still fighting- and note how Akane is having the closest thing she will ever get to a sexual experience.
“Gwakakaka, I am the final boss- it will take more than flashy special attacks to destroy me!”
“Oh crap, why do you always lose reception when you need it the most?”
“Help, I’m dying- dying!”
“Oh wait, final bosses always get a second form- Mashiro Fusion!”
“Don’t worry about me- Sunrise surely wouldn’t kill me off now!”
“All right, let’s do some special attacks.”
“Yay, I get an even bigger sword!”
“Damn you- I just get this same old attack again!”
“Sorry, Nina, but the main character always gets the final blow.”
Ah, good old green sparkles.
For reasons it is best not to think too deeply about, when Mai defeats Kagutsuchi, it turns into this small white cat.
“Yay, this OVA is almost over!”
“Hey, since Shizuru isn’t around, what say you and I hook up?”
“Actually, everyone who was petrified has just woken up unharmed.”
“This isn’t the last you’ve seen of Sergey Wang!”
Mashiro and Arika- proving once again that in the Otome world, survival in the hard vacuum of space is nothing special.
“Looking down at the planet from up here makes me realise how petty and small we can be when we should be looking at the bigger picture, yada, yada, yada…”
Yes, “Otome wa do my best deshou?” is so good that it really needed a 2007 remix.
“I’m going to be an Otome some day, and have my own spin-off series!”- and yes, this is Ribbon-chan/Erstin/whatever she is.
Coming soon, Mai-Otome S.ifl!
Experience the early days of one John Smith!
As he faces off against Some Guy!
It’s not Chie and Shiho, but Mayo and Shion from the Mai-HiME Destiny novels.
Young Maria and Some Other Character appear.
The legendary Pillars of old don their robes…
…but are they any match for Rena? Who cares, really?
And no, I wasn’t joking when I said it was called S.ifl.