舞-HiME/Mai-HiME episodes 1–4

[Screenshot]MaiHiME is an interesting show marred by faultlines running down its middle. It jumps without warning between being a fairly dark fantasy action show and a lighthearted comedy. Genre grafts are definitely possible, but the first few episodes of Mai-HiME take a fairly hit-or-miss route, at least to my eyes. Scenes which could have been pulled directly from Best Student Council (which postdates Mai-HiME, so it may have deliberately been designed to spoof its device) run directly into these dramatically rendered battle scenes (which remind me a lot of Madlax, but that may be the choice of music). This may be deliberate, but it’s more than a little jarring and makes it a lot harder to figure out what Mai-HiME wants to be.

On techincal details it scores well: there’s an eye to detail in the animation, and the voice acting in both the Japanese and English dubs is quite solid, notwithstanding the ever-bewildering re-interpretation of a Kansai accent as Dixie. Character designs are distinctive and appealing, and the relationships are mostly interesting, although the constant and fairly ill-grounded Mai/Yuichi bickering, which sets them up as the most predictable romantic coupling, gets tedious about 3 minutes in, as does pretty much everything about Shiho. Most of the other characterizations are also pretty opaque, but many of them (such as Nagi, Mikoto, and Natsuki) are presumably in service of the major dark plot that the story is building up to.

In writing about this, I find very little actually to dislike, but the tonal rifts bug me enough to put me off. I don’t know if this gets better or worse with later episodes.

Oh, quick follow-up note: what’s up with those odd post-preview bits? They don’t seem really story-relevant and violate most structural conventions. I’m used to the random jokey preview, but a completely separate random jokey bit after the preview?

See also: IMDB, Wikipedia, Anime News Network, AniDB.

Advertisements

About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: