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My-HiME ep 13-26 April 3, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Uncategorized.
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Phew! Just finished the series finale of My-HiME, the end of a week long My-HiME marathon. But that’s the addictiveness of this series – I only discovered it a week ago and 26 episodes later, it’s over! But what a series….. rarely does one touch on near-anime-perfection, this side of Cowboy Bebop. It’s not as cool as that, but I’d urge any anime fan to give this a go, even if you’re not a fan of the magical-girl genre in general. As anticipated, My-HiME took the Evangelion route, twisting and turning through a series of mutations until the final stages were so different from the start it was like watching an episode of Sailor Moon then switching to Akira.

(SPOILER WARNING. I’m gonna rave a bit now, so if you’d rather not know what happens, stop reading here.)

I am seriously impressed that they managed to carry 20 or so characters and still managed to develop each and every one of them into a fully realised human character – faults, loves, powers and all. The idea of HiME’s and the gathering of the 12 could so easily have fallen into anime cliche (in fact, it is one), but combining it with the supernatural-apocalyptic conspiracy ingeniously saves it from that. There’s nothing like a bit of tragedy to balance out the sachharine cliche- though admittedly the HiME squadron at the end was borderline (yet you know I was jumping out of my seat with joy when that happened). It kind of needed it though – going down the Evangelion route means building up fan-attachment to the characters then mercilessly destroying them one by one in a countdown to climax. It seriously messes with your emotions! But that’s the true mark of a great show, one that has the guts to sacrifice main characters for the sake of the plot.

Equally surprising is the sparing use of flashbacks, even more so considering this is a Sunrise anime. Mind you, the sheer pace of this series, the number of major events packed in, leaves little room for money saving techniques. But it never once feels rushed or panicked. It all feels perfectly planned out, delicately plotted and gorgeously animated. And no matter how dark the story got, they still opened up every episode with the same cheery JPop theme tune!

Having watched the last few episodes with baited breath and a tear in my eye, I am 100% satisfied with the ending – which isn’t often the case with series I like (Gundam SEED being a case in point). Sure, it got very sickly sweet. Sure, everyone coming back to life was more than a little unrealistic (he says about an anime where high school girls have magical powers, giant monsters and fight a supernatural organisation). Sure, everyone turning evil/being in on the conspiracy/going stark raving bonkers was more than a little emotionally manipulative. Sure, the wholly confusing Lord Kokuyou plotline had more than a hint of X/1999 and Eva about it. Sure, Tate coming to save Mai was a little illogical. Sure, the whole ending is more than a little bit of wishful thinking. And yes, it was all a disguise for the high-school morals of ‘be true to yourself’ and ‘love is a many splendid thing’ – but a good ‘guise it was. For anyone who loves the base anime elements – good fantasy storyline, cute character designs, good mecha, great characters, high-school comaraderie, slapstick bordering-on-echhi-humour, kick-ass action and a great soundtrack – My-HiME never fails to entertain. Plus it’s tongue-in-cheek and dark enough that you don’t have to feel embarrassed at watching a high-school, magical girl anime.

And after everything that went down that they still managed to turn in a happy ending! Now that’s giving all the fans what they want – heartbreaking tragedy then insanely happy ending. I’ve heard that there are tentative discussions for a My-HiME 2. There’s scope for it, but I really hope not. If there’s one thing an original series doesn’t need it’s a poorly conceived cash-in sequel called My-HiME Destiny, or something. But for now, My-HiME is over and, like Midori-chan, we should just drink to that!

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