Mai-Otome – 08
Word of Arika and Mashiro’s exploits last week have already spread to Natsuki, but she decides not to annul their contract. Arika is cleaning Fumi’s mausoleum when her friends arrive with lunch. Irina also brings a giant cleaning machine, but it breaks down pretty quickly. Arika, who is doing poorly in her studies, later gets some personal attention and help from Shizuru, much to the envy of her peers. That night, as she is walking back to her room, Arika is faced with a shadowy figure. She recognizes it to be her old friend Miyu, complete with her pet bird, Alyssa. After filling Miyu in on what’s been going on, Arika starts to tell her about the special GEM, but Mashiro interrupts them. Arika and Mashiro want to find a way to remove the GEMs and annul the contract. Miyu is easily able to pop both of them out, solving the first problem, but tells the two that the contract is still in place. She advises them to go look in the prohibited books library under Fumi’s mausoleum.
So Arika recruits her friends, and even Nao shows up to help. Nao has one key, but not the password required to get in. Luckily for them, Arika somehow opens the door by saying “Open Sardine.” Inside, they find a large room with a holographic databank that appears at their feet. Erstin spots another hallway, and the girls follow it to a room of pillars inscribed with the names of Otomes. They are discovered by Miss Maria, who apologizes first to a grave for an Otome named Monica Julen. Miss Maria explains that Monica to fight her close friend in a war because she was bound by contract to her king. When she then asks the prospective Otomes whether they could do the same, Nina responds with a yes, but Arika is against it. Arika feels that the war shouldn’t have been caused and declares that she would not let the war occur when she becomes a full fledged Otome. Miss Maria smiles, but then notices Arika’s ear, and is shocked to find that Arika doesn’t have a GEM anymore. Fortunately for Arika, she’s given a new one (and the entire group is given cleaning duty). Meanwhile, the masked Black Valley group is asked by the Cardair Kingdom’s Emperor Algos to do something in the Republic of Airies (domain of Yukino and Haruka). We learn that one of the masked figures, who looks and talks like Midori, is the leader of this Aswad special force.
This is yet another episode of setting things up, possibly for conflict way into the future. The main development of this episode revolves around the Otome Monica having to fight a friend in a war – basically friendship vs. contract. Nina seems more than willing to do the same, should it be required for her, but Arika is understandably opposed. It seems that there’s a lot of political intrigue this series, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a grand war started where each country called in its Otomes to fight another country’s. In fact, since they introduced this concept, I’m now expecting something like that to happen, whether it is between Arika and Nina or two of the other Otomes.
The stand-out characters for this episode are Miyu and Midori. Their roles have been a bit reversed though, as Miyu is now good (debatable whether she’s still an android or not) and helps Arika solve part of her problem, and Midori is part of the Black Valley (who seem to be the bad guys for now). The only reason I still suspect Miyu might be an android is because she sees Arika’s hair as glowing golden; who knows what that may mean (aside from the fact that Arika is special).
I’m not really sure what to expect from this series anymore. At first glance, the preview apparently shows yet another swimsuit/comedy episode. That could be a very good thing if it turns out like episode six did. But it almost feels too soon, since ep. six wasn’t so long ago. And plus, there’s the looming threat to Yukino and Haruka that Midori’s squad poses, though those events may not occur just yet. For all of this building up and plot development that they’re doing, I really expect some big things to happen later in the series.