Mai-Otome – 20
As the Jabal travels through the desert, Mikoto fails to claw her way into it. Midori, who doesn’t know that Arika and Mashiro were swallowed, decides to leave the two alone for now. For her, there’s a dangerous international situation to worry about. In the Airies Republic, Natsuki is being laughed at by Haruka and Yukino because of the hitchhiking incident. Turning serious, Natsuki requests Yukino and Airies’ cooperation, but gets turned down because of the current political atmosphere. In Windbloom, Sergay, who doesn’t know that it’s Rena in the capsule, is watching over the production of the new crystals. Nina pulls him out to ask him why he took over the Valkyrie unit, but Sergay tells her not to worry about it. When he calls her his cute daughter and uses the informal “Nina,” she asks that he use something that childish. Nina remembers when Sergay had found her after he had killed the people around her because of an orphan-related assassination plot. She had mis-fired her gun and the bullet had hit a pipe. The resulting shrapnel is what gave Sergay his scar. But at the time, he had stopped the soldiers from shooting her and took her in instead. As the current Nina grows more distant from her father, she finds herself wanting his attention more and more.
Inside the Jabal, Arika and Mashiro both blame themselves for what happened around them. Arika is taking it especially hard because she feels that she doesn’t understand anything and everything she does is a mistake. Mashiro reveals that Aoi is dead because of her. But at the same time, because of Aoi’s sacrifice, Mashiro has a will to live. However, Arika refuses to use her Otome powers, and she pushes Mashiro away when Mashiro tries to force a robe activation kiss. Suddenly, the Jabal’s stomach begins to fill with a lava-like digestive fluid. The girls attempt to cling onto a rocky pillar, but it breaks under pressure. In mid-air, Mashiro activates Arika’s Robe and Arika smashes her way out of the creature. The girls manage to laugh about their appearance afterwards and even briefly get to enjoy the sunrise. It is brief because Arika soon notices a plume of smoke in the direction of the Aswad village.
The two arrive to find bodies on the ground and flames everywhere. They catch Fia Gros (of Cardair) stealing the Aswad’s research – the REM data. Arika challenges how the enemy Otome’s follows of her master’s orders, but Fia Gros replies that she would of course do whatever her master wanted because their lives are bound to each other. She then knocks Arika out of the way and disappears. Arika’s attention then turns saving the people around her. Mashiro, on the other hand, isn’t really sure of what to do and tries to help the best she can. After Arika has saved a boy from the fire, Midori and the cyborg arrive back in the village. Midori switches into leader mode and unites her people to get through the ordeal. As everyone gets to work, Mashiro sees first-hand the traits of a great ruler. Once all of the fires have been put out, Arika uses Midori as counsel for her own internal conflict. It was an Otome that caused all of the damage to the village, but it was also Arika’s Otome powers that saved the boy. Midori tells her that Otomes are power, power that is neither good nor bad. But without it, there is only death – that is the law that controls this world. And that is why people used science to create the huge power that is Otome.
Back at Garderobe, a notice has gone out for recruits to become Artai Otome. Tomoe and her group go to Sergay and sign up for the process. Once she’s obtained her crystal, Tomoe goes and free Shizuru. In Mashiro’s old bedroom, Tomoe lies to Shizuru about Natsuki having been caught. She then takes her reward by kissing Shizuru and throwing her onto the bed. Shizuru doesn’t resist and there are sounds of clothes being taken off. While those two are having their fun, Sergay is approached by Chie, who also wants to volunteer. Below the city, Nagi introduces Nina to the Harmonium. According to Nagi, Garderobe sealed off the science from the earlier age, a time where people shined the brightest. Nina feels something nostalgic about this and when she steps forward, the structure opens up. The black figure once again appears and asks if they are the people who wish for the power of the Harmonium.
This episode has its share of surprises and predictable moments, but I still highly enjoyed watching the episode.
Nina the Princess – All the way back in episode six, we got one of the first glimpses of proof that Nina is in fact the princess. During her drowning scene, she sees a face very similar to Rena’s, in a position as if she was the one being sent down the waterway inside the capsule. In this episode, during the flashback scene, there is a shot of that same capsule in the background. It makes for a compelling case that Nina is indeed the true princess. Of course, there’s still the chance that this could be a red herring, but because we’re so close to the end, I’m more inclined to believe in this clue.
More Arika Angst – Like many people (including myself) predicted last week, Arika refused to use her powers until a life-or-death situation came up. In this case, they were about to be melted by the Jabal’s digestive system. Far more interesting than that is…
Midori the Wise – Actually, Midori’s speech is kind of reminiscent of what Takumi said back in episode twelve. Midori’s and Takumi’s point is that Otomes embody power, and that’s why everyone covets them. Arika is no different, even if she wanted to use those powers to help people.
(On a side note, I love how this series allows me to tie so much stuff together from previous episodes.)
TomoexShizuru – Ok, I had guessed that Tomoe would spring Shizuru from prison, but I didn’t predict that she’d then take her to bed. And from how the preview shows the two of them, it would seem that they actually went and did something. I would assume that Shizuru is just playing along until she can get back to Natsuki and get their Robes reactivated, but this could be the source of some major jealousy if she’s found out. Natsuki keen senses already perked up right as Tomoe kissed Shizuru.
Valkyrie Chie – Part of the whole Valkyrie and crystal system has me getting evil vibes, but I think that’s mainly because Nagi and John Smith developed it and Tomoe signed up for it. Chie, on the other hand, perhaps knows that this is the quickest way to get access to a Robe or perhaps she’s just further infiltrating the enemy. Either way, as the preview shows, she’s going to be getting a crystal and a change of clothes.
The Harmonium – What exactly is Nagi trying to do with only one of the three girls he needs to use the Harmonium? The black figure is just going to reject him again for not having all the pieces. He probably won’t be happy and will have Nina attack it (that’s speculation based on the preview). But…
Hey wait, that looks like – …there’s gotta be a reason that they also show a non-blacked out form of Mikoto (the person) in the preview. Is Shimizu Ai finally going to get to reprise her role as Mikoto (the person) for next episode? Does that mean that Mai isn’t too far in the horizon? We’re getting pretty close to the end, and they still haven’t actually shown Mai in person.
Oh and one more thing – Mark your calendars: the final two episodes of Mai-Otome (25 and 26) will be aired together on March 30th as a one-hour block.