Mai-Otome Zwei – 02
There has been a bus-jacking inside the Aries Republic, and the terrorists are demanding that the peacekeeping troops be withdrawn from Artai and that Nagi be released from prison. Along with having hostages, the terrorists also have a bomb that they are threatening to set it off if their demands aren’t met. Chie and her Delta Otome have been deployed on the scene, ready to strike on Yukino’s orders. Yukino’s general has enacted a Silent Sea operation because of the delicate situation, but Haruka bursts onto the scene with a huge megaphone, demanding that the hostages be released. What she doesn’t know is that Arika is actually on the bus, though she’s sleeping and unaware of the situation. With Haruka yelling at the terrorists, Sara Gallagher rides over on her moped and smacks Haruka on the head with a giant mallet to knock her out. Sara brings Haruka back to Chie, and then all three retreat to the command tent nearby. There, Sara tells Chie about the disappearance of Mashiro and Mai and how Arika left to search for Mashiro. Sara explains that Akira got on a long distance bus, and this bit of information turns Chie’s head towards the bus that’s been hijacked.
The current stalemate with the terrorists is interrupted when a van pulls up carrying presidential candidate Wattarl Ishigermin. Before Ishigermin can make a speech though, Haruka stops the van with her foot. The two of them don’t get along, but to her surprise, he announces that he has a girlfriend. Even more surprising though is that that person turns out to be none other than Tomoe Marguerite, and she has her own presidential ambitions. All of this gets interrupted when the terrorists bring out and threaten a hooded hostage so that they’ll be taken seriously. However, everyone soon realizes that the hostage is actually Arika. She wakes up from being pushed and recognizes where she is and the people nearby. The terrorists don’t know who she is until Tomoe identifies her and one of them remembers that Arika is the person who saved the world. Haruka tries to have Arika take care of the bad guys, but unfortunately Arika doesn’t have any of her Otome powers without Mashiro. After Arika figures out that she’s a hostage, Yukino arrives on the scene to negotiate directly with the terrorists. They want her to get on the bus, but she demands that they release the hostages in exchange.
The terrorists end up releasing everyone except Arika because she is supposedly Nagi’s biggest enemy. When Yukino says that this will make Windbloom into an enemy too, one of the terrorists raises his gun to smack her, but Arika stops him. Given a moment alone with Yukino, Arika confesses that she wants to do whatever possible to find Mashiro. Yukino says that she understands this feeling because she would be the same way if Haruka went missing. She admits that she and Haruka have plenty of arguments, but they also have a rule: if either of them is mistaken, the other can get angry. The two of them would then discuss the subject, find the right path, and move forward together. While they are talking about this inside the bus, the other Otome are proceeding with a rescue plan outside. Sara activates her Surrogate System so that she can materialize her Robe while Haruka grabs a metal plate as a shield and charges the bus head-on. The terrorists return fire, and their leader is about to press the button to blow the bomb, but Arika has Mikoto jump on him and force him to drop the trigger. Sara then comes through the ceiling and disarms the bomb as Chie uses her magic hat to reach into the bus and punches a terrorist.
The other two terrorists get taken out by Haruka, and the situation would appear to be over if not for the fact that the ground under the bus suddenly starts to crumble. A large metallic plant-like object rises up – one that Sara suspects is a Child. When bulb of the object opens, it causes the bus to fall down onto one of the object’s appendages. From the object emerges a new monster that Sara and the Delta Otome cannot seem to hurt with their normal attacks. Haruka meanwhile attempts desperately to hold onto Yukino because the bus is now hanging on its side. The two quickly decide to have Haruka let go so that Yukino can activate her Robe while they’re falling down to the ground. From the smoke appears a giant ball and chain aimed for the monster, but it manages to jump out of the way. Haruka uses her weapon to break the monster’s blade, but then finds out that it has the ability to regenerate. While the others are fighting, Sara brings Arika and Mikoto down to safety. However, when she flies up again, she finds that there is a shadowy winged figure behind her. This person narrowly avoids hitting Sara with a red beam that ends up solidifying a nearby tree instead. In these worst of times, Sara’s Surrogate System terminates and she loses her Otome powers.
Sara briefly comes face to face with the figure, but fortunately Haruka grabs her out of the way before anything can happen. After getting a better look, everyone starts to realize that this shadowy figure has a face similar to the Grand Meister Fumi. Chie and her Delta Otome meanwhile use their special Delta Formation attack to envelope and destroy the original monster. Haruka then attacks the Fumi-figure who now seems to be targeting Yukino. In the ensuing fight, Haruka takes a red beam to her stomach before retaliating with her ball and chain by landing a direct hit that seemingly destroys Fumi’s head. However, Haruka then turns to stone, and the headless Fumi-figure flies off. In the aftermath, Natsuki and Arika pay a visit to Nagi in prison, but he isn’t too concerned that he lost his chance to get released. Nagi is actually happy to be fed and even mentions that he doesn’t have to work in the Black Valley anymore. When he suspects that something happened to the Valley, Arika reveals that it’s gone along with Mashiro and Mai. Nagi concludes that he is here, but then corrects himself to say she instead. Nagi knows that Otome who are hit by this person have their nano-machines hardened. Though they still have life signs, these Otome’s bodies completely turn into a mineral form. This is all apparently something Nagi read from a book found in Artai ruins.
Meanwhile, in a wintry Artai at a certain Stripes location, Yamada passes some information to Nao because she doesn’t want to stay there. Nao then receives a visitor: Nina.
I generally liked this episode (highlights include all the action scenes, Tomoe reappearing, Chie’s magic hat, the appearance of the shadowy figure/Fumi, and Nao&Nina at the end), but I have my reservations about how they used this episode to advance the plot. It doesn’t feel like they’re going fast enough to reach a good conclusion without rushing it since they only have two more episodes. The vast majority of this takes place in Aries with the hostage situation, and the surprise was that the shadowy figure having Fumi’s face. Although Nagi does a little explaining at the end, we still don’t know what it is or what’s really going on, and I’m not sure there’s enough time to develop that. On the positive side though, the production quality was good and there was a good deal of action to enjoy. Plus, it’s Mai-Otome, so I’m happy to see more of the cast again.
Well, the past three months since the first episode passed by fairly quickly, and it’ll be another three months before we see episode three. The third DVD is due out on May 25th, 2007. I hope it’s got more Nina and Nao…