Mai-Otome Zwei – 04
With the giant metal stalks containing Childs appearing in all the major countries, Natsuki learns from Irina, Gal, and Youko that the shadowy Fumi-like figure is called Yuna and is a planetary annihilation weapon. Youko theorizes that its original handlers couldn’t deal with its power and threw it into space, and she worries about the end of their own world. Around this time, Yuna uses a golden sword to summon Kagutsuchi at the ruins that Nao and Nina had been investigating. Nina, who had been transported to the Black Valley, is meanwhile having a dream about fighting Arika in space when she suddenly wakes up after having fallen on the floor. Upon getting up, she notices Mikoto sleeping in the bed beside her, and she realizes that the sea god book she had can now open up. What’s inside surprises her, so she immediately closes it and instead checks out her new surroundings, including outside where Mai and Mashiro are having lunch. She explains what happened to them as she eats all the ramen, and, when Mashiro asks if Arika had said anything, she reveals that she hadn’t seen Arika. Mashiro’s subsequent complaining about Arika causes Mai to note that Mashiro is lonely without her, but Mashiro denies this and heads off for a walk.
While Natsuki returns to Windbloom, Arika decides to search for Mashiro and gets word from Gal that Midori has good news. When Arika arrives in the desert, Midori, who was staring at a hole in the cloudy sky, shows her the letter that Mashiro wrote. Unfortunately, Arika can’t cross the nearby ocean by herself and wonders what to do until Mikoto the cat appears and flashes its earring at something in the distance. Back at the Black Valley, Nina has gone out to the forest with Ribbon-chan to get apples, and when Ribbon-chan mentions Mashiro hating Arika, Nina reveals that the two actually get along quite well. That’s why they argue – they’re friends rather than being just queen and Otome. Ribbon-chan then starts talking about how great Otome are, but Nina feels that obtaining power is a very scary thing because you could make an irreparable mistake. Hearing that causes Ribbon-chan to pull out her Slave crystal and say that it’s the same, however, before Nina can do anything except to express her surprise, the ground starts rumbling and the black mountain starts glowing. From the clouds appear Kagutsuchi and Yuna, and because the Child starts blowing things up, Mai heads inside and has the sleeping Mikoto kiss her GEM.
After telling Nina and Ribbon-chan to take refuge, Mai flies up towards her opponents and immediately get nailed by a fireball, though she manages to come out of it relatively unfazed. Ignoring her, Yuna heads to the ruins that Nina appeared in and activates something that makes her huge in size and gives her white wings. She is also able to connect to the Administar and turn it red instead of blue, which activates all the Childs across the world. Yuna then notices the ring on Mashiro’s finger and flaps her wings so that Mashiro gets blown upwards, in the end leaving Mashiro barely hanging on to a rock jutting out over the water. In desperation, Mashiro calls out Arika’s name, and to her shock, Arika suddenly shows up riding on a dolphin that leaps up and catches her as Yuna takes a swing. Mashiro quickly kisses Arika’s GEM, activating the Blue Sky Sapphire, however Arika’s Otome powers aren’t enough to destroy the giant. Instead, Arika gets tossed into a rock and Mashiro gets caught in an explosion from one of Kagutsuchi’s fireballs. Seeing Mashiro wash up on the beach nearby, Ribbon-chan wants to fight too because she loves everyone and wants to protect them, reminding Nina greatly of Erstin. Nina, however, hugs Ribbon-chan and decides that she’ll fight instead, showing Ribbon-chan the pair of GEMs that are in the sea god book.
Mashiro is surprised to hear that Nina wants to contract with her and become her Otome with the Neptune Emerald. However, with Nina’s desire to protect and her assertion that she feels the same way as Mashiro and Arika, Mashiro agrees to do it and activates the GEM. Nina then materialises into her Neptune Emerald robe and joins the battle just in time to save Arika from getting impaled. Arika is shocked to see Nina and starts crying, but when she flies toward her friend, she gets smacked by Yuna. Mashiro rushes to the spot where Arika falls to, and after Arika says that the Sapphire’s power isn’t enough, Mashiro tells Arika to hit her. Arika agrees if Mashiro promises to return the favor, and once they get the mutual slapping out of the way, they are able to activate the Robe’s Ultimate Blue Sky form. As news of this battle reaches Garderobe, Youko realizes that they’re detecting the lost GEM – the Neptune Emerald – and Irina is shocked to see that the Otome is none other than Nina. Back at the Black Valley, Arika manages to lure Yuna into the path of Nina’s Dash Cold Water Spout attack, and although this shreds one of the giant’s wings, Yuna quickly regenerates.
Natsuki, who had earlier gotten a call from Nagi offering help in exchange for something, now broadcasts a message to all the Otome about the plan to cut off Yuna and the Childs from the Shinso Fumi power that was letting them regenerate. However, they can only manage this for 120 seconds with the Surrogate System, so the Otome have to defeat their opponents inside that period of time. As soon as they set this plan in motion, Yuna loses connection to the Administar, causing her newly repaired wing to shatter. Yuna then falls to the ground, but she lands next to Mashiro and uses her own power to capture Mashiro and bring the queen inside of her giant body. Doing this transforms Yuna into a different demonic-looking being, though Mashiro is still able to communicate with her two Otome. She specifically addresses Arika, saying that Arika shouldn’t hesitate to attack if their wills are overlapping despite them being different people. With Nina’s help, Arika is then able to pull off a Bolt From The Blue attack that pierces through and destroys Yuna, saving Mashiro at the same time. Mai meanwhile pulls the sword out of Kagutsuchi’s head, causing it to explode and land on the ground in the form of a white kitten.
In the aftermath, with Yuna gone and the Childs destroyed, the mission is deemed a success, and the five who were turned to stone – Miyu, Nao, Shizuru, Maria, and Haruka – all change back to normal. Mai ends up giving Kagutsuchi to Ribbon-chan, and around the same time, Mikoto wakes up and comes out of the house feeling hungry. As for where Mashiro is, Arika’s earlier Bolt From The Blue had left a trail of light in the sky leading into space, and Arika is actually showing her the view of their planet from above. Impressed by the sight, Mashiro wants to see more of this world that they live on, so Arika flies her around the planet in the direction of the sun. It is sometime later that Ribbon-chan arrives on the steps of Garderobe with Kagutsuchi and declares that she will become an Otome.
Well, this had a lot of cool fights and action sequences, but it was still relatively light on substance. I had been afraid after the second episode of Zwei that the they wouldn’t be able to get through everything in a satisfying manner, and indeed, if felt like the whole Yuna aspect could have gotten a lot more development in terms of better explaining its origins or explaining the nature of the Shinso/Fumi/Administar relationship. Still, they did include a lot of stuff that might please the fans like myself. It was good to see Nina regain her powers and finally fight alongside Arika again, and I’m sure Kagutsuchi vs. Mai wasn’t an accident either (though making Kagutsuchi into a kitten seemed like an odd decision). Perhaps the most interesting, though, was the reference to Erstin they put in Ribbon-chan, especially when they finally reveal her face. The preview at the end of the previous episode had Kuribayashi Minami (who voices both Ribbon-chan and Erstin) saying that she wanted to live this time around, but I didn’t think that Ribbon-chan was actually going to look like Erstin too. I’m not sure if it was just a nod to Erstin fans or if they’re trying to imply that Erstin got reincarnated or something, but that scene plus the redux of Otome wa DO MY BEST desho? (2007 version this time) made for a decent ending, all things considered.
As for the series overall, it was fun to watch all the characters again, but a bit disappointing story-wise. Four episodes admittedly wasn’t a lot for them to work with, but I feel that all that time spent in episode two on the hostage situation and in episode three on fanservice could have been put to much better use. Similar things could probably be said about certain episodes of the original series, but 26 total episodes allowed for a lot more leeway, and I felt much more excitement back when I was watching that. In contrast, the combination of the lackluster story and the long periods between releases made it hard for me to stay excited about Zwei, though I do have to say that I’m now very intrigued by this Mai-Otome s.ifl series that looks like it will be a prequel. The text in the preview pits the Five Pillars against history’s strongest Otome (implied to be Rena), and I think it’ll be interesting to see how Sunrise approaches the series. I’ll certainly be keeping my eyes out for more information.