As a castle goes up in flames, an injured woman sends a baby and a pendant down a canal, telling them to live. Fourteen years later, a girl (Arika) wandering in the desert finds her way into a city. She sees another girl, Nina Wong, sitting with a very attractive looking drink. Arika goes to grab it but trips and falls, and both girls go tumbling, though Arika manages to catch and drink her target. The girl she fell down with is Nina Wong, an Otome. After Arika wakes up and returns Nina’s handkerchief she meets Nina’s father Sergey Wong to whom Arika introduces herself as Yumemiya Arika. Following Nina into the city, Arika is amazed to see all of the modern things, including the train and the various holograms. Nina does her best to keep her distance, but Arika doesn’t let up. She wants to know where Garderobe Academy is, a question that surprises Nina. Arika continues by saying that she’s searching for her mother, who was an Otome, and since the academy is a school for them, she wants to go too. Nina doesn’t think she can do it, but Arika tags along anyway. Arika notices a girl standing on a roof who tries to jumps away from some bad looking people, but falls into an alley instead. Nina springs into action and rushes to catch the girl, but is shocked when Arika overtakes her. They successfully catch the girl, and then defeat her pursuers, though Arika accidentally pushes the girl into the waterway. Afterwards, they arrive at an airport and the girl they saved reveals herself to have a ring in her possession that signifies her importance. Nina immediately kneels before her, but Arika has no idea what’s going on. As Arika realizes that Nina is an Otome, a giant machination, called a Slave, rises up behind them. It targets Mashiro and launches a deadly projectile, though the girls dodge it. Nina asks Mashiro be her temporary master, and after Mashiro kisses Nina’s earring, Nina changes into her Otome Robe. Natsuki, who is the director of the school, is informed of the developing situation and sets out with Shizuru. Back at the battle, Nina is fairly unsuccessful at hurting the monster. When the three girls duck into a plane to dodge a second blast, Arika’s pendant starts to shine, and the plane powers up and flies off on its own with the girls inside and the Slave holding onto the side. The girls enter free fall after Shizuru arrives to slash the plane open. Arika’s pendant, which stopped glowing, lights up again and we see the faint signs of a Robe on her. The girls briefly stop falling, but then it all disappears and they have to be saved by Akane. Shizuru makes quick work of the Slave while Akane flies the girls straight to the academy. Natsuki and Sergey both show up, and both notice that Arika is wearing a pendant, which Sergey identifies as the Souten Sapphire. As Shizuru flies in, Arika decides that she definitely wants to become an Otome.
OP: 「Dream☆Wing」 by 栗林みな実
ED: 「乙女はDO MY BESTでしょ？」 by 菊地美香 and 小清水亜美
Bleh, I don’t particularly like either the OP or ED. The way the ED ended the episode is nice, but I’m not too fond of the song itself. The OP sequence shows off most of the characters (including several mysterious ones), and the ED sequence just features Arika running forward.
Wow…the animation, the plot, the craziness of it all…just wow….
So yea, I’m quite awed by all of the production aspects of this show. The animation is superb and the music is done wonderfully by Kajiura Yuki. I already love several of the action songs (like the one that plays after Arika and Nina catch Mashiro). If only every other series has this level of quality.
The overall characters designs haven’t changed at all from the previous series, though everyone has a new role. Our main character Arika aspires to be an Otome in her search for her mother, while her rival Nina is already one. Shizuru seems to be one of the most powerful Otomes, and Natsuki is now the director of the school. The main characters from Mai-HiME (Mai and Tate) are noticeably absent, though. There is a shot in the OP (see screens above), with a girl surrounded by flames that could potentially be Mai, but we don’t see her this episode. And Mikoto is still around, but she’s a cat now – a rather large chubby, black cat.
Instead of HiMEs, we now have Otomes, who seem to serve important people like Mashiro, but who are also themselves highly regarded in society (as seen when Nina offered a drink and a toast). Their opponents comprise a large group of crystal carrying, hood wearing, bad guys who summon giant mechanical monsters called Slaves. Oh and there’s also that large metallic looking guy from the beginning and in the OP who carries a staff, looking like some villain off of a sentai show. Actually, there are several evil looking people also shown in the OP who we haven’t been introduced to yet, including Nagi and the Otome with ragged wings and a red eye.
New and old voices make up the cast, and the old ones bring back so many memories. Mashiro, done by Nogami Yukana, ends up sounding nothing like the previous Mashiro, which is good considering those two characters are completely different. Arika, voiced by Kikuchi Mika, comes off a bit too much like Mokona (of Tsubasa Chronicle) sometimes, but it’s cute. Chiba Saeko and Shindoh Naomi reprise their roles as Natsuki and Shizuru, sounding like they always did. Shizuru herself, as even Arika exclaims, gets all of the cool scenes this episode with a flashy entrance and by doing a heck of a job defeating the Slave.
Needless to say, I’ll be keeping up with this series. There’s too much I want to know about this new world, all of the characters are fun, and the production quality is high. What more could I ask for?