Sunday, February 24, 2008

舞-乙HiME 0 ~S.ifr~

舞-乙HiME 0 ~S.ifr~
(also known as Mai-Otome 0: CIPHER)
My adrenaline was pumping so fast after watching episode 1 that I got to blog this down asap…

Another superb production by SUNRISE animation, [舞-乙HiME 0 ~S.ifr~] really makes me look forward into the months that is to come of 2008.

What is HiME? By “Hime”, it refers to the title of “Princess” in Japanese. However, it’s intentionally spelt “HiME”, as in [舞-HiME]. That’s “Highly-advance Materializing Equipment” for you.
Project HiME first started off with a TV series of 26 episodes titled [舞-HiME] in year 2004. The series revolved around Fuuka Gakuen, with girls possessing abilities of HiME seemingly all gathered at the same place, unknowingly. HiMEs adopt a “CHILD” as their power, and they battled “SLAVES” that appear to have been summoned by someone working from behind the scene.

The HiMEs, who became really good friends, winded up having to fight one another to their deaths in order to protect their love ones. And when their CHILD gets defeated in battle, their love one dies. So it’s a choice between your friends and the one you love. The series is a combination of friendship, romance, comedy, misunderstanding, love, and courage, despite an average plot. The series also hints of lesbianism.
I watched the series and loved the project for 2 things: (1) its soundtracks, and (2) the HiME concept - that you put your life and your love one’s life on the line, in order to protect your love one; hence it’s a dilemma between to fight or not to fight, worse, against your friends.

SUNRISE did not let us down when they released [舞-乙HiME] in year 2005, another 26-episodes TV series featuring all the same cast from [舞-HiME], same name, same voice, same personality and characteristics, just a different role. Those who had watched the predecessor would have really enjoyed this show as each familiar characters debut in the show. Soundtracks lived up to expectations too, kudos to LANTIS music productions.

The scene of [舞-乙HiME] takes place in Gardenrobe, an Otome training academy in the country of Windbloom. Otome is an honorable profession serving the royalty and politicians. The chosen ones get to sign a life-contract with the royalty, in which they pledge their celibacy and life in protecting their master and nation, and is thus conferred the rank of Meister-Otome, and bestowed a meister-gem that upgrades their Otome robes.

The HiME concept was brought over into this series; Meister-Otomes can only draw on their elemental gem’s power when their masters grant them the permission to do so, hence connecting each other’s lives together. Once Meister-Otomes are killed in battle, their King or Queen dies. The hint of lesbianism was also brought over.

[舞-乙HiME] resolves around the friendship of 3 girls, comedy, a love triangle, a 3-part song, a conspiracy which unveils a hidden ancient weapon, and the history of the Sapphire of the Azure Sky.
Set 1 year after the incident in [舞-乙HiME], [舞-乙HiME Zwei], a part 2, was released in year 2006 as a 4-episodes OVA and it set the [Project HiME] fans into ecstasy. An asteroid on a collision course with Windbloom is destroyed – barely – by an international task force of Meister Otomes.

More fast-paced actions were seen; fiercer battles, stronger foes, a conspiracy that threatens to shatter the very foundations of Otomes’ power source, and the Sapphire of the Azure sky, possibly the only weapon powerful enough to defeat the new adversary.
This time round, [舞-乙HiME 0 ~S.ifr~], release on 22 February 2008 as a 3-episodes OVA, is a prequel to [舞-乙HiME], with the main story arc centered around the Sapphire of the Azure sky, and around ladies who wore it in the past.

Episode 1 is a mere 28 mins, but choreographed fighting moves were seen, character designs and names retain the usual styles, lesbianism is quickly hinted at, lotsa Moe and comedy still exist, conspiracy still lingers, and the trademark HiME concept remains.

Below's a short trailer of [舞-乙HiME 0 ~S.ifr~]

What sets my adrenaline pumping was that Meister-Otome fightings scenes are not draggy; each and every moves were set to kill or deal maximum damage. What took me by surprise was that Rena Sayers’ latent powers were even too much for the Lofty Crimson Jade meister-gem that it went overloaded on her. That would mean more powerful gems to look forward to! Rena Sayers was last seen with her meister-gem disintegreting and swallowed by the massive explosion. But if the King of Windbloom is still alive, that would meant she survived.

I can’t wait for episode 2 to come!

Below's [舞-HiME - 幻の劇場版『風華大戦 舞-HiME THE MOVIE』予告]

No comments: