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Mai HiME Episode 2: After-School Secrets?

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Mai HiME Episode 2: After-School Secrets?

Post by Luu Sky Sapphire on Sat Jun 05, 2010 10:26 pm

Discussion thread for Mai HiME Episode 2: After-School Secrets?

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Re: Mai HiME Episode 2: After-School Secrets?

Post by GoldenSun13 on Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:38 am

Hello Haruka, long time no rant :3 To be honest, she was another character I never much liked. I think that's why I prefer Mai Otome, because Haruka Armitage is much easier for me to like, whereas Haruka Suzushiro I find annoying.

Hello Reito and Shizuru. I didn't form a true opinion of Shizuru until the very end, but I knew there was something suspicious about Reito. I liked how he wound up Haruka though. "Now, now"
I think I just saw Shizuru as Haruka's foil and left it at that, until later episodes where we see her with Natsuki.

I... erm... Nina? What the hell are you doing here and why is your hair blue?

Hello Natsuki's butt.

Oh Takeda. I thought you'd be cool with your Tekken hair and martial art skillz, but you end up being a chump. (A chump for Natsuki's rump.) I blame Catholic repression.

HA! I forgot about Nao being jumped on by Mikoto. Good times. Nao Yuuki and Mai getting jumped on by Mikoto giggity In one way or another, they showed all the Hime this episode.

Enter the first Orphan, leading to the beginning Mai's awakening. They didn't waste much time between her finding out about HiME and gaining her own powers. They did decide to leave a cliffhanger, the bastards XD.
Is it just me, or does Mai's mother look a tiny bit like Lena?

End of Episode 2, I guess.
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Re: Mai HiME Episode 2: After-School Secrets?

Post by franticfranz on Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:10 pm

Episode 2

This is where the typical school setting shows up. Now that I mentioned that, I realized that I was about the same age as they were when HiME first came out. When I watched episode 2 today, I was like, "Okay, now this just reminds me of my high school days."

The part when Mai was on interrogation with Haruka was quite hilarious. Same with the part when Mikoto gets berserked because of the spicy curry bun. The part where we see Sister Yukariko with the kendo club boys was also fun to see. I kinda relate to this scene, since I also stayed in church for a good two years.

When Natsuki appeared on the scene, I wasn't that surprised why she showed up again. Honestly, when I first watched HiME 5 years ago, I was like, "Dude, what's her problem?"
Still Natsuki is just.... ASTIG. (In Filipino, it's a colloquial word for cool, unique or simply "badass.")

Anyways, overall the episode was a fun watch. ^_^
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Re: Mai HiME Episode 2: After-School Secrets?

Post by Luu Sky Sapphire on Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:10 pm



Mai HiME Episode II: After-School Secrets? brings us to Fuka Academy at last! This entire episode introduces us to some of the major key players in the series, including some of the future HiME and secondary characters. All the while, this mystery surrounding the HiME moves forward. So a lot happens in episode 2 without ever letting go of your attention.

The episode opens up with Mai Tokiha being interrogated by the Student Council of Fuka Academy. Oh, I'm sorry, I meant Mai is being interrogated by Haruka Suzushiro. Haruka shakes her finger at Mai for the ferry incident and bringing a sword on school grounds. I remember during my first viewing, I hated Haruka with a passion. She was rude, loud, quick to judge....still is....but now I see her as someone who just CARES too much for others. Yes, the girl does stroke her own ego and good, but there's a genuine love for what she does and in retrospect, I admire that quality. We're then introduced to Reito Kanzaki, the pretty boy of the group (sorry girls, but Tate is more the rugged type), who offers Mai a more kind welcome. Tate soon arrives with Takumi and the brother and sister duo are soon reunited. During the course of this whole scene, Shizuru Fujino is focused on but doesn't speak just yet. It's funny how we're introduced to Shizuru drinking tea, which would become one of her many character traits. Once Shizuru chooses to speak, she makes it clear to Haruka that she should be happy that Mai is part of the Fuka Academy experience.

In the next couple of scenes, we see a bit more of that awkward chemistry between Mai and Tate. The both of them tease each other a bit (loved Mai accusing Tate of being a Student Council devotee. Mai Nakahara delivers sassy comeback lines, I love it) before entering class. Takumi also makes his class introduction and it is here where Sunrise plants the seeds for TakuAki. Akira's first reaction to Takumi is literally Mai-Multiverse forum's emote:

Akira Okuzaki

I had a good cackle giggle with that one.

Next we meet the coolest side characters EVER with Chie Harada (your one stop shop for gossip!) and Aoi Senoh (the girl next door...only unlike Akane, Aoi has an unintentional girlfriend! :'3 ). Chie and Aoi greet Mai warmly and even invite her to lunch with them. Now with all Chie scenes, it's always a pleasure to hear the legendary Mitsuki Saiga. I'm not a fan of butch sounding girls in anime, but Chie is the ultimate exception. From the second you hear "To-Ki-Ha-SAN!" in that gorgeous, playful deep voice, your entire body melts and she doesn't shut up from that moment on. I should be dead right now because of her. <3333

After lunch, the girls take a gander at the spot where Mai and Mikoto washed up on. Rumors fly all over Fuka that it could be some kind of crop circle. While Mai is dumbfounded by the stupidity and embarrassing videos Chie's taking on her flip phone, Natsuki Kuga shows up. Mai asks Chie and Aoi if they know her. They give her the following information:

1. Her name is Natsuki Kuga
2. She's often absent
3. All the boys are after her. Even a few girls!

This of course makes Mai suspicious enough to run off and find more information. In scenes to follow we find out a few things about our combat girls from the previous episode. First, Natsuki has an informant that is not only a gardener, but also a teacher at Fuka named Sakomizu. Mikoto shows up and quickly steals a spicy curry bun from one of the Kendo club members. Hilarity ensures as Mikoto goes into berserk mode around the school grounds in desperate search for water. One of her victims is a certain red head that everyone will love to hate in the future. *wink* Yuuka Nanri had like one line in this episode. LOL! There was also a faithful encounter Between Mai and a mysterious maid and a wheelchair bound girl. More of them in the future, though it is also here that we're properly introduced to Nagi Homura. He mentions that with the HiME gathering, "their" plans will proceed.

When the kendo club boys seek answers for the pork bun demon from earlier, we're introduced to Yukariko Sanada. The resident nun of the Fuka Chapel. Not too much to say, but this is a memorable scene for the debut of the "Passions of Youth" joke that would be taken to new levels later on in the scenes. Fufufu~ In the defense of us men, we are just incapable of controlling our feelings Wink. Mai and Mikoto soon reunite after Mikoto passes out from hungry. Mikoto is taken back to Mai's dormitory to get some rest and something to eat. Here we learn about Mai's talent for cooking, despite missing, as she says, certain ingredients. What awaits Mikoto is a nice looking bowl of ramen that smells just as delicious as it tastes. Remember what I said about discovering character traits! We were fed that Shizuru loves tea and now Mikoto loves ramen! Both would become running jokes in the future, especially for Mikoto. After finishing her meal, Mikoto tells Mai that she has to leave and find her brother. Rather than stepping out the door, Mikoto jumps out the window and doesn't suffer any fall damage or any kind of injury, despite being barefoot. This is just another character trait for Mikoto being cat-like and with her training/skill, it's no surprise.

Mai rushes out after her, only to find Natsuki Kuga and Nagi Homura. By handing Mai Takumi's medicine container, Mai knows he's in trouble. Refusing to move out of Natsuki way, Natsuki allows Mai to tag along. What happens is beyond anything Mai could imagine...a monster! More specifically an Orphan. Natsuki summons Duran to fight it while Mai protects Takumi the best she can. Her will to protect Takumi and remembering her mother suddenly causes Mai to summon her powers.

Episode II of Mai-HiME is very well done. We get subtle introductions by several characters. The ones who would go on to become major players in the future are also given subtle entrances into the series, so nothing is really given away early.



+ Introduced to many important characters
+ Secondary characters are a delight
+ Mai Nakahara's incredible line delivery.
+ Well paced. Ends on cliffhanger.
+ Mystery is really set in motion.


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Re: Mai HiME Episode 2: After-School Secrets?

Post by Kuga Natsuki on Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:15 pm

Episode 2, once again, the show had caught me by surprise when I first saw it.

With all honesty, I didn't really care about the other characters at first, especially Shizuru, since I was more focused on Mai and Mikoto when I first saw the show, and eventually for a long while Mikoto was my most favorite character haha. Like most shows I watch, I'm just dumbfounded and ignorant about the other characters :3

Anywho, normally I don't even laugh when I watch a show or a movie, but Mai-HiME just knew the secrets on how to win my heart over : P I remember laughing so much during Mikoto's crazy rampages and at her downright hyper personality XD

The first 2 episodes so far had deeply caught my interest and was looking forward to watching more of the show when I saw it a year ago :) Wait, it's been a year already?! O_O
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Re: Mai HiME Episode 2: After-School Secrets?

Post by PostoronnimV on Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:45 am

I'm so behind the schedule... I'm only on the fifth episode.

Anyway, when I watched this episode for the first time, I thought that Natsuki was one of a villains O_O and now when I re-watched, she really could pass for a villain, somewhat... Cuz many of her actions are in the dark gray zone... especially in the first episode.
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Re: Mai HiME Episode 2: After-School Secrets?

Post by Akamanto on Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:04 pm

Episode 02! We get introduced to the secondary cast and the school that’ll serve as the setting for the rest of the show, as well as seeing some dynamics from the previous episode reinforced in this one. We also get some very nice introductions to the main enemies for the first 16 episodes, and the schemers who’re setting everything in motion. It’s definitely enough to hook people!

This episode was a doozy to collect my thoughts on, since I had so many of them, and they’re so chaotic that forcing order on my enthusiasm was a nightmare, haha. I was writing it in a Word document, and the total word count was over 2,000… Jeez. And, on top of that, even after editing it all into a coherent format, I still get ahead of myself in the aesthetics section anyway!

Well, it’s good enough as it is, I think. These are more scattered commentaries than they are official reviews, since I don’t think I can be impartial enough to actually review them.


General comments...

So, the plot really kicks off here… Honestly, when I first watched Mai-HiME, I loved it, of course, and yet, rewatching it now, I have an even greater appreciation for exactly how well-foretold the plot is, so I love it even more! It’s the way that the character flaws manifest early on in the comic scenes, only to be taken more seriously as the show progresses. Knowing exactly what happens and being able to spot exactly how it gets there enhances my enjoyment beyond what I thought possible.

You also see some of the things I absolutely adore about the visuals for the first time here, and a good impression of most of the people who’ll be showing up over the next 24 episodes. I’ll talk about it in more detail in the respective categories, but I really wanted to draw attention to them. (#≧ε≦#)


On the story...

Pacing is still super strong. Some funny elements when Mikoto shows up and eats the curry bun mixed with more sinister elements later on, when the first Orphan appears. We also get some nice context for the school and an acknowledgement of how odd Fuka is as a place. I mean, Haruka’s sat there with Yukino splayed across a carpet of newspapers, presumably searching the history of Fuka for an explanation of Mai’s “mystery circle”, and there are a lot of newspapers.

We also get an explanation for what a titular HiME actually is on top of some of the dynamics between Nagi and Mashiro/Fumi. There’s Natsuki’s connection to Sakomizu, too; we definitely know the faculty are up to something, without knowing exactly what or who’s working for who. Natsuki seems to trust Sakomizu, despite her obvious mistrust of the people he’s allied with, giving you some insight into the conflicting motivations with all the different groups who’re collecting here.

It’s enough to give Fuka a kind of… Bizarre feeling, where you know there’s something a little bit untoward going on underneath the pretty surface and everything’s operating on a couple of layers we don’t understand yet. (☆∀☆) It’s telling that Haruka talks about the higher-ups not really caring about anything and that all the investigation is left to her... Which might be because everyone higher than her is actually involved in all the mess!


On the characters...

It's super long, so I put it behind a Spoiler tag:
There’s a lot done in the pre-intro section with very little. We see Haruka, Reito, Yukino, and Shizuru introduced for the first time in the student council room and get a remarkably good idea for how they all interact with each other: Haruka’s very into the whole “propriety” thing, Reito and Shizuru are more relaxed and definitely seem to be on the same wavelength, and Yukino is mostly there in an observatory role (a fact which Shizuru wields pretty deftly in later episodes…).

As an additional note, I love how Reito interacts with Mai here. I don’t usually ship heterosexual couples, mostly because their chemistry tends to rely on writers assuming attraction rather than working to establish it, but that’s not the case here; Reito is clearly handsome, he’s nice to Mai while she’s under pressure in a stressful situation, and she’s appreciative of him extending his hand in tacit support of her against Haruka’s big onslaught. I buy her interest in him and it’s only reinforced by later episodes, especially since he’s consistently chivalrous and tries his best to be there for her in a way that doesn’t feel like she’s being backed into a corner (maybe he’s not nice to her entirely altruistically, but still, I much prefer her dynamic with Reito to hers with Tate).

Tate and Mai’s relationship continues to be belligerent, despite Takumi waving around his medicine to reassure her that Tate isn’t a bad guy and he did make sure to look out for him. I do like this kind of bickering in the context of a friendship, since they’re both giving as good as they get (and I love their mutual teasing), but I’m not so sure I like it in a love interest; I’m continuing to cheer for Reito in this little triangle.

I also don’t really like how Tate blows Shiho off so much; I understand it, I sympathise with it, and it makes sense as part of his characterisation, but… I dunno. I’m not sure what I think of Tate in general, to be honest. (◎ ◎)ゞ

There’s also Haruka’s feud with Shizuru. Their personalities are clashing so one-sidedly that it’s no wonder Haruka feels bitter; she knows Shizuru is better-articulated and can’t really argue back against her, despite coming from an understandable position, and Shizuru talks rings around her both without putting in any noticeable effort and without seeming to consider where Haruka is coming from. I have to say that, while Shizuru is my second favourite character, I feel for Haruka. She’s doing her best, only to have everyone else seemingly bulldoze over her.

Also, Mai and Takumi! These siblings are so obviously affectionate with each other and I find it very sweet, to the point where it’s one of my favourite parts of the show. Takumi himself is also persistently charming, even if he is irresponsible with his medicine all the time. Something about how he doesn’t seem afraid of showing vulnerability or emotion really gets me. He’s just a nice, genuine boy. (/▽\*)。o○♡

There’s also some good signs of Mai’s hyperfocus on him evident here; she takes the power of Kagutsuchi pretty much just because she wants to look out for him without concern for sacrificing her own life, and it’s easy to see why Takumi might find this overbearing and feel guilty about it. Her quick adoption of Mikoto as another person to take care of is also super cute; I love the mental image I have of Mai going around collecting feral children to adopt and feed ramen to.

Speaking of Mikoto, the way she’s portrayed is super cool for me. They find a nice balance between the funny aspect of her being essentially feral, the emotional simplicity, and the danger of someone acting on fighting instinct. The “me Tarzan, you Jane” scene made me laugh, the ease with which she warms up to Mai doing something nice for her, and the way she flattens her immediately, about to poke her eyes out.

Mai’s dynamic with her classmates is also something I’m fond of. There’s a habit of characters either being ostracised or being super popular, especially if they’re transfer students, and I enjoy that Mai makes an effort to ingratiate herself in that kind of nervous “gotta make a good first impression” way. I dunno! Even if it’s small, I think it’s another good example of how Mai is genuinely a relatable main character who comes across well as someone normal. It helps that Chie and Aoi are decent supporting characters whom I quite like, independent of their friendship with Mai.

Natsuki! My favourite! I like that we see her as a not entirely antagonistic figure here. While she’s rude to Mai, she’s also clearly on her side with the killing of the Orphans and her opposition to Nagi’s smug attempts to tease Mai about Takumi’s safety. Makes you more interested in her and simultaneously puts her as an uneasy ally, with plenty of time to develop her into a proper one over the course of the series.

There are a couple of insubstantial cameos: Nao, Akira, Akane, and Youko (whose reaction to Mikoto disappearing is hilarious – she’s almost like, “welp, not my problem anymore, bye”). None of them amount to much yet, even if they’re cool to see for rewatchers. Nagi and Mashiro themselves show up in a way that shows them both to be connected in some way, but Mashiro doesn’t seem to be fond of him, so their alliance is pretty questionable.

When it comes to Yukariko’s short scene, it’s an example of one of the things I love the most about this show, which is its ability to make jokes about a character’s personality that end up being their downfall in the Carnival arc; her obsession with “the passions of puberty” and the constant references to it despite the kendo-goers obvious confusion is played for comedy, but it’s actually a large flaw of her character. Ishigami can sense her naiveté regarding her desire to explore sexuality and takes full advantage of that repressed curiosity when manipulating her.

Some thoughts about the future episodes and the overall timeline… Nagi says Mai is the last HiME, so has Shizuru already awakened? Given how badly Natsuki seems to fare against a lot of the Orphans in the series, I like to imagine that her way of fighting them is to mostly shoot at them and wait for the mysterious squid to show up and kill them for her. Well, in my little personal joke-omake headcanon, at least.


On the aesthetics...

As I said in the general comments section, some of the scenes really highlight how much the visuals in Mai-HiME stand out, most notably in how they harness the advantages of animation over other media formats to reinforce an atmosphere of subtle disquiet. I’ve decided to include an example of what I mean just because this stuck with me so much when rewatching it, even though this post is already long enough without gratuitous images.



The way that the show uses perspective and colour here to make an otherwise mundane scene seem eerily unsettling is great; there’s nothing actively supernatural going on, but the sudden switch to this red tint is just unusual enough to give an impression of the characters having fallen into some kind of sinister, hellish otherworld, and the skewed camera angles complete with the bizarre style of animation chosen for the wind blowing in the trees is a fantastic finishing touch that manages to be both significant and understated.

The overlarge sun partially obscured by the clouds, too: nothing about its actual design is odd or off-putting, but the sheer size of it looming over the mountains adds a lot to the impression of surreality that’s oozing from every pixel of this frame.

I remember Break String SpinElf mentioning the idea of liminal spaces, and I can see a lot of that here. There’s a distinct impression of Fuka being a land that’s constantly teetering between fantasy and reality, dipping from one to the other indiscriminately without committing to either, and the colour and perspective shifts are the main way this is communicated. A lot of the latter half of the series takes place during sunset and twilight, which are associated with the transition between day and night, and—Well, y’all know where I’m going with this, I’m sure.

I’ve only seen this used with similar effectiveness in Silent Hill, honestly, and it’s this comparison that makes me think Mai-HiME could transition (haha, because liminality! get it?) into the horror genre very easily.


Screenshots...

I decided to forgo linking specific ones, and instead decided to just link my entire folder (since, well, it’s hard to pick). I showed the one I loved the most above, but here are the rest of them! Special attention should be given to the ones with the reddish tint... (⌒_⌒)


On the preview and special...

Less thoughts about these, since they’re less substantial.

For the episode preview: Not much to say here, other than the first kiss gag surfacing again. Mikoto’s innocence in regards to interpersonal interactions is being exaggerated for comedy, obviously, but. Poor Mai!

For the special: Is this the official broadcast they send out to students? Mai’s complete disregard for it is funny, as well as Mashiro’s calm statements of the academy’s appeal while whiting out the supernatural attacks makes me laugh.


Last edited by Akamanto on Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:19 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Formatting.)
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