Transferring to a new school is never easy, but as Mai is discovering, when you’ve got to juggle your school life and part-time job with a sick brother, feral room mate and monsters that you must defeat with your special powers, it becomes that much harder. Unfortunately, Mai’s hectic life is unlikely to settle down any time soon- not only are the monstrous Orphans continuing to appear, but new HiME are beginning to reveal themselves. Will they prove to be fresh allies in the fight against the Orphans, or do these other HiME have conflicting agendas?
No matter how promisingly it begins, most series have a tendency to flag a little as they commence their second volume, and unfortunately, My-HiME proves to be no exception to this rule. The opening episode on this disc is perhaps the weakest instalment in the series so far; covering a particularly stressful day in Mai’s life, it proves to be too awash with angst and minor characters to truly be enjoyable.
Fortunately, the next three episodes are something of an improvement; each of them introduces yet another HiME to the mix, spotlighting her life and motives as her true identity becomes known to the leads. Expanding the cast in this way is something of a mixed blessing- whilst it is no doubt beneficial to have a wider range of personalities than the standard types represented by Mai and Natsuki, the sheer number of named characters is now somewhat extensive, with clear indications that many of them will simply not receive much in the way of development.
Amidst all the character development, however, My-HiME is beginning to show signs of an emerging story. Naturally, at this stage many questions remain unanswered, but already there are numerous hints as to what is to come, not to mention a rather large revelation in episode eight. The events of this episode highlight the darker story lurking in amongst the high school antics and vibrant battles, but unfortunately, the impact of the episode is lessened somewhat by having it involve two characters who have not received much screen time or development up to now.
As far as presentation goes, My-HiME maintains a consistent standard of animation in this volume, continually presenting a vibrantly coloured and well drawn world. Nonetheless, it is the music which deserves a special mention in this volume; the choice of tracks for action scenes is spot on, and plays a big part in enhancing the emotion and tension of those segments.
Although it suffers a little from an overextended cast and a few plot contrivances, overall My-HiME #2 is a solid volume which maintains the standard set by the opening instalment. If you’re in the mood for a mix of high school drama, action and fantasy, you won’t go too far wrong with this.
||7 out of 10
||Thu, 28 Dec 2006