| My-Otome is the second installment of My-HiME...well, sort of anyway. All the HiME and nearly all of the other characters from the original have a part. But the story is set hundreds or thousands of years in the future. Are they simply reusing old characters, or is this reincarnation? I'm not telling. For the first few episodes, you feel like you're watching an animated cosplay.
The otome are specially trained warriors, the elite guard of the world's nobility. Due to a restriction placed long ago, they can only access their powers by joining their life with that of their master. During battle, if one is hurt, the other is also. If one dies, the other's life is forfeit. In an odd way this does keep the kingdoms in check a bit, since the king himself must face the ultimate price if he wishes to go to war.
The academy of Galderobe trains the otome, both in combat and in the etiquette required to be attendants of the upper class. Into this wanders a girl named Arika. She's looking for her mother and knows only that she was once an otome. Her life in a new country gets off to a rocky start after thoroughly humiliating Nina, the top first-year at the academy. The ensuing chaos finds Arika, a girl who has never worn an Otome's robe before, in combat against Nina over who will be allowed to remain at the academy.
Unlike its predecessor, My-Otome does not grow truly serious till a good half way thorough the series. Up till then it seems all happy with a few hints about things not quite being right behind the scenes. When things go wrong, you know something's up, but you'd never guess the extent. After that, things go to pieces very quickly as the old social orders seem to fall apart and old enemies must find their common ground or perish.
The music isn't quite as good as the first series, but still has some impressive pieces. I'd like someone who knows languages better than me to tell me what language some of these songs are in. Some are native, but in a few I could swear I hear sounds that don't exist in Japanese. My best guess it Italian. Update: the composer, Yuki Kajiura, often uses nonsense words in her work.
I really did enjoy the show overall. The artwork is bright and colorful, just the way I like them. I'll have to admit that it's a bit disturbing that some themes are so adult when the main characters are only 14. I'm not going to cover that one. I've gotten to see a few of the DVD extras. The My-HiME spoof movie trailer is priceless. Enjoy.