My-HiME (舞-HiME) 1 is a 26 episode action pseudo-magical girl show from 2004 by Sunrise.
Tokiha Mai and her sickly younger brother, Takumi, have received a scholarship to attend the prestigious Fuka Academy. On the way, the ferry they are travelling on becomes the site of a destructive battle between two girls wielding apparently supernatural powers. This is only the beginning of their troubles, as Mai learns that she herself possesses these powers, the powers of a HiME, and that Fuka is gathering others as well for mysterious reasons.
Sometimes a show is great because its the pinnacle of being funny, or because its super insightful into a type of person, and sometimes its great because it just does what it sets out to do really well. Mai-HiME is kind of a magical girl show in that its about girls with magical powers, but it can go whole episodes without them fighting anything and has a plot revolving around a conspiracy between various groups who may or may not even be working together anymore not to mention trying to develop a rather large cast. This makes describing it a bit all over the place especially when its not like its twists are completely out of the blue or its action scenes are off the charts, it just does all its little beats well plus is nice to look at.
That large cast gives it a number of interesting people to spend time with. Mai is fairly compelling as a lead with neither her nor Takumi quite the sort of person you expect them to be early on and several of the other supporting members have a lot of backstory or growth that changes them.
The music deserves a shout-out here too. This was one of the first big series for Yuki Kaijura who really hits it out of the park with a operatic style that conveys both the bigger action moments as well as some of the quieter stuff.
They can’t all be winners. A byproduct of a large cast is that some also lean into character archetypes or gimmicks which aren’t as interesting and/or outright annoying. Mikoto’s schtick in particular can be grating considering shes a major character involved in almost every episode with at least a couple others coming just behind her only by virtue of not as much screen time (though Shiho really tries to make up for that gap by being extra annoying whenever she can).
This is also a 26 episode series from a time when that was to be expected, not because it needed to be. There is a fair amount of filler or not as important episodes padding things out- not enough to really get distracting but if youre not super clicking with the show you’ll notice the duds.
Weeb Level: 4/10- There’s nothing overly tropey going on here, but this is a show that if you watch it you can’t deny your a Weeb.
Fanservice: 4/10- Sadly the show does have a number of underwear shots to it, nothing overly sexual but prevalent. Do note that the DVDs have little bonus clips after each episode with characters talking about themselves or how they thought of something and these have a ton more underwear shots to them, enough to knock this up to at least a 5 if you watch those.
Quality: 7.5/10- In general Ive based my rating here on a couple factors, with the two biggest questions being “is this a series I would rewatch” and “are there individual episodes I would rewatch on their own”. Mai-HiME excels at both of these, however its also held back by its filler episodes being almost skippable fluff knocking it down a good point and a half here.
Where to watch: Originally released by Bandai in the US Funimation recently picked up the license a couple years ago rereleasing the Blu-Rays and hosting it on their website. It is available for renting on Prime.