Before starting I want to clarify a few things. I love Mai-HiME and the fact the Otome has all my favourite characters from HiME is pretty much the only reason I am still watching this wreck.
Secondly, Arika is the most annoying anime character that I have ever had the displeasure of watching.

I won’t bother with long descriptions of the events that took place in this episode, since whoever reads that is probably interested enough to have watched it already and if not should just do so rather than read spoilers. My goal is just to point out what I liked and what I didn’t like in this episode.

The good stuff: Important events actually happened, I had almost forgotten how that felt like because of all the filler episodes that preceded this one. We have Midori in action. Someone dies. Nagi is an amazing villain, I’d love to see him winning in the end, too bad this will happen when hell freezes over.

Everything else in the episode ranges from mediocre to totally stupid. Let us start with the plotholes, shall we? Natsuki got the permission from Mashiro to fight in Windbloom but did she and the other Otomes attack the Schwarz cannon? Of course not, they gave them all the time in the world to recharge and reload it. Then Robin Hood… I mean Midori comes, her gang of merry androids attacks Shizuru and Natsuki (and no, I won’t write ShizNat just to make the point that I am not a fanboy). So far so good, but here comes a plot twist which is so fitting for this series – when Natsuki’s and the Perfect Woman a.k.a. Shizuru’s powers disappear and they are helpless, Midori and co decide to leave them be and retreat. That’s funny because they were more than ready to kill Arika in episode 10 when she was helpless, so somehow I don’t see why they would have qualms about doing the same thing now, considering their obvious hatred for the Otome system. Sunrise probably got scared of the possible violent reactions of the thousands of ShizNat (man, you did write ShizNat) fans. Too bad, at that point I would consider the burning of the Sunrise’s headquarters done by a mob of ShizNat fans a good thing, if done for a stupid reason.
Jumping from one plothole to another, we have Smith, who despite seeing Arika being ready to materialise doesn’t bother to shoot her. OK, maybe he needs the annoying kid for some reason as indicated in the earlier episodes (maybe he has a thing for teenagers, just like the scriptwriters?) but he could have just shot her in the foot or something. Why wait for Erstin to fight with her? It would take time and Erstin might and did lose in the end. And who in his right mind would really trust someone like Erstin to win in a battle? Come on, John, chances to kill the main character are few and far between, you have to take advantage of them!
Then we have Sergey stopping Erstin’s Slave’s attack and the only result is his shirt being torn. Arnold Schwarzeneger is probably green with envy right now, even the Terminator would have a hard time to pull off this move. Actually, I am wrong, the other result is the usage of plot device number 143 in this series and the hankerchief revealing to Nina who pays Arika’s tuition. Is there anyone who did not see that coming a mile away, I wonder?

Then we have Nao and Natsuki getting so easily out of Garderobe, never mind that it was surrounded by the Schwartz forces. The Shizuru fanboys probably had a colective orgasm when she said “That’s my Natsuki” but the less said about that, the better.
The icing on the cake is Erstin’s death. I say death but she just “green-sparkled” and everyone who has watched Mai-HiME knows the implications of this, right? I am sure I am not the only one smelling a reset ending and/or resurrection of the dead characters. That would be the final nail in the coffin of this series but I would have cared a lot more had I actually liked it. The death itself might have moved me had I actually cared for any of the characters who were not in HiME but since the character development in this series is even worse than that in Gundam Seed Destiny I just winced when Erstin died in a such a cliched fashion. (Wow and there thought I was the only one, who remeined unphased by the ‘oh, so dramatic, yet not at all’ death of poor Ers-chan)

You know, it’s relaxing to have absolutely no expectations for the next episode. The only way is up for this series, right?

P.S. Please, Sunrsise change the bloody ending. Arika running is not my idea of a good ending unless it ends with her being run over by a car, train or a stray meteor. Amen to this!

Note: The text in italics is added by Alexis.