One thing is certain – Mai Otome can be really, really annoying even without Arika on screen for almost an entire episode. In other words it was business as usual in episode 18 – a few plotholes, a bunch of characters who keep getting dumber and dumber and basically nothing impressive, not counting the music in the end.

Mashiro is obviously trying to escape from the Forces of Evil ™. Conveniently, nobody bothers to look at her face beyond the hood and try to see who is she, even the soldiers who come to the camp looking for her. Anyway, the spoiled brat is supposed to have a world changing experience in this episodes and is obviously being prepared to be A Great and Smart Queen Who Looks After Her Subjects ™. And just as the development of more or less every character in Otome this attempt fails. Utterly. Why? Because Mashiro has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, that’s why. It’s unfathomable to me why anyone who has not suffered a lobotomy or has the mental capabilities of Arika would sacrifice his or her life for her. I am getting ahead of myself – but let’s just say it – in the end of the episode Aoi jumps from a high cliff (second time in this series the writers literary use the cliffhanger device in the sense of falling from a cliff followed by the end of the episode, it seems that originality is something Sunrise don’t like these days). Does she try to say that she does not know where Mashiro is or lie about it? No. It probably wouldn’t have worked but still, it’s better to try before you jump into a chasm. And we might have cared a lot more for Aoi had the writers actually bothered to develop this character. The million and one flashabacks included in this episode tried to portray the Mashiro-Aoi relationship as something deep and moving but failed. If they had tried to do the same with Chie and Aoi it might have actually worked although I doubt it, this series’ approach is just as subtle as a Microsoft advertising campaign. But I am asking for too much, who the hell needs development of such characters? The writers are too busy with the final touches of the amazing personalities of Arika, Nina and Mashiro, also known as Miss Stupidiy, Miss Jealousy and Miss Spoiled Bitch or The Awful Trio. All hail the scriptwriters’ genius! And Mashiro runs away following Aoi’s death which of course does not lead to the mob chasing her because I guess they were all stunned that Yuki Kajiura finally woke up and decided to include some brilliant music to make this series more bearable. We don’t see Aoi’s body so I fully expect her to be either saved or resurrected but since this is Mai Otome we are talking about probably even both.
Of course, the writers don’t bother explaining why Mashiro did not get hurt by the awful blast that took place at the end of episode 17 or how Arika managed to not find her. The latter is easily explainable by the fact that Arika is retarded but the survival of everyone after that blast is quite puzzling, no, not really puzzling the fact that they are alive after an exposition that did so much damage is just making fun of the viewers intellingence and basically says that characters die only when the circumstances are dramatic enough and to hell with logic and common sense.
The Windbloom army rallied behind Nagi – well, I would certainly pick Nagi if I had to choose between him and Mashiro but I wonder why no one has asked the key question, namely how in the name of Tokiha Mai did Artai’s army arrived just when the Slaves were attacking the city? Maybe they assume Nagi has invented teleportation or maybe they are just a bunch of morons. Personally I favour the latter theory, it seems that the Otome words has an unusually high level of retards. Maybe it’s due to infectious influence of Arika. Hey, I think came up with another explanations – maybe they are all gays and fell in love with Nagi. After all, why should we limit the stupid crushes only to female characters, males can be stupid, too. I think Nagi is secretly in love with Sergey, though, and all his evil plans are just his way to capture his beloved’s heart. In other news Nagi’s goal is to activate the Harmonium. That will apparently be achieved by using the song that only The Awful Trio knows. Talk about complete lack of surprise…
Nao, while hilarious as usual does virtually nothing and Natsuki should win the title of “Miss Useless Character”. Her most important deed in this episode is eating a snake which while more thrilling than most of the things she has done so far still leaves her firmly in the useless category.
Miyu is trying to win the award for most western cliches put into in a single character in a single scene. Sorry, you are out of luck, Miss, no Western character shoots with coins. And no Western character would shoot at a pretty lady like Nao. 😉 For some reason she is looking for Arika – that seems to be a popular leisure activity in this episode.
In the end, we see Arika, who unfortunately, if not really surprisingly, is still alive and full of joy. Sure, being away from a bitch like Mashiro is a good enough reason to celebrate but I just smell the new development – Arika will have an amnesia and will not remember anything from the last few days or maybe even more. After all, Sunrise are going for the world record in cliches, right?
Did I mention Haruka’s scene? Oh, the horror…I really don’t know why she is portrayed as some sort of retard who is always wrong and is basically a comic relief who since episode 10 has been just as funny as watching paint dry.