My-ZHiME S.ifr #3

Posted by DiGiKerot in HiME, R2(J) DVDs at November 30, 2008 on 7:50 pm

I was kind of fearing the worst about the last episode of S.ifr – the first two episodes were generally well received, but this third instalment seems to have met with a wall of, well, silence. Made me wonder if everyone hated it so much they decided just to keep quiet about it.

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. In reality, I guess the fact that’s there’s been something like four months between episodes hasn’t done much to help people sustain their interest in the series, nor did the slightly pedestrian second episode.

Sakura – a waste of a cute design.

Still, now that it’s over, I have to say that Sifr is one of the stronger titles to come out of the HiME franchise, and it definitely has the best final episode of the lot – there’s no messing around with bad jokes and resets like HiME, there’s no relying on constant character reappearances and last minute saves to build tension as with ZHiME and, thank goodness, no Dolphins as per Zwei. Instead, we are treated to a couple of pretty well choreographed action sequences – not really something I generally expect from the series. Sure, HiME had it’s moments, as did many of the early episodes of ZHiME, but ultimately as the power levels escalated things kind of devolved down to people flying past each other at high speed.

M-9’s rocket powered grope – indeed a formidable technique

That’s not to say they’ve fallen back from the ludicrous power levels Rena displayed from the first episode of S.ifr – she’s still insanely powerful, with seemingly more techniques at her disposal than the entire cast of ZHiME TV – but at least in M-9 she’s given an opponent that can’t be taken down in a matter of seconds. There’s enough back-and-forth for long enough for it to actually be entertaining.

Lot’s of DBZ-esque after-image/duplication techniques in display, plus Rena summons a huge-ass sword-wielding version of herself.

That said, there isn’t really much story here – Sifr’s used to power a laser-firing satellite (evoking images of Artemis from HiME, I guess), people team up to save her from both her captors and from the Columns of Garderobe who are still looking to assassinate her. Still, with only three episodes, you don’t really want anything beyond an excuse for some pretty pyrotechnics.

They still do manage to leave things with a few annoying loose ends – they don’t really do anything with the girl mysteriously wrapped in bandages who hangs around with Smith, and Sakura doesn’t seem to have any point other than to watch from a distance with what appears to be one of Nagis ancestors (though, yes, I do realise it’s only really a tie-in for those novels starring her daughter). Whilst it probably won’t ever materialise, it still feels as if there should really be something between this instalment and ZHiME TV.

Elliot proves she has uses beyond Yuri gags.

Yes, there’s yet another Robe variation in display before the end.

Which kind of begs the question – what next for the franchise? Probably nothing more than yet more novels and a few manga volumes, unfortunately. It’d be nice to think that another series announcement was just around the corner, but whilst S.ifr was nice, I’ve had enough of the OAVs and I’m not really sure I’d be up for anything short of another TV series at this point.

Meanwhile, Sunrise seem somewhat intent on plugging the forthcoming Sora Kake Girl as something of a spiritual successor – it’s promotion in the DVDs product placement run is placed right at the end of the section usually reserved for products directly related to the title you are watching. Indeed, it’s plugged before the ZHiME TV and Zwei DVDs.

Of course, Sora Kake Girl does share it’s director with all the HiME productions through to Zwei, but without Hisayuki on character design, nor Hiroyuki Yoshino writing, it’s questionable how much of HiMEs entertainment value it’ll maintain. Personally, I’ll point to the involvement of Jukki Hanada, writer on my beloved Xenoglossia, as a shining beacon of hope for the series potential.

Back to the DVD, the extras consisted of the usual booklet, in addition to at little plasticy poster thingy (it’s not a pencil board, anyway).

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