Aside from looks and race, I think what made Mirai bland this season were her programs. Had she skated well I doubt her race would be any factor at all. Mao fit the stereotype you suggest but she can skate her program magnificently. Perhaps you are suggesting there is now a generic quality to her skating, and I agree with that... for now. I think she and Frank need to look at tapes of Michelle and Sasha as they transitioned from teens to young women to find inspiration. These programs this year were skated with music in the background; there was no accenting the music. Kwan would usually put her spiral during a build-up in the music and Sasha often used her body to compliment accents in the music. It's these small things that can make a program go from ho-hum to very engaging.I'm going to say something a little racist-sounding here, although I don't mean anything bad by it.
IMO, Mirai is hindered by the fact that there are many, many other skaters who are very similar. At 4CC, there was one "Asian girl, no-bangs, bun, skating to slow "beautiful" elevator music" after another. Had Mirai been there, there would've been one more. There are a lot of that type of skater in the US Nationals, too. Christina Gao and a couple of the youngsters would be in that category as well.