Episodes seen: 11 of 12
Taro Hanaukyo has gone to live with his grandfather now that his mother has passed on. A boy with no means of support, he hikes across Honshu on foot, only to gape in wide-eyed shock at the vast size of his grandfather’s estate.
He is also immediately mobbed by the scores of nubile and hot maids who look after the grounds and those staying on them. The girls introduce themselves as the Hanaukyo maids, and their only purpose is to serve him and make his life a hedonistic paradise, now that his ojii-san has left the whole megillah to his favourite grandson Taro.
Taro is a virgin- a very shy and somewhat prudish virgin. So the way the girls insist on soaping him with their own bodies and waking him up in the morning is a little more than he can take. Yet through it all, he finds himself developing a crush on Mariel, the seneschal of the house, and the only one who isn’t trying to jump his bones. He hopes the feeling is mutual.
Havoc sez: Ah, misogyny, thy name is anime. This is a marvellously sexist show, nearly as bad as Agga Ruter. Think about it… this show is every dateless young guy’s dream come true. An Edenesque island somewhere on Honshu, a gigantic, palatial mansion to live in and a bunch of nymphomaniacs to serve you in every way conceivable, their devotion to your pleasure their only waking thought.
These girls strip him and compete for the right to wash his clothes when he wets himself. An entire squadron of them infiltrate his school, doing his class work and playing his sports for him. And does he figure it out? Hell no.
Taro, as previously explained, is a rather skittish virgin, who’s not used to being pawed by pretty girls constantly. He spends a lot of time hyperventilating and freaking out at them. They in turn give him the waterworks routine, moaning about how they’ve failed to please him. Taro’s awkwardness is, in fact, the show’s saving grace, since his constant rubescence keeps it from being gratuitous and hentai. I guess we’re lucky Taro’s part isn’t played by male Maze, hm?
There’s plenty of fanservice in here. Lots of bouncing breasts, bared or concealed beneath short, frilly, Day-Glo maid’s uniforms. Panty and butt shots are common, though not quite as prevalent as, say, Aika. Mariel respects and obviously adores her new master, but she treats him kindly, and this seems to be winning him over. A few other cast members are intriguing. The maid who is mistress of martial arts and his security coordinator, comes to mind. To be fair, he has a female rival who boasts a harem of bare-chested bishonen, so the sexism isn’t completely one-sided. She is the heiress of a rival family and delightfully spoiled and snotty.
The BGM is not in the least bit memorable. The opening song is quaint, if you can get over the “We live to serve serve serve!” lyrics. As to the art, it is good enough to make all the giggly, jiggly maids enticing, and the show’s comical scenes are well drawn. Everyone except Taro seems to have a nose, making me wonder if he escaped to his grandfather’s house from that anime Alien 9.
Now that we’ve established that this particular offering is chauvinistic, let me say that what I’ve seen I’ve enjoyed in spite of that trait. It’s mindless, harmless fluff, and there’s even a romance story running through it. I’d be amazed if Mariel and Taro aren’t together by episode 12 and all the other maids have learned to behave.
Far be it from me to condone sexism, but your humble reviewer isn’t self-righteous enough to dismiss something without giving it a shot first. Keep in mind that Hanaukyo Maid Tai comes from a land that is in the throes of becoming less androcentric, and much anime today will never reach North American audiences because it’s directed at the proclivities and excesses of the Tokyo businessman. I’ve seen some really really scary hentai anime, folks, where the subjugation, objectification and complete humiliation of women were the least of its faults. This bit of fluff doesn’t hold a candle to those examples of depravity.
I want to see the rest of this show. It’s harmless, silly, and will probably have a moral ending worthy of the 21st century. I’ve been guilty of too many excesses myself to snub my nose at this and pretend I’m above it. So here’s my advice, should you decide to watch it--send your PC filter out for a dairy-free latte, sit back and laugh of the ecchi gaffes and goofiness. Ignore the inherent sexism, or poke fun at it. There’s only twelve eps apparently, and at 12 minutes apiece you can probably do this whole show in one evening. Hey, it’s either this or the Venus 5 dub your weird friend gave you…
Recommended to 14-year-old boys, dirty old men, and those without PC girlfriends who can kick their ass for watching it.
Available fansubbed from various FTPs and IRCs. Don’t expect to see a commercial release anytime during your current incarnation.