Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden

Rating: 3 Rampages

Episodes seen: 2 of 13 Mahoro

Synopsis:
There is a war being fought, of which most of the Earth's population is totally unaware. Vesper is a secret agency fighting an army of alien invaders by using super-powerful battle androids. Mahoro is Vesper's most powerful battle android and has won many battles, but she has little operating time left and soon will cease to function. However, if she lays down her arms and conserves her remaining power, the time she has left can be prolonged to just over a year.

Mahoro is given an opportunity to live the remaining time she has as a normal human. She chooses to live among the humans as a maid. She eventually settles in with Suguru, a phenomenally messy high school student who lives by himself after his family passed away. Because Mahoro has little knowledge of the world outside the battlefield, she learns about these things through her interactions between Suguru and his classmates (and a rather annoying but well-endowed teacher).

Sensei's got huuuuuge..tracts of land Review:
Herself the Elf sez: Upon seeing the opening sequence, I steeled myself for yet *another* offensively misogynistic 'robot maid' show la Handmaid May. And you've got to admit, the setup is pretty misogynistic. Super-powerful battle android (which is of course a cute female--maybe it's a law) retires, can choose to be anything...and chooses to be a maid. Ah yes, the dream of all girls. This show extols the virtues of domestic servitude with every frame. She's just so happy cooking, cleaning, and catering to Suguru's every whim. Sweet, loyal, devoted, and totally selfless, Mahoro is the perfect Fifties-era wife. The overall theme I got from this show is 'let's put women back in the kitchen where they belong--they're so much happier there than out fighting battles! Domestic servitude is fun!'

But it's not all creepy barefoot-and-pregnant misogyny. This is a Gainax show, and as we've seen time and again they have a knack for making even the most bizarre or offensive premise fun and entertaining. Mahoromatic has great comedic timing and uses some of the same goofy animation styles we saw in Karekano for when people spaz out. The oversexed big-breasted teacher is hilarious, and although there is plenty of fanservice (this is quite an ecchi show) it doesn't go overboard and for the most part refrains from being rude or offensive in that regard. Mahoro is indeed sweet, but she's not a moron (unlike so many anime heroines) and ends up being fairly likable.

The art is very good, with clean bright colours and nice character designs, and the animation is smooth. The first ep introduces the premise (which I found a bit offensive), but by the second ep I was laughing and enjoying myself despite the misogyny. I'd have preferred their avoiding the whole overdone 'loyal robot maid' thing altogether, but despite its faults Mahoromatic is a fun and enjoyable show. Recommended.

Availability:
Recently licensed by Pioneer.

Updated 15-10-02