mahoromatic_coverAfter the first two episodes I had decided that this show was sub-Nanako crap, some of the lowest, most ugly-spirited and demeaning crap that wicked island nation has perpetrated on us unsuspecting, puppy-dog like Americans. The final two episodes forced me to amend my opinion – it is only mostly sub-Nanako crap.

This is one of those disgusting maid fetish shows, with a particularly awful concept – a highly trained combat robot, Mahoro, is graciously allowed to go into retirement for the final year of her existence and to spend her time in any way she chooses. She becomes a maid.


On the surface, this seems grotesquely misogynistic and the worst sort of male-fantasy fulfillment stuff. Her reasons for choosing this profession become more clear as the show goes on, but it doesn’t really matter. The first episode and the one following set the tone, they are the hook, and we are asked to accept, without any validating explanation, that this cool fighting chick desires most of all the wait hand and foot on some personality-free nerd. This is an element designed to appeal to people, draw them in. I think it stinks.

Suguru, the nerd in question, is fairly typical in Tenchi-blandness. He is surrounded by characters who are quirky, though not overly-so. There is some intelligence evident in the characterization of his friends, both male and female (and, in what is a rare occurrence in any anime show, all the girls he knows are not madly in love with him). Why none of this intelligence was used is creating either Mahoro or Suguru’s characters is unfathomable.

Far, so far more offensive and awful is the idiotic creation of Suguru’s teacher, Shikijo1. She wants to have sex with high school boys, and is jealous of Mahoro living with the ultra-bland Suguru. The reasons for her fetish aren’t explained, but I don’t care. She commits a sin far worse than being offensive or an awful stereotype or any other moral considerations one can name: she’s not goddamn funny. When she is on screen, the show stops dead, and she is on screen a lot. Her constant competition with Mahoro includes an obsession with breast size – Shikijo was udders large enough to feed several calves, and she unsheathes them at every opportunity. If anyone out there finds this either humorous or erotic, please read other web pages. I do not want you in my audience.

What deepens my annoyance with this show are the signs that somebody working on it had some degree of humanity. One of Suguru’s female friends works at a bathhouse, and when Mahoro comes in to take a bath she sneaks a glance at her, envious of Mahoro’s smooth skin. This moment feels real. Perhaps it didn’t excite the animator, since nobody grabbed anyone’s breasts or engaged in weird and off-putting suckling fantasies, but it made me want to hate the show less.

Self-appraisal is difficult, but I would think on some expensive animated production on which several dozens of people worked, somewhere down the line someone would read a script and say, hey, this isn’t very funny. It seems akin to wishing for miracles to hope some form of quality control exists in the world of anime, what with all the deliriously bad stuff that comes out. It is equally disheartening to think that, somewhere out there, this is somebody’s favorite show. I don’t weep for the species, but I am given pause.2

1The voice actress for Shikijo, Yumi Takada, does a lot to help make the character horrible. She was also Ayeka in the various Tenchi series. I don’t want to wish violence on anybody… but… I don’t know how to finish this sentence.

2This was a negative review, so
I have to hide my one bit of unambiguous praise here in the footnotes, where hopefully nobody will notice it. The ending animation is very loveable. Really – it’s crudely animated, with three girls from the show doing about a two frame looped dance while singing, and a quick clip of Mahoro, wagging her finger in the air, saying “I think dirty thoughts are bad!3“. I find something endlessly charming about the half-assishness and guilelessness of this ending animation. It made me happy.

3Some more unambiguous praise – there is one very funny scene where Mahoro finds Suguru’s collection of dirty magazines, and proceeds to lecture him about both the utility of breasts, and the difficulties that can plague a large-breasted woman. Back aches and the like. Very amusing, almost made me want to not hate the second episode.
Rating: D+

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