Mayo Chiki Collection (Cert 15)
2 Discs (Distributor: MVM Entertainment) Running time: 301 minutes approx.
As if suffering from gynophobia (fear of women) or having a pro wrestler mother and younger sister who use him as punching bag wasn’t enough, Kinjirō Sakamachi’s already blighted life is about to become even more complex. At his high school the principle’s daughter, Kanade Suzutsuki, is tended to by her butler, Subaru Konoe, a hugely popular figure among the girls of the school with rabid fan groups formed in his honour. None of this usually concerns Kinjirō until one fateful day when he goes to use a toilet cubicle, which in anime don’t seem to have locks, because if they did Kinjirō would never have walked in on Konoe and discovered his big secret – Konoe is actually a girl. Fearing Kinjirō will blab, Konoe turns to her employer who decides to blackmail Kinjirō into keeping his silence about his problem, while having some fun at his expense.
Akira, Ghost In The Shell, Death Note, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Code Geass – all high concept anime that engage on an intellectual level as well as delivering as visual treat. It should come as little surprise to learn that Mayo Chiki does not belong with this esteemed group. Originally a light novel by Hajime Asano and Seiji Kikuchi this ribald harem comedy soon made the transition to manga and now this anime adaptation that ticks all the boxes for those who crave prurient fan service heavy hijinks. The more discerning anime fan may want to look away now.
Due to his phobia, Kinjirō suffers from nose bleeds whenever he comes into contact with a female, even accidental. Since in the anime world nosebleeds represent the male erotic explosion our hero is forever being vilified as a pervert. Kanade finds this amusing so she does everything in her power to ensure Kinjirō and Konoe and together at all times. Cue lots of accidental stumbles into collision of bodies where clothes miraculously fall off and unintended handfuls of boob are felt. Watch out for bathroom doors being left unlocked so naked girls are innocently walked in on and don’t forget that all simple lines of communication are conducted in the most ambiguous and innuendo laden manner possible for maximum misunderstanding, leading to extreme violence usually aimed at Kinjirō.
To suggest this show is low brow is to suggest Usain Bolt is fairly quick on his feet. This is cliché city as far as smutty comedy goes complete with all the tropes you could wish for – the busty ditzy glasses wearing cat girl (four fetishes for the price of one), the violent tsundere, the scheming tsundere, the annoying younger sister and of course the various gay/Sapphic/incestuous connotations that come from these intertwining relationships. And of course plenty of jiggling boobs and panty shots. Somehow in the midst of all of this the extensive cast of burdensome females seem to develop a crush on our hapless leading man (his sister excluded although she lives to put her brother in very painful wrestling hold possible) to which he is naturally oblivious while his gynophobia serves to exacerbate the various misapprehensions among his admirers.
Logic is in short supply in this show but, as this is anime, were are presumably supposed to just shrug and accept the nonsense premise as a bit of fun. Ignoring how anyone can not see Konoe is blatantly female is the hardest part in suspending our disbelief but this is what we are forced to do otherwise there is no enjoyment in the…ahem…humour. So, why so we have a female butler? Konoe is the only girl in a continuing generation of butlers and since this is the only lifestyle she has known, it was her dream job. Clearly not one with high aspirations. Since Kanade “loves” Konoe she was happy to go along with this deception – although this doesn’t explain why Kanade keeps throwing herself at Kinjirō.
Nor does it explain why, if she has to blackmail Kinjirō to keep Konoe’s secret, does Kanade go out of her way to put Konoe in situations where she reveals her true female self? While the conceit of the show should be about hiding Konoe’s cross-dressing from everyone the bulk of the time revolves around Kanade doing her best to expose it! Not to mention using Konoe to worsen Kinjirō’s problem for her own amusement – although her motives aren’t explained beyond the inference that she is your typical spoiled rich girl who can do as she pleases. Luckily for her, having a loyal servant in Konoe and complete wimp in Kinjirō, her task is made a lot easier.
As much as there is an attempt to try and create a human interest storyline in the possible romance between Konoe and Kinjirō and his befriending the misfit girls in the school, helping them find a place in the world, it is quickly undone by scenes and situations of questionable tawdriness. It is as if the writers have a strict time limit before the smut needs to be on screen again. Even the last episode is devoted to buxom otaku wet dream Nakuru worrying about her chest being to large!
An interesting point to note is that this is a subtitle only release which could prove a risk for distributor MVM since this title could prove to have limited appeal among anime fans due to its bawdy content. Fan Service titles are usually popular but we know there are those who prefer English dubs over the original Japanese language.
To sum up Mayo Chiki it is nothing we haven’t seen before done a hundred times better. Think Love Hina but with much less heart and infinitely more prurience and you’re somewhat close. It’s not the worst anime ever made but it doesn’t do anything to engender anything other than mild indifference.
Japanese 2.0 w/ English Subtitles
Disc 2 Only:
Textless Opening Song
Textless Closing Song
Ratings – ** ½
Man In Black