I seem to seperate myself from most of the anime-watching crowd in that I actually prefer shorter animes. In a TV series, the object is generally to pad the length as much as possible in order to cut costs but maintain viewership. In short OVAs, however, little time is available, and so every minute usually will contribute to the overall experience (as opposed to bloated series like Naruto or Hikaru no Go).
Another large perk of short animes is well illustrated by Azusa Will Help!: if the anime sucks, it doesnt waste too much of your time. The OVA is decidedly below average, with a weak storyline, generic characters, and only a handful of laughs, but its 40 minute runtime prevented me from hating it passionately.
Still, even if the show is a relatively small waste of time, its still a waste of time. The one or two good jokes in the entire OVA are largely cancelled out by the tedious and trite maid shit that dominates the running length. An attempt is made to dilute the cliche by combining the maid parts with elements from sports anime, but mixing together two hackneyed story devices seldom produces something original, and this is no exception.
The story doesnt really make a whole lot of sense from a logical perspective, either. In the anime, we are told that anatomically correct androids are no longer being made due to the apparent sexual consequences that inevitably result. This leads to the question of how the protagonist manages to purchase one of the older, fully fleshed out robots for so cheap. If sexdroids were in fact banned from production, there is no doubt in my mind that rabid, undersexed otaku would soon make the remaining ones nearly priceless. Also, the very idea that androids would be used to play baseball at all is preposterous. The whole point of athletic sports is to engage in fun, competitive excercise, and having a robot do that for you is just stupid. I think the concept is somewhat similar to getting a robot to jog for you every morning.
Decidedly below average, especially considering the shows age and length. Very little money went into making this anime, and it shows with jerky animation, generic character designs and lame action scenes.
Voice acting is definitely on the stale side (although Ill grant that there isnt much ANYONE could do in these godawful roles), and music is weak and unmemorable.
An odd note is that Noto Mamiko is in this one, presumably before her career took off and she earned the luxury of not having to participate in this kind of degrading material. She does what she can with her role, but even Mamikos succulent, oh-so-good-to-hear-it voice isnt enough to save a cardboard character with some absolutely idiotic dialogue.
Unlikeable and dull - pretty much characteristic of what I would expect from a 40 minute maid show. I could write more, but then Id be spending more time talking about the characters than the studio spent actually creating and developing them.
Basically, Azuza does just about what every maid show before it has done: weak-ass comedy. The lackluster plot and characters combine with the decidedly mediocre animation and sound, and one is left with an unusually disappointing overall package. Im just happy the anime cant waste any more of my time than it already has.
If youre one of the thousands of people who actually enjoy maid shows on a consistent basis, then by all means knock yourself out; theres enough tribute to the tired genre to please most of the diehards. However, if youre not a dedicated fan of the genre, then know that this brings nothing new to the table.
The Story in Azusa will Help! seems on the surface to be a half way decent story, but a closer look reveals how it isn't that great. There where several key moments in the plot that just happended for no reason. It seems to me that the story was hurried through at some parts, and it makes it less comprehensible. However, there was a decent plot that was given enough time to make sure that it was explained well enough so that you do not have to stop and say "What the...?". The originality of the idea of robots playing baseball is not that new, but the maid robot playing baseball is in my experience. Another thing is that I felt that there were moments when the storyline seemed too tacky and kind of stupid. Overall it had an ok story.
The animation didn't look all that spectacular, but it didn't look completely terrible. I did enjoy some of the glimpses of the new technology there. The robots did not look all that original and neither did the other characters. It kind of had a bland environment around it.
The characters seemed stereotypical at points and there wasn't a whole lot of depth in any of the characters. The only backstory you receive is for the main character and his grandpa, and all you learn about the main character is that he pooped himself on the mound once and now he will never pitch again. The characteristics of most of the character have been done much better by other animes.
Azusa Will Help is just a generally bland anime, with bland backgrounds and bland characters. But it did have a comprehensible story. Not the best choice for the next anime to watch, but if you are bored then why not?