Mayo Chiki is the story of boobs...I mean a love story intricately crafted around a unique premise. I mean a bare bones romance/drama/comedy about a guy butler who is actually a girl and has romantic time with the guy who discovered she was a girl.
Based on a light novel series (which should be a given for any anime I've reviewed lately), this show is not as bare bones as I previously stated, but doesn't innovate in any way. It's a very likeable anime that isn't bogged down by anything but it's sheer use of cliches.
Mayo Chiki is the story of a girl named Konoe Subaru. She is a butler, but as a butler she must pretend to be a man due to some sort of familial something-or-other. Her mistress is amazingly rich because her father is the head of the schools, which apparently pays well enough in Japan to allow them to own a mansion, two butlers, two maids, a limousine, and a private hospital. On top of this, the mistress doesn't have to wear a school uniform because she's too rich and good for that. Then again, Konoe the butler guy/girl gets to wear her butler clothes around school as well.
Anyway, Jirou, a typical high school boy with gynaphobia (I'm sure you can figure out what this means on your own) enters the stall with Konoe in it (she has to use the men's room as she is pretending to be a guy) and he sees her cute panties. Thinking her to be a perverted male, there's a fight and before we know it, with just a simple shove, her butler shirt unbuttons and Jirou is groping her breasts.
So now he must protect her secret that she is a female and he ends up going on crazy misadventures with her and her mistress. The mistress and Konoe seem to be falling for him, and they both try to cure his gynaphobia.
While the story is an original premise, it enters the obligatory anime romance/drama cliches:
-Hot spring episode
And we all know what this means! FAN SERVICE! And while it doesn't really hit panty territory (we see them off the girl a couple times and on the girl once) it provides gratuitous breastage and lots of thighs. These episodes in no way innovate upon the basic formula that we've come to expect of episodes such as these, but they are funny and don't come across as totally cliche.
So most of the story revolves around the romance between Jirou and Konoe, and it does focus on some other characters who they become friends with along the way. Meanwhile, the whole school thinks Jirou is gay with Subaru since nobody has yet to figure out he's a she.
The plot never exactly does anything totally exciting, it just provides the basic skeletal outline for a decent romance/comedy. Nonetheless, it does it well enough that you keep watching it and want to see what happens next.
How can anyone resist?
The animation is good. Characters look good and cute and all that. Backgrounds look nice. The ambiance of the show is very bright most of the time, a lot of bright colors really helping make the show easy on the eyes. The animation is also smooth. It's not really, really fantastic animation, but it is pretty good.
A theme song that is good. An ending song that is meh. Music in the middle that is okay. The characters voice actors are all good and once again, I don't have a lot to really talk about in this section.
A wild tsundere character has started sparkling like Edward Cullen!
This is where I really find my personal tastes being at odds with my critic tastes. Konoe is awesome, says one side of me. The other side tells me that she's good, but not that great. They are combating each other and I think I'm going to choose my personal tastes over that of my critic. I loved Konoe. She wasn't the most emotionally riveting character in anime, not in the slightest, but she was a good character who was different from most anime girls. She was likeable in her want to protect and serve her mistress as a boy, but also likeable as a girl who really had no friends and met Jirou and was falling for him. The romance between the two is compelling because of this strange scenario and is the only reason it really works.
Jirou himself, as our main protagonist, is merely okay. His ginaphobia is funny and he certainly is entertaining, but he's cookie cutter minus the ginaphobia. His sister is the same, cookie cutter and not really compelling. There is a typical tsundere girl who rides on a moped and isn't all that exciting.
But the mistress is also a good character. While at first she seems like a bad guy with ill intentions, she slowly grows on you and you see that she truly is a good guy. I personally feel she had some romantic ideas about Jirou, but the series doesn't really pass beyond the stage where characters admit to each other. It's all implied.
Mayo Chiki is entertaining and provides two cool characters, but is an otherwise fairly basic specimen. One thing I noticed is two instances where it had some promotion for Aria the Scarlet Ammo seemingly. There is a poster in the background of one episode, and one character dresses as Aria. I guess the same studio did these two anime? The animation is somewhat similar. It also brings up a great comparison:
There are anime out there that are not good story-wise or character-wise but are nonetheless really fun to watch, entertaining. As a critic, I am usually thought of as that guy who reviews based on how good everything is. If everything is excellent, then it gets a ten, but when there are a lot of inadequate things, it gets something less than five.
That's not true with me. I do base my scores on how good the story, animation, sound, and characters are, but I also base it on something I can't explain in paragraph form under a header: entertainment value.
Now let me explain that comparison I've been getting at:
Mayo Chiki, just like Aria, has a lot of faults, but it is entertaining. That's the bottom line.
Mayo Chiki rates a 5/10.
Personnally this anime may look like old fashion to many people in the first few min of the anime then it gets interesting. This old-fashion anime with a rich lady and her butler you may have thought that the main character was going to have a relationship with the rich lady. Boy are you wrong the relationship ends up with the butler, don't worry this isn't BL the butler turns out to be a girl. The humor hard to get at certain ages. The romance is quite special in it own way. I really love this series and i want a second season. n a way it amazing.
Lame, annoying, cliched. Watch this irritating anime if you place no value on your time or peace of mind.
Maria Holic Mayo Chiki is a romance anime featuring a small but interesting cast. Secrets to be kept and revelated, odd situations to resolve and ambiguous situation to explain reign over this serie. But a quite linear path that leads to a quite obvious end keeps all those twists in the line.
Story - 7/10
Sakamachi Kinjirou is a simple high school student whose life rolls very normally. Well, that is... If you do not consider the mother being a pro wrestler and Konoha, the sister, iuing him for hers wrestling training... But this is just a side factor, as the real story starts when Jirou's bad luck (or good luck maybe?) wants him in the right place at the wrong moment, thus discovering what should have been left secret. He, Subaru Konoe, is a she.
As problems would arise if this secret gets discovered, Subaru and Kanade, the girl who Subaru must serve as a butler, are well determined to use any mean to keep Jirou's mouth shut. Between promises of helping him heal from his Gynophobia and ambiguous situations set up by Kanade for her own fun (and maybe something else), Jirou begins his new hard life, with the other students around him startind to believe him either on the gay side of the force, or a perverted. Or both.
Nevertheless, events have him know some other people, mostly at the school, mostly girls, and mostly with an initial avversity for him.
Will he be able to handle all these boobs girls without dying of his gynophobia?
Apart from the deviations of the single episodes, the story offers a linear path that slowly develops through the anime, little by little. A faster plot would probably have screwed up the feeling of sweetness and cuteness that one can perceive during the watch even though most of the girl possess a personality that is, at least apparently, far away from being sweet.
I've seen some better romance, but a few things brought the story above the simple sufficiency.
Animation - 8/10
If one thing should be appreciated in the animation, that thing is the faces, especially the eyes. A very good design which kept all their charm through the whole anime, even during the classic sea/hot spring/etc situations, where one's attention might be attracted somewhere else.
You can turn off the audio, look only at the eyes of someone, and still understand hat he/she feels.
Sound - 8/10
Good, not excellent, I liked Kanade and Subaru's voices. In particular Kanade (Eri Kitamura) sometimes makes use of a voice that is not exactly her natural voice when she's, for one reason or another, pretending to have a personality that is not hers.
On the music side, I can't say that much. Pleasant opening and ending themes, but none of them was good enough to have me not skip them...
Characters - 9/10
As stated above, the cast, at least the main cast, is quite small. Still it holds his own effectiveness.
Jirou, the male lead, is the perfect normal guy, no exceptional traits, no particular honorable principles, etc.
On the other side, the two female lead, are both somehow very cool.
Subaru, pretending to be a guy in order to act as Kanade's butler, is the most interesting one, with her strong personality hiding a delicate cute girl. Eventually, Jirou is the cause of her internal conflict, that is choosing between being the impassible and faithful servant to her mistress and being the sweet girl that just wants some attention, but the resolution she shows in pursuing both objectives is amiable. You will love her.
And because Subaru's problems, Kanade also gets more interesting episode by episode. At first it just looks like she wants some fun with Jirou, but the more the story goes on, the less you'll understand of what she wants. Does she want to see something blossom between Jirou and Subaru? Does she rather want Jirou for herself? With each passing episode, one of the two options will get predominant, however you will never be sure of it... Sometimes she deliberately puts Jirou in difficult situations which do not degenerate mostly thanks to Subaru's composure (or maybe naiveness in fact of relationships?), some other times she organizes things so that Jirou and Subaru get a good chance to get closer.
No matter what, by the end of the 1st or mostly 2nd episode you will be probably desperately hoping in a precise ending with a precise girl which I won't name but everyone of you surely can guess ;)
Overall - 8/10
In the end one can recognize various elements out of other anime (in particular Maria Holic) all put together in this story. Despite that, those elements are arranged so that there is no feeling of "Ah, I've already seen that!". Of course, some standard "must be" of a romance story are still there, with some particular emphasis on situations that require the characters to undress... Still the way those situation are presented feels somehow new.
As said before, it does indeed offers some elements very similar to Maria Holic, still Mayo Chiki is somehow more serious, and despite is slightly higher ecchi level, it focuses more on the feelings of the characters, instead of mostly offering funny gags like Maria Holic does.
Sooo... Some hilarious scenes every now and then, some cuteness spread over most of the episodes, some sporadic, short moments of tension. All put together has the outcome of an interesting anime, perfect for a pleasant view in a moment of relax during your day.
I just think that the idea of this story had more potential than was actually shown in the end. It wasn´t bad, but it might have been so much better.