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.