Ren and Mihato Uesugi have moved to Chiharu in order to find work and a place to live, but it has proven difficult to find employment. Through a series of events the duo finds itself in the prestigious Kuonji house - and subsequently accepts live-in maid positions! Famous Shinra, inventive Miyu and youngest Yume are tough customers to wait on, but with the help of the ex-militant head-butler Colonel, head maid Benisu and other wait staff, Ren and Mihato might just learn what it takes to be the best maid or butler you can be. Their jobs are not easy, though, with everything from inappropriate sibling love to household games to handle!
They Are My Noble Masters is harem ecchi anime about a pair of siblings who are employed as servants by a rich family. Once again, first impressions are fairly misleading. What seems to be an interesting story about a pair of homeless siblings having the luck to find work at a mansion turns out to be a rather generic harem ecchi anime. A major disappointment, despite a few interesting points. It goes without saying I drank myself silly watching this. Just a word of warning, I don't like this genre, but I will try my best to keep opinion out of it.AnimationThe quality of animation is fairly good for a 2008 anime. Even though I wasn't watching it in HD, it still felt high-quality. However, the animation style is as generic and unoriginal as it gets, despite how colourful it is. Characters are designed in such way that they feel as if we've seen them before in other anime. As for the fan-service, it is rather extensive and unreasonable. The intro itself contains unnecessary nudity and the outro is very 'perverted' as it depicts clothes being 'cleaned off' of the female characters leaving nought but lingerie. Characters are sometimes seen topless and what's surprising is the behaviour of the characters. They behave as if it's socially acceptable to do so. If society had evolved in such a way that a topless woman is equivalent to a topless man, then I wouldn't be complaining so much. I've said plenty on the subject of needless fan-service in previous reviews so I won't speak more of it. Oh and jiggle physics. That is all.SoundThe soundtrack of this anime didn't exactly blow me away. The intro song wasn't too bad but the outro was the opposite. This being an anime about the 'upper class,' of which one is a musical conductor, there is a lot of orchestral music and strings to suit the 'high class' mood. Music is utilised failry well and isn't overused or underused, but it didn't add much to the scenes besides a few that were meant to be comedic. At times the music feels silly and I was put off by it, like the outro. That could be down to personal taste, since I don't like trashy high-pitched j-pop. The soundtrack isn't good enough to warrant obtaining it from my perspective. Being a harem ecchi, it was fairly unlikely for this to get an English dub, so it's only available in Japanese. The only notable voice actors were Shinra's VA Shizuka Itou who voiced characters like Bellows from Gargantia, Hinagiku Katsura from Hayate No Gotoku, Akiha Tohno from Lunar Legend Tsukihime and Wilhelmina from Shakugan no Shana. The voice actor for Ren, Tomokazu Seki did roles like Gilgamesh from the Fate series, Kenichi from History's strongest disciple Kenichi, Jun from Kanon, Yuuichi from My-Hime, Toji from Evangelion and Tracey from Pokemon. The voice of Ageha, Rie Tanaka did characters like Maria from Hayate no Gotoku and Chizuru from Squid Girl. I'm reminded of another anime I've recently watched. These VAs have been in good anime but sometimes they get a bad job and they gotta earn a living, right? Thus, the voices aren't to blame here. That said, in episode 11, a bunch of male hoodlums are clearly voiced by female VAs, possibly those who do the voices of other characters and it sounds terrible. Another male character, Chiharu who is meant to be androgenous is also voiced by a woman. In western animations this is no issue, but in Japanese anime the voices sound too feminine.CharactersThe main character, the male protagonist Ren Uesugi is one of the two siblings who ran away from an abusive father. For the most part, he's a normal guy that behaves as one should given most situations. He also happens to be a very pleasant and kind individual, having the ability to understand other people's feelings very well. He does get along too well with his sister, though he doesn't think of things in an inappropriate manner when it comes to his sister. He isn't perverted either, though he can't help but feel awkward when he's faced with situations like seeing his master naked at home. One exception to being mister nice guy, he is capable of being a violent rage-filled individual within and he does his best to suppress this. All in all a rather pleasant and relatable character. Probably my favourite character in this anime. Mihato Uesugi is Ren's sister and has a brother complex (Brocon). That is to say, she will not consider any other male in her life other than her brother, creepy as hell if you ask me, but thankfully she won't do anything wierd. She likes cute things and has a catchphrase 'Puruppu.' She also has something like 101 useful things hidden on her person. Like instant noodles. Like her brother, she is also a very sweet and caring individual. A philosophy she holds important is that a man should protect a woman and Ren tries his best to live by this. She seems like the sort of person that wouldn't hurt a fly. Except, she sort of has a split personality and whenever anything happens to Ren or he does something wrong or perverted, she appears to be a harsh and creepy, with a murderous look in her eyes. A stare that could paralyse. As a maid at the Kounji mansion, she seems to be the maid in charge of taking care of Miyu. A bit of a trope character if you ask me. The eldest of the Kuonji household is Shinra. She is a musical composer and conducts orchestras. As such, she is famous and has many fans. However, like pretty much every goddamn anime out there, there are no parents. Therefore, Shinra is the head of the household. She is said to be in her 20s, yet acts immature at times, despite seeming mostly serious and sensible. That is just to maintain a high-class image. Yes, that character trope. She also loves pandas and cute/attractive things. But it gets much more worse. She likes to tease and abuse the members of her household. The maid that usually takes care of her is Benisu and Shinra usually sexually abuses her by sleeping with her and fondling her. But the worst thing is, she abuses her younger sister Miyu in same way, or possibly worse. This is rather incestuous of course. On the other hand, she completely ignores her youngest sister Yume. Shinra is fairly emotionless at times and immature at other times. Overall, I didn't like this character, she seemed to do as she pleased. The second oldest of the Kuonji sisters is Miyu. She seems to be the blonde flat-chested twintails trope character, but with a slight difference. She is a child prodigy, going through school much faster than the average individual and graduating from college in her teen years. She earns money from her many patented inventions, but one of her inventions is her small robot sidekick De Niro. De Niro is the trope annoying little non-human character. At one point he tries to get with a rice cooker. Yes, the dumbass tries to seduce a piece of electrical equipment, it's not funny as it sounds. While she looks like a mere child, she always complains about being treated like a kid and wants to be treated like an adult. She tries to behave like an adult and is rather pretentious. Because of this I honestly have no clue as to how old she genuinely is. She also has zero sense of modesty, wearing nothing but panties sometimes in front of her servants and even sleeps with Ren (in the non-sexual way) in the same attire. A terrible character if you ask me. The youngest of the Kuonji sisters is Yume. Yume is a high-school student and is a very bland unoriginal character. She has no outstanding qualities and the anime knows this. This is the character that complains about not being noticed or having nothing interesting about her. Her personal attendant is Natose. The head maid is Benisu and in the first episode they make the joke that her name sounds like 'penis' (in Japan it's pronounced pen-isu). This is the trope abusive, agressive tsundere character. She's mainly just mean to Ren and doesn't get along well with him. Despite her bitchy personality, she doesn't complain when she is sexually abused by her master Shinra, to whom she is the personal attendant. Another terrible trope character. Of course, like every other character she has big boobs. Ren often walks in on her when shes changing in the bathroom, which results in her physically assaulting him and ignoring all his excuses. Her backstory is explained a bit, but it's nothing too great. Natose is another maid, she has an eyepatch and has inhuman combat ability. Unlike Benisu, Natose is pretty chilled out and a very mellow, kind individual, but like many of the other characters lacks modesty. Before bed she is often found standing outside on the balcony wearing nought but panties. If Ren is there, she won't mind. The outstanding feature about this character is the unrealistic fighting skills they have and their bottomless stomach. This character fills the trope of the food-lover. The head butler is the Colonel. This guy also has unrealistic fighting abilities, moreso than Natose and is referenced to be compared to the likes of Goku from DBZ. He obviously has a military background, explaining his combat abilities. He also has a moustache and unlike Ren, makes no mistakes serving his masters and is completely trusted by them. Since the parents of the Kuonji siblings are non-existent, he is their legal guardian. The other characters are not very interesting. Ageha is a Kuki is also the daughter of some rich upper class family and like the Colonel, pretty much has super powers. Her personal butler Kojuurou obviously has a crush on her, so much so that he is a masochist and enjoys getting physically abused by her. Ageha, rewards her servant with strong punches and generally treats him like shit. A terrible individual. One of Yume's friends from school is Mistina, who is a masochist of a different sort and is a very perverted horny individual that wants to be sexually abused. As such, she is jealous of some people in the Kuonji, since Shinra does that to them. Yet another terrible character. The final member of the Kuonji household is the youngest, a very andrgenous boy Chiharu who is a butler, that like Yume, goes prettymuch unnoticed and is acknowledged by the anime as an uninteresting character.StoryThe Uesugi siblings have run away from home from an abusive father. At the start they are homeless and despite that, they do their best to be helpful to others while they search for jobs and a place to live. As I said in the first paragraph, they get picked up by the Kounji household to work as servants. And that's where the interesting story ends. This is, a typical harem ecchi anime with barely any overall story progression. Trope events occur, such as the token beach episode where the trope flat-chested character wears a school swimsuit. Or where the male protagonist often walks into female characters who are undressed. The characters are in the same situation a couple of episodes in as they are by the end. There is a mini-story arc concerning a holiday gone wrong and Ageha staying over at the Kuonji household, then developing an infatuation with Ren. Towards the end, something is suggested about the Uesugi sibling's parents. There seems to be some plot towards the end revealing a twist and an interesting turn of events. A shame this isn't elaborated upon more, it would seem as if the entire anime is filler between the first episode and the end. The anime also seems to say something about contributing to society and helping others. Even as a rich, upper-class individual, Shinra implores her sisters to find what they are good at and make a job from it. I must also complain about the implied inappropriate actions. I've already mentioned the incestual sexual assault, but there in episode 11, the colonel takes a crook with a pretty face into the toilet and implies more sexual abuse. Or that's how it seemed, why else would they go into a guys toilets and go out of plain view. Of course, the harem concludes in the usual fashion, zero progress is made and the anime lacks any semblance of romance. Yes Ren gets a lot of lip from various women, quite literally, but out of a romantic context it seems, even if Ageha appears to have a one sided infatuation with him. This anime also references many other, better anime like DBZ (the colonel and Natose play catch with a aura sphere), Death Note (Yume writes in her diary the Yume Note with the same font and eats potato chips in the style of Light Yagami), Fate Stay Night (the two eldest Kuonji sister cosplay as Rin and Saber), the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (they copy the Mikuru beam) and many more. It's a disgrace to see this anime attempting to ride on the success of better anime.ConclusionOverall a big disappointment. If anyone wants to get all the story from this, just watch the first two and the last two episodes. Or at least get drunk to reduce your standards and cope with something so trope filled and generic. It could have been more, the first episode suggested that it could have been a decent anime, but they decided to go for the typical harem ecchi anime route. I've said this many times before, even if someone wants to watch this for tits and ass, this isn't the right thing to watch.Family-friendliness Rating: 5/5 Nudity and a woman sexually abuses her sister against her will (lower is better)Overall Rating: 3/10 (higher is better)
Here lies the proof that fanservice doesn't necessarily ruin every anime it pops up in as long as the show itself has something going for it. On the surface, TamNM looks like your everyday, run-off-the-mill generic ecchi fare. On the inside, it still is typical ecchi material, but with important differences which make it an enjoyable ride instead of the usual unnerving experience that garbage like Ladies vs Butlers or Akikan are to me. Let's start with what it does not do. To begin with, it does not take itself too seriously, nor does it try too hard to pull comedy like other ecchi shows do. Humor is delivered naturally, as it should, and it doesn't completely rely in tired concepts such as ''guy accidentally grabs girl's boobs -> is given punch and sent flying''. Actually, such retarded excuses of comedy are mostly extinct here, which I felt really grateful for. Instead, a healthy dose of parody and breaking the fourth wall is applied and the characters bring the show to life with their quirks, from the house butler's diligent, militar-like, overly serious composure to those who define themselves as ''lacking in personality'' and struggle not to fade in the background shadowed by everyone else. Yes, it's really the characters what turn an otherwise unsavory, bleh moe fest into a fun show in which you can actually enjoy their antics. No stupid reactions to every little thing, no retarded tsundere in every fucking corner, no 'kyaaah kawaii' copy-past lolis and definitely NO-WIMPY-MALE-CHARACTER (not that he's a role model, but he's not an obnoxious wuss either). While I'm not saying these characters can't be tagged in certain stereotypes, it is evident that they fight against this simplification naturally, by simply following the flow of the story through their interactions with each other (which are, more often than not, charming and surprisingly refreshing - for an ecchi show) as well as using the much appreciated resource of self-parodying to avoid falling into clichés. There are also background stories for each that are thrown in at proper times to add some more dimension to them - nothing amazing, but again, way over the average for the genre. Long story short, they are well characterised and they truly shine together as a solid ensemble, and I can safely say I enjoyed all of them. The cast is like a big family, and while this is something Shinra Kuonji, the girl who owns the house states herself, it's important for the show to believably portray it - which it does - and the result is a pretty endearing watch that, above all else, makes me smile. I would only leave out Yume's two school friends, but those were reaaaally minor anyways. Accompanying the comedy, which would be the main focus, there is a certain amount of drama. Or rather, melodrama. But it's, again, the way the show deals with and delivers it that not only makes it tolerable but also rather enjoyable. It definitely tends to escape from the infinitely overblown proportions of the puke-drama you usually get in ecchi. Animation and sound were both okay although not outstanding. Voice acting was, as usual when it comes to Japanese seiyuu, very good, it felt like every character was treated with care in the performance in order to mark their 'uniqueness'. Well, yeah, I guess this is way too long a text for an anime that, in the end, is not that good, but it's extremely rare for me to enjoy an ecchi show to this extent (more like... first time ever?) so I felt a broad explanation to make my point - and celebrate a good find - was in order. Really, it's good to know that even when doing a series with boobs and panties a plenty there are still some miraculous occasions in which the actual content does not fucking sucks. So yeah... Cheers! I would welcome a second season of this, although the ending wrapped it up for the most part in my opinion.
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