The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

He Is My Master

Title: He is my Master aka Kore ga Watashi no Goshujin-sama
Genre: Comedy
Company: Gainax/SHAFT
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 8 Apr 2005 – 1 Jul 2005

Synopsis: After deciding to leave home, fourteen year old Sawatari Izumi and her thirteen year old sister Mitsuki need to find shelter and an income. Upon finding a job advertisement outside a massive mansion, looking for people to fill the positions of live-in maids, Izumi and Mitsuki suddenly think that their prayers have been answered. Unfortunately for them, the mansion is occupied by the very rich, but very lewd pervert, Nakabayashi Yoshitaka.

The Highlights
Humour: Low-brow and devoid of wit; only occasionally chuckle-inducing
Characters: Some unconventional, but all unlikable
Music: Mostly mediocre, but an addictive OP theme
Plot: Bare-bones; episodic; filled with absurdity

Those who are following the recent trends in anime will likely have noticed what appears to be a dwindling of quality in the recent works of one of the more prominent anime companies of the last decade. My comment is one that may be obvious to many people, but one that needs to be stated in a proper analysis of this particular title: If trends continue, Gainax‘s best will soon become a distant memory of years gone by, and Gainax‘s future will be grim and bare. Has this particular recent venture left me saddened and jaded by Gainax, who I once respected among the top flight of anime companies? I think the more apt question with the less obvious answer: “Is He Is My Master really that bad, that it justifies me pronouncing the future of one of anime’s most celebrated organizations dead, assuming current trends continue?” He Is My Master answers this question with a cast of frustrating characters, bland, boring comedy, mediocre animation and music, and a “plot” (a term I use lightly), which delivers nothing but an overdose of ridiculousness.

Credit does need to go where credit is due, though, as Gainax succeeds in creating two somewhat unconventional characters in Yoshitaka and Pochi. Some people may find Yoshitaka’s open, aggressive pervert a refreshing change from the standard door-mat male lead you tend to find in harem anime. And Pochi, as the schoolgirl-molesting alligator, is a creation that is just too weird for words. Unconventional as they are, they’re still not likable. The girls, though, are worse. Izumi never grows from her highly defensive, ill-tempered and easily antagonized self, making her an easy target of the antics taking place around her, of which she can never properly cope with. Mitsuki’s fun-loving, carefree persona exists as an obvious counterbalance to Izumi, one that is just as unlikable, for being the integral component in driving the ludicrous excuse for a plot.

Every episode is essentially the same: Izumi is unhappy at some aspect of her equilibrium (and, considering the conditions she lives in, who can really blame her) when some outside influence threatens to upset the delicate balance of the universe. Then a linear combination of Yoshitaka, Pochi, Anna (Izumi’s potential lesbian love interest, since, after all, every anime needs lesbians) and/or the kitchen sink protest, and then they erupt into an incoherent chaos of screaming and yelling at each other, which somewhat resembles an argument between a group of six year olds. Finally, Mitsuki proposes a contest to settle the dispute, generally involving Izumi having to perform some sort of ridiculous task that her common sense advises against, yet she still does it anyway because…well…it’s funny (if you’ve had a lobotomy, that is). Laughs are had (again, mostly coming from the lobotomy patients) and end credits roll.

Why Izumi goes along with Mitsuki’s plans, which involve her continuously losing more of the ever thinning shreds of her dignity, and doesn’t develop an intense and seething hatred for her sister is beyond me. Not that I can claim I understand much of the reasoning behind any of the actions the characters took anyway. Oh well, the OP song isn’t too bad and the OP sequence has FANSERVICE! Then again, so does the rest of the series–in quite adequate amounts, to be accurate. Whether this is a redeeming factor or not depends on your opinion of fanservice involving girls not older than fourteen.

In the past, Gainax anime were often controversial and always unconventional. But, most importantly, they were memorable. More recently, they’ve been growing ever more forgettable, and He Is My Master is no exception, being the worst Gainax offering I’ve experienced to date. Skip this. Even as a “comedic” fanservice fest, part of a genre filled with mediocrity, there are numerous better offerings. I think I’ll go get that lobotomy now.

The Rating: 2

Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun

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