The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden

Title: Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden
Genre: Romance/Comedy
Company: Gainax
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 5 Oct 2001 – 28 Dec 2001

Synopsis: Mahoro is a specially designed Vesper andriod, built for combating alien life forms. As the dust of the war settles and the lifetime of Mahoro draws towards an end, Vesper grants the android decommission, allowing her to live her last year alive as she sees fit. Eager to prove useful, she decides to become a maid, and winds up in the company of an orphaned, teenage named Suguru. Between Sugaru’s awkwardness and Mahoro’s clumsy attempts at human interaction, the two care for and learn from one another.

The Highlights
Premise: Hybrid genres gone wrong.
Story: Dull; clichéd.
Animation: Hard on the eyes, except for Mahoro.
Characters: Bland and uninteresting.
Music: Catchy ending.
Ecchi: For the not-so-pure of heart.
Humor: Funny…if you’re a pervert (like me).

A few years ago I took the liberty of reading a bit of the Mahoromatic manga. Vaguely remembering the premise, I thought I’d give the anime a whirl as well. Now it just may be that my preferences have changed over the years, but Mahoromatic is the type of anime that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Although several times the series showed signs of potential, they were quick to pass. It seems as if the director took a few decent clichéd premises and mashed them together with some off-the-shelf characters and music. While gritting my teeth, a few momentary highlights helped me endure this horridly dull anime.

It’s easy for fans such as ourselves to distinguish between titles and genres, and I suppose that’s where the prestige of well-known series sets in. However, this is exactly the kind of material that makes anime so misunderstood in the eyes of many Westerners, especially adults. You can’t berate Mahoromatic for being perverse anymore than you can hate a horror film for being scary, but the level of fanservice was downright unnecessary. Occasional perversion can add humor to a tense situation, and an obscene amount can be reserved for the hentai genre; however, this one lies smack dab in the middle. There’s too much for it to be quirky and funny, but not enough to be hentai either. If you like pedophile teachers chasing girls to compare boob sizes then go ahead. But seeing as this was supposed to be a romance/comedy, this was just disappointing.

Then comes the story. How does the premise of a war-driven android living out her last days out in peace sound? Or the developing romance of a young maid caring for an orphaned, socially-awkward boy? How about both at the same time? Had it followed either plot line, no matter how overused, Mahoromatic could have been fine. But together and crammed into an awkward twelve episodes, you end up with a poor set of two loosely tied side-plots. The series really should have been expanded out into twenty-six episodes. The ending was so absurdly abrupt, with numerous loose ends, that a necessary sequel series came some time after.

Continuing with this series of failures, I found the characters to be horrible as well. Most were off-the-shelf, with no creative personalities whatsoever. Many of the side-characters exist simply to exist, and have no point at all in the main story. And if that wasn’t enough the music is generic and animation terrible… except the fanservice, of course. I’ll admit it has its amusing moments, and the ending song is catchy as well, but neither of these make Mahoromatic worth your time.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: Godai

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