The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Mayo Chiki!

Title: Mayo Chiki!
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Company: Feel
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 7 Jul 2011 – 29 Sep 2011

Synopsis: Sakamachi Kinjirou doesn’t have much luck with girls – understandable, given his gynophobia, which makes him lose massive amounts of blood and faint around them. Suzutsuki Kanade is a beautiful, rich classmate of his. Her butler, Konoe Subaru, is the most popular boy in school – that is, until Kinjirou walks in on “him” in the bathroom and finds out that Subaru isn’t a boy at all.

The Highlights
Character designs: Gorgeous.
Humor: Starts out great, becomes more and more vapid.
Plot: Starts out fast, becomes progressively slower.

Stop me when this starts sounding familiar: guy with gynophobia meets super-belligerent butler who turns out to be secretly female, guy’s sworn to secrecy on pain of death, guy has to deal with “exercises” in being intimate with women in order to cure his gynophobia… guy ends up loving girl. That’s Mayo Chiki! in one (run-on) sentence.

Remarkably, however, Mayo Chiki! wasn’t always a cliché. The show displayed significant promise in its early episodes. Its humor was uncompromising and unrelenting – it shoved my mouth open and force-fed me large dollops of fanservice and lewd bathroom jokes, complete with over-the-top and wholly work-inappropriate visuals. I liked it.

But a funny thing happened to Mayo Chiki! halfway through the show: it lost its momentum. It couldn’t decide whether it wanted to continue being completely over the top, or if it wanted to reign itself in and take on a more serious tone. Instead of committing to one path, Mayo Chiki! does what many other shows like it have done in the past: divert viewers’ attention by introducing a slew of side characters who are all ultimately useless.

The relationship between the two characters, Kinjirou and Subaru, develops at a healthy pace in the first third of the show. I was pleasantly surprised by how bold Subaru was in approaching Kinjirou, a welcome departure from the glacial pace of most romantic comedies. They had good chemistry, and their relationship was going places.

That is, until the show decided it needed to slow itself down. Numerous trope characters (younger sister, rival love interest, et cetera) are introduced in order to fill time. Subaru and Kinjirou’s relationship slowly stagnates, being used more and more often as gag filler than as the main driver of the show’s action. The humor, too, became more subdued and repetitive, a stark contrast to the lewd, in-your-face visual gags of the show’s first third.

Mayo Chiki! then skids to a halt as all problems are resolved and Subaru and Kinjirou decide that they magically love each other during the show’s closing episode. Naturally, we all saw it coming – the main characters had to get together during the show’s last episode. What irritated me was how suddenly it happened, and how pointless it seemed by that point. Episodes upon episodes of filler had dulled my affinity for these two, and the side characters had annoyed me so much by this point that I found myself unable to care about how Kinjirou and Subaru’s predestined love affair ended.

Ultimately, Mayo Chiki! was a disappointment. For a show that displayed so much promise and so much energy in the first few episodes, it ended up being remarkably bland and conventional. I’d have to recommend it over other series of the same nature, if not only for the extra kick at the beginning, but at the end of the day, this show fails to stand out too much from its like-minded cousins.

The Rating: 5

Reviewed by: Akira

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