Title: They Are My Noble Masters aka Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 6 Jan 2008 – 30 Mar 2008
Synopsis: After running away from their abusive father, Uesugi Ren and his sister Mihato need to find work and a place to stay in the city. By coincidence, Ren finds a young looking girl who has passed out in the sun. The girl is Kuonji Miyu, daughter of the rich Kuonji family. Miyu, along with her two sisters Shinra and Yume, decide to give Ren and Mihato an opportunity to work at their mansion as live-in servants.
Comedy: Reasonably funny; the parodies are irreverent.
Drama: Surprisingly credible for this genre.
Characters: Fairly well developed; drive the drama.
Character designs: Not really the most alluring for a fanservice anime.
An attempt to infuse serious drama in a fanservice anime typically dooms it to be unentertaining, bordering on insulting, tripe. They Are My Noble Masters is different; it’s got some of the most convincing drama I’ve ever seen in a fanservice anime. Granted, that doesn’t say much, and there’s nothing in this anime that’s top shelf and very little that’s genuinely new, but it does defy a long held philosophy of mine that fanservice anime shouldn’t do drama because they don’t have the poise to pull it off.
Ignoring the drama, people watch fanservice anime for the girls and the comedy and, on these fronts, They Are My Noble Masters is consistent, but nothing special. The gags are standard fare, and can be split into parodies, one-liners and sight gags. The more interesting component of the comedy simply comes from the overt sexuality and openness of the characters, which makes for an awkward yet strangely watchable chemistry between all the characters. Similarly, there’s an “anything goes” philosophy behind the parodies: expect anything from 2ch memes to seiyuu jokes. Overall, the comedy does its job without drawing too much attention: I probably laughed out loud two or three times each episode, and that’s not too bad. The fanservice, on the other hand, is actually rather subpar. None of these girls are really too much to look at, so I can’t say the prospect of seeing them in varying states of undress particularly enthused or aroused me. I mean, what’s the point, fanservice shots of all the girls are forced down our throats in the ED sequence anyway.
The way this show uses drama is probably the most unique thing about it. It’s almost entirely character driven, with almost all characters given some sort of back-story and/or a dilemma. There’s not much in the character development that’s ground-breaking or inspiring, but the audience is given enough of an opportunity to take it seriously. It particularly comes to the fore in the latter episodes when the Kuonji sisters come under scrutiny, and some reasonably interesting questions regarding the role of sisters in a parentless family and living under the legacy of a successful parent are explored. They Are My Noble Masters does commit the odd fault as far as execution is concerned, the most common being the sudden, jarring mood swing, but it only rarely isn’t serviceable.
I wouldn’t deny for a second that you can find better examples of drama in anime fairly easily, but you’d be hard pressed to do so within the fanservice comedy genre. This is ultimately why I’m rather impressed by They Are My Noble Masters. It does nothing outstandingly well, but the fact that it managed to mix comedy, drama and fanservice in the way it did without any of them detracting from the other, let alone crippling the entire experience as is typically the case when a fanservice comedy attempts drama, is something I’ve never seen before. I’ll freely admit I’m being kind to this series, but that’s because it’s subverting genre tropes, and that’s something I almost always approve of.
The Rating: 6
Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun