This is review number seventy seven. One more week before the Summer 2012 ends so I’m watching as many Summer 2011 anime before I tackle that horse. The anime is part of the Summer 2011 lineup. It’s Mayo Chiki. As I was doing research for this anime, Mayo Chiki is actually Mayonnaise Chicken. A food served with rice. Stupid google search. But if I type Bleach, I get the anime.
The anime is thirteen episodes about a guy who has a fear of girls and a girl who dresses up as a guy. Yeah, sounds pretty good. That’s the problem with the anime though. It’s just good. Let’s read on.
The anime is about Kinjirou Sakamachi, who has gynophobia (fear of women). This haunted him for years where the slightest touch of a woman’s hand would make his nose bleed and a hug can make him faint. One day, he was going to the bathroom and discovered that the famous butler of Kanade Suzutsuki, Subaru Konoe is actually a girl. Trouble ensued to the point where Subaru was ready to kill Kinjirou for knowing her secret. Kanade intervenes. She proposed that he keeps her butler’s secret and they’ll help him cure his abnormal fear for women. Kinjirou agreed. Subaru is now sticking to him to make sure he keeps her secret and it unfortunately spreads rumor of the two as a couple. BL love? Or could this two really be meant to be together?
Taking the Pants Off
There’s really nothing big to write about Mayo Chiki! It’s a normal Comedy Ecchi Romance anime that doesn’t really promise much. I did enjoy what the anime has to offer but to write a convincing review, it’s a bit hard. I guess its clichéd. The story isn’t really something new and it’s just another excuse to deliver fan service. Cliché isn’t really a bad thing though. I guess after countless of people used it to describe a negative anime then it’s perceived as negative but after watching close to 560 anime, it’s safe to say that almost every anime is clichéd. It all depends on how the anime executes the important elements that makes the cliché not that much of a cliché. Basically, for an anime with a familiar set up and no outstanding characteristics, it needs to be executed properly. It needs to have balance because you can have an original anime but if you fail at executing it and delivering the idea to the people watching then it sadly would suck. I’ve seen some of those as well. Mayo Chiki isn’t something new but it is enjoyable nonetheless.
The premise of the anime is certainly interesting. A guy afraid of women and a girl pretending to be a butler is a brilliant set up for an anime. It’s a strong premise that made the anime interesting up until the end. Kinjirou’s gynophobia is a great excuse for the anime to slip some of its Ecchi scenes. Some Ecchi anime often goes overboard with fan service that it ruins the story but Mayo Chiki was smart enough to give us just enough to last us until the next episode. The Ecchi in this anime doesn’t ruin the story and it actually was incorporated to the story. There is always a set up before the Ecchi is unleashed. Some of them are a bit clichéd but it really works. They were tame as well. The most daring must be the “lick” scene in the first half but majority of them was good enough to not let casual viewers be turned off. It’s not like Maken-ki or R-15, thank goodness. There are a lot of scenes where Kinjirou would see a naked girl and a lot of boob grabbing. That’s about it.
The anime’s best asset is the characters. I love this anime because it really gave a lot of time for character development. The three main characters is certainly the best because they started out as mere strangers bound by a secret but as the anime progress, the relationship deepens. The anime fleshes them out pretty nicely. Kinjirou started out as the usual guy in a harem but Subaru would discover how sweet and caring he is. Subaru started out as the generic trap that has flat boobs and loves prints on her panties but Kinjirou would later discover that he is actually the first friend she ever had because her secret stands in the way of making friends. Kanade is the typical manipulative character who enjoys seeing other suffer as she would always put Subaru and Kinjirou in compromising situations but we later find out that she is caring and soft on the inside. The cast in this anime is really great because they start out clichéd but they become well rounded after you finish the anime. It has a small cast of five girls and one guy that I actually pegged for a harem but the anime was steady and it focused on character development so much that harem isn’t really needed. It’s your standard Romantic Comedy.
The romance in this anime is really nice because it was the one of the main focus of the anime and it ended on a good note. I actually had a hard time writing this review because there really isn’t anything worth mentioning. Even its strong elements like the characters and the romance is something you’ve probably seen before. I’m a sucker for romance though and I haven’t seen a lot of great ones because they often ended up short so you often needed to read the manga. A marketing ploy to get hook you to the story then reel you in to the manga. The romance in Mayo Chiki had a nice build up. It had a beginning, middle and an ending. Well, as far as you can get to an ending in a twelve episode anime. The moments between Kinjirou and Subaru was nicely done because you already know the characters and their lovable personalities so seeing them blush and slowly become lovers was such a nice thing to see. Again, it’s not really new and it’s pretty straight forward but damn it, a good romance is a good romance. It’s actually interesting because since you are already familiar with the set up then you already know what to look forward to later on. I especially like the first half of the anime where the two was first bound by a secret but they soon become friends and the feelings slowly boil over. The Romance is just half of what the anime is about though. I focused on it and enjoyed it but it also had Ecchi and Comedy.
The Comedy in the anime is a bit over the top and, shockingly, it’s a bit clichéd. Falling down then accidentally grabbing the girl’s boob, walking in the bathroom to see a naked girl and seeing the character in pain when a girl has him in a submission hold. It’s already been done. It’s not like people haven’t seen Love Hina or Baka to Test before. So take it for what it’s worth. I do love the first half of the anime where people mistook Subaru and Kinjirou’s relationship as BL (Boy’s Love). I must admit that it was unique. Especially when people asks who is the top and the bottom. The Comedy is also incorporated to the story so that is also nice. Some of best one often involves Kanade doing something devious because she loves seeing people beg. Subaru’s impression of a sheep has me laughing hard and Kanade introducing Subaru as Punyuru was unexpectedly funny.
The problem with the anime is that it’s too familiar. The Romantic Comedy set up is something we’ve seen not just in anime but in movies as well. The anime was too straight forward which made it predictable and sadly, forgettable. I’m not saying the anime is bad because the elements were nicely executed and there is very little flaw to point out. If you’re a fan of the genre then you’ll gladly enjoy the anime. I blame the studio. If you gave this to PA Works or JC Staff then you’ll definitely see a much better adaptation. The best thing Studio Feel has ever done was the Da Capo series or KissXKiss. It has a limited fan base but I see potential in the Studio. It made PapaKiki which is pretty damn good.
Sight and Sound
This is where the anime truly shines. The character design is really great and each character had a unique look to them. Yeah, some are a bit generic like the resident tsundere of the anime but they were pretty great overall. Subaru’s dual look certainly fits well because if she wasn’t talking then you could easily see him as a dude. Kanade’s serious look is really nice. I love her red eyes which complements her mischievous personality. The cute faces and the nice body was also a great way to bring forth the fan service.
The fan service was also nice here. It wasn’t over the top and it was subtle. There was just enough to deliver a good generic laugh. I like it especially Subaru who we often see clad in a towel or naked. No exposed good parts because the fan service was tied in with the story. The fan service made the awkward moments a bit nicer and cuter.
The animation was great too. The fight scene in episode one was very nice. The anime isn’t action but it had good elements of it. I love the submission holds Kinjirou’s sister put on him. The sharpshooter, the Texas Cloverleaf and the Figure Four Leg lock was very nice and they were applied well. I’m a wrestling fan so I just had to pause at the figure four leg lock. It was awesome. The facial expressions are probably where the animation shines but it’s not that much of a stand out.
The opening, “Be Starters!” by Eri Kitamura, fits the anime nicely. It reflects the anime’s romance and Eri’s voice was really cute. She voiced Kanade which is a nice touch. The opening sequence nicely summarizes the anime and the characters personality was captured in the OP. No spoilers which was good and it was just enough to keep you wondering how the rest of characters are folded into the mix.
The ending song was sung by Kanade, Subaru and the tsundere. They had a nice voice that blended well together but the song doesn’t really stand out that much. The ending sequence featured the cast with their more developed personality. It’s the ones you see as the anime progresses.
6/10 “It’s good. Not bad but not great. It’s good.”
It’s not really the type of anime that tries to be a stand out but it had strong elements and a pretty paced well story. In the wrong hands, it could’ve been a disaster (like the guy who direct Hetalia, seriously he suck) so I praise the anime’s great execution and balance of the elements. Well done. If you’re a fan of RomCom with a satisfying ending and a touch of Ecchi then this anime is for you.