Anime Meta-Review


Hand Maid May


By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-10 of 10
  • type: unknown
  • grade: flawed
  • genre: harem
  • genre: other
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Fri Dec 1 01:05:10 EST 2000
  • mod: none

This should have been such a sure thing, having all the requirements for some very entertaining anime, but...something about it bugs me. Since i'm not entirely sure what, this might be a confused review, but here goes. The story begins with a young boy who's clearly pretty technically adept, but for some reason has decided that the world really needs a cute robotic octopus. Partly proving that while he's a `nice guy' (tm) he's not that bright. Although suspicions he's also `innocent' (tm) are raised when a young woman climbs into his room (they have a ladder connecting their apartments) and offers a healthy dose of fan-service. Which is a shame, because while he's focused on that he misses her vocal hints. In any case he confirms his dimness (and lack of technical knowledge) when his best friend and mortal enemy (who's a crazed, totally over-acted loon type) offers him a DVD that will upgrade his system. Of course this is just another plan to exact revenge, and the DVD is infected with a virus. The virus takes over his computer (and the attached robot octopus) but the only thing it manages to acheive is placing an order (instantly delivered) for a CBD May. All of a sudden our young hero finds himself the owner of a super-cute, fan-service friendly, robot maid (even though she's about 6" tall). Naturally his `enemy' is incensed by this and will stop at nothing to ruin the relationship between them. And then there's a strange `nemesis' figure in the background. But what dominates the time is the arrival of many more cyberdolls, until our hero is well on the way to needing a larger apartment.

Where to begin? Well, a cute anime full of young girls all attracted (in different ways) to a young man is certainly a familiar enough plot. There'll be some character dialogue, a bit of touching romance, some comedy, and a light and easy ambience. And certainly that is what this anime is aiming at. But this one has a couple of elements that can distract or degrade the experience. The first thing that will be noticed is there is lots of quite agressive fan service. It is also fairly disrespectful of character. This is especially true for May (i'm not even going to mention where her recharge cable goes) but is true for all the other cyberdolls too. This is compounded because the cyberdolls have fairly limited personalities, falling for the hero almost immediately and without much visible reason. Combined with an extremely submissive attitude in general (especially for May and later Mama) it actually started to irritate. Then there's the fact that new dolls are introduced very fast (about 1 per episode) which really degrades from the depth of their characters. Much of this could result from the fact that the writing, both in scenes and dialogue and in the larger question of where the story is going, doesn't seem that tight. Even the lead is far less interesting than we expect for this sort of thing. And his life, barring being knee deep in cyberdolls, is pretty dull. So, in conclusion, while this well known template still has a lot to like, and generates some compact, interesting (babe filled) scenes to watch, this is a poor example of it. Even when following a formula (or perhaps even more so) the writing still needs to be tighter than this. It really seems there was a confusion, at a high level, as to what the appeal of this show was (and some indication that they changed their own minds during production).

And then, at round about episode 9.5 of 10 we suddenly get into the serious bit. This is entirely expected but still fairly silly, and the response to the crisis is just ridiculous. When the secrets of the series are revealed you simply can't help but wonder how the characters didn't notice what you'd suspected about 5 episodes back. And, interestingly, in the end they fail in one very important aspect but then try to paint it as a `positive experience' ...bleh. If i'd had any doubts about this series the conclusion has certainly laid them to rest. This is a painful example of using a sure fire formula and still managing, somehow, to find failure.

The production, unsuprisingly enough for a pioneer title, is very clean and brightly colored. This is modern OAV type production, although when examined closer it can be seen that, in terms of linework, it is not overly complex. Character designs, which are central to this sort of thing, are great for May but reduced for the lesser characters. Action is largely absent, although may does clean the house and cook. Actually there is some energy, courtesy of the completely over the top nanbara, his best friend / mortal enemy (that's how he introduces himself) and the cyberdoll delivery girl / re-possessor. They're obviously meant to be the action and humor hub of the series, but it's nothing too exciting on either count. Indeed the animation style and character design looks very familiar. The technical design is very silly, the voices are as expected and the music is cheery.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:19 WST 2009