Misato Suguru is a high school student who lives on his own, alone in a
large house willed to him by his deceased parents. One day he interviews a for
a maid and the girl sent by the "Vesper Domestic Services" company
is not only capable and intelligent, she's really cute too! What he doesn't
know is that his new maid, Mahoro, is really a retired combat android with
roughly a year left on her power supply before she shuts down forever. In
fact, she knew his father, who was secretly a commander in the organization
she fought for. Slowly Suguru begins to learn the truth about Mahoro, even as
he finds himself falling in love with his unorthodox house cleaner, and Mahoro
realizes that what may have been the best of intentions on her part might only
hurt Suguru further when her time expires. In the meantime however, what is an
android housemaid to do with the daily trials of uninvited dinner guests,
perverted older female teachers, enemy androids out for revenge, and Suguru's
Mahoromatic, in classic Gainax fashion, manages to take one of the recent
trends in shounen anime, the "Battle Maid", and stand it completely
on its head. Unlike some of the more over-the-top titles in this sub-genre,
Mahoromatic manages to be funny, touching, exciting, and even a bit perverted
all at the same time.
The setting of Mahoromatic, a near-future earth in the midst of a shadow
war between Vesper (the Good Guys) and SAINT (the Bad Guys), is a direct
parody of another Gainax hit, Neon Genesis Evangelion. The council members of
Vesper as well as a few other character designs are indirect ribs at the
overly serious cast of Eva, but even with the obvious parody aside,
Mahoromatic remains an excellent show in its own right, with fun characters,
excellent animation, and a short, but engaging story.
The obvious favorite of fans is Mahoro herself, who is a juxtaposition of
cute and destructive power that is highly amusing. The bipolar nature of this
anime is readily demonstrated in the opening animation, which depicts Mahoro
doing various house chores on one hand and blowing away mecha on the other
with a gentle love song playing in the background. This dual nature thrives in
the characters, who at one moment will be very funny and at the next extremely
serious, especially as the series draws to a close.
Then there is Suguru, who is probably the most stereotypical character. He
could have easily been lifted straight out of Love Hina, Tenchi Muyo, or just
about any other anime with a "loser hero" lead, and his role in the
show is primarily to serve as a motivation for Mahoro and as a love toy for
his pervert homeroom teacher, yet he still comes across as very sincere and
believable. Suguru's friends at school though are a mixed bag. Some, like the
gourmand girl that freaks out every time she tries Mahoro's cooking, are very
entertaining, while others, like his two lecherous male friends, are somewhat
dull and forgettable. In the obligatory cheap-ass-Gainax-closing-credits,
Suguru's three female classmates sing a funny samba-style song that had some
members of T.H.E.M. still humming it for days afterwards.
The animation is of very high quality, with slick action sequences and cool
mecha designs that rival other great shows by Gainax in sheer coolness.
Mahoro's sidekick, a cyborg Panther named Slash, is probably my favorite, but
with everything from turbo jetpacks, to giant anti-matter rifles, to weird
alien combat robots (that steal swimsuits!), mecha fans won't be disappointed.
Finally, Mahoromatic is well told. Most other series and shorts in this
obscure sub-set of anime rely heavily on cheap one-off gags, large amounts of
cheesecake, and super shiny animation to hide the fact that they have no plot.
Mahoromatic gives you plenty of all of this, but underneath it all, with the
silly gags and pretenses removed, is a genuinely well-written story with a
point to it besides mindless violence and panty-shots. If you are a fan of
mecha this show is highly recommended, but even if your tastes lean more
towards drama and romance anime, then this might still be worth a look.