Ahh, the maid. A staple of otaku culture, representing grace and femininity, purity and devotion, maids are special. They’re not really an archetype, per se. It’s not really a genre, either. Maids are quite the versatile element.
He Is My Master is a 12-episode ecchi comedy co-produced by both Gainax and SHAFT and adapted from the manga of the same name.
Yoshitaka Nakabayashi is a top-level a-hole. After inheriting his family’s fortune, he fired his service staff for not acquiescing to his every whim, and now lives alone in a huge mansion. Luckily for him, along come Izumi and Mitsuki Sawatari, two girls who’ve run away from home and who’ve ended up on Yoshitaka’s property. He offers them the opportunity to stay in the mansion, on the condition that they become his live-in maids. Mitsuki is on-board, but Izumi is decidedly not on-board, and expresses this in a hostile manner. When Yoshitaka presents her with a bill for all of the things she destroyed in a rage, however, she has no choice but to bear with it.
For an ecchi romance comedy, He Is My Master has some bite to it. Male lead Yoshitaka isn’t some wishy-washy, indecisive teen boy who keeps accidentally getting into ecchi situations despite having no perverted tendencies. He’s an unapologetic pervert with a bad attitude and a “screw the rules, I have money” outlook on life. Izumi isn’t much better. She’s incredibly quick to fly into a rage over Yoshitaka’s antics, often resulting in more destroyed property being added to her bill. Mitsuki, on the other hand, is quite cheerful about working for Yoshitaka and takes his bullcrap in stride. Add in third maid Anna Kurauchi, who has an unrelenting attraction to Izumi, and Pochi, the Sawatari sisters’ amorous, misandric pet alligator, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for over-the-top hilarity and craziness.
The art style isn’t particularly distinctive, most of the time. When a close-up shot of a character’s face or clothing is required, or when it’s an ecchi scene, the art gets real nice, real fast, but otherwise, it’s fairly generic and lacking in detail. When it’s good, the girls bodies are represented quite nicely. Everything from breasts, to butts, to legs, and even the little creases underneath their arms are rendered in mouth-watering, chills-up-the-spine detail when the show closes in on their bodies.
The fast-paced slapstick comedy is reminiscent of late 90s or very early 2000s anime, but it works in this case. The focus is on either the comedy, or on the ecchi, and the art shifts back and forth accordingly. That said, those with particular preferences will find more value in the show’s art direction than others, and it’s easy to see what preferences the show plays to by taking a look at its very distinctive maid uniforms.
Each episode focuses on a different conflict, often one that threatens to separate Yoshitaka from his maids. While most of the action is of a comedic nature, there are some genuinely heartwarming moments that round out the series. A very particular ecchi style and a male lead who’s actively an a-hole, rather than just an indecisive everyman, give He Is My Master a nice, solid foundation that sets it apart from other ecchi comedies.
If you like maids and ecchi, He Is My Master is right up your alley. Ecchi non-fans should stay away, as should those who might be offended by Yoshitaka’s obvious and unapologetic perverted streak. If you’re looking for a show you can just pop in whenever you feel like laughing and looking at cute maids, consider He Is My Master.
(Next page: The release)