Shonen Maid – Preview
Original Air Dates: April 8th, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Chihiro Komiya was left all alone when his mother died from over work. His landlords give him a letter from his mother, a note for him should anything unfortunate happen to her. Chihiro hopes the letter contains his future, but nope, his mother just wrote that it’ll all just “work itself out.” Unsure of what to do, Chihiro continues going to school. But on his way home he meets a man claiming to be his uncle. Chihiro quickly discovers his Mother was originally part of a rich family, but turned down the money in order to have Chihiro.
Now, Chihiro’s uncle, Madoka Taketori, proposes that Chihiro live with him and, so Chihiro doesn’t feel like him owes him anything, asks Chihiro to be his live in maid. Chihiro quickly finds Madoka’s place is a dump and sets about cleaning the place. As Chihiro works to keep Madoka’s place from falling into disrepair he begins to learn more and more about his bizarre uncle, who even made a little maid outfit for him to wear!
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: I didn’t warm to Chihiro Komiya at the start, and by the end of the episode I’m pretty apathetic towards him. It doesn’t help that right from the start Chihiro disrepects his mother’s death by trying to burn her death note when she’s a bit vague on suggestions for his future. He comes off as apathetic over his mother’s death, like one might be about their favorite movie star: bummed but life will go on. It becomes very clear as the episode progresses that Chihiro is meant to be struggling with his feelings on the inside, but the execution wasn’t there and that wasn’t the impression I got. Instead I saw a kid who saw his mother’s death more as an inconvenience and less as a significant loss.
Linny: The characters are not portrayed seriously except in fleeting moments, which makes them all feel silly. You might find yourself struggling to take their emotional turmoil seriously when they themselves don’t seem to be doing so either. Chihiro is shown to be so detached from his mother’s death and the dire circumstances he’s now in. The whole sequence of him burning his mother’s letter comes off as more of a dick move than comical. Then there’s the whole overplayed silliness of the mother’s character who seems way too flippant and air-headed to have her death be a true source of tragedy whenever the show desires it.
Tom: On the other end we have Madoka, Chihiro’s uncle, who’s super aloof. He reminds me a lot of other oblivious characters who don’t have their lives together, except in one particular area (as we of course learn with Madoka here.) It’s hardly original and so far there isn’t much about the uncle to set him apart from all the other oblivious anime characters floating around.
Linny: Madoka most definitely is the classic ditsy and scatter brained stereotype and there’s absolutely nothing about him that feels original enough to make him an interesting character. You even have his butler who plays another predictable straight man character besides Chihiro, and who is also another caretaker for Madoka.
Tom: The story’s basic enough, one I’m sure we’ve all seen a version of before: Main character loses his home, and finds himself in a new, abnormal set up. Shonen Maid is basic, generic, but effective, carrying forward all the classic elements to put itself together. The quirk here is that Chihiro has high cleaning standards (or Madoka just has absurdly low ones). It’s funny enough, but only to a point, and Shonen Maid so far doesn’t offer enough additional avenues of humor to keep that gag feeling fresh and inventive.
Linny: There’s nothing in Shonen Maid that requires deep thinking and actively discourages that with its silly premise and sillier characters. It can be summed up as an attempt at a cutesy, humorous odd couple. The jokes never hit hard and might disappoint people who actually want to laugh out loud. One can’t help but feel like the first episode basically wraps up the entire show. You know that the entire series is going to be the first episode: Chihiro and Madoka constantly clashing over cleanliness and discipline in a humorous manner all while slowly and eventually bonding as a family.
Tom: There’s hints about a secret promise between Madoka and Chihiro’s mother, but after watching Shonen Maid’s first episode I don’t feel compelled in anyway to continue. Like Linny said, We’ve seen every thing Shonen Maid will have to offer and not even this “secret promise” is enough to keep me watching.
Linny: Shounen Maid’s biggest hurdle is the fact that none of its characters feel particular unique or amusing to appeal to more than a certain type of viewer. If you enjoy light hearted odd family comedies with a mostly male cast, you can try it but anyone else will probably find it a little too bland and predictable.
Tom: Shonen Maid’s based off a continuing eight volume manga. It’s doubtful Shonen Maid will extend past one season, as shows like this seem to come and go quite often. The manga hasn’t been localized yet, so the anime remains the only real avenue to experience this story. That said, what Shonen Maid offers is nothing more than standard fare, these types of anime being near a dime a dozen. It isn’t new or innovative, but if you’re just looking for a couple laughs and a passable emotional core, Shonen Maid could feel that gap.
Shonen Maid is available for streaming via Funimation.com.