Shounen Maid Overview:
Shounen Maid has a fairly standard set-up. Chihiro’s mother dies and he is left alone until Madoka, a relative, shows up to take him in.
Not wanting to rely on the kindness of others, Chihiro becomes a live in maid at Madoka’s house and the two of them begin to create a family (of sorts).
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Shounen Maid Review:
While reviewing Shounen Maid episode to episode, the word that kept coming up was sweet. And it is a sweet show.
Everything from the character designs, to the colour palette, the music, the frilly outfits Madoka makes, and the over use of cute animals (be they puppies or kittens) is super sweet.
Even the conflict early on with Chihiro wanting to refuse Madoka because he didn’t want to accept charity from a family that had mostly ignored his mother until her death is resolved fairly simply. While there’s a running gag about Chihiro feeling embarrassed by being seen in his maid outfit, no one really gives him too hard of a time.
Everything is just sweet and charming and super nice.
And there really isn’t a lot else to say because this isn’t an anime that wants to really be anything more than a light-hearted story of two people learning to depend on others with a bit of comedy thrown in to keep things moving along.
I will say that this anime does get a good balance of running gags, occasional situational humour and the more serious and emotional character drama. It doesn’t feel like we are shifting tones jarringly from scene to scene but rather like things progress naturally throughout the episodes.
Chihiro doesn’t grow much as a character throughout this series. He is stubborn and fixed in his ways and while he grows up a little and learns more about Madoka, his essential character remains unchanged.
This could be seen as a good thing because at least it isn’t a show about a damaged human being who is instantly healed by a little bit of kindness. Even after his mother’s death, while he certainly has some issues, he is a perfectly functional person (though his cleaning obsession is really excessive).
Likewise Madoka learns more about Chihiro and also seems to grow up a little (though he’s technically already an adult) but otherwise remains who he was all along. And he is a fairly damaged individual but he’s kind of made his peace with that and has ways around situations that push him out of his depth.
It is the interactions between these two characters and the ways they make allowance for the other, while not compromising their core personality, that make the strength of this show. It is interesting just watching them go about their lives (and that’s probably a good thing given very little else happens).
I was disappointed with the ending and felt there was too much left unresolved with Chihiro and the main family and I really want another season to try and get some closure there.
Equally, the support cast with Chihiro’s friends, the relatives he’s met and even the idol group that Madoka makes costumes for, all have potential storylines but none of these really get explored or fleshed out here. For the most part it feels like a lot of these characters exist just so that there is something happening on the screen in between Madoka and Chihiro moments.
Otherwise, this was a sweet, charming, pleasant and enjoyable watch without too many drama but not a lot of excitement either. A relaxed watch for an afternoon. And sometimes that’s all you need.
Also, if you happen to like pointlessly sweet anime then 8Bit has another one, How To Keep A Mummy, that is equally just adorable without a lot of substance.
What do you think of Shounen Maid?
Images from: Shounen Maid. Dir. Y Yamamoto. 8Bit. 2016
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