Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden

Also Known As: Mahoromatic Season 1
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Format: 12 Episodes
Allegiance: Gainax/Pioneer Ltd.
Director: Yamaga Hiroyuki, Otsuka Masahiko
Vintage: 2001
Intelligence Agency Report by: Djudge
Mahoro, a veteran combat android from the secret organization known as Vesper, was the greatest warrior in the Earth’s fight against an aggressive alien entity. Some years after the conflict subsided, Mahoro decides to leave her militant past behind her and spend the rest of her functional time in a quiet and peaceful existence as a simple maid. However, old ties to the past refuse to die and once again Mahoro is returned to the center of a conflict that threatens to destroy her hard-earned retirement.

Field Agent Report by: Djudge
Overall 8.50
(not an average)

Mahoromatic, at face value, is an anime that can be quickly dismissed as nothing more than a poorly conceived play at fulfilling some sort of sick male fantasy. In some ways, the ecchi themes and fan service that are provided for the comedic relief serve to support this conclusion. However, when you look past this title’s facetious, and more indecent, elements, you will find a solid tale of coming to terms with mortality.

Mahoromatic’s animation remains standard fare, nothing too flashy, for most of the series. Yet GAINAX does a great job in maintaining the quality of the visual presentation for this particular venture. Every episode is rife with solid colors that keep vibrant even as the scenes change backdrops from a pleasant walk in the town to the middle of a blasted and war-torn battlefield. Character designs remain simple, yet charming. Some variety issues do however arise between characters of lesser plot importance. Mecha designs are also a bit bland, but nothing too serious ever rises from them. All in all, Mahoromatic’s technical accomplishments remain strong, if just a tad unpolished.

As for the plot, Yamaga Hiroyuki and staff did an admirable job in gluing together the humor, tension, and excitement as well as they did. Much of this show’s plot focuses around Mahoro’s remaining functional time and the fact that she has limited time with the rest of the other characters fuel much of the show’s heartfelt drama. Admittedly, if it were not for this particular plot device, Mahoromatic easily degenerates into nothing more than generic ecchi comedy with no notable direction. This case in point is brought up by a couple of regrettable traits that GAINAX saw fit to stress in this title. Suguru, the show’s leading male character, is nothing more than the product of the old “shounen romance cookie-cutter mold.” Place him in any other shounen romance title, like Love Hina or Tenchi Muyo, and he would not be out of place. With such a character in a lead role, it becomes obvious that a title of Mahoromatic’s genre would only see fit to insert Suguru in a wide manner of compromising situations. A parade of fan service and indecency is injected into the show, mostly in the form of the diluted psychotic pedophiliac Shikijou Saori. Her presence on-screen is a bit excessive and her habit of exposing herself and/or having illicit daydreams of the much younger Suguru is eventually become rather boring and distasteful. In sum, had Yamaga toned down the fan service and focused a bit more on cleaner comedy, Mahoromatic would have earned its place amongst other GAINAX greats.

Without a doubt, Mahoromatic was one incredibly enjoyable series to watch. It may have had its panty shots and sexual pretenses, but with that aside it also sported a solid story that has the potential to appeal to a wide variety of audiences. If you can bear with the repeated dirty humor, this show just might win you over with its finer points.