Home > Episode Reviews, First Impressions > Mayo Chiki Episodes 1 and 2 – Sexual Assault

Mayo Chiki Episodes 1 and 2 – Sexual Assault

Sometimes, it’s not enough to be a bad show. Sometimes, it’s not enough to be an unfunny comedy, sexually offensive and perverse, have horribly written characters, etc. Sometimes, a show needs to borrow every single one of its elements, without exception, so as to be unoriginal as possible. Without this, an experienced anime watcher couldn’t tell how incompetent the writing and production was, by noting that all those original elements, even the obscene ones, had been done better elsewhere.

Mayo Chiki is just such a show. Merely reading the show description or looking at some of the character designs would immediately signal all the likely problems with the series. But I wasn’t quite prepared for how badly Mayo Chiki would mix together all its elements. Even if Mayo Chiki were better than the sum of its parts, it would have trouble reaching mediocrity. As it stands, it’s one of the most disgusting (and disgustingly bad) shows of the season.

Subaru and Kanade at first seem like a normal bishounen butler and ultra-rich heiress to a national conglomerate attending high school. The fact I could attach the word “normal” to any of that is a bad sign

Mayo Chiki centers around a butler, and particularly a butler working as a bodyguard/elite servant, which is something so ingrained in anime/manga cliche now it’s hard to imagine a show that treats butlers as, you know, butlers coming out anytime in the next decade. (A better series with this trope: Hayate the Combat Butler.) Subaru Konoe attends high school along with ultra-rich girl Kanade Suzutsuki, but also serves as her butler. Konoe is unfailingly refined, handsome in the classic bishounen sense of looking sort of like a girl, and even has a fanclub of overly jealous girls who work to ensure that no one dates him. (A better series with this trope: Fruits Basket.)

Konoe, of course, is actually a her, not a him (a better series with this trope: Ouran Host Club); her family has long served as butlers to the Suzutsuki family, and when the Konoe line ended with Subaru as an only child, she wasn’t going to let her biological sex stop her. Kanade’s father agreed, on the condition that no one discover Subaru was a girl until after she graduated from high school. Guess what the hapless anime protagonist/series chew toy discovers early in the first episode?

It’s stated that the reason Kinjirou survives his encounter with Subaru is because his family subjects him to worse abuse on a daily basis

Said protagonist is Kinjirou Sakamachi, who is or who claims to be suffering from acute gynophobia as a result of the regular beatings he receives from his mother (an ex-pro wrestler) and his sister (who is in training to follow in the family tradition), both of whom using Kinjirou as a practice dummy in ways that should get them arrested for battery. I say “seems to be” because all he does is suffer panic attacks and nosebleeds, and he seems practically fixed of his problem thanks to one date with Subaru. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In any case, Kinjirou discovers Subaru’s secret and then accidentally molests her while attempting to keep her from beating him into an amnesiac state. (A better series with this trope: Toradora, only without the molestation or the cross-dressing bits.) When he regains consciousness, he finds that both he and Subaru have been tied up by Kanade, who assigns Subaru to practically live with Kinjirou in order to make sure he doesn’t blab, while at the same time indulging in a variety of sadistic impulses that hide beneath her normally aristocratic demeanor.

Kanade gives Subaru the full bondage treatment, including gag. Why? For the benefit of the viewer—which should tell you something about the expected audience here

Lost yet? Here’s what you really need to know: Mayo Chiki is above all an extraordinarily hypocritical show, which tries to mix perverse hijinks with genuine character drama, and only succeeds at making a hash at both. Much of what Kanade does, the show tries to imply, is out of a genuine concern to aid Kinjirou in overcoming his fear of girls, and help Subaru to have some of the normal high school experiences (like going on a date) that she can’t have while pretending to be a guy.

But Kanade’s do-gooder mentality is masked by a sadistic streak, which outweighs any attempts to put her behavior in a positive light. She makes Subaru go through physical examinations at school, rather than bribing someone off, just to force Kinjirou to save her (by humiliating himself in a variety of ways). She orders Subaru to let Kinjirou molest her (and orders Kinjirou to molest her), all for her viewing pleasure. Whatever her excuses after the fact, this isn’t something a friend does to another friend.

Having Subaru dress as a girl on her “date” with Kinjirou a) defeats the purpose of easing the latter into being comfortable while around girls and b) threatens to expose Subaru’s secret. Given how lightly Kanade treats the matter, it’s amazing Subaru’s gone undetected for this long

Kanade’s not the only character with an extremely bifurcated personality. Subaru goes from charming butler to merciless combatant to simpering girl obsessed with cute things (see above) at the drop of a hat, depending on the needs of the moment; her opinions of Kinjirou also shift radically with little outward justification. Kinjirou’s sister Kureha goes berserk at seeing a “crossdressing” Subaru try to “pervert her brother” by turning him gay; not content with making Kureha unbelievably stupid in not simply noticing Subaru is a girl, the show then has her fall for a “man” she believes to be a crossdressing homosexual (both of which, remember, she finds disgusting), simply because Subaru defeated her in combat.

But the show isn’t even content with making only its female cast into flat, uninteresting characters who have one or two personality modes to be swapped in and out as necessary. Kinjirou’s psychological quirks also lend themselves to perverted sexual fantasies and are discarded whenever they are inconvenient to what passes for the plot. I suspect that Kinjirou’s gynophobia will surface or not surface on a completely ad hoc basis for the remainder of the series run, but I won’t stick around to find out. Next episode is set at the pool (abounding in perverted incidents with swimsuits, I’m sure), so I’m dropping this show while I still have some brain cells left.

Kanade makes a relatively convincing sadist. Oddly enough, the show would likely have been improved (if only just) if they kept that as her default personality. At least that would have been consistent

All this calls to mind MM! While Mayo Chiki steals ideas from all sorts of shows, MM! also features a sadistic female who tries to help her various friends and associates with their various psychological issues by, conveniently for her and for the audience, indulging in sadism. Both shows defy bear’s advice that “if you’re trying to wring pathos out of your characters, it’s probably best to treat them like human beings rather than a laundry list of fetishes.”

But while MM! directed its sadism almost entirely through outright violence, Mayo Chiki brings on the sexual content that the former always skirted around (at least in the first two episodes, which is as far as either blogger here got). Remove the bondage, the groping, the scenes of sexual predation that Kanade inflicts on Kinjirou and Subaru, and there’s not too much left to the show besides Kinjirou being beaten up by angry women and trying to explain that he’s not gay.

Kinjirou’s “best friend” Yamato seems to have no purpose other than to accuse him, loudly and publicly, of being in the closet. There isn’t a single relationship in this series which doesn’t have an undercurrent of psychological and/or physical abuse

Thus, MM! becomes another one of those “better” shows that Mayo Chiki steals ideas from only to mess them up. Put another way, Mayo Chiki can’t even raise itself to the level of an MM! In one sense, that’s a remarkable achievement. That this horrible, fanservice ridden dreck was popular enough to be animated is another. Neither speak well of the author, nor the audience. Try not to be in the latter group.

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