Good morning everyone,
Today’s review will examine a tiny woman anime. (NOTE: To be accurate, the subject of today’s review initially features a small android who resembles a tiny woman. Life-sized androids appear in later episodes.) Specifically, let’s dive into “Hand Maid May” a.k.a. HAND MAID メイ or ハンドメイドメイ. This first aired on the Japanese satellite TV station “Wowow” from July 2000 until September of that same year. Additionally, an Original Video Animation (OVA) was created and bundled with the DVD box set which was released in February 2001.
Juzo Mutsuki 六月 十三 wrote Hand Maid May in addition to a variety of other anime for TV and OAVs. These include, but are not limited to, “Angel Tales 2,” “Debutante Detective Corps,” and “Wandaba Style.” Size themes do not appear to be his typical focus, but there were other comedies and harem-themed series in his body of work.
Hand Maid May centers around a second-year engineering college student named Kazuya Saotome who has dedicated himself to building a smart robot like Doraemon ドラえもん. (NOTE: For those unfamiliar, the long-running Doraemon franchise, first advertised in late 1969, is popular not only in Japan, but throughout Asia. Doraemon is an earless cat robot sent from the future to aid a boy in the modern era named Nobita Nobi. As a robot from the future Doraemon is similar to the T-800 in the 1991 film “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” but no Austrian bodybuilder has played Doraemon in a movie and his efforts focus more on household chores and schoolwork than killer cyborgs.)
Kazuya’s efforts are focused on perfecting his version of artificial intelligence (A.I.) within a small robot called “Ikariya” that looks like a toy squid. (NOTE: Given Kazuya’s love for Doraemon it was a strange choice to make a squid robot as opposed to a cat robot such as Doraemon. Perhaps that choice was made to avoid being sued for copyright infringement, but if so then why reference Doraemon at all?)
Kazuya has consistently demonstrated an aptitude for science and thus regularly overshadowed his self-appointed rival, the rich Kotaro Nanbara. Kotaro describes himself as the “best friend and worst enemy” of Kazuya. In fact, Kotaro’s attempt to sabotage Kazuya’s research kicks off the plot. A virus designed by Kotaro inadvertently resulted in Kazuya ordering a 1/6 scale Cyberdoll from the Cyberdyne Corporation. (NOTE: Yes, the company name Cyberdyne Corporation is quite similar to Cyberdyne Systems the company responsible for Skynet in the Terminator film franchise.)
In short order a small package containing the diminutive May (the titular Hand Maid May) arrived at Kazuya’s apartment. The first few episodes dealt with Kazuya’s inability to pay the hefty bill he incurred by mistakenly ordering May. However, this issue was easily resolved in a single episode. Meanwhile, Kazuya’s roster of attractive female robots (who incidentally are steadfastly dedicated to his happiness and well-being) continues to expand as a growing number of Cyberdolls meet and subsequently become enamored with the nice fellow.
As readers may have already guessed, this show contains many instances of sexually suggestive content, but nothing overtly explicit. Thus, it’s chock-full of bouncing boobs, panty shots, and at least one instance of a bespectacled woman eating a banana.
As readers might also expect, this series is light on dramatic tension or suspense. For example, in one episode, May was officially repossessed. However, that problem was quickly resolved and May returned to Kazuya at the end of that same episode in an upgraded form. That’s to say she returned to him in 1:1 scale! That may be disappointing to SW fans as episodes 6 through 10 do not feature 1/6 scale Cyberdolls. (NOTE: The acronym SW used here to mean “small women.”) Although, a tiny Cyberdoll was shown in a cameo from the future.
Fear not though, tiny women return with a vengeance in the OVA, the unaired episode 11. In that episode, five ( ❗ ) tiny Cyberdolls appear and are each given copies of May’s memory. Although, afterward they appear to manifest different aspects of the original May’s personality.
All in all, this had a light and superficial story. That’s not to say that’s it wasn’t enjoyable, but rather that thinking about many of the events creates more questions than the anime ever answers. Questions like how exactly did the computer virus enable Kazuya to order a Cyberdoll from the future? Why did the company care if Kazuya could not pay for Cyberdoll May when we later learn that he is responsible for the company’s existence? How did all the Cyberdolls travel from the future to Kazuya’s time period? How did the two humans introduced in later episodes time travel? Why are all these people and robots hanging around in the past as opposed to their own time period? Are they endangering their own existence by altering past events? Etc., etc.
Nonetheless, this was a fun watch and I recommend it to SW fans. I also found the snippets of the melodramatic show “The Whirlwind of Love!” to be amusing as well. That was a romantic series followed religiously by the Hand Maid May characters.
That’s it for today folks. Thursday’s review will cover a new expansion-themed video from Ludella Hahn. Until then, keep growing!
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