5 Reasons To Skip: He is My Master

#1 The brattiest protagonist

The sisters Izumi and Mitsuki Sawatari have run away from home together, only to soon learn that the job market has few opportunities for unskilled 14-year-olds. Just as their prospects are starting to look grim, the girls receive an offer that sounds too good to be true. They can start working as live-in maids at the house of an eccentric millionaire. The catch? Their employer, Yoshitaka Nakabayashi, is a perverted teenager on a massive power trip.

PHOTO: Yoshitaka taunts Izumi after forcing her to wear a skimpy maid outfit. Mitsuki stands in the back, looking unbothered.

He is My Master quickly shatters any hope for this character being at all decent. Yoshitaka is little more than a rich brat with nobody to supervise him. His parents died in an accident and he’s over the moon about it. Yoshitaka has limitless wealth to throw around and intends to use it all for the sole purpose of realizing his perverted fantasies. Starting, of course, with the recruitment of some busty maids.

He forces the Sawatari sisters to wear skimpy outfits and perform demeaning, pointless work. For example, moving heavy furniture around just so he can admire how their sweaty breasts press against whatever they are forced to carry. The sexual harassment doesn’t end after work either, as Yoshitaka films and photographs the girl in their private spaces.

Lecherous characters are far from unusual in anime, but in He is My Master it’s especially obnoxious. The plot keeps insisting that he’s really a good guy deep inside, but fails to adequately explore that. He crosses lines constantly, is horrible to everybody in his life, and unapologetic about anything he does. Being a complete bastard is his whole personality and that loses its comedic novelty quickly.

#2 Everybody sucks

One unlikeable character is something I can potentially deal with, but Yoshitaka is only the tip of the iceberg. Him being so visibly obnoxious obscures the issue that everyone else in He is My Master kinda sucks as well.

PHOTO: Izumi's mother has her suspended upside down, exposing her underwear while beckoning Yoshitaka to come "seal the deal".

The characters are written to be eccentric and hyper for the sake of comedy, but none of them are endearing. This makes their personalities come off as annoying instead of quirky, which sours much of the series’ enjoyment. And the longer I watched, the more their eccentricities got on my nerves.

To pick out just a few examples:

  • Mitsuki is a bland moe blob transparently written to be as inoffensive as possible. Not only does this make her feel shallow, it also turns her into an appeaser that always goes along with Yoshitaka’s indecent schemes at everybody else’s detriment. She gleefully contributes to the (sexual) exploitation of her sister by normalizing Yoshitaka’s behavior.
  • The girls’ father is loud, erratic, and overprotective. He doesn’t want the girls to have any freedom whatsoever and constantly storms in to try and retrieve them. This also extents to the occasional sabotage of their genuine hard work, like when he destroys the set for a performance Izumi wants to put on.
  • Their mother is a secretive schemer that wants her underage daughter to marry her sexual harasser.
  • Mitsuki’s simp army. Just, in general.

#3 Repetitive comedy

If repetition is the death of all comedy, then He is My Master is a morgue where the corpses all wear clown noses. It has so little imagination when it comes to writing comedy that I honestly considered dropping it at episode 9. I got so tired of seeing slightly-changed iterations of the same scenarios over and over again.

PHOTO: Anna fondles Izumi's breasts from behind while bathing.

Right out of the gate, many of the jokes come down to perverted fanservice. Yoshitaka is a pervert, the girls’ dad is a pervert, their pet alligator is a pervert, Anna is a pervert, Yoshitaka’s brother is a pervert, Alicia is a pervert, and all of them end up starring in relatively similar fanservice gags. With very few exceptions, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before in any of the hundreds of better ecchi anime out there. An awkward point, because this censored ecchi content has to carry more than half of the show’s comedy.

Another frustration of mine was how the show keeps turning storylines into impromptu game shows. Mitsuki keeps contriving reasons to force characters into participating in her random contests, like quizzes or challenges. These aren’t very fun at all, so every time another one of these popped up I just knew that the next 10 minutes were going to be tedious.

#4 No Gainax flair

Gainax anime are typically characterized as being explosive, over-the-top, and all-around ridiculous. While accurate in a lot of cases, Gainax has always had its more middling works to balance out its more popular ventures. And He Is My Master is perhaps one of the most underwhelming series the company has ever produced. At least, in terms of presentation.

PHOTO: Izumi, Mitsuki, and Anna, together in their maid outfits.

When looking at the design and animation of He is My Master, there’s just incredibly little to talk about. It’s put together competently enough—rarely showing any signs of being rushed or poorly-made—but it also never stands out. The character designs by Asu Tsubaki are forgettable, the fanservice is tame, and only one scene in the entire anime stood as being particularly nice. It sometimes mimics the frantic energy of other Gainax productions, but never in a way that really feels its own.

Ultimately, He is My Master is a passable anime in a sub-genre where mediocrity is absolutely unacceptable. There are so many better maid-themed comedy anime on the market that there is no point in ever picking this one. Hell, Gainax themselves made Mahoromatic, which just about invalidates He is My Master‘s reason to even exist.

#5 Predictable plot developments

mild spoilers

Already in episode 2, it became clear to me what the cheesiest, most generic plot line imaginable for this kind of anime would look like. We’d get a few episodes of throwaway adventures and daily life, ultimately culminating in a scenario where the girls can finally get away from their indentured servitude at the mansion. Things would get sentimental, causing our protagonists to realize that they actually loved being there all along.

PHOTO: Izumi repeatedly kicks Yoshitaka after he fell down the stairs.

Surely no self-respecting author would ever actually put such a hackneyed scenario into their anime, right… right?

While I won’t spoil the exact motions that He is My Master goes through, it is indeed as painfully generic as one might expect. Izumi suddenly gains a newfound fondness for Yoshitaka—which wasn’t evident anywhere else in the preceding episodes of constant conflict. This sets into motion a series of baffling events, concluding with an ending about as forced as the one I described above.

It once again adds to the feeling that He is My Master is just thoroughly devoid of originality and passion. However, it also feels like a betrayal of the themes that the story aimed to present. Gaining independence, setting out on your own, and taking care of the people that matter to you through your own hard work; good, respectable ideals. Instead it becomes a story of learning to tolerate abuse so you can leech a luxurious lifestyle off of your wealthy acquaintances.

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