#1 Adorable tiny robot
Hand Maid May tells the story of Kazuya Saotome, a young man with aspirations of becoming an inventor. He is incredibly smart and analytical, but also, in a way, very dense. One night, his naivety leads him to a dodgy website where he ends up ordering something called a Cyberdoll. When the package arrives, it’s revealed to contain a teeny tiny robot maid.
This robot is called May and, instantly, she manages to captivate Kazuya. Both because he is a geeky teenager struggling to contain his hormones, but also because she is the kind of AI he could only dream of creating. May is so sentient that she defies all technological constraints. She is basically just a small, electronic person. Driven by programming, yet fully capable of developing a personality of their own.
Most importantly though: she is super cute.
May takes up work as Kazuya’s maid, but is so hilariously small that every task requires a ton of effort. Cleaning up even the smallest messes is heavy work and she is clumsy to boot. She trips over her own wires, is kidnapped by cats, gets stuck or buried under stuff, it’s always something. There was a period where a lot of maid comedies were coming out, all vying to stand out from the crowd. Hand Maid May succeeded at that because it found a gimmick that just works so very well.
#2 A shameless ecchi harem
My brain has been fried all week, so I was looking forward to watching an anime that was just plain, uncomplicated fun. Hand Maid May is that and so much more. It is straightforwardly, unashamedly a harem comedy with a thick dressing of ecchi all over it.
Episode 1 already sets up the main dynamics. Kazuya lives in an apartment complex managed by his longtime friend Kasumi. Despite her tomboyish attitude, she is very clearly trying to flirt with Kazuya. Attempts that have so far failed to land with him at all. When May arrives, it doesn’t take long before Kasumi realizes that she has found herself a rival. Quite a blow to her ego, given that said rival is the size of an anime figurine.
Kasumi’s bad luck doesn’t end there. More girls are soon introduced who all quickly become familiar with Kazuya. All of them begin competing for his affection, leading to them stepping up their flirtation even more. Supergenius Kei can’t enter a room without somehow flashing Kazuya, girls forge elaborate schemes to go on dates with him, and some just outright proposition him for sex. With competition that fierce, does Kasumi stand any hope of securing Kazuya’s heart?
#3 Reliable comedy
Ecchi silliness aside, Hand Maid May is all-around a solid comedy anime. Its cast of characters manages to be very funny in spite of their simplistic personalities. At the same time, Hand Maid May has the visual gags and comedic timing to have its jokes land consistently.
Antics stem mainly from the company’s effort to repossess May. While Kazuya ordered her largely by accident, he does owe the company over a million yen that he is simply not coughing up. They dispatch all kinds of agents to deal with this problem, all of whom run into trouble. Hell, most of them just end up being absorbed into Kazuya’s harem.
This includes characters like the aforementioned Kei. A genius without compare, who short circuits anytime she has to deal with something that is not perfectly specified. Or Sara, a ramen-obsessed repo agent who ends up forming a Team Rocket duo with Kazuya’s eccentric “rival”.
More like this…
Chobits: Is it okay to fall in love with my cute robot?
Hanaukyo Maid Team: Comedy maid anime with a strong gimmick.
1/8 Kanojo: Girlfriend the size of an anime figure.