#1 Cute android girl works very hard
In the distant year of 2010, nobody wants to listen to radio anymore. Radio stations are having a hard time competing with other entertainment and attracting quality talent. One such studio then comes up with a brilliant new concept. How about doing a radio show with a cute robot girl as the host. Enter Maico; the most high-tech android of 2010.
Unfortunately, even our future robot overlords have a hard time revitalizing radio’s popularity. Ratings remain low and Maico endures numerous issues in her quest to entertain listeners. She never gives up trying though. Even if the staff forget to assemble her legs, even if they install her improperly, and even if the script is rubbish, Maico will give it her all.
Android Announcer Maico 2010 leans heavily on the appeal of it super cute protagonist. Maico is charming and hard-working, even expressive at times. Sometimes you might even forget that she’s actually a robot.
#2 Office comedy turned drama
The initial setup of the story is one of an office comedy. Maico may be a hard worker, but the rest of the staff are not exactly supportive. They are washed-up employees well past their prime who all had this radio show forced on them. They are a wildly incompetent bunch whose antics frequently threaten the show, the entire company, and even their lives.
The director is perpetually angry and taking out his every frustration on the employees. Production assistant Izumi does the bare minimum of work required while browsing job ads all day. Script writer Suga is a complete hack and PR manager Kacchan is a corporate sycophant that cares more about his own career than this show. The only people who actually work hard are Densuke and Ume. Respectively a passionate assistant director who frequently screws up and a sound engineer that exclusively communicates through sound-effects. Not so much a motley crew as a bunch of saboteurs all trying to sink the ship.
A lot of the early episodes deal with the staff’s antics and mishaps. Kacchan gets left behind in the office at night because nobody likes him, leading to many ill-conceived attempts to escape. Or somebody brings hazardous chemicals to the office, which the staff mistake for energy drinks. Silly stuff that reliably gets a laugh.
As the story goes on, it develops a more serious side to match its goofy exterior. It starts addressing the toxic work environment that these people create for others and themselves. At one point their tolerance for each other snaps and all the repressed frustrations are suddenly expressed. Often in ways that are destructive to their relations or actively ruin the radio show. Rather than being the end, however, the characters are then challenged to actually tackle these problems.
I really liked an exchange where the director actually, deeply insults one of the few staff members he’s friendly with. When he realizes his mistake, he deflects the blame back to his employee. He should have said something earlier. This behavior is then immediately called-out by someone else. They won’t let the director worm his way out of doing something as simple as apologizing.
Change doesn’t come easy though. Certainly not to people so tied up in their egos. Things are going to get a whole lot worse at the studio before they get any better.
#3 Gorgeous retro aesthetic
Last but not least, Android Announcer Maico 2010 is a fantastic anime to seek out if you love that 90s anime aesthetic. Though clearly made on a budget, the character design and feel of the show are wonderfully retro. Colorful, stylish, and very inspired.
Maico steals the show, of course. Her bright pink hair and innocent charm are sure to capture any retro enthusiast’s heart. The rest of the staff are designed with an eye for stylized realism. It brings to mind anime like Serial Experiments Lain, albeit with a softer artstyle.
The usage of 3D elements for scenery and equipment does break the style somewhat, but not in a way that I felt was overly distracting. I can see how it’d allow the series to have more detailed environments than it would be able to realize with traditional illustrations.
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