Hanaukyo Maid Team Vol. #02 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: Studio Ironcat
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-929090-72-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Hanaukyo Maid Team Vol. #02

By Mike Dungan     December 07, 2004
Release Date: May 01, 2004

Hanaukyo Maid Team Vol.#02
© Studio Ironcat

Creative Talent
Translated by:Alex Glover
Adapted by:

What They Say
Taro, the new head of the Hanaukyo family, is served by an army of beautiful maids. As Christmas and Valentine's Day come, he grows anxious about his feelings for the head maid, Mariel. But Mariel has a mysterious past, and when she suddenly falls ill, Taro discovers her shocking secret.

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Taro may only be a middle-school student, but he's suddenly become the head of the powerful and mind-bogglingly wealthy Hanaukyo family. He lives alone in a vast mansion surrounded by hundreds of beautiful young maids who see to his every need. What he'd really like, though, is to live a normal life. Christmas festivities at the Hanaukyo mansion keep him busy, and with everyone returning to their homes for New Year's, Taro may finally have some time to spend with Mariel, the head of the maids. She's become very important to him and some quality time with her would be very welcome.

Ryuka Jihioh, beautiful teenaged daughter of the Jihioh family, nearly as powerful and wealthy as the Hanaukyo, is ready to assume leadership of the family. There is only one condition she must meet. She must marry Taro Hanaukyo. In typical fashion, she arrives at the Hanaukyo house in a wedding dress, ready to marry. Taro flatly refuses, and after a lot of wrangling, Ryuka withdraws. Taro, concerned about how Mariel feels about this latest development, continues to get the same response from her. Whatever he wishes is what she wishes. Ryuka returns with a new plan, though, one which means she'll much harder to get rid of.

Valentine's Day arrives, and surrounded by hundreds of girls as he is, Taro is inundated with chocolate. Even Ryuka, still determined to marry him, presents him with chocolate. But the only person Taro wants chocolate from is Mariel, and it looks like it isn't going to happen.

With the cherry blossoms blooming, it's time for Taro to try to find out how Mariel truly feels about him. But every attempt to find out what Mariel truly wants fails. It appears she truly has no will of her own, except to serve him. When he pushes her too far and says something cruel, she collapses. Soon, a team of men in full protective suits shows up and takes Mariel away. Taro tries to stop them, but no one will listen, not even Konoe, the leader of the family's security division. Taro may be the head of the Hanaukyo family, but Mariel is the one area where he has no power. The will of the previous head of the family, Taro's grandfather, cannot be disobeyed. Taro decides he will get Mariel back, regardless of his grandfather. A few of the maids, ashamed at themselves, decide to assist him. Konoe, Ikuyo the mad genius scientist, Grace/Cynthia the computer systems genius with a split personality, and even Ryuka come to Mariel's aid. Their assault on the complex where Mariel is being held brings Konoe face to face with the Red Standard, a powerful all-female fighting force. Konoe was once a member of the Red Standard, and she knows how truly frightening they are. The end of the rescue attempt produces some surprises, including a welcome come-uppance.

In the final chapter, we learn quite a bit about Cynthia, the quiet maid, and Grace, the acerbic computer genius personality who lives inside Cynthia. Taro wants to thank Cynthia for her help and takes her out to an amusement park for the day. It's a sweet, heartwarming story, but I just want to say for the record that 10-year-old girls in sun dresses should not be allowed to look this hot.

Morishige's Hanaukyo Maid Team is a completely over-the-top maid story full of fanservice. It succeeds because it is so ridiculously fun. The main story concerning Mariel goes on for several chapters and adds the heart this series needs to make it more than just maids and fanservice. His art is serviceable, if not outstanding. He's fond of gags and there are plenty to be had. The characters are all attractively designed, although Taro continues to be drawn shorter and shorter as the story progresses.

A change from the previous volume is the translation of sound effects. They are now translated right on the page, rather than compiled in an index at the back of the book. A change in translators has resulted in the streamlining of names. Tarou becomes Taro, Konowe becomes Konoe, etc. The only translation error I could find was the name of name of the amusement park at the end of the volume was translated as Ariyawa, when it clearly reads Arikawa. It's a very minor nitpick, and in fact, this volume reads better than the previous one. The art appears to have been reproduced reasonably well, though it looks dark in many places. Extras include two pages of character profiles and a summary at the front of the book, and a page in the back by Morishige showing Mariel and Konoe in uniform, but without the aprons. The front cover is an image of Mariel holding her hands out to the reader, with light flowing outward from her hands. The title is placed along the bottom of the page, and this volume's subtitle, "Blue Silent Bell" is placed at the top. The Japanese logo, which appeared on the first book, is now gone, and the new English title does a good job of emulating it. However, the spines won't match when sitting on your bookshelf. The back cover is mostly white, with a large image of Konoe saluting and Cynthia and Taro playing a board game.

This volume is both smaller than the standard B6 size format, and more expensive at $12.95. That's a tough sell, but considering Ironcat's financial difficulties of the past couple years, it's not surprising. Hanaukyo Maid Team is a popular series, but Ironcat's sporadic publishing schedule is a hindrance to it catching on as it should. It's a shame, too, as I quite like it. If you like a good over-the-top romantic comedy with plenty of fanservice and price isn't your top concern, then I recommend Hanaukyo Maid Team.


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