Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: B+
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B+
- Menus Rating: C
- Extras Rating: C+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
- MSRP: 29.99
- Running time: 100
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Hand Maid May
Hand Maid May Vol. #3
By Bryan Morton
April 23, 2005
Release Date: December 11, 2001
Hand Maid May Vol. #3
What They Say
© Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
Here comes the rain. . . New arrivals threaten the stability of the Kasumi House!
First comes a powerful typhoon which threatens to blow everyone away, followed by Nanbara?s descendant from the future that proves that some behavior is genetic. However, the most threatening arrival is a virus that may destroy the Cyberdyne Dolls! Kazuya has less than 24 hours to find the secret to May?s immunity if he is to save them all! The Review!
The review may be a few years late, but this show still manages to bring a smile to my face.Audio:
Both the Japanese and English soundtracks are basic stereo mixes - while the show's music makes some use of having 2 channels, the dialogue and effects are for the most part rooted to the centre with only the occasional use of direction. Both tracks are nice and clear, though.Video:
There are no obvious problems with the transfer. This show's very heavy on bright colours, which come across extremely well.Packaging:
As usual, May takes pride of place on the front cover, clutching a bunch of flowers in typically cute fashion. On the back there's the usual disc summary, along with a few screen shots in the style of PC media player windows, while the insert features two pictures of May and one of Mami & Sara, in all cases not wearing a heck of a lot. It also provides chapter stop information.Menus:
Thankfully free of the first volume's magical mystery maze, the menus here keep to the theme of Cyberdyne's 'online ordering system', as used on the previous volumes. They're simple and quick to follow, and unusually the menu voice-over is available in both English and Japanese (no subtitles, sadly), depending on what languages you set in the Setup menu.Extras:
There's a short 'omake' video slotted in between episodes 10 and 11 that serves as a sort of epilogue to the TV series, featuring the gang on picnic. There are a number of items listed on the Appendix menu, but only the 'CBD Menu' has anything watchable - the other three options just tell you to check the previous discs in the series. This disc has some short 'interview' audio clips with May, Sara, Kei - the audio for these is provided in both English and Japanese, but as with the main menu audio, no subtitles are provided. I found the way these extras were presented to be annoying - you spend as much time looking at 'term for access has expired' "errors" (because the clip you selected isn't on this disc) as you do watching the extras. Also from the Appendix menu, highlighting & selecting the left or right animations of May gives you two different versions of the clean opening credits.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
The first three episodes on the disc finish off the 'real' story, and threaten to deprive Kazuya of the May he knows so well. First problem, though, is an approaching typhoon, which means the gang have to make sure that everything around Kasumi House is properly secured - including the ladder between Kasumi's room and Kazuya's. After hearing from Kazuya about the memories that ladder had been pat of since he first moved in, May's determined it won't be destroyed, but Kasumi's less than impressed at him sharing her memories so easily and disappears into the storm. Later, there's an opportunity for Kazuya and May to spend some quality theme park time together - if May can win Mami's Ticket Challenge Showdown, while Nanbara receives a visitor from the future: Commando Z, his equally-obnoxious descendant. His arrival coincides with the cyberdolls beginning to fall victim to a mysterious virus - if it can't be cured, it's the end for the dolls, and Commando Z is convinced Kazuya holds the key.
The final episode is an 'OVA' episode that wasn't part of the original Japanese TV broadcast. Mami's sent May a surprise package - 5 mini-May's, to help her out with the housework. May tries to bring them up-to-speed by transferring the data across to them, but the data transfer is too much for her system and knocks her out. Not that it seems to bother Rena, who leaves May lying there while she goes out shopping with the mini-May's - while out, she discovers a baby in a runaway buggy, and giving it to that 'Aww! Isn't it cute' urge, takes it home with her. She's about to discover that looking after a baby isn't an easy job. Meanwhile, a strange thought occurs to Kasumi - if Kazuya has descendants, he's obviously going to have kids with someone - but who? When she finds out from Mami that the cyberdolls are capable of having children, she has another reason to make sure she doesn't lose to May in the battle for Kazuya's affections...
of Hand Maid May's tantalising panty shots and other fanservice treats will be pleased to hear that this disc is just as loaded with such 'extras' as the previous two volumes - and given that the show is better known for that aspect than it is for its story, that's just how I'd expect it to be. At heart, it's really just a colourful comedy series, and it plays to its strengths quite well.
does have a more serious side & an ability to tug on the heartstrings, though. Kazuya and May paying a visit to the theme park harks back to an earlier episode, before May was 'super sized', and takes the time to look at how their relationship has grown since then - all the while reminding us that it all about to end, by flicking back and forth between their date and Kasumi House, where the virus is beginning to infect the other cyberdolls and Nanbara is getting uncharacteristically worried. While there were touching moments earlier in the series, the sense of impending disaster these scenes generate is new and makes them stand out all the more. It all leads up to an ending that won't surprise anyone, but if you've stuck with the series this far it won't disappoint you, either.
Any disappointment is saved for the OVA episode, which sadly falls short of the standard of the rest of the series. On the plus side, the mini-Mays are a great idea and really brighten things up - with each one having a different personality, there's so much scope for what could be done with them that I wish they'd been introduced earlier. Definitely the highlight of the episode, which otherwise seems to be an exercise in how slow and dull it could be made - the driving scenes with Hikari are just slow (in every possible way!), while Rena's attempts to look after the baby just didn't click with me. It's not a bad episode as such, though, just lacking the frenetic quality that the rest of the series has.In summary-
This volume ties up the series nicely, even if it does fall for the usual harem-show trap of not letting the lead male pick his girl. A good mix of comedy and touching scenes, with a large dose of fanservice thrown in. While its never going to be a classic, it flicks enough switches to make it an entertaining way to pass some free time for those who aren't turned off by the service level.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Creditless Opening Sequences,May; Kei and Sara 'Interviews'
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.