After perhaps the longest between-seasons break we've seen in the UK (ADV UK originally released season one way back in 2004), Mahoro's finally back for a second season of housecleaning and porn-hunting, and this time she's got help in the form of klutzy little battle-android-in-training Minawa. Given that Minawa appeared essentially out of nowhere, though, you just know there's something ominous going on. Wonder how long it'll be before we find out just what it is..?
What They Say
Orphaned high-schooler Suguru is so lacking in housekeeping skills that his friends have taken to referring to his humble abode as the 'haunted house'. Fortunately, the arrival of beautiful 19-year-old Mahoro solves his domestic problems in one fell swoop. Claiming to be an android, Mahoro may be able to catch flying bullets in her fingers but all she really wants to do is become Suguru's housemaid. Mahoro's presence doesn't please everyone, however, especially not Sugura's busty teacher, who has an unhealthy crush on her student and isn't about to allow a mere teenage maid come between her and the object of her desire. Sugura, himself, also has a slight problem with Mahoro's mantra of 'I think that dirty thoughts are bad' and her tendency to confiscate his collection of porn magazines despite his best efforts to hide them.
One thing Suguru doesn't yet know about Mahoro, hoever, is that she only has 398 days to live and has chosen to live with and attend to him for a very specific reason.
Then, just as Suguru's life looks like it is finally returning to some state of 'normality', another new girl, Minawa, shows up and begins spying on him. But who is she and who could she possibly be working for? Before any of these questions can be answered, Mahoro adopts the girl as her little sister and invites her into Suguru's home as a maid-in-training.
1 - Return Of The Maid
2 - From Today On, You Are Minawa
3 - Dreams Should Be Grand
4 - Mahoro Goes To School
5 - Will I Catch A Cold Tomorrow?
Audio is provided in English and Japanese, with both tracks being 2.0 stereo efforts. The show is quite creative with its use of audio, particularly during more frenetic scenes where the soundstage is used to good effect to separate out what's happening on the screen. The occasional battle scenes get equally good treatment. DIalog comes across clearly, and there are not obvious problems.
Video is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and looks pretty damn good. The transfer is sharp & clear, with colours bright and vivid and no visible defects. Definitely one of the better-looking shows that I've seen lately.
No packaging was provided with our review copy.
We get a static screen, with Mahoro, Suguru and Minawa, set against a cheek background with the show's opening theme for accompaniment. Options are provided for Play All, Setup and Episodes for scene selection. There are no transitions, so it's all quick and easy to use.
Not a sausage. Move along...
Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
It's back to normal in Suguru's world - Mahoro's still his maid, Ryuga's still teaching at the school (and learning more about being human in the process), Slash is still wondering what to make of it all - and Suguru's still trying to keep his porn stash hidden, with not much success. But things are about to be shaken up a little by the arrival of a new android on the scene - an android that brings with her more than a little bit of trouble...
What is it about shows that see the need to add new characters where none is really needed? In this case, Minawa doesn't really affect the dynamic of the show too much - she's a klutz, which is used for comic effect, but otherwise she's unremarkable and almost forgettable. Where her arrival does make a difference is in pinpointing the show's "bad guys" - that title has been passed from Saint, who have learnt what they wanted to from Ryuga's confrontation with Mahoro last season, to The Management, an organisation who see themselves and humanity's self-appointed protectors. That's in the sense of keeping humanity "pure", whatever that means - with Saint now apparently peaceful, Management are worried about the possibility of aliens settling on Earth and diluting humanity's purity, something they're not about to allow. Spot the racist themes.
We know that Minawa is a creation of The Management, and we know that there are several factions within Management who would like to handle the Saint "problem" in different ways. What we don't know yet is where Minawa fits into the puzzle - has she truly escaped from Management to live her own life, as she claims? Or is there a greater plan playing out? To be honest, I'm not too fussed either way - Mahoromatic's serious side has always been something I've tolerated more than enjoyed, with the show's real strengths being the fanservice-laden fun that it serves up. So we'll move quickly onwards to that side of things...
I'm pleased to say the fanservice won't disappoint - if anything, it's been ramped up a little since the first season, with episode 3 being a particular high point, thanks to Mahoro's efforts to become "busty and bouncy". As if pumps weren't enough, the immortal cry of "oppai missiles!" (or "boobie missiles!" if you prefer the English track) threw the show into entirely new, over-the-top and hugely funny territory. Episode 4's antics around the school are also good for plenty of laughs, while the final episode begins a short mid-season arc that concentrates firmly on fanservice-laden holiday episodes.
It's The Management who are going to take over the show eventually, and from memory it's not entirely going to be good for the series. That means you should enjoy the light, fluffy, bouncy moments while you can - they're not going to last. Another worthwhile volume, though, even if it is long overdue.
Japanese Language 2.0, English Language 2.0, English subtitles
Toshiba 37X3030DB 37" widescreen HDTV; Sony PS3 Blu-ray player (via HDMI, upscaled to 1080p); Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.