Second Chorus, Same As The First: Mahoromatic Season Two

Something more like actual comedy

but it still falls slightly flat.

Well, I did what I said I wasn’t going to do. After enduring season one of Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden, I still marched forth and watched season two, entitled Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful.

Minawa: ur doing it wrong.

This time it’s pretty much the same story as before. Mahoro is a former combat android who chooses to live out the remainder of her days as a maid for Suguru Misato, the orphaned son of Mahoro’s late commander. Mahoro is prim and proper and constantly scolding Suguru for having “dirty thoughts” (even though he seems to have relatively few for a teenager in my opinion) and Suguru enjoys her cooking and cleaning as well as general cheerful company. Suguru has a bit of a harem going on with his three girl pals and his shota-obsessed school teacher, but it’s obvious that Mahoro is the apple of his eye and vice versa. This time the big difference comes in the form of another former combat android who shows up. Her name is Minawa, and she’s running away from an entity called Management (which is different from Mahoro’s former employer, VESPER, as well as VESPER’s sworn enemy, Saint). Management is the big bad this season instead of Saint, and Mahoro and Suguru take pity on Minawa and allow her to live with them under the guise of being Mahoro’s younger sister. Shy and clumsy, Minawa soon enrolls at Suguru’s school and gets to join in all the shenanigans, complete with one of Suguru’s besties getting a crush on her.

Mahoro's reindeer outfit gave the Xmas episode an automatic win.

I’ll admit that I kept watching this series despite my scathing review of the first season as pure anime filler. If I didn’t want to go to bed at night after watching intense horror anime like Hell Girl: Three Vessels or Highschool of the Dead, I would watch an episode of Mahoromatic as a fluffy palate cleanser. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed season two much more than season one. Perhaps I was simply more used to the format and the erratic storytelling by now, but I do think that season two made more of a commitment to genre than season one, and that helped a great deal. Whereas season one didn’t know exactly what kind of anime it was trying to be, season two was pure comedy. Many episodes, if not most, centered around various holidays and festivals which allowed the central characters to get into all sorts of comical mischief. It let go of straining so hard to show Mahoro and Suguru falling for each other, and even the sci-fi elements blended in better this time around, framing the comedy instead of obscuring it.

Lock up your children, or at least your underage boys!

There were still problems, of course. Ms. Shikijo was as creepy as ever (but still, strangely, considered one of the group). And newcomer Minawa was, in my opinion, so annoying with all of her mumbled apologies and complete lack of backbone that even hearing her voice grated on my nerves. The show was cheesy and the laughs were far and few between, and Suguru remains a mystifying choice for a harem protagonist since he was and is as bland as unbuttered toast. That is, all up until the last three episodes. I’ll give Mahoromatic credit, the final episode of the series was the strangest, most complete 180 from the rest of the series of any anime I have seen to date. Suddenly everything that you thought was resolved isn’t, and the ending episode is so far-removed from the rest of the show that it could be a different series altogether. In fact, I was more interested in that episode than the first twenty-five! And it did what I had believed was impossible: it made Suguru interesting! So I’ll give it points for shock value alone.

Here is the church, here is the steeple...

Overall, Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful was indeed better than Mahoromatic: Automatic Maiden, not that that’s saying an awful lot. To be fair, it was one of the first anime series I didn’t like, so I was probably harsher in my first review than I would be now. However, neither series rates high on the rewatch value scale (I mean, I couldn’t even get worked up enough to shed a tear at any of the emotional parts, and I’m usually a crier!) so I stand by my earlier assessment. If you have some time to kill and just want some fluffy English-dubbed anime to fritter away an afternoon with, know that this series does actually get better. Not much, but it’s a start.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LLJ
    Jul 03, 2011 @ 12:13:37

    Most harem protagonists in shows aimed at guys (which Mahoromatic is) tend to be bland so that the target audience can insert themselves into the lead character’s role. By having an indistinct lead, virtually any person can insert themselves into his POV. One could argue that when a fan says “I could relate to this character” they are also saying that the character doesn’t really have a very distinct personality. If someone is too strong or individualistic, the fan will complain that they can’t relate to the character, because let’s face it, many people have a hard time relating to someone with an actual personality because two completely distinct people will always find things about each other they disagree with.

    Of course, the irony as you noted is that in order to create drama for an exciting finish, characters actually HAVE TO gain a personality they lacked before. In this sense, pandering to the audience initially is ultimately counterintuitive because drama is about pitting strong forces in conflict with one another.

    I’m not saying I approve of this method of audience participation, of course. I’m just saying that many fans out there aren’t willing to challenge themselves to get into the mindset of someone they’re totally different from and don’t necessarily agree with all the time. Hence, the blander the better for them.

    Reply

    • Miss Pink
      Jul 05, 2011 @ 19:43:56

      I never considered that the protagonist would be bland on purpose! That makes sense, though, and explains a lot. I can see the allure, even if I don’t agree with it. Personally, I’m always drawn to strong characters, but that’s because of my own strong personality. 😉

      Reply

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