What They Say:
Teenage millionaire Yoshikata lives on his own in a magnificent mansion, and, having fired the original maids, needs help keeping up the place. Enter Izumi and Mitsuki, two girls of Yoshikata’s age, who accept his offer of to fill in as live-in maids. Along with Anna, another maid, the three girls live with the eccentric Yoshitaka in a goofball comedy that brings laughs with every episode.
Only one language track is on this release and we get the original Japanese language in stereo encoded at the standard 224kbps. The show has a pretty good forward soundstage mix to it with some nice directionality during some of the busier scenes but also some of the quieter dialogue pieces that do exist at times. There isn’t anything really over the top here or impressively done, but it’s a good busy action-comedy kind of series that makes good use of the audio for what it needs. We didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78;1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. This collection is split across two discs with six episodes on each disc, giving it a decent amount of space to work with. The show has a lot of bright colors and fast motion which is really handled well here as it looks vibrant when it should be, avoids any serious breakup and noise during regular playback and shifts to the soft scenes well. He is my Master has a very good look to it and while it is a bit rough in places intentionally, it has a lot of charm and the transfer captures that well.
He is my Master makes it very apparent from the front cover what you’re going to get and that’s a wonderful thing. The main focus is on the three lead girls, all dolled up in their detailed maid uniforms, with soft smiles and a fair bit of blushing going on as well. The colors are good, the layout is spot on and if you’re still liking the maid concept, it’s a solid piece overall. The back cover has a whole lot going on here, almost too busy in some ways. The top provides for a ncie tagline between the two sister sin their uniforms while the rest of each side features lots of fanservice oriented shirts from the show. The center strip going down has a lot of text to it as it covers the premise, using a smaller than usual font, as they go over a lot of what the basics are. The bottom of the cover is rounded out with the production credits and the technical grid. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menus for this release are certainly cute as they use elements from the cover, such as the first volume that uses the green background and the maids there on the right side standing next to each other. The second volume goes with different artwork against an orange background and both of them look really good since the character artwork is definitely appealing. Episode selection is the primary piece of navigation on both menus and there’s no language submenu so there isn’t a lot here overall. There’s a lot to like about these simple menus but they are just that. The few submenus there are load quickly and easily and everything works problem free.
This release gets the standard extras in the form of the clean opening and closing sequences but it also does a bit more than other recent releases by including a decent little interview piece with the Japanese producer along with some of the promotional videos for the series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga by Mattsu and Asu Tsubaki, He is my Master is a twelve episode series that had just a little bit of a controversy when it first came out. The whole master aspect certainly has its fans but also its detractors, especially the age group involved here, but this feels a little silly after seeing it. It does play to rather normal stereotypes for this genre and while it does engage in some demeaning activity, it doesn’t stray from the formula that any number of shows use in different ways. If anything, He is my Master surprised me because it turned out to be a lot more enjoyable and fun than I thought it would be, and tamer as well, since I’ve felt completely played out with the maid genre.
He is my Master revolves around a few characters but the initial catalysts are fourteen year old Izumi and thirteen year Mitsuki. The two sisters have run away from home and are looking for employment so they can get a decent place to live. Their luck hasn’t been all that good, age considered and all, but they have a strange turn when they stumble upon a very expansive property owned by someone very rich. When you see the residence and the property from the sky, you’d imagine it would cover about half of Tokyo itself.
The mansion is the residence for fourteen year old Yoshitaka, a young man who has lost his parents fairly recently and inherited everything from them. Because of the spacious mansion and grounds that he has, he’s got an ad out looking for a maid but he never expected a pair of very cute teenage girls to drop into his lap, almost literally. Using various pressures and knowing their need, he manages to swindle them into a contract where they now serve as his live in maids and attend his every whim. Yoshitaka is the epitome of a horny fourteen year old kid as he designs very detailed and sexy maid uniforms for them to wear and spends his time setting up menial jobs for them while also peeping on them regularly.
Not everything is roses for Yoshitaka in this situation. Izumi really has little interest in all of this and only sees danger from Yoshitaka. Mitsuki is far more playful about it all as she’s enjoying it, loving the costumes that get designed for her and she sets up elaborate contests in order to settle issues between the other two. What makes it even more difficult for Yoshitaka is that Mitsuki has a pet alligator that she brought with her, which is a big part of the back story of why they ran away. The alligator, named Pochi, is quite the character himself as he adores Izumi and spends his time tearing her clothes off and just being… rough with her. Yoshitaka and Pochi do come to a fairly decent deal with each other, since they realize they both have similar goals in a way which often leads to Izumi being chased and stripped down to varying degrees.
As the show goes on, Yoshitaka sets the sisters up at his school so they can attend him there. They try to keep it a secret at first, but it gets out after a bit and causes a new wrinkle. One of the girls at the school, the very lovely young Anna, has a huge crush on Yoshitaka as she sees past his huge flaws of lechery and perversion. When she discovers that Izumi is a live-in maid, she’s about to flip out on her but instead switches camps and falls head over heels for Izumi, going so far as to sign a maid contract with Yoshitaka so she can be close to her. And so he acquires yet another teenage maid for his little harem. The group thankfully doesn’t expand much beyond that, though we get to see the sisters family which includes a father much like Yoshitaka and a cute little sister, but they add nicely to events rather than being a constant focus.
Watching a show like this does require a certain kind of humor because Yoshitaka is quite clearly cruel in a number of ways to her. Actually, just about everyone is cruel to her to varying degrees, which is sad in some ways because she is such a good person and a good character. While the idea of the alligator being the motivating factor is certainly unusual and outlandish, they have a lot of fun with it because Pochi is a great foil for things and he has a great sense of humor as well. There’s a ton of fanservice in this, which relies on you liking the character designs of course, and they run with it pretty well while actually not overdoing it. The Gainax Bounce is in effect at times, but it’s not a constant. And skimpy the costumes may be, they aren’t actually flashing panties on a regular basis. This gives it a bit more room to be cruel and teasing in other ways which I can’t help but to find quite amusing. The show may slow down a bit towards the end when it gets a little serious, but overall it has a great balance of humor and fanservice with quirky and fun plots for each of the episodes.
Revisiting this release after a couple of years proved to be fun as the show definitely still hits all the right notes for me with its humor and characters. It doesn’t take itself seriously and it has a lot of fun with things, especially if you can get into the way Mitsuki in particular plays everyone against each other. There’s a lot of great designs here, it’s filled with fanservice that’s quite appealing and the short form stories that build throughout it are quite enjoyable. Everything clicks well here and it leaves you with very good feelings of having a good time watching it. There are a lot of little side moments, looks and so forth that you can miss the first time around and that does help. I may not be a show I can watch often, but it’s one that definitely has some replay value if you liked it the first time around. I was glad I pulled this one out of the box so I can enjoy this silly and mostly harmless little show. It’s not good clean fun, it’s just good raunchy fun.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Interview
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 6th, 2009
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.