What They Say:
They’re beautiful, they’re exotic, and in this particular case, what’s underneath that Maid uniform may not even be human! After all, if you’re an otherworldly spirit and you’re trying to hide your existence from the world, what better way to do it than working at a restaurant where the waitresses dress as maids and pretend to cater to their customers’ every whim? Starring international AV star Maria Ozawa.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese stereo language track here which is encoded at 224kbps. It’s a serviceable enough track considering the show is really little more than the dialogue in it so it doesn’t really require more. The budget feel of the show is certainly evident enough in general but most of these kinds of films are like this to begin with. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout however and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally released in 2007, the transfer for this feature is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 but is not enhanced for anamorphic playback. The materials do look pretty good overall though with little in the way of noticeable noise or background issues with edge enhancement. Colors are pretty solid and the black levels are good looking as well. This is the kind of title that won’t leap off the screen at you as it definitely has more of a video look than a film look and the letterbox approach of it just pushes that whole budget feeling. It’s not a bad looking transfer in the slightest, but it’s one that won’t really draw you in all that much either.
The cover art for this release follows standard Switchblade Pictures design with a simple black and red border surrounding the poster piece inside. Inside that framing, we get a very appealing shot of Chika in her maid outfit with the heartshaped chair behind her. She’s got her legs open slightly so it shows off some skin as well as panties in order to draw you into buying it. It’s quite an appealing cover if you find her even slightly attractive. The back cover is well done also as it plays up the light feeling with pinks, purples and white to work with the maid outfits. There’s a number of shots from the show that highlight the sexual nature of it but also some of the darker sides of it as well. The summary covers things well enough since there isn’t exactly a lot of plot here and it’s all very easy to read. The bottom is given over to some basic production information and a good technical grid that covers everything. No show related inserts are provided nor is there a reversible cover.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Switchblade Pictures has had a fairly steady diet of releases in its first couple of months of existence that was filled with prison flicks, ninja flicks, and an odd piece or two after that. There was little that took place in modern society that you could talk about that didn’t have some huge supernatural angle to it or something else. Maid’s Secret: Welcome Home won’t break that trend but it does bend it a little. The supernatural here is cute and fun for the most part, not violent and bloody like some of the others. There are no swim team zombie girls here.
Maid’s Secret: Welcome Home revolves around a maid café in the city where we’re introduced to two of the women who work there and live together. One of them is a cute and quirky young woman who is a “monster” known as a mud-licker. She’s the kind that likes her men dirty and smelly. Not obscenely so, but men who put in a good days work and have a scent to prove it. She’s very aggressive and sexual and she’s hilarious as she ends up in a relationship with a young man who loves dressing her up in cosplay outfits to act out his fantasies in. One of them has her dressing up as a tough girl with the very long skirt and he has to be completely submissive to her. Another involves her wearing a swimsuit from high school and so forth. It’s predictable but admittedly cute and they do play up the maid angle at least once as well.
While the mud-licker is aggressive, Chika isn’t like that. In fact, she’s still a virgin. Chika is a descendent of Dracula so she’s got some vampire blood running through her, though she’s more human than vampire. She doesn’t mind water, she can see herself in the mirror and she doesn’t need to drink blood. Garlic still bothers her though and she’s not exactly fond of crosses and she requires a good deal of sunscreen before heading out for the day. Where her problem lies is in that when she’s with someone and gets excited, her fangs come out. Since she’s trying to keep things a secret, it doesn’t help and she has a difficult time finding a relationship with a normal guy. And that’s all she wants as she doesn’t want to date in the “monster” pool at all.
Maid’s Secret: Welcome Home revolves around these two women and their relationships, though it focuses more on Chika for the relationship side as the other is all about the sex and cosplay. She’s been dating a young man named Makoto but they’re having trouble since she gets too excited around him. And he keeps taking her places that aren’t the best for her condition, not that he knows. A play called “Crucified”? A garlic-based ramen shop? It just doesn’t work in his favor and he keeps getting confused about it. Watching her struggle with this is fun as she’s looking for the balance needed so she can keep dating him. She simply wants a normal relationship.
A little trouble must fall into her life though otherwise, it would be a pretty bland story. For this one, it’s a creepy gentleman who attends the café and goes for her specifically, trying to get Chika to fill out a profile. She’s weirded out by him and does her best to keep her distance, but he’s stalking her from afar as we see when she’s on her dates with Makoto. This all comes to a head later in the show as he’s fully aware of what she is and is doing his best to toy and torture her. His inclusion brings a little drama to everything and it sets up the big revelation for Chika and Makoto, but it’s really just to include the obligatory torture scene so the show can keep its street cred with the audience.
Maid’s Secret: Welcome Home is a cute enough show that plays up a few different areas well enough to get by. The sex is appealing, it has some fun with the supernatural – I especially liked the talking wall that hits on women walking by – and it runs with the cosplay and maid material in a decent way. It’s cute and harmless for the most part but it also felt like the torture stuff didn’t fit in with the rest of the show. Maid’s Secret: Welcome Home is mostly harmless and it plays up the titillation aspect nicely with attractive actors and decently done scenes for what it is.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: N/A
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Switchblade Pictures
Release Date: January 20th, 2009
Running Time: 75 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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.