Shonen Maid is Probably not What You Expect

  • Titles: Shounen Maid; Shonen Maid
  • Genre: Slice of Life, comedy, drama, found family, cuuuuute
  • Episodes: 12 + 1 special
  • Studio: 8-bit

Chihiro just lost his mom. It’s an awful thing to go through but especially for someone like Chihiro who has no other family. His dad died years earlier and his mom has been estranged from her family since before his birth. Did I mention that Chihiro is in elementary school? Yeah, it’s a tough situation. Fortunately, he’s not the type of boy to let adversity bring him down. He’ll just roll up his sleeves and get through it. That’s what his mother taught him. And it seems he even has a long lost uncle who would be happy to take care of him. But who exactly is taking care of who?

A reader briefly mentioned Shonen Maid in my comments a long time ago and I have wanted to see the show ever since. But it was only after watching spinets of the first episode in a YouTube reaction video that I was finally driven to just get Funimation already and watch the series. Was it worth all the trouble?

that’s not suspicious….

8-bit studio has a pretty interesting portfolio. I’m guessing either Grisaia or Slime is how most people know them. Personally, I was impressed when I saw that they were responsible for How to Keep a Mummy. That show doesn’t get enough credit for the movement choreographic of the beasties. That was some really good animation.

In any case, the same goes for Shonen Maid. The character designs are good but your probably not going to write home about it but the movements are really great. They’re great in subtle ways that most people probably won’t notice though. In the way, fingers fold or twitch when petting an animal or slight shoulder shrugs added when putting on a top. It’s little things that really don’t look that impressive and have no impact on the story but still add just a bit of realism to motions.

However, the outstanding production element of Shonen Maid is, in my opinion, the backgrounds. Now, this is some luxurious scenery pr0n. And I’m not talking about the fancy mansions. Although those are fancy too. It’s those verdant suburban streets with overhanging greenery falling all over the place and little streams racing through the city. I don’t remember the last time I was so taken by simple street views. Here are a couple:

I think that Shonen Maid is probably not what you expect it is. Then again maybe it’s exactly what you think. Still, when you consider that title, maybe coupled with the key visuals, you might be expecting some tawdry BL or at least BL adjacent affair. Or maybe just a lot of weird fanservice and physical humour.

And I guess you would be right in a way. Not about the BL, there’s no trace of that even in implication. But there is some slapstick humour and if you ever dreamt of adopting a kid that loves to clean and cook, then there’s tons of fanservice. I’m not the only one who has thought of adopting a kid who’s obsessed with cleaning, am I? No… that’s a normal thing to think…

Ok, so what Shonen Maid actually is, is a lighthearted but surprisingly touching story about rebuilding one’s family after losing it. That’s pretty much it. And it goes about telling that story in a very gentle and optimistic way.

not that it completely ignores the hard parts

It’s also a bit of a reinvention of the classic Cinderella story if Cinderella was a boy and not dependent on marriage to assure her future and everyone in the story was in fact nice people doing their best in an occasionally difficult situation. So I guess not like Cinderella…

If there are two things that I like, it’s found families and dorks…

A lot of Shonen Maid examines the concept of forgiving those around you, and yourself, when you don’t even know what you’re mad about. It tackles some pretty complicated issues and feelings. I won’t pretend that it’s a deep exploration of the human condition that will change your life or anything like that. If anything, it’s a bit shallow, shying away from the more unpleasant elements and it’s definitely optimistic in portrayal. But it’s also charming and sweet.

and hard working

I watched all of Shonen Maid over the course of a week or so, and I was looking forward to each and every episode. For me, there was no lull or loss of quality as the season wore on. It was a show I would qualify as comfortable.

In a lot of ways it’s a cute folks (there are boys and girls of all ages) doing a lot of cute things but you know, sometimes you just need that. And along the way, they also learn how to relate to one another and heal some old wounds. Don’t let the name throw you, or the silly key visuals, Shonen Maid is a great show to watch when you need a gentle pick me up.

Favourite character: I’m not sure… Miyako maybe. I like the cast a lot, it’s tough to pick just one…

Suggested drink: and Old Maid

  • Every time Madoka has his hair up  – take a sip
  • Every time anyone breaks a vase – take a sip
  • Every time Chihiro scolds Madoka – whimper
  • Every time Miyako calls Chihiro “sensei” – take a sip
  • Every time someone other than Chihiro cooks  – get a snack
  • Every time Madoka sneaks into Chihiro’s room – it’s not what you think…
  • Every time a room sparkles – take a sip
  • Every time anyone insinuates/calls Madoka a pervert – gasp!
  • Every time Chihiro’s a kitty – awwww…take a sip
  • Every time we see the Uchoten Boys (idols) – cheers
  • Every time we see Chihiro’s mom – take a sip
  • Every time the kitchen is a mess  – oh my…
  • Every time we see little Madoka – take a sip
  • Every time Madoka dumps his responsibilities on Keiichi – raise a glass to Keiichi
  • Every time Hino and Madoka are besties – take a sip
  • Every time Madoka bakes – see if you have enough snacks

In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

8 Responses

  1. ManInBlack says:

    Today I learned that Chihiro is a unisex name…. 😮

    Also forgive me but in this paragraph: “after watching spinets of the first episode” should that be “snippets”? Since a spinet is a small harpsichord… 😉

  2. foovay says:

    And this one goes instantly on the watch and watch soon list. I’m looking for lots of nice comfy anime these days.

  3. Karandi says:

    I really loved this anime and just found it sweet to watch. I guess I am also a bit of a sucker for found families guven the number of shows that use this formula and win me over. Still, love the characters here and just enjoy watching them grow.

  4. Dawnstorm says:

    Shounen Maid definitely wasn’t what I expected. I’m really fond of that show, and how you’re describing it is exactly how I saw it, too. It’s a pretty good pick-me-up show, since the underlying melancholic mood feels real, but the show spares you the real unpleasant conflicts. It’s a tough balancing act actually, at least for me, because spare me too much and I start rolling my eyes, but put on too much, and it’s more of a drama, which slots differently.

    It’s really tough to pick a favourite character, here, isn’t it? It’s more of an ensamble show. And even Chihiro’s mum is in the running, and she’s dead before the show starts. And his best friend in school is pretty cool, too (makes sense that he’d have a lot of siblings).

    • Irina says:

      I honestly liked just about everyone and I find that they were even better playing off of each other. It was a charming little show. I might pick up the manga at some point.

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