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Dated 3 September 2018: Many thanks to Stevie Wonder for Hugtto! Precure

Emiru and RUR-9500
Emiru is probably remembering that everyone at school still thinks she's nuts.

Now well past the halfway mark, Hugtto! Precure is better than it has any right to be. Based on the number of strikes it normally would have against it, I shouldn't be enjoying it so much. Namely, it's got a magic baby. It has a shrimpy Cure. And it has my least favorite battle costumes of the entire franchise. It turns out, though, that the magic-baby scenes are not as objectionable as I had feared (although I could still do without them). The battle costumes are tragic; I guess that's not going to change. On the plus side, though, the shrimpy Cure is tops.

Harry, Hug-tan, Saaya, Kotori, Homare, Hana, RUR-9500, and Emiru
Actually, most of the cast is pretty good.

Cure Muse basically ruined shrimpy Cures for me. Cure Ace, I guess she was okay. Aguri was definitely more endearing than Ako. Emiru, though, as Cure Ma Chérie? Emiru is frickin' great. It's mostly because she's completely neurotic, which we got to see ahead of time in her two really good pre-transformation introductory episodes. It also helps that she's partnered with RUR-9500. The two of them bring out the best in each other's scenes. I suppose I can't quite say the same thing about Cure Amour, although they are fine together as well. After all, they do have beam-rifle guitars.

Dated 27 August 2018: This Hand Maid May blog entry is not about May or maids

May and Kazuya
At least the apartment she's cleaning is also small.

I think it's been more than 10 years since I last re-watched Hand Maid May. I probably have a disproportionately positive perspective on what is ultimately a 20th century fan-service-laden harem comedy. I can't guarantee I would still hold it in high regard if I were to watch it for the first time now, but I do still remember it fondly. (The impetus for bringing Hand Maid May up again comes from the latest episode of Hataraku Saibou.)

Kazuya and Kasumi
That ladder bridge looks less and less safe as the years go by.

If anything, re-watching Hand Maid May now might help me clarify one aspect that I've always been sort of uncertain about. Namely, how old is Kasumi? Her current English Wikipedia entry describes her as an 18-year-old college student (with no citation), and the current Japanese Wikipedia entry claims she is a student at Kazuya's university (also with no citation). I don't remember this ever being established within the anime itself.

Kasumi and Kazuya
Further proof that Kasumi is right-handed..

It is pretty likely that she is at least out of high school, because there is a flashback in episode eight to Kasumi's graduation, and we never see her in a school uniform outside of those flashbacks. But since (as I understand it), compulsory education in Japan ends with middle school (after completing 9th grade, by U.S. reckoning), it's not impossible (albeit unlikely) that she dropped out to run the apartment complex, coach baseball, and flirt with Kazuya full-time.

Dated 4 June 2018: I think I like the idea of Cutie Honey Universe more than I enjoy the show

Honey
Have sword, will travel.

I do appreciate that Cutie Honey Universe exists at all. It's been a good year with regard to the return of old (way old) classics. I'm not particularly familiar with the Cutie Honey franchise, but I've seen enough of the original 1973 Cutie Honey anime and Gainax's Re: Cutie Honey OVAs from 2004 to appreciate that Cutie Honey Universe is a faithful re-introduction of the show to modern anime fans. However, although I enjoy it, I suspect that the return of Cutie Honey might work better in theory than it does in practice for general audiences. I don't feel that Cutie Honey Universe is dated, but it does seem anachronistic. That does contribute to its charm, but I can't help but think I should at least finish watching the 1973 series first.

Tarantula Panther
Tarantula Panther, best tarantula, best panther.

The parts that are probably the most jarring to modern viewers are the occasional fan service gags involving Junpei (the little boy) and Danbei (the dirty old man) as they aggressively pursue perverted opportunities to ogle and grope Honey whenever possible. I hesitate to call them gags because they're not presented as if they're supposed to be comedic moments necessarily, but I can't quite call it fan service either because I'm not sure anyone considers the bits titillating. It's probably more accurate to call them tropes or callbacks to the original Go Nagai manga and anime series. Now, I'm not suggesting '70s fan service staples have no place in our upstanding world of the current generation, but I think I would appreciate an effort to present these blatantly gratuitous scenes in creative new ways instead, despite the risk of alienating those fans who insist on preserving original aspects as a matter of general principle.

Dated 22 August 2009: WELCOME HOM3, Mahoro

Mahoro
Obligatory: Ecchi na no wa ikenai to omoimasu!

News of a two-part Mahoromatic special to air in October is very welcome news indeed. I am invoking the Ayako Doctrine on the official website. Visitation is compulsory.

Sadly, this also reminds me that I inexcusably waited too long to acquire Mahoromatic DVDs, and had to settle for the Sentai Filmworks releases instead of the Pioneer or Geneon ones. Using two DVD-5 discs for each season is a disservice to the show. Hopefully there will be a Blu-ray relase in the future through which I may at least partially redeem myself. [Update: Blu-ray release in the U.S.A., that is.]

Dated 24 December 2007: Alpha would pass a Voight-Kampff test

Alpha
Alpha.

"More human than human." Those of you familiar with the phrase are probably thinking of Blade Runner. I'm thinking of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. Alpha is profoundly human—so much so that she brings life to that trope. That is, she is so human that her character is only believable to me because she is a robot. I guess I'm not explaining myself very well, but take a look at her response to the aftermath in Quiet Country Cafe and maybe you'll understand what I mean. Viewers unfamiliar with the YKK manga will probably find the OAVs somewhat perplexing, but Alpha's charisma compels watching nevertheless.

Dated 25 June 2006: Hand Maid May

Kasumi and Kazuya
Kasumi and Kazuya.

I have come to the conclusion that the ladder in Hand Maid May is superior to the, uh, hole in Love Hina. That is all.

Dated 18 March 2006: Hand Maid May

Man, the Hand Maid May box set with the figure is freaking $19 with free shipping. Damn, yo. [Update: Too late.]

Dated 12 February 2002: Hand Maid May

While I consider Chobits be a failure in the robot-girlfriend genre, Hand Maid May is surprisingly good. All 11 episodes are already available on three DVDs, and while I've only seen the old, low-res fansubs, I'm prepared to heartily recommend them.

May and Kazuya
Hand Maid May and Kazuya Saotome

Hand Maid May neatly joins two staples of anime: The robot-girlfriend and the maid-uniform genres. (See also Mahoromatic.) It's a fairly simple, silly, stereotypical anime in the giant-sweatdrops and "falling down after hearing something surprising" vein with rampant rampant fan service throughout the first episode. Somewhat ironically, because it's not at all ambitious, it succeeds brilliantly. Hand Maid May is simply a cute comedy about a clueless geek (Kazuya Saotome), his spirited sex bomb neighbor (Kasumi Tani), and a tiny devoted robot maid (Cyber Doll May), and on that level it works very well.

Okay, Kotaro Nambara (Kazuya Saotome's chief rival and antagonist) is incredibly annoying, albeit intentionally so. However, I am willing to cut him some slack because everyone else in the show is pretty charming. Besides, Nambara's voice actor is Ueda Yuuji, who also played Urashima Keitaro in Love Hina and later went on to do fairly innocuous soft core porn with Asakawa Yuu, the voice of Motoko from Love Hina and Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh. Whoop!