Shounen Maid – 04

Shounen Maid - 04 -24 Shounen Maid - 04 -57 Shounen Maid - 04 -72

Shounen Maid - 04 -1What have we here?  It’s another heartwarming episode about family both present and past.  If there’s one thing I think can be said about Shounen Maid’s genetic makeup, it’s that this is a sentimental series.  Sentiment is a four-letter word when it comes to some fans, not just of anime but perhaps particularly so.  But there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with sentimentality as long as it’s backed up by character development.  And the fact that unvarnished sentiment is so rare in anime makes it all the more notable when a series that isn’t afraid of it and knows how to present it comes along.

Shounen Maid - 04 -3I’ve never heard of the Japanese referring to cockroaches as “bearded barons” and I have no idea if that’s a real thing or a Shounen Maid invention.  But for a 5th-grade cleaning otaku it’s no surprise their presence is non-negotiable, and honestly – if Madoka is OK sharing a room with them he‘s the one with the problem.  But the A-part this week isn’t about the bearded baron so much as the other discovery Chihiro makes when he’s cleaning his uncle’s room – a bunch of what look like presents, but are actually just the skeletons of presents, the wrapper they came in re-molded into its original shape.

Shounen Maid - 04 -4One of the things this show is good at is letting us inside its characters without beating us over the head about it, and I like how revealing this little exchange is.  It says a lot about Madoka that he’s so soft-hearted he can’t even bring himself to throw out gift wrap (I know people like that too – I’m related to them).  Of course this puts Chihiro in mind of Chiyo, who cluttered the front of their fridge with mementos of Chihiro’s childhood.  After Chihiro sees how devastated Madoka is that all those “presents” are in the trash, he goes and digs them out.  “It just looks like paper to me.” Chihiro says to himself, and that says a lot about the sort of boy he is – but so does the fact that he was willing to dig through the trash to retrieve it, and to iron it to restore it to some semblance of its former state.  Even if he can’t understand the reason why its important to Madoka, the fact that it is important is enough.

Shounen Maid - 04 -5The B-part turns to Miyako and her pudding-based courtship of Keiichirou.  Pudding gets pores if it’s steamed at too high a temperature as its baking, apparently – who knew (well – Chihiro did).  The whole Miyako situation is handled in an admirably low-key way – there’s not a lot of humiliation or embarrassment driving it.  Madoka knows the score and wants to help as best he can, and Miyako, as much as she wants to, doesn’t abjectly throw herself at Keiichirou.  She just tries to make her case by example.

Shounen Maid - 04 -7The big question here, still unanswered, is how aware Keiichirou is of all this.  Chihiro panics when he finds a photo of a girl in Keiichirou’s planner, but it turns out the “girl” is Madoka, and Chiyo (as older sisters do) liked to dress her younger brother in her old clothes.  The tangle goes way back here – all of these people were childhood friends – and Keiichirou keeping all these photos shows that he’s no stranger to sentiment himself (even if they do have a certain blackmail value).  What’s really happening here is that Chihiro is being reconnected to all these people after being connected only to his mother where family is concerned.  That was a choice Chiyo made for Chihiro – he had no say in it – and while it’s clear she adored her son (and he her), in making that choice she did deprive him of something valuable.  The restoration of that – and Chihiro coming to understand its value – is to a certain extent what Shounen Maid is all about.

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7 comments

  1. A

    Hi:) i am really enjoying your reviews of Shounen Maid, Boku no Hero Academia, Sakamoto and other shows:) i have been reading your reviews for several years, without commenting, but I always admired your work and talent for writing. Not always liking the same shows, or not always liking in the same way, but enjoying reading your opinion on them. Thank you!

  2. A

    Forgot about Tanaka-kun, that’s my favorite show of the season, and i love your reviews. I don’t have friends who share the same interest for manga and anime, so it is nice to read about my favorite shows.

  3. Ayran, thanks very much. A lot of lurkers have been de-cloaking since the move to WordPress, and it’s always a great thing to hear that I’ve managed to provide someone some entertainment. Hope you keep on reading – and commenting.

  4. D

    It’s an adorable show, and I’m perfectly fine with sentiment if it’s honest sentiment, and I think this show has that.
    I do love the way Keiichiro is being a really good ally to Chihiro, we saw that last week with the dog, and we see that this week as he helps Chihiro go through the trash.

    I always love the flashback sequences that show how Chihiro’s late mother is still very much a presence in his life.

  5. H

    I’ve realised lately that my favourite shows are the ones that tend to be more on the sentimental or shojo side, but not romance, such as Natsume Yuujinchou, Tsuritama, (Hunter x Hunter maybe? In terms of character relations it’s pretty damn good). That’s why shows like this, Tanaka kun and Rinne are probably my faves of the season.
    To be honest though, I’m not really feeling Miyako’s character. I don’t think she brings down the show or anything, but she doesn’t bring much to it either? Maybe this is just my bias against twintail characters talking.

  6. A

    Haha, watching this episode made me want to look into baking puddings. The power of anime! Part of things i do were motivated by manga and anime:)

  7. A

    I rather like Miyako:) she is simple, face-value sort of girl and very cute. Many girl characters who tend to be popular, are strong, cool types, tsunderes are also popular. Never understood the appeal of tsunderes! I liked one or two tsundere characters, but i just don’t get why they are so popular.

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