animefringe november 2003 / reviews

Hanaukyo Maid Team Vol.1
Format: right-left manga
Production: I.C. Entertainment / Morishige
Comments: More fan service than Love Hina.
Animefringe Reviews:
Hanaukyo Maid Team Vol.1

Orphaned at a relatively young age, Tarou Hanaukyo sets off for his grandfather's home to begin a new life. He never met his grandfather before his mother's death, but even if he had, he still most likely would've been surprised when he arrived at his new house.

As Tarou soon discovers, his new house is in fact a mansion. His grandfather fills him in on the details of living the high life on a videocassette, for the elder Hanaukyo has left the region for an extended vacation. However, Tarou is not expected to survive alone, and that's where the titular "Hanaukyo Maid Team" comes in to play. Staffed by a legion of attractive young women, the Hanaukyo maids' sole purpose in their lives is to make Tarou comfortable.

Unfortunately, their constant attention quickly has the opposite effect upon the innocent Tarou, but what makes him uncomfortable also provides some pretty good entertainment for the readers.

Manga fans familiar with Love Hina or Rumiko Takahashi's works will know how this scenario turns out. Continual instances of bad luck (or good luck, depending on how you look at it) will have Tarou accidentally encountering the maids in their skivvies, and he'll blush in an endearing fashion when they offer to bathe him or dress him.

More amusing than the typical harem comedy gags, however, is that the maids actually follow Tarou everywhere he goes to help him out. If he has trouble at school, they're there behind the scenes, helping him with a class or making him look more impressive than he ever could on his own. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to suddenly having all of his troubles taken care of for him. After all, is he going to just keep letting the maids overcome all of the challenges he faces in life, or will he take a stand and start living his own life?

So far, he seems to desire to be more independent than the maids are allowing him to be, though it's hard to tell a beautiful woman in a maid outfit to leave you alone. Especially when they accept him unquestioningly.

The artwork is appropriately attractive, with much of the detail going into the lush ladies populating the Hanaukyo household. Readers looking for plenty of panty shots and outright innocent nudity won't have to look hard or long for either, but this isn't offensive sexual content so much as juvenile excitement.

There's nothing wrong with that, now, is there?

Sound effects are left intact, and there's a translation guide in the back of the book, which is always a great compromise for those who cannot read Japanese but still wish to leave the artwork alone.

This is a solidly produced release, but I wish the book could've been a bit larger (or at least less expensive), for as it is, it's smaller than the average TOKYOPOP book and $3 more. With the troubles I.C. Entertainment is experiencing, I suppose I understand, but I'm not sure how many fans are aware of the company's internal strife.

Overall, this is a fun series if it's not quite life changing, and so long as Morishige keeps the pretty women coming, it'll keep me satisfied. If you're looking for something cute, funny, and sexy, then this might be a nice break between other more serious manga offerings. I just wish I had my own maid team to take care of my needs.