Region: 2 - UK
Volume: 2 of 3
Length: 125 minutes
English 2.0 Stereo
Japanese 2.0 Stereo
The adventures of android Marhoro continue as she spends the remaining days of her limited lifespan in retirement from combat as a normal human maid. As dedicated housekeeper, she takes pride in her role serving the every need of humble teenager Misato Suguru. When shy and secretive android Minawa enters their lives, Mahoro takes her under her wing and into their home.
In this instalment spirits are high as Suguru and schoolmates celebrate the seasonal festivals while behind the scenes, trouble and intrigue brew as Minawa is forced to answer to her original mission as an informant sent to infiltrate the Misato home.
When watching the dynamic yet heartful intro (storyboarded by none other than Evangelion director Hideaki Anno) and the delightfully catchy carnivalesque "Triomatic Ran! Ran! Ran!" end sequence, you get a picture of the kind of dichotomy you have going on in the series. It is a bittersweet mix of merriment and melancholy and for me it's as perfectly balanced as Mahoro's bespoke recipe for the ultimate spicy sweet curry (featured on this very DVD)!
The series exists primarily in the present day lives of Suguru and friends in a bubble of time, caught between the tragedy of the past and overcast by impending sadness as Mahoro will soon cease to function. This sense of having precious little time is fundamental to the series and is attuned to a very Japanese sentiment; that like the blossoming of sakura cherry blossom in spring, a short existence intensifies beauty.
The series continues with zeal over the course of the neighbourhood's New Year festivities. Adventures abound in energetic teenage escapades overseen by the overzealous lusty, busty Shikijo Sensei. New addition, meek imouto (little sister) character Minawa, continues to add another subtle flavour to the series, as she sits shyly on the sidelines. Her secret android identity a weapon and a formidable force of destructive power lies just beneath the surface of a fragile fašade. This is not contrary to the composition of Minawa's character, however, which is in essence as pure and gentle as she appears. It is the bud that forms the basis for the nurturing sister relationship that blooms between Minawa and Mahoro.
The thread concerning Minawa's divided loyalty rises in the final episode on this disc. Manipulated by her maker, Minawa cannot reconcile with what she feels she is missing, that like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, she is without a heart. False promises force Minawa into action against Mahoro, with the gravest of consequences.
There are there is some depth in the narrative; each character is crafted with individuality that gives them spark. These are the vital aspects that make watching the show so uplifting and engaging. What defines life and humanity, these are complex issues that for me are not in the least undermined by the boobies and undies regularly on screen during the series. After all, as Mahoromatic is in essence about a rounded experience of life in the days of youth, what could be more appropriate to teenagers than titillation?
Gainax, the masters of action and angst have no trouble delivering the goods with Mahoro. While it is certainly not profound or groundbreaking in the way that many of their other works are, their ability to reach the viewer through the mastery of direction and character development never fails to astonish me, even in the realm of fanservice!
Mahoromatic remains one of the best works in the harem category as it easily elevates itself from the puerile with complex emotional and existential interactions. Evocative of the melancholy that one feels at festival destined to draw to a close, Mahoromatic never forgets that every minute in its midst should be lived to the fullest!