HIMM

When is a harem comedy not a harem comedy? When none of the girls are actually chasing the guy. HIMM, or He Is My Master, is an offbeat fanservice vehicle that looks sort of like a harem show (three cute girls under one roof with a guy), but the twist is that he’s a lech and pervert with a major-league meido fixation, who sees them as sex objects and playthings… and of course, they don’t agree, and are not chasing him.

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Let’s establish at the outset the fact that logic plays no part in this show. It’s pure, idiotic fantasy. If you can accept that two junior high girls would run away from home with their pet alligator, and a third girl would willingly join them to wear skimpy outfits and be live-in maids to a 14-year old super-rich orphaned pervert, then you can watch this show, blithely unconcerned about anything resembling reality. I went into it with low expectations, and the show actually met and surpassed them. The character designs are definitely attractive, but overall, art and animation is generally average to poor. A lot of scenes have no background other than primary colors splashed across the screen. The music is entirely forgettable, though not atrocious. I give the comedy a decent score (after the cliché-filled first episode), but most of the reasons are tied to a major spoiler, so I’m not saying here. I will say I got a kick out of the over-the-top Die Hard parody though.

In the early going, I had two problems; one being Mitsuki’s age of 13, and the other was whole runaway thing. I didn’t expect the latter to be explained — I naturally assumed that Izumi (older of the two at 15) was the runaway and had persuaded her little sister to tag along. Boy, was I wrong. While the explanation is just as unrealistic as the rest of the show, there is an explanation, which is more than I expected, and we even get to meet the parents of both the girls and Yoshitaka. Of course, his parents are still dead when we do meet them, and hers are weird, but each meeting gives some insights into why they are what they are. In fact, the girls’ family become recurring characters, especially their too-cute younger sister Karin. (Yes, for the loli pervs out there, she ends up in a meido outfit, albeit only briefly, thank goodness.)

Anyway, I wasn’t really comfortable with an innocent, flat-chested 13 year old as a sex object (look, even when I was 17, I considered that too young, so she ended up knocked up and marrying someone else a few years later). Well two things surprised me, one of which is a spoiler. First, the show didn’t concentrate on her as a sex object nearly as much as Izumi, and to a lesser extent, Anna. Both are still underage, but at least they’re 15, not barely-teens. The second reason is a huge spoiler, containing the plot of the series, so behind the tag it goes.

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That’s not much of a plot, but it sure wasn’t what I expected. After the first episode, I assumed it was going to be all about Izumi defending Mitsuki against Yoshitaka and “his incredibly low strike zone” while he tried to make out with all three of the girls. Was I ever wrong. Izumi is definately the center of the show and major sex object, so it’s to be expected from the usual trope that she’s the violent one. The difference is she’s not incapable of showing tenderness, or even affection; she just has a wide competitive streak and really short temper. Yoshitaka brings both of them to the forefront, as prominently as, um… well you decide.

“What the hell is this?”
Um…. I think it’s called “cleavage,” and you’ve got a fair amount.
Moving on to the other major characters, the third girl is Anna, a classmate at Yoshitaka’s school, where he arranges to have Izumi and Mitsuki attend. She is terribly naive and has a secret crush on Yoshitaka, whom she thinks is sweet. Izumi has a very vivid vision of just how that could turn out, and goes to some lengths to keep the completely naive Anna from falling into the clutches of Yoshitaka. Of course it backfires when the effort has, er, unexpected results.
Pochi is the weirdest looking excuse for an alligator, and despite “tasting” of people several times, he never actually harms anyone. (I said “unconcerned with reality” didn’t I?). He likes tasting the clothes of cute girls, especially Izumi’s, and has a huge crush on her. I really think I don’t want to know what he’s doing off camera whenever he catches her…. Although antagonistic to Yoshitaka at first, they eventually have a meeting of the minds and Pochi becomes quite fond of him. Just not in the same way he’s fond of Izumi. (Thank God. I don’t think even Japanese TV is ready for yaoi bestiality. Ewwwww! I know I’m not–someone hand me the brain bleach. Ewww! Ewww!)

There’s actually several more important characters, including Izumi’s family, Yoshitaka’s cousin, the president of the Mitsuki fan club, and a rival rich girl who shows up for the last two episodes. (Of course she ended up in a meido outfit! Don’t be silly.) Although they all play roles, they’re not as important as the main 3 characters, so I’m just mentioning them in passing. They’re spice that makes the meat taste good, but Yoshitaka, the 3 girls, and Pochi (the alligator) are definitely the meat and potatoes of the show.

The writers did a pretty good job with Yoshitaka, considering that he’s a total ass, a jerk, and a pervert. He’s not a weak or wimpy male, although he probably has a few insecurities running loose, and is more than up to carrying the series. He’s basically a spoiled rich kid who has never learned to rein in his more destructive impulses, and has to feel that he’s in control at all times. His parents died in an auto accident, and now he’s free to do whatever he pleases. He pleased to fire all of his staff for nagging him, telling him what to do, and probably looking down on his cosplay talents. (He’s beyond very good, capable of turning out perfectly-fitting costumes for the girls without measuring them, except by eye.) Now he finds himself alone in a huge mansion. Lo and behold, two cute girls his age show up to apply for a job as live-in maids, and he’s in heaven. A fantasy come true! Hey, the shapely one was even undressing on his front porch when he opened the door! (Did I perhaps mention that this show has only the faintest encumbrance by reality?) His appeal is that he represents us–the guys who think that kind of stuff, but are far too civilized to act the way he does.

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No one will be surprised to read that Yoshitaka spends a lot of time getting beaten up by Izumi, and it’s usually for cause. What’s funny is that his class at school is more than willing to help — he’s anything but the BMOC. I wish they ‘d spent a bit more time at school in the series, just to see how everything played out there, but it would have gotten in the way of the rest of the series.

Despite spying on Izumi and Mitsuki with hidden cameras, and taking opportunities to see them naked, Yoshitaka has a core of decency. It’s very small, somewhat weak, and he keeps it well hidden, but it’s there. Even though he’s an ass to the end, he never actually tries to molest any of the girls. When Izumi or Mitsuki are in trouble he’ll fight to protect them, as long as it doesn’t involve fighting against Pochi. Of course, if it gives him the opportunity to see them in minimal clothing or inspires a new outfit, well hey, they’re his playthings, aren’t they? That’s as he sees it anyway–because he’s got to be the one in control. By the end of the series, it’s obvious that they’ve at least moved into the category of “very special, treasured playthings,” and Izumi’s become more important to him than he’s willing to admit.

Major series spoiler ahead!
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In the end, I have to give this series a C. It was better than I expected, although that wasn’t hard to manage, since I expected total dreck. The reasons for the lower score have to do with the uncomfortable moments that pop up now and again, like loli Karin in a skimpy meido outfit, Pochi’s enthusiastic, uh, affection for Izumi, and the possibly subliminal message of women as property that’s embedded in the concept of this show. Damn feminists; I can’t enjoy objectifying women any more! Yeah, yeah, this show is another guilty pleasure, like DearS. So here’s some more Izumi fanservice behind the spoiler tag. NSFW!

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5 Responses to HIMM

  1. The very concept of this series grossed me out. Yeah, it’s a fanservice vehicle, but there are lines beyond which I won’t go, and based on the series description this one was on the far side of the line. (So is Yumeria.)

    I can believe that this series is an example of “better than it seems it would be” but what it seems to be is so vile that it would have to be Shakespearean to be worth watching. And I don’t believe it is.

  2. Ubu Roi says:

    After the first episode, I was 60-40 in favor of dumping it, but I decided to give it one more episode, based on the fact that Izumi and Mitsuki had not agreed to be his maids at that point (Izumi had rejected him). I’d expected a very contrived and forced situation with Yoshitaka in complete control over two helpless girls, barely able to escape his clutches.. The actual situation at that point encouraged me try one more episode, and by the end of it, it was obvious that the balance of power wasn’t going to be what I thought.

    Balance or no, had Yoshitaka been an adult, or even 17, I’d have been out of there before the first eyecatch. There’d be too much difference between him and Mitsuki. In Yumeria, Ishigari is a full grown adult and teacher who is chasing Moné and any other little girl. That sort of perversion is not a joking matter, and I think it’s significant that over a year after watching it, the most vivid memories I have are of the heebie-jeebies I got from watching him.

    Back to HiMM; having read the blurb at ANN, I believe the author did not like the premise of the show either, and watched only the first few episodes. “Two runaway girls, Izumi Sawatari and her younger sister Mitsuki, stumped into Nakabayashi’s mansion and got hired by Yoshitaka immediately, for Yoshitaka is not only a rich boy but also a pervert with uniform fetishes, who wants to be addressed as goshujin-sama (master).” It’s a fairly factual rendition, but it completely misses the dynamic of the series (which is in the spoilers above).

    Not saying you have to like it, watch it, or not let it hit your buttons, just that it’s not exactly what it looks like, and the comparison to Yumeria is inaccurate. In the end, Ishigari was a sideshow who wanted two girls, yet never got them in his power. Yoshitaka has them in his power and gets more than he bargained for.

  3. AvatarADV says:

    I watched a few episodes of this. When the series is being good, it’s quite funny – that is to say, when it’s going beyond “fanservice time” and running Yoshitaka ragged. But most of the time, it’s just snickering as the alligator tears Izumi’s clothing off… again. Bleh.

    I might not be as turned off if this hadn’t been a Gainax show, but as it was… I expect them to cross up the viewer some, not just pander, and this show just pandered.

  4. Ubu Roi says:

    Pandering? Well, there’s good pandering and bad pandering. I didn’t like Aemawhatsit because I felt like it was bad and predictable pandering. HiMM? Should this be called pandering? (NSFW)

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