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.

Second, Mitsuki is anything but innocent. She collects guys at the school who absolutely worship her, and she’s a master manipulator, using her innocent demeanor to lure the unwary into doing her bidding. Throughout, she’s the one really driving the action. Yoshitaka only thinks he’s in control, and that is one way in which this series exceeded my expectations. Mitsuki decides early on that Yoshitaka and Izumi would be a good match and she shamelessly manipulates both of them, even using her fan club to help bring them together. To put them on a more equal footing, she hacks the mansion’s database, steals images from Yoshitaka’s spy cameras, and uses them to turn her sister into a famous net idol, simultaneously making herself rich. Surprisingly, none of this is particularly overplayed or done in a heavy-handed manner. You can see the drift, but there’s no sudden changes by any of the characters.

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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!
At the end of the show, it’s obvious that Mitsuki has succeeded — Izumi and Yoshitaka are both fond of each other, although they’d still probably kill each other before admitting to it. Yoshitaka is designing Izumi’s wedding dress (with a miniskirt and bunny ears no less), Izumi is happy to be back, Mitsuki is happily manipulating both of them, and their mother, Mizuho, has actually signed guardianship of Izumi over to Yoshitaka — which wouldn’t be valid, since he’s also a minor. Anna likely knows this, and I’d bet both Mizuho and Mitsuki do, but it’s not clear if Izumi does — or cares. She won’t hesitate to deck him if he gets out of line, anyway.

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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Lots more in the show where this came from…

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