Written by TheBigN
Sometimes, all it takes is that X-factor which makes all the difference. I find that Kamen no Maid Guy‘s namesake, Kogarashi, as someone who’s pretty much epic in nature in almost all ways, and thus as big a wild card as they can come (so expect some nice bias here :P). His qualities aren’t too complicated, but they work for me: The combination of strength (inner and outer) and intellect as a former teacher or MIT (why is it almost always Massachu-chu as a location for American colleges in anime? Why doesn’t anyone go to or come from Cornell in anime? Obviously we need to fix this). The numerous Maid Guy abilities that Kogarashi has, such as Maid Guy Sight, Vibration, Shredder, Voice, Levitation, Dance, Master Spark, and so on (and yes I know the last one doesn’t count, but given Kogarashi, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a move like that). The 37 human and inhuman senses he has at his disposal. The handing out of Maid Guy badges when someone impresses him or happens to be a good citizen in society (how I’d like one of those emblems myself). His determination and inability to be deterred, regardless of societal norms, in order to raise his master into a fine human being. The fact that he suffers no fools gladly, but pities them as well. And so on.
For all of these elements and more, and the fact that he performs all of this with the appearance of a body builder in a maid uniform (given how female and trap maids in anime are a weakness of mine, this obviously makes for some conflicting feelings), I find Kogarashi awesome. I could say that he’s like a combination of all of the A-Team plus Jack Bauer and the manly side of Combutler Hayate, for starters. Don’t think to hard about that comparison though (but if you get the joke here, you get a Maid Guy Badge). Of course he’s also that fun term GAR, but I don’t really think that needs to be said, though I just did. I’m an easily impressed and awed person, so based on often when watching Kamen no Maid Guy, I find myself thinking that our manly maid is too awesome for the show. It gets to the point to where I feel like the show doesn’t really fit into Kogarashi, and not the other way around. Or something like that.
Of course this statement is filled with favoritism to Kogarashi when I’m comparing him to the rest of the show, but I keep feeling that the show’s potential isn’t being reached. When I say that, I think that the show “if done right” (by my standards obviously) could have been a consistent funny show from the first episode one. And I think that Kogarashi has something to do with it by being who he is. As a comedy, while the show has some solid episodes (episode 7, the training episode, was absolutely hilarious IMO), most of the comedy is subpar (i.e., it doesn’t make me laugh). The usual bright spots tend to be whenever Kogarashi happens to be on the screen. Given that he’s the show’s namesake, it makes sense that he has some dominance over the show’s comedy, and he steals the show almost every time he appears. But given that he’s actually not the main character of the show, with that honor following to his master Naeka Fujiwara, it feels that his presence is more overwhelming dispite his apparent designation as “second fiddle” (like he’d ever be repressible enough to do that). Of course, that’s the point.
This opinion of Kogarashi needing better support is partly because he is the type of person that I can easily find humor just from his character concept, and it helps that almost whatever he does acts as a justification for me finding him funny. Yet looking at the show objectively (which, given the nature of humor, seems oxymoronic), the comedy from the concepts and interactions Naeka and other characters without him aren’t as consistently as good, despite them being as wacky, and in some cases even wackier than Kogarashi himself. Some of that can be attributed to some of the joke matter, like the constant punchline of Naeka’s breasts (though I do find their fanclub to be great. By “their”, I’m referring to her breasts, BTW), or Fubuki (a fellow maid)’s propensity to quickly lose control belying her normal calm and composed appearance, just not working for me. And some things do work for me, like Naeka’s propensity to go overboard with her admiration of overly idealistic viewpoints on honor and such with high school kendo, her rival’s absurd sadism (in a way) and her lesbian stalker (more shows need these BTW). Some can also be ascribed to how the comedy is executed as well. I’m a fan of random humor, so our Maid Guy’s off-the-wall actions and nature fit right into my enjoyment of the show. Indeed, when that type of character extends into other characters, I think the Kamen no Maid Guy is at its strongest, and it’s disappointing when the writing and timing at those moments can’t be constant for the rest of the show.
I get the sense that just from the character concept alone, Kogarashi could exist without the situation that he’s placed in for the show, and he would be just fine. But the show itself without him wouldn’t rise out of mediocrity at best, and even now only tends to do that sparingly. As said before, most things work because it is Kogarashi that they all feed through, with him being such a novelty that things could would with the concept alone (“A big manly guy in a maid costume doing maid things in a manly way? Hilarious!!”). At the same time, it would make sense that if one doesn’t like him, than it would be hard to end up liking Kamen no Maid Guy as a show by itself. I do think that Naeka could carry the show by herself, though I’m not sure that she has enough of the attractive power (or conversely, repelling power) that her maid does to get people to watch the show. Given the show’s comedy hit/miss ratio without Kogarashi (and sometimes even with him), the lower impact that the other characters have on me, and the little things like the wonky animation quality and some so-so music, I probably wouldn’t continue to keep the show on my current watch list (as well as let the show fade into Bolivian) if the Masked Maid Guy wasn’t there. But then again, I’m still watching Kanokon as well, so who knows? 😛