Uzamaid!: A Touching and Uncomfortable Black Comedy

Alright, I need to get serious for a moment. I need to drop a bit of a harsh truth about the Anime Fandom.

We don’t know how to talk about Lolis.

Something that’s too ingrained in anime to ignore, too much a part of Japanese culture, and frankly it’s way too uncomfortable to discuss without getting into hyperbolic political point scoring. Whether you like it, dislike it, or are somewhere in the middle, it is just something I think that the majority in the anime fandom do not wish/or are able to talk about. I’ve mentioned this little quote from the anime youtuber Mother’s Basement several times, but it bears repeating again, for it almost perfectly sums up the community’s view of Lolis.

“It’s the part we squint and look past in order to enjoy the things we love.”

So when something like this show comes along, it becomes rather difficult to discuss. Either way, after the cut, let’s take a shallow dive into the 2018 anime series Uzamaid!

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A Masterful Tightrope Act

Many people took one look at the poster of Uzamaid!, or watched the pilot episode and gave it a hard ‘nope.’ That’s understandable considering the premise. You are not wrong if that is how you felt, because I can understand that some of the ideas and concepts in the story are off-putting.

Yes, the story is about a maid, whose greatest goal in life is to “be a maid to a cute little white girl whom she can dress up.”

Yes, the story goes absolutely all in on that premise.

Yes, the comedy is very eyebrow raising at times

Yes, if the maid was a real person she would be arrested and imprisoned on the spot, as she should be.

Yes, making a comedy out of something like this could be considered a “step too far” especially since these things are serious and real issues.

Yet despite all of this, or perhaps because of it. Uzamaid! is probably one of the funniest animes this year. With stellar animation and an absolutely one of a kind female lead, it is a show that wilfully embraces the premise it presents. Kamoi Tsubame is a character that comes along maybe once every half-decade. A hilarious and over the top female lead with such a fresh take on a trope that has been around since anime has existed. An ex-air force pilot with a beyond perfect muscle-bound body whose only goal in life is to be a servant to a cute white girl is just so fucking anime and Uzamaid! goes all in on it. Tsubame’s over the top schemes to try and get closer to Misha are hilarious, absurd and just keep upping the ante over and over. Whether it is hang-gliding into the school, dressing up as an old lady, sneaking into an online game, or kidnapping Misha for a camping trip, Tsubame’s drive to be close her new master had me roaring with laughter for the sheer absurdity of it.

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How many muscle girls can you count in Anime? Tsubame might be the best.

And even with all that comedy, Uzamaid! is also something more: a heartwarming and touching story of dealing with grief and the loss of a parent. Misha’s story throughout the twelve episodes is rife with hilarious antics and wacky characters but also has several moments that show the sadness and pain of losing a mother at such a young age. Watching Misha slowly comes to terms with the fact that her mother is gone, getting back into the outside world, finding friends and rebuilding her life, and then confronting her self hatred of the idea that she has accepted her mother’s death was extremely effective. The final two episodes of the show, where some of Misha’s friends end up trespassing into her mother’s former workshop, the holy shrine Misha has dedicated to her mom that no one is allowed, is a story beat that was extremely well written and executed. Even more so, Tsubame’s ability to go from comedic obsessive, to stern and responsible help make the dramatic scenes land and show the viewer that yes, this maid does truly want to help Misha move on from her pain. In many regards, Misha’s story arc is a mirror of Kaede Azsuagawa’s from this year’s Bunny Girl Senpai.

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Midorin and the other characters are fun too, especially as they waste no time calling out Tsubame on her creepy behavior.

Uzamaid! is like I have said in my previous posts, a tightrope act. It had to walk it perfectly in order to balance the unsettling premise and the cuteness in which it wraps itself up in. While it won’t land with everyone if you give it a shot you will find a great black comedy that is also a heartwarming story of moving on from grief. For a show that could have played it a very narrow demographic, the fact that it decides to also be about something is impressive. Check it out if you are curious and see if you walk away with the same feelings I did.

Or just watch the ending theme over and over again. It’s just so fucking good.

 

 

 

 

 

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