OP: Su, Suki Janai! 「す、好きじゃない!」by ≠Me
「 最近雇ったメイドが怪しい」 (Saikin Yatotta Meido ga Ayashii)
“The Maid I Hired Recently Is Mysterious”
Saikin Yatotta Maid ga Ayashii’s first episode has a difficult task at hand. While the troublesome yet popular niche of older women being attracted to younger boys has shown up a lot more in anime, its best way of reaching a wider audience is to undercut any of the powerplays that comes at hand from such a character dynamic. At the very least, that much was accomplished with Episode 01.
BLESS THIS MESS
Kinsou no Vermeil got it easy from me because they didn’t make Alto too young or impressionable to hit any of the major red flags that come from the manga that get slapped with the “straight shota” tag. Funny enough, this particular anime gets loopy for me isn’t so much whether it’s morally ethical to consume, but how any of this came to fruition.
My suspension of disbelief can allow a number of things to skirt past me, but how is Yuuri able to stay in the mansion by himself if he has no means of paying for anything? Lilith is happy to provide her services for free and she likely has a bottomless credit card she can pull from, but how has he even stayed afloat for all this time?
Ciel in Kuroshitsuji was written to have inherited his parents’ business after they died, but Yuuri had no such setup. Mostly, Yuuri was left to his devices as he’d hemorrhage money to keep the servants he did have after his parents were gone.
My best guess was that the few family members he did have contact with begrudgingly gave him just enough to afford living in the mansion alone once Yuuri made it clear he would live by himself. If he didn’t have a family member to cover utilities for him instead of whatever expenses they would’ve had to pay for if he moved with them would make sense.
I’m not expecting a concrete answer since it’s one of those nitpicks that could easily be shut down with a “Shut up and stop overthinking this.” But at the same time, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about if the plot would take a dramatic turn towards forcing Yuuri to fight to stay in the mansion. Is the little fella gonna be alright? That concerns me more than whether Lilith comes clean about her identity.
The real meat and potatoes of Saikin Yatotta Maid ga Ayashii is its biggest strength though as it manages to create a fun rapport between Yuuri and Lilith. Yuuri constantly has to rethink how he approaches Lilith as he’s heavily skeptical about why she comes off as too good to be true.
I’d imagine that Lilith is either a family friend or a supernatural being watching over the family, and by making that Yuuri’s main goal for the series, it allows the show not to dip so much into the fetish nature of capturing the attention of an older woman. It also allows many of their exchanges to be focused on Yuuri’s exceedingly silly methods of trying to find out whether Lilith is enchanted with magic or not.
As with most shows like this, you might be watching this because the older woman is hot enough that you might ignore some of the unfortunate implications of the show’s main ship. It does feel weird for Lilith to be as invested in whether Yuuri is attracted to her or not, especially when many of Yuuri’s complaints about her are that there’s no way a human would be as beautiful as she is.
It feels like Yuuri studied a Thesaurus just so that he could have every adjective known to man on hand when he’s exasperated about how captivating Lilith is. I think I noticed the pattern when every complaint from Yuuri was just him barely disguising his attraction to her, which is extremely dangerous since she seems to have no reservations about potentially getting involved with a young boy.
If I’m going to say something bold yet controversial, I see the potential for it to hopefully share the same kind of charm and quirkiness as a series like SPY x FAMILY. In that series, you have comedy built around Anya, Loid, and Yor pretending to be a family despite having only a basic understanding of each other’s true identities. In Saikin Yatotta Maid ga Ayashii, it’s pretty funny to see how Yuuri and Lilith approach each other with the same kind of confusion. Where Yuuri is building Lilith up to be this evil master sorceress who has ulterior motives for helping him, whereas Lilith assumes that Yuuri has his own personal reasons why he’s constantly scrutinizing her work.
I can see it eventually balancing out and becoming a more commonplace age-gap ecchi anime, but I’m hopeful that the fun, quirkier sides of Episode 01 wind up coming through as the episodes go forward. It might still dip into the pervier or more unsettling territory with a possible relationship blossoming between the two, but I want to give it the benefit of the doubt because Jahy clicked well with me, and it’d be sad if this didn’t recapture that kind of magic. That is, if she really does have magic powers!
ED: Himitsu no Niwa no Futari「秘密の庭のふたり」by Horie Yui