Flash Review – Mayo Chiki!

Kinjiro Sakamachi is a tough cookie and needs to be. His little sister wakes him in the mornings by dropping an elbow on him, and his mother would do the same if she weren’t traveling the world wrestling bears. A bad case of upset tummy one day leads to him discovering the secret of Subaru Konoe, the esteemed butler of residential aristocrat Kanade Suzutsuki, which is that the dude is actually a dudette. But in turn, Subaru and Kanade discover his secret, which is that daily assault by the women in his life has given him a case of gynophobia. With collateral on each other, Kinjiro promises that mum’s the word on Subaru’s gender in exchange for their curing him of his fear of women.

The Gynophobia:

Kinjiro’s gynophobia is unique in that it doesn’t affect his behavior but is an automatic response. Whenever a woman so much as looks at him cross-eyed he gets a nosebleed, and heaven keep him from passing out if one hugs him. Not quite a faithful portrayal of a phobia, but after the third or fourth time a girl goes “Time for your treatment” right before shedding half her clothes, you realize his gynophobia is nothing more than this manga’s justification for getting the female cast to rub themselves against him.

The Lack of Communication:

Humans are flawed creatures and therefore prone to kerfuffles, but Mayo Chiki thinks characters jumping to conclusions without bothering to talk to one another can be labeled as a miscommunication. Conflict and strife is the backbone of drama, but you can’t just whip it up out of thin air because one character plugs their fingers into their ears and goes, “I can’t heeaaar yoooouuuu, lalalalalalala!”

The Flimsy Motivations:

Something lacking with conviction is character motivations. Generally, you can point at any random panel and say, “This character is doing this because xxx,” but I have to ask, is that really the case? More often than not, it feels like the characters were put in random scenarios and told to make up some reason for why they’re there.

The Verdict:

I watched the anime adaptation way back in the day and loved it because I was in that stage of my anime fandom where everything about the medium was fresh and exciting, but after revisiting this story in manga form, I realize it’s full of nothing but excuses. Excuses to get the girls half naked, excuses to create drama, and excuses to have the outlined plot happen. But the thing which makes me the saltiest has to be that it derives its title from a character who has no excuse for being in the series.

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