Hand Maid May (HAND MAID メイ Hand Maid Mei?) is an anime series released in 2000 in Japan, directed by Shinichiro Kimura, written by Kazuki Matsui and Jyuzo Mutsuki, and produced by Pioneer Animation (now Geneon Entertainment). It is an eleven episode maid comedy series with elements of a harem anime, and also makes use of plenty of fan service. It centers on the adventures of the main character, Kazuya Saotome and a robotic cyberdoll named May. Formerly available from Pioneer/Geneon in the United States, it is now out of print.
Kazuya Saotome is a nerdy second year engineering student at Ochanomizu Kougyou Daigaku (Ochanomizu Industrial University), in the Denshi Kougakubu, Denshi Ouyougaku (Electrical Engineering, Applied Electronics) program. His birthday is October 18, 1981, and his dream is to build a Doraemon (robot). He is currently trying to develop an artificially intelligent robot that happens to look like a toy squid. The story begins when Kazuya’s wealthy rival, Kotaro Nanbara, gives him a computer program that supposedly will provide valuable information to help with Kazuya’s research and development. In actuality, the program is a virus that Nanbara created in order to infect Kazuya’s computer and destroy all of his work. While attempting to fix his infected computer, Kazuya somehow accidentally orders a cyberdoll from the Cyberdyne Corporation website. Almost immediately, a woman appears at Kazuya’s door with a small package containing a cyberdoll named Hand Maid May. May is a palm-sized robotic doll who’s very sensitive and sympathetic to Kazuya’s feelings, likes, and needs. She has to be plugged into Kazuya’s computer via a homemade cable in order to recharge her batteries because May’s official recharging equipment was accidentally broken when Kazuya first received her. The early part of the storyline focuses on Nanbara trying to get May taken away from Kazuya due to his inability to pay for her. Nanbara enlists the help of several other cyberdolls to attempt to take May away from Kazuya, but all of them end up falling for Kazuya and failing to retrieve May.
In the latter part of the anime May is upgraded to a lifesize version of herself, after Kazuya receives a visit from a mysterious visitor who wishes to promote Kazuya's artificial intelligence research. The situation complicates further when Kazuya's human friend Kasumi begins to get jealous of all the cyberdolls flirting with Kazuya and they all compete to see who can go on a date with him. The last segment of the story deals with Kazuya and May having to deal with a virus which is shutting down all of the cyberdolls, and a couple of mysterious visitors who turn out to be related to Kazuya and Nanbara in the future.
- Kazuya Saotome (早乙女 和也 Saotome Kazuya?)
- Voice: Takayuki Yamaguchi / Steve Cannon
Kazuya is an 19 year old electrical engineering student with a passion for building robots, primarily a robot squid which he calls Ikariya and implementing an AI system into it. He's a bit absent-minded and is clueless when it comes to girls. He has two sisters as shown in the 7th episode. However it is later revealed that in the future, his work with Ikariya will eventually become the basis for the M.a.i.d. Program (short for Meet Ai Departure, a Japanese in-joke for the entire series, as Ai means Love in Japanese). Kazuya lives in apartment 204 of Kasumi Sou (Kasumi House). His life becomes more complicated but yet more satisfying after the arrival of cyberdoll May and the subsequent Cyberdolls that become part of his life.
- Cyberdoll May (サイバドール・メイ Saibadōru Mei?)
- Voice: Maria Yamamoto / Lia Sargent
Kazuya receives May, a hand sized 1/6th scale cyberdoll, in a package from Cyberdyne Co. (not to be confused with The Terminator's robotic company, Cyberdyne Systems) because of an accidental order which happened as a result of a revenge tactic planted in a CD from his rival, Nanbara. A cyberdoll, May was never paid for by Kazuya. Cyberdolls can control traffic lights and simple electronics and connect to personal computers via what may or may not be USB cables. She later becomes a human-sized 17 year old version (Type G-99(D)-JPS). Her personality is innocent, and at times childish and naive, though she also shows surprising insight and is always able to cheer Kazuya up. Unlike the other Cyberdolls, May's Maid Program had evolved, making her more human and resistant to the retro-cybervirus that threatened the other Cyberdolls. She shows strong feelings of affection toward Kazuya and is often competing with Kasumi. In the last episode it has also been stated that she can give birth.
- Kasumi Tani (谷 かすみ Tani Kasumi?)
- Voice: Mikako Takahashi / Michelle Ruff
Kasumi is the 18 year old daughter of the owners of Kasumi house, a small wooden apartment building. Her window faces Kazuya's window, so she uses a long ladder that runs from his balcony to hers as a bridge to pay him a visit, along with Rena. Because she's a close friend of Kazuya's, she often lets him get away with overdue rent payments. In addition to being a college student, Kasumi is very active, athletic, and likes baseball. She is a coach for the local little league baseball team, and her uniform number is 33. She has been known to refer to herself as "boku" (the Japanese male form of I). Kasumi is also somewhat of a tomboy but she has a very kind side. She holds special feelings toward Kazuya and will wear more revealing outfits when coming to visit him. She sees the Cyberdolls, primarily May, as a friendly rival for his affections.
- Kotaro Nanbara (南原 耕太郎 Nanbara Kōtarō?)
- Voice: Yūji Ueda / Bob Marx
He is the self-proclaimed "best friend and worst enemy" of Kazuya Saotome. Nanbara is very rich with an eccentric, egomaniacal personality. He is jealous of constantly being outdone in projects by the poor Kazuya and will do anything to see him suffer. It was his virus that caused Kazuya to inadvertently to order May. Nanbara gets Sara to do his chores by offering ramen in exchange. Though very antagonistic against May in her smaller form, he falls head over heels in love when she is enlarged to human size. It was later revealed that he and Kazuya will form the Cyberdyne Corporation that produces the Cyberdolls and will be run by their descendants.
- Cyberdoll Sara (サイバドール・サラ Saibadōru Sara?)
- Voice: Kyōko Hikami / Wendee Lee
Sara (Af-77LC-CHN) is a 23 year old cyberdoll from Cyberdyne's customer service division, and is apparently Chinese in origin. She is very addicted to ramen and seems to have an endless stomach for it. Her goal early on is to repossess Cyberdoll May because Kazuya did not pay for her. Sara's name is inspired by Sarah Connor from the Terminator series. The company that she works for is yet another reference to the same movie series. She later develops a bit of a crush on Kazuya. It is worth noting that in the last episode another delivery CyberDoll comes to Kazuya's apartment that looks exactly like Sara except with pink hair.
- Cyberdoll Rena (サイバドール・レナ Saibadōru Rena?)
- Voice: Rie Kugimiya / Reba West
At first Rena (Cf-3357L-JPA) appears to be a lost 9 year old girl, discovered by Kazuya and May. However, she is another cyberdoll sent by Cyberdyne to recover May. Rena decides that she likes Kazuya and Ikariya and does not return with May to Cyberdyne, instead she moves in with Kasumi. In the Japanese audio, she is referred to by everyone, including herself, exclusively as "Rena-chan."
- Cyberdoll Kei (サイバドール・ケイ Saibadōru Kei?)
- Voice: Omi Minami / Jane Arden
Kei (Af-444LC-JPN) is a 21 year old genius cyberdoll said to have an IQ of 50,000 in human terms. Kei is originally given the mission of formulating a strategy to get May back. She becomes interested in Kazuya after hearing how he regards cyberdolls and changes her mind. Kei's memory bank of facts is extensive, but she often takes a while to process information that is more abstract. At times, abstract or philosophical questions can cause her CPU to lock up. She later forms a crush on Kazuya and takes up residence in his closet.
- Cyberdoll Mami (サイバドール・マミ Saibadōru Mami?)
- Voice: Kikuko Inoue / Dorothy Melendrez
Mami (Af-863LD-USNY), age 31, is from Cyberdyne's American branch and is a combination of both Japanese and American cultures (such has both a kimono and roller blades). She frequenty has the habit of saying "Oh, my, my" when amazed. She arrives later to help Kazuya around the house, and is extraordinarily gifted at all domestic tasks, which causes May to be jealous. Even so, Mami tries to pair Kazuya and May up. She's an absolute genius in domestic skills and child care, and is later revealed to be the caretaker of Kazuya's descendant Takuya Saotome. Instead of shoes, she gets around on roller blades and is quite the skater. She is able to maneuver around traffic at high speeds, and can even skate on walls.
- Ikariya (イカリヤ Ikariya?)
- Voice: Miwa Yasuda / Ian Hawk
A robotic squid, Kazuya's Doraemon Research Project. It is primitive compared to the cyberdolls. Rena has a fondness for Ikariya, taking it where she goes. It is probable that Ikariya may be the prototype to Kazuya's AI project in which eventually becomes the Maid Program, the core OS of all Cyberdolls. Kazuya make periodical upgrades to Ikariya throughout the anime. With those upgrades, Ikariya gains his own personality.
- He is Saotome Kazuya's next door neighbour. He sometimes make huge crushing sounds causing Kasumi to run back to chase him for the rent. He also helps to provide ice blocks for Kasumi to lower the temperature of the cyberdolls in Episode 10. He shows up again with no appearance but with crushing sounds in the Last Episode. It also seems only Kasumi and May saw his appearance. The name Shikishima might be a reference to Professor Shikishima of Tetsujin 28 and the crushing sounds might be the attempts Shikishima trying to rebuild Tetsujin. After the credits in episode 10, it is hinted that Shikishima has possibly finished rebuilding Tetsujin.
- Cyber-X/Takuya Saotome
- He is Kazuya's descendant. His appearance comes with a red trenchcoat, white pants, and a yellow hat. He wears a type of muscle suit that covers his torso and arms with specifications (Which is to hide his obese body). He has specially designed helmet that has an opening mouthpiece to eat or drink (Especially milk which is his favorite). He first appears in the second episode watching over May. In the same episode he guides Kazuya (Without his knowledge) to May who was lost in the city. He fully introduces himself in the 5th episode after May is repossessed. He shows interest in Kazuya's research with Artificial Intelligence, he then allows Kazuya to choose a CyberDoll for research. To Kazuya's request he arranges May to be returned to him and in a full-sized body as a bonus. His main ability lies in his incredibly fast typing skills, which even with only one hand was able to keep up with Kotoro's long and fast password. He isn't fully unmasked until after the credits in the 10th episode. He shown with green hair and wearing orange lens glasses with red trim.
- Commando Z/Totaro Nabara
- The so-called 'Wandering President of Cyberdyne,' is every bit as egomaniacal as his ancestor Kotaro, although he has a stronger streak of common sense. He normally wears a kind of scarlet bodysuit and cape (A reference to Kaiketsu Zubat), and makes a big production during his introductions (His introduction dialogue is very similar to Kaiketsu Zubat's). Apparently, he and Kazuya's descendant has formed a partnership in running Cyberdyne, with Takuya in research and development and Totaro handling the financial ends. He comes to Kotaro to warn him and Kazuya about the virus.
In the last episode, it is revealed that Cyberdolls are capable of conceiving and bearing children (or just May). This leaves the future spouse of Saotome undecided.
- "Jump ~ Meippai Dakishimete" by P-Chicks
- "Honto no Kimochi" (True Feelings) by Mikako Takahashi
Supporting voice cast
Some VA's are hard to identify in the English version due to insufficient credits.
- Cyber-X - Shin-ichiro Miki / Sam Strong
- Commando-Z - Nobutoshi Canna / John Holmes
- Gin Munakata (playing Kintaro Yamazaki) - Nobutoshi Canna / Lex Lang
- Naomi Ryuzaki (playing Mika Rokujoin) - Ema Kogure
- Tosshinta Yamada (playing Versailles Juliano) - Kishō Taniyama
- Den Tadokoro - Toshiaki Kuwahara
- Hiroshi Daimon - Katsuyuki Konishi
- Masato Zin - Miwa Yasuda / Mona Marshall
- Miyuki Zin - Ema Kogure / Sandy Fox
- Hikari Komyoji - Shōko Kikuchi / PJ Lee
- Aoi Saotome - Asako Dodo
- Midori Saotome - Jun Mizuki
- Chigusa Tani - Kae Araki / Lynn Fischer
- Hand Maid May at the Internet Movie Database
- Hand Maid May (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia