Sakamachi Kinjiro, aka Jiro, is a boy with problems. First he walks in on Konoe Subaru, the coolest boy in school, in the bathroom. As if that weren’t embarrassing enough, in doing so he discovers that Konoe is a pervert who wears girls’ underwear. Now an angry Konoe wants to beat Jiro to a bloody pulp. This brings us to another one of Jiro’s problems: he’s used to being beaten. His mother is a famous wrestler, his younger sister is just like her, and they regularly test their new moves on poor Jiro. These unfortunate circumstances have caused yet another problem: whenever a girl touches Jiro, his nose starts to bleed—not because he’s turned on, but because his subconscious mind has learned that if he starts bleeding, the beating will stop. So imagine his surprise when he realizes in the midst of Konoe’s attack that the coolest boy in school is actually a girl!
Konoe is butler to Suzutsuki Kanade, the daughter of a rich and powerful family. As a butler, she is forced to hide her gender. Now that Jiro has discovered her secret, Konoe is determined to beat it out of his consciousness. But before she can succeed, her mistress steps in. When Suzutsuki learns of Jiro’s fear of women, she strikes a deal with him. She and Konoe will help cure him of his fear if he will keep quiet about Konoe’s true gender. The trouble is that Suzutsuki is a sadist, so her “cure” is often worse than his phobia.
At first glance, Mayo Chiki! lacks complexity. The first volume is a string of awkward moments for Jiro, most of which occur because Suzutsuki’s idea of curing him involves causing Jiro as much discomfort as possible for her own pleasure. As the story progresses, however, one realizes that this is not entirely the case. Because Konoe is a butler and must disguise herself as a boy, many aspects of her life have been left undeveloped. Though Suzutsuki’s methods may place Jiro in countless tricky situations—which she does enjoy, sadist that she is—at heart, it is all in the best interest of her beloved butler. Konoe, too, has unexpected depth. Since she is forced to live as a boy in order to perform her duties, one might expect her whole personality would be geared towards the tough and masculine. Surprisingly, in her personal moments she is feminine and even vulnerable, and it is these unaddressed parts of her for which Suzutsuki is concerned. Finally, Jiro proves to be more than a wimpy kid who is battered by his family; although he may be physically weak, his strong heart is revealed in dangerous situations.
Mayo Chiki! contains a good deal of provocative near-nudity. There is also a scene in which Suzutsuki has Konoe chained to a bed and muzzled with a ring gag. Though her actions are intended to prevent Konoe from attacking Jiro, she does so with a decidedly S&M flair. For this reason, Mayo Chiki! is recommended for older teens and adults.
Mayo Chiki! vol. 1
by Hajime Asano
Art by Neet
Seven Seas Entertainment, LLC, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: Older Teen (16+)