My Maid, Miss Kishi
Kiichiro Hayase has a reputation as the wealthiest, hottest, most eligible bachelor in town. But unfortunately, he has one major character flaw: being absurdly clumsy to the point where he needs someone to look after him! Enter Miss Kishi, the most competent, professional maid around who's constantly making sure that her boss doesn't keep tripping over his own two feet. She's cool and stern, which leads Kiichiro to worry that she's unhappy deep down. Will he be able to show his gratitude and make her happy, or will he crash and burn along the way?
My Maid, Miss Kishi is translated by Kayli Sullivan.
It's really hard to recommend romantic comedies that revolve around a singular idea or gimmick. I'm of the opinion that a good writer can get incredible emotional and comedic mileage out of just the simplest of ideas, and seeing how far some creators are able to take certain premises is among the reasons I enjoy reading manga and watching anime so much. However, when it comes to romantic comedies in particular, the same simple framework can be incredibly hit or miss, creating stories that are either emotionally impactful or mind-numbingly cluttered and messy. I wouldn't call My Maid, Miss Kishi a bad story by any means, but it unfortunately leans more towards the latter than the former.
While its premise is incredibly simple and its humor effective, My Maid, Miss Kishi has a bunch of little distracting elements that add up to make the story a lot less enjoyable than I think it means to be. One of those distractions comes in the form of the main character Kiichiro, whose gimmick basically revolves around the fact that he is perfect in every way, shape and form outside of his clumsiness. But while the contrast makes sense on paper, the book is a little unclear regarding how far his capabilities and ineptitude actually goes. This man is rich, successful, and handsome, giving off impressively strong himbo energy. His straightforward attitude can be charming, but it's not all that engaging, and I feel like the word “clumsiness” severely downplays the general ineptitude he displays around mundane tasks, which I find more concerning than funny. This guy trips over everything, and in one section of the book he reveals a complete inability to put on clothes by himself that seemingly came out of nowhere. It's less effective contrast than inconsistent characterization, and it feels like the book just wants me to go along with anything it puts on paper for the sake of comedy.
Sometimes the manga is clearer with how we get from point A to point B, but other times it cuts right to an event transpiring while hoping the audience can fill in the blanks themselves. This gets to my second issue with the overall layout of the story: the panel-to-panel transitions leave a lot to be desired. The result is that some of the gags are more confusing than funny, and the emotional and intimate moments are rendered less impactful because the transitions are so abrupt. It's a shame, because I think the artwork is generally nice and very appealing, with the stand out being the way Miss Kishi is drawn and framed throughout the book,
Even the best element of this book gets a bit bogged down by this scatterbrained approach in its story and presentation. Miss Kishi is the stoic, “tell it like it is” character that does act as a good foil to her boss. She's very capable and very blunt with regards to why she does the things that she does. My favorite part of the book was actually something early on where she admitted that part of the reason why she puts up with everything is because the pay is so good. The two leads have good chemistry together, and every now and then, they share a moment that makes the romantic framing between them believable. Despite the over-exaggerated and inconsistent portrayal of Kiichiro's sole character flaw, the book makes a good enough case as to why he would want Miss Kishi to stay close and show his gratitude.
There's clearly something going on behind that emotionless demeanor that Miss Kishi's giving off, but I don't think the book does a good enough job of highlighting that. There are times where you can feel a sense of relief or levity from the character in a way that feels genuine, but other times it's a little perplexing regarding what emotions she's processing. I would say that this is the book's attempt at trying to be mysterious and build up a sense of curiosity in the reader but given how messy some of its other elements are, I'm not super sure. Some chapters will end with a significant display of emotion from Miss Kishi, but there's no follow-up or cool-down moment to really appreciate the weight of what is being felt in those well-drawn panels.
Overall, My Maid, Miss Kishi comes off as a story that doesn't take full advantage of its premise. Its humor is hampered by how unfocused a lot of its key elements are. While our two leads have decent chemistry, some emotional beats are left hanging in a way that doesn't feel satisfying. Personally, I don't think I'll be returning to the series anytime soon. While not terrible, I definitely think there are stronger romantic comedies out there with similar character dynamics that are much more worth your time.
Overall : C
Story : C
Art : B-
+ The two leads have decent romantic chemistry
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