January 19th, 2011

X-Force 45

Manga/Dorama review: Mei-chan no Shitsuji (Mei's Butler) by Riko Miyagi

Girl's manga Mei-chan no Shitsuji/Mei's Butler knows no limits. According to Wikipedia, the manga sells in the millions, the 10-episode TV dorama grabbed between 12% and 17% of Japan each episode, and the DVD was the second-best DVD seller in June of 2009. Now it's being made into a play, which sold out the day tickets went on sale.

The basic concept: a young girl named Mei, thirteen in the manga and fifteen or sixteen in the TV show, is raised poor--but then finds she's actually the displaced heiress to a huge fortune! Not only is she suddenly rich, but she finds that a gorgeous guy named Rihito has been assigned to be her butler, and this twenty-one year old hunk lives to do anything she asks. LIVES for it. It's all he wants! He glories in picking up her socks!

Mei transfers to an elite private school where her sweet nature wins over the snobby rich girls (all of whom have hottie butlers). Mei is adamant about not being interested in her new school's luxuries; it's a third the size of Tokyo, comes complete with its own private helicopter, expensive furniture and fine dining. Of course, she has a male best friend who just happens to be Rihito's younger brother, who is madly in love with Mei and decides that it's HIS goal in life to learn to properly pick up her socks too.

In other words, it's every bad romance stereotype balled into a pink package with butlers, but any romance succeeds or fails on how its written.

So: is it any good?

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Basically, the TV show is great if you like over-the-top silly comedy, and the manga is a disaster any way you look at it. I'm a fan of a lot of the actresses in the new play, so I can only hope they go more for the TV show in their adaptation.


View the dorama here.

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