Ikemen galore08 December, 2009 by Chad
Mei-chan no Shitsuji (Mei-chan’s Butler) is a comedy drama based on the Shojo manga of the same name. Eikura Nana (who played the supporting role in Proposal Daisakusen) takes the lead role this time as Mei. Mizushima Hiro (Zettai Kareshi) plays her butler Rihito and Sato Takeru her other love interest, Kento. Mr. Brain was this year’s Change but could Mei-chan no Shitsuji be likened this year’s Hana Yori Dango?
While the adorable Eikura Nana has had a successful career as a gravure idol, the tomboy tries to rely not just on her looks, opting to play unflattering roles in many of her shows. But a slapstick comedy like Mei-chan and its exaggerated scenes, provide little opportunity to showcase any acting ability. The producers must have some fun pitting the actors Mizushima and Sato against each other for Eikura’s affection. Mizushima Hiro played Kamen Rider Kabuto in 2006 and Sato Takeru was Kamen Rider Den-O back in 2007.
Like most Japanese dramas, Mei-chan no Shitsuji doesn’t stray too far from its source material. The show features a conventional Shojo manga storyline. The nerdy Mei lived a simple life with her parents, till their accidental death one day. This resuls in her discovering that she is actually the heiress to one of the weathiest corporations in Japan and is forced to attend the St. Lucia Girls Academy, where she has to train to be a proper lady. In this school for wealthy girls, each lady has to have a butler, which is where the Kamen riders come into place.
While some people might be put off by the story, it was one of the reasons why I was attracted to this show at the time. Not having any other show in recent times to fill the void of Hana Yori Dango, I turned to Mei-chan no Shitsuji. The show focuses on the troubles Mei faces while trying to earn her classmate’s acceptance. It leads her into many amusing situations. Unlike in the manga, the element of romance is kept to a low until the later parts of the show.
What’s interesting about the story is that unlike other Shojo mangas, Mei doesn’t truly “transform” into her new princess role. Instead she stays as herself and tries to win the trust of the other girls and butlers.
Mei-chan no Shitsuji is exactly what you would expect from a lighthearted romance comedy. The plot is predictable and the few serious events scattered in the show didn’t last long enough to warrant any concern. While endearing, the show doesn’t run long enough for viewers to invest emotionally in any of the characters. However, the comedic elements of the show are pulled off well and Mei-chan no Shitsuji did manage to put a smile on my face from time to time.