My My Mai

Go Nagai is a fixture in the anime and manga world. Love him or (most likely) hate him, he is a prominent figure with his bizarre artwork, crude characters, and taste for grotesque sexuality. Although I'd rather get locked in a cage with rabid monkeys than watch a marathon of the man's material, I never realized that I'd see the day when somebody would blatantly try to rip off his style. And that, friends, is what My My Mai turns out to be...a very bad attempt to mimic Go Nagai.

Although the cover will tell you otherwise, Mai is a young woman who runs a consulting firm...just a simple consulting firm. She will, however, do whatever she has to in order to make sure her clients are satisfied with her services. But no, no, not like see where your mind is already headed? That's the kind of show My My Mai shoots for erotica, but in a backhanded way. It's not nice.

In the first segment, we watch Mai try and locate an unlicensed doctor (ala BlackJack) by going to a seedy strip joint. Why? Good question. She finds a nice young man who's great with acupuncture needles. But due to a strange condition, he wears a wig. Take the wig off, and he becomes the greatest surgeon in the world...except that he's criminally insane. Mai has to use said acupuncture needles in some sensitive (ahem!) places to try and cure the problem. The next segment shows us where Mai tries to help a superstar overcome his fear of nudity so he can do his upcoming love scenes. You figure out how she works on that phobia. There are two other segments involving ghosts and other stuff, but by that time my finger was on the fast forward button. Fast boring button, if you ask me.

My My Mai has lousy artwork, and that's from someone who likes stuff circa 1994, typically. The whole production screams of desperation. It's not inept, but it skirts the line. And for a show whose primary feature is fan service, you'd think that the parts shown would look better than they do. I'm not the kind who appreciates a lot of nudity in my anime, but if you gotta do it, at least make it look nice.

The reasons I mentioned Go Nagai before become apparent as you watch the show. You really couldn't create an homage that takes more out of his playbook. First, the show combines nudity and sex with the grotesque. The doctor in the first segment is really a horrible character, and his plans to do all sorts of vicious things to Mai don't work out, but they are still unpleasant. That's a Go Nagai tactic. Second, the show wants to be naughty without going for broke. Mai's set up as a virgin (amazingly enough), and the show wants us to believe that she's this wantonly sexual creature who still won't go all the way. It's an extended tease. Again, Go Nagai territory. Add in the supernatural creatures, the crappy character designs, and voila! Go Nagai!

Except...and it pains me to say this...this doesn't even strive for Go Nagai's level of craptitude. Hanappe Bazooka is extraordinarily crude, but it's funny. U-Jin Brand is bad, but occasionally can make you laugh. I'm not sure what the creators of My My Mai were really striving for. I can say that the first segment wasn't awful; it had logic holes the size of a small planet, but it was watchable enough. But the longer it went on, the worse it got, and the less pleasant it was. And that just continued for 90 minutes (or at least 50 minutes for me, until the remote finger got antsy).

My My Mai would make late-night on Cinemax look good. That's about the whole of it. I've seen too many worse shows to flunk it, but it's on the border.

My My Mai -- nudity, violence, sexuality -- D-