Oh, yeah. Real subtle.
You can look up, Lennier of the Third Fane of Chudomo. Lennier:
It is forbidden. Delenn:
I can't have an aide who won't look up. You'll forever be walking into things.
The archetype of a young man kept under the heel of his typically older female employer. Usually she takes a certain amount of pleasure from teasing him, asking him to get coffee
, and generally watching him squirm. The fact that she's often The Wonka
means that he usually rolls his eyes at her exploits, but nonetheless follows her diligently, so there's often overlap with Beleaguered Assistant
Despite this, the woman usually does
genuinely care about the boy, she just shows it in a very strange way. She's often a grown-up Tsundere
or a Defrosting Ice Queen
, and may act the way she does because she has trouble showing affection. Hypocritical Heartwarming
is likely to occur at some point.
Note that this relationship doesn't have to be romantic or sexual in nature, and may simply be a mentor/student relationship meant to help the young man develop. There are often elements of UST
, but more often than not it goes unresolved. If the age gap is big enough, the mistress may mother her servant boy instead.
Compare Lady and Knight
which is more about the guy protecting his lady/mistress than serving but overlap is possible. A major difference is the knight will usually choose to serve the lady out of love, chivalry, duty etc while the servant boy is more likely to be hired or indentured.
Compare and contrast Pizza Boy Special Delivery
, Cheating with the Milkman
, and Sleeping with the Boss
, for when the relationship is primarily sexual.
Also see Subordinate Excuse
for when more personal reasons are involved in their working relationship.
Anime and Manga
- Yuuko and Watanuki in Xxx Holic (see page image). From making him get her expensive and rare types of alcohol to having him follow her around carrying her stuff while she slices a woman's computer clean in half without scratching the table. Yes, with a baseball bat. As employers go, Yuuko is pretty... unique. Watanuki considers himself to be her slave, but she cares far more about his well-being than is initially obvious. And it turns out, as the audience learns in a very heart-rending way about 3/4 through the series, the feeling is mutual
- Clamp also have a male example in Legal Drug with Kakei and his store workers Rikuo and Kazahaya, whom he loves to make squirm and whom he sends on shady missions to retrieve supernatural objects that he intentionally withholds important information on (in one case: that Kazahaya is going to drown). The mirroring of dynamic in Xxx Holic is very apparent.
- Ryoko and Izumida in The Case Files of Yakushiji Ryoko. This is the main feature that the light novel series is known for, even though both of them are the main protagonists.
- Ekaterina and Kukrachyov, the pilots of Valspinner from Shinkon Gattai Godannar!!, which actually used the combination command "Slave On". It even became a plot point of how submissive and "unmanly" Kukrachyov is when the male pilots one after the other flip out from the virus. Just to drive the point home, Shadow, one of America's lesbian pilots, is the only girl affected by it because she's the "manly" one of the two girls
- Louise from Zero no Tsukaima takes the "Mistress" bit just a bit farther than most, treating Saito more like a slave (to the point of having a whip) but over time she becomes less Tsun and more Dere towards him.
- Medaka often drags childhood friend Zenkichi along for whatever quirky misadventure that she decides to undertake, and he tends to act like something of a closet Tsundere concerning it. It goes far enough that Fandom pegs Zenkichi as her personal boy toy, affectionately (and more) or otherwise.
- Rin does this to Maeno a few times in Mnemosyne, comparing finding him to finding a lost puppy, when she first meets him. She also intentionally plays up the Les Yay with her assistant Mimi in order to make him squirm. As time goes by she respects him more and more, to the point that he turns into an angel to save her.
- Tohko and Mikiya in Kara no Kyoukai are a more subtle example (plus Touko flirts with Shiki too, so her orientation is anyone's guess), but Shiki and Mikiya also have aspects of this at times, especially considering how much he follows her around (to the point that when she's in a coma the nurses at the hospital call him "Puppy-kun" since he visits so regularly).
- Revy and Rock's relationship in Black Lagoon. In a conversation with Eda; Revy does reveal that she hasn't been able to make Rock sleep with her yet. Of course, Revy has a funny definition of "trying"...
- To an extent, Haruhi and Kyon in Suzumiya Haruhi qualify, as Haruhi is the brigade leader and Kyon basically has the lowest rank. They even employ the Necktie Leash trope on occasion but they are generally more peaceful than others as Haruhi doesn't do harm to him for emotional reasons. In the later novels, Kyon seems to acknowledge her as The Leader.
- This is definitely how the rest of the school views them. "Right, Kyon, you're normal. Sure. You're Suzumiya's minion and you're trying to pull that?"
- Haruhi seems to think of them this way. In the movie after a long list of outrageous titles for Haruhi the credits say "Menial Labor: Kyon".
- Benika and Shinkurou of Kurenai. Mostly a mentor/protégé relationship, as Shinkurou earnestly admires Benika and constantly seeks her approval.
- Katina and Russel's relationship in the Super Robot Wars Original Generation games occasionally carries undertones of this.
- It's actually a recurring element with some individuals. Viletta's pretty stoic, but she is a pretty harsh teacher especially when it comes to Ryusei. They spend a good deal of time relatively alone in Alpha Gaiden (it makes sense in context), and she works him to the bone. However, she has never acted in a way that contradicts her role of a mentor.
- Eva from Monster has two bouts of this. One with her gardener the other with her bodyguard. Neither ends well.
- Opposite of this exists in Hayate the Combat Butler. Hayate is the servant to Nagi, Nagi is the younger and also the one Hayate's attempting to teach. She also clearly has a crush on him.
- It's also possible that it's again opposites in Wataru and Saki's case.
- The dynamic is probably strongest with Hayate and Athena, however.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Fanon often portrays Adiane and Viral as an example of this trope, mostly based on Viral's stoic acceptance of Adiane's abuse for letting her lover be killed by Team Gurren.
- While not a direct master/servant relationship, Ichigo and Yoruichi of Bleach fulfill this trope when training together, She seems to enjoy teasing him by going naked every once in a while.
- In an early episode of the Trigun anime, badass gunslinger Vash the Stampede (who really doesn't know how to deal with women) falls immediately into such a relationship, Played for Laughs, with a beautiful female engineer who arrives to fix the town's power plant.
- In Seto no Hanayome, Lunar attempts to force Nagasumi into one of these relationships despite (or rather, because of) his engagement to Sun.
- The relationship between Haji and Saya began this way in Blood+, with Haji as a surly cute boy and Saya as a well intentioned but tyrannical teenager. After finding out the reason for Haji's antipathy—he was sold as a slave to her guardian, Joel—Saya becomes friendlier and their relationship improves.
- Age-flipped in Angel Links, where the teenage yet well-endowed Meifon Li has a twenty-something Boy Friday named Kosei Hida.
- Sumire and Momo's relationship is like this in Tramps Like Us, although unusually, Momo is quite enthusiastic about being Sumire's pet.
- Liang Qi and Cummings of Canaan are a particularly dark example of this trope. Liang Qi couldn't care less about Cummings and mostly vents her frustrations on him using an airsoft gun, and Cummings harbors a one-sided affection for her to the point that he eventually starts to like her abuse, while Liang Qi harbors her own one-sided love for Alphard to a truly obsessive extent. Cummings' loyalty to Liang Qi is so great, in fact, that he's the one who gives her a Mercy Kill after she tries to give herself synethesia and it backfires horribly, and at the end of the series he's shown to have become a monk and still thinks of Liang Qi fondly.
- Now, while Ren has three separate masters in They Are My Noble Masters, it’s invoked by both Shinra & Miyu. Both are older than he is. Both tease him mercilessly. Neither one have any issue invoking an Accidental Pervert scenario upon him. And for the icing, he has UST with both sisters, involving his wandering hands with Miyu and Shinra’s various come-ons that lead nowhere. Well, that is until the Grand Finale where Shinra rams her tongue down Ren’s throat.
- This trope is explored with Ririchiyo and Miketsukami from Inu X Boku SS, though it's not enough to be called a Deconstruction. Both of them are trying to become more humanenote to each others, and it's an awkward process.
- Tomoe, the servant, and Nanami, the mistress from Kamisama Kiss. Played with since Tomoe is much older and more powerful than her, and not even human, Nanami can bend him to her will thanks to the familiar contract. She also starts to fall in love with him, an idea Tomoe finds repulsive at least at first.
- The Masters of Barley: As CEO of her late father's beer brewing company, Adrienne Steenfort has a younger male assistant who obviously has a crush on her.
- On Battlestar Galactica (the reboot), Laura Roslin's relationship with her aide Billy had elements of this.
- While he's not really her assistant, Defrosting Ice Queen / Magnificent Bastard Adelle DeWitt and Geeky Mad Scientist Topher Brink have this kind of relationship on Dollhouse. Their relationship winds up seeming somewhat like a mother and son, though at first many fans thought it would turn romantic.
- Delenn and Lennier in Babylon 5 have a non-romantic version. Delenn cares for Lennier like he was family but Lennier loves her in a more than romantic way but knows he isn't meant to be with her.
- The relationship between Cersei and Lancel Lannister from Game of Thrones certainly comes across as this.
- In Downton Abbey, it appears that the footman Jimmy Kent had a similar relationship with his previous employer, Lady Anstruther. He even writes her Valentine's cards while employed at Downton. We don't actually see Lady Anstruther for the first two series in which Jimmy appeared, though; however, she appears in Series 5 and nothing so far contradicts what we've gleaned from Jimmy's prior account.
- Soda Stereo's very steamy song "Juego de Seducción" ("The Seduction Game") opens with the narrator telling his girlfriend that he wants them to roleplay as this while in the bedroom. Among other things.
"Voy a ser tu mayordomo, y vos haràs el rol de señora bien...
" ("I'm gonna pose as your butler, and you will have the role of a high-class lady...
- Judging from the lyrics, Smash Mouth's "Always Gets Her Way" is about a couple with this kind of dynamic. Played with, though, in that the girl tries to act like a "Mistress" type lady, but has some Hidden Depths that the boy seems to find irresistable (she secretly loves punk rock, for one thing).
- The Shadows of Mexico setting for Vampire: The Requiem shows a deconstruction of this trope in the relationship between the Harpy Mariposa and her poor PR agent/childe Colibri. Mariposa often humiliates Colibri in front of Mexico's other vampires, treating her as little more than a punching bag, but she actually does care about her in private. This just makes Colibri even crazier!
- ...actually, this pretty much sums up the relationship of most of the female and a few male vampires in this game with anyone with lower Status than them.
- A literal (but not precisely fulfilling the trope) and very tragic example comes from August Strindberg's play Miss Julie. It's about class and lust and power and people end up dead.
- Some productions modernize the play a little (its from 1888) by making the play with themes of racism; for instance in the 2012 production Mies Julie which is set in post-Apartheid South Africa.
- Candi and Buck in the musical Zanna, Don't!.
- Taro gets the title "Rozy's Servant" in Disgaea 2 for a reason.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Midna initially considers her relationship with Link to be this. She comes to respect him more after her Character Development.
- Pit and Palutena in Kid Icarus: Uprising. Palutena seems to enjoy teasing Pit every now and then, but also is clear she cares for him.
- Touhou: Yuyuko and Youmu has some shades of this, mostly because Yuyuko ia a Bunny-Ears Lawyer compared to other mistress-type characters.
- In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, you get this, dashed with Beleaguered Assistant with L'Arachel and her "loyal" followers, Dozla and Rennac. Dozla just seems happy to go fight and kill whoever or whatever L'Arachel tells him to, while Rennac plays the "Beleaguered" part to the hilt, being practically dragged along by L'Arachel everywhere. The conversation having L'Arachel properly recruit Rennac is a stock example of this trope.
- Mistress and Apprentice Ivan from the NSFW Oglaf very much have this dynamic. Mistress is also a supremely powerful sorceress who rules an evil kingdom and is a sadistic monster so her form of 'sexual teasing' is a little more extreme than usual. In fact, Ivan's predecessor had had a firewand used on him as a strap-on that then activated.
- Sette and Duane from Unsounded have this dynamic, with the twist that Sette is prepubescent.
- While the "boy" in question is a robot and there's no caring involved, The Nostalgia Chick and her new Sex Bot fit into this. She uses it strictly for her own pleasure and it even calls her "mistress".
- Madonna and Carlos Leon / Jesus Luz /whoever.