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Visual Novel: They Are My Noble Masters
Being a butler sure is tough!
Ren and his older sister Mihato run away from their abusive father, setting foot in the big city and determined to make it through together. Finding a job isn't easy though, but things look up when Ren helps a girl who faints from the summer heat. She appears to be a member of a very rich family and they just happen to be looking for a new butler and a maid.

So before they fully realize it, Ren and Mihato are hired by the Kuonji family, consisting of the three quirky sisters Shinra (a classical conductor), Miyu (a genius inventor) and Yume (a school girl and the youngest). The staff they employ are perhaps even crazier than the bosses, if that is in any way possible, and Ren finds his days filled with dealing with the hijinks of his demanding masters, his zany colleagues and his jealous sister - not to mention all the people that walk in and out of the mansion to stir things up even more.

They Are My Noble Masters (Kimi ga Aruji de Shitsuji ga Ore de in Japan) is typical ecchi fare, with a hapless teenage boy surrounded by beautiful women who all want a share of his attention. Unlike most other shows in the same vein, Ren is not quite the innocent or stupid protagonist, although he still gets beaten up on a regular basis when unwillingly (or willingly) seeing one of the female characters in various states of undress.

The makers of the show don't leave out the emotional material either, which in this case actually works pretty nicely and gives this show a bit more depth than you'd first expect despite the fact that it is filled to the brim with all kinds of otaku fetishes.

Not to be confused with He Is My Master (although you could be forgiven if you did).
Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: Ren’s father is an abusive alcoholic leech.
  • Adaptation Decay: The original Visual Novel is quite serious and dramatic compared to the anime, reserving the comedy for a few key events, while the focus is Ren developing romance with the girls and uncovering their past or traumas to reach the desired Relationship Upgrade and the numerous sex scenes that comes with it. The anime however, couldn't focus on all the girls and animate the heavy smut, so they went for a comedy aproach, filled with references a la Hayate the Combat Butler.
  • Ain't No Rule: The rules say three people (humans) to a team. Doesn’t say anything about robots with antiballistic missiles.
  • Battle Aura: Various characters.
  • Beach Episode
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: During the boat race, the cunning Miyu actually stops to give some advice to how to proceed properly to Yume’s team. She reasons that Yume would have figured it out in a minute anyway, but now their team has goodwill towards theirs. Sure enough, near the end of the race Yume’s team declares they’re too far behind to win, but attack Ageha to help Miyu.
  • Better On Dvd
  • Bittersweet Ending: Unlike the other generally happy endings, Natose leaves the mansion in her ending, feeling that she’s too emotionally dependent and insecure to stay. She plans to return when she’s become more independent.
  • Bleached Underpants: Do you know that Kimi Aru began as an adult visual novel?
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Shinra thinks that Yume has some real talent at this for a change. When Yume and Natose try it out, they do a pretty decent job. Unfortunately, Miyu and Mihato were still better.
  • Boy Band: Miyu gets one as a present, to her utmost delight.
  • Brother-Sister Incest
    • Ren and Mihato consider it normally to basically make out in the hallway in front of everyone while an uncharacteristically deadpan Beni snarks in the background about it. Totally normal sibling relationship, honest. In fact, their bro/siscon tendencies are so blatant that Miyu can go from “That is absolutely impossible” to “Oh, it’s really true then?” if he swears on her name. That said, Mihato seems much more serious about it than he does: He mostly just looks up to her.
    • Sister Sister Incest: Shinra molests all cute girls with her favorite being Miyu.
  • Call Back
    • In the early middle of Beni’s route, Ren jokes that she’ll never be Shinra, which really pisses her off. He goes and apologizes sincerely when he realizes how angry it made her. A few weeks later on her birthday, he tells her the same thing, except now he’s dead serious. She can copy Shinra all she likes, but she’ll never BE Shinra.
    • Early in Shinra’s route, Yume is upset that a bear was shot for getting too close to human habitation, but doesn’t know how to avoid such situations in the future. Shinra tells her that there’s one way to do it. Nothing more comes of it until Beni’s route, which unlocks afterward. Shinra’s answer? Buying land for nature preserves, which is how she spends her money.
  • Capture the Flag: The entire premise of Episode 3.
  • Catch Phrase
    • Beni and her self proclaimed elegance.
    • Colonel’s special advice and skills.
  • Censor Steam: Or in the case of this show, censor sunbeams.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Yume’s escapism is played for laughs in the common route, but in her route it’s shown to be something she always does whenever there’s a problem. She’s grown too used to being coddled and having people like Natose or Ren solve her problems for her.
  • Character Development: After a long, long journey, Shinra finally begins to actually listen to people.
  • Character Exaggeration: In the original Visual Novel, Ageha’s interest in Ren doesn’t develop beyond minor attraction.
  • Chick Magnet: Ren, but only for Cool Big Sis types. Given that this includes Mihato, Natose, Shinra and perhaps Miyu, things work out well for him.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Beni makes aggressive faces and cat hisses behind Shinra’s back to discourage Ren from working for her. Only Beni is allowed to be in the official ‘Please molest me’ position, apparently.
    • Mihato
    • Miyu, though she makes an exception for Mihato
  • Coitus Ensues
    • Beni’s first H scene comes around because… because she wanted to see if she could copy Shinra’s dominatrix attitude or something? Then she got too proud to admit she was in over her head despite Ren pretty much constantly pointing it out.
    • Natose’s first scene comes about essentially five seconds after Ageha forcibly kisses Ren and gets interrupted by Mihato. Ren tells Natose about it, gets slightly aroused and BAM! The erotic music begins.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Unable to match up to Natose or even slow her down, Ren pulls the ultimate win card: Calling her onee-chan and making puppy dog eyes. Though even he notices that Natose’s reaction is a little more extreme than he was expecting.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Pulled by Yume on herself. She says she’s going to make Beni admit defeat with her game play skills, but after she wins and Beni doesn’t care she simply orders her to say “I admit defeat.”
  • Comically Small Bribe: It’s hard to get on Natose’s bad side buts easy to get back on her good side. Just give her a piece of beef jerky or some caramel and you’re forgiven.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When Mistina blatantly lies that Yume isn’t on the track field, she waits for Ren to punish her. Having figured her out already, he tells her that her punishment is not being punished.
  • Cool Big Sis
    • Natose reminds Ren a little of Mihato, though the latter is more of the pampering type.
    • Shinra looks like a Cool Big Sis at first glance, but most of the time she enjoys embarrassing or harassing her sisters.
  • Cosplay
  • Covert Pervert: Yume wants to advance her relationship with Ren almost immediately. Further, she ropes Natose into it despite her protests.
  • Cross-Popping Veins
  • Cruel to Be Kind: When Yume is fighting with Kei about how Yume’s captaincy is going, she tries to ask Ren and Natose to help her out. Shinra interrupts and tells her that the captaincy is her own problem and something she agreed to do. She outright forbids Natose from going to see Natose in her room, knowing that she’ll just coddle Yume more.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: After Natose kidnaps Ren and Yume, Ren tries to return home and Natose disables him in approximately two seconds.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Natose is very physically fit, but also kind of careless and clumsy sometimes. She breaks stuff or gets up late or forgets what she’s supposed to be. It works in Ren’s favor a little at the end of the common route because she made an even worse mistake than he did in her trial period and did her best to cheer him up afterward. In fact, that mistake led to them making sure not to put out valuable jars like that in the first place when a lot of people travel through.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Beni
  • Cuteness Proximity
    • Shinra loves pandas and turns into a gooey mess over them when she thinks she’s alone.
    • Natose gets a similar reaction when she gets treated like a big sister.
  • The Cutie: Yume
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the other routes, Shinra’s route features a great deal more conflict and a generally abusive relationship.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: not played for as much angst as most examples of the troupe and they all turned out into quite decent people despite of it, but still, most of the main cast has one.
    • Ren and Mihato have a Missing Mom (she died when giving him birth) and lived (up to the beginning of the series) with their drunken dad who regularly beat them up.
    • Benis' parents also died when she was little, so she was raised by her uncles, who also treated her like crap and forced her to work on their restaurant since she was small, until they eventually just fired her and kicked her to the streets.
    • Natose's backstory is probably the saddest one, as she used to live on a tropical island, till a Tsunami came and gave her a Doomed Hometown and a dead little sister, and being the only survivor, she's left with Survivors Guilt and her nice Eyepatchof Power. It's no wonder she quickly becomes a Failure Knight for Yume once they met.
    • Shinra was forced at a young age to take over the familial responsibilities on top of her other musical responsibilities, causing her to suppress her normal emotions and causing a rift between her and Yume that is not resolved until late in the series
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Shinra’s cold, arrogant and mocking attitude persists for about 95% of her route almost completely untouched, but in the end she does end up mellowing out when she gains a little perspective and relaxes a little.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Yume.
  • Devoted to You: For Natose, Ren meets the condition of all sorts of emotional baggage in that she loves him, she’s his superior and he’s just like her younger brother. Unfortunately, her devotion borders on the obsessional in her desire to protect him, which starts getting her in trouble almost immediately.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Without Miyu there to arbitrate between Shinra and Yume about how distantly Shinra treats Yume, Shinra realizes that Yume doesn’t even remember why Shinra puts space between them and gets so angry that she refuses to talk to anyone about it and starts completely ignoring her altogether. Despite the cause of the rift being something Yume said when she was upset about the death of her parents when she was extremely young.
  • Do Not Call Me Sir: Yume is very uncomfortable with a boy her own age calling her ‘ojou-sama.’ Or anyone, really, considering that Natose calls her by her by her first name while Yume does use an honorific on her.
  • Dramatically Missing The Point: When Shinra’s teacher tells her that her performance was technically flawless but still less than he expected of her, she’s completely confused. Ren gives a helpful hint by noting that she started conducting orchestras out of sheer enjoyment but now views it as something to be struggled through, but she simply gets angry. She then continues trying for even greater technical perfection before she eventually gets the point.
  • Dreadful Musician: De Niro. His sound system is actually meant for offensive combat.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: After it becomes clear that Miyu and Ren hooked up, Mihato and Shinra both get utterly smashed since their siblings have been taken away.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Beni is writing a game script with three options when you find someone’s bag: Take the money, return it to the police and sniff the white powder inside. Sniffing the powder makes the player character instantly go insane. Bad end.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Nobody outright mistakes Chiharu for a girl, but since he looks and acts like one they treat him that way. Even the similarly neglected Yume doesn’t seem to think of him as a boy.
  • Dude Magnet: Yume gets a lot of confessions and love letters. She appreciates the sentiment, but wishes people would look at her for more than just being cute.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe.
    • When Mihato calls Yume’s runaway letter cliché Beni snaps that this really isn’t the time for that.
    • Shinra buys Natose a doghouse as a joke. Miyu is annoyed and even Mihato seems kind of uncomfortable with the joke. Natose fails to realize she’s being mocked and likes the present, much to everyone’s surprise.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Miyu makes Ren and Mihato sleep in the same bed as her at one point. Given that she likes going around topless, it gives him an extremely uncomfortable desire to touch her.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After struggling with Shinra and family issues for most of her route, Ren finally manages to win her heart as marry her and reconcile with his father in the epilogue.
  • Ecchi
  • Evil Is Petty: Yume’s idea of a delinquent older sister is one who tells kids Santa doesn’t exist or Rage Quits video games.
  • Eye Scream: Natose wears an eyepatch because she lost her eye to a piece of driftwood in the storm that destroyed her village.
  • Face of a Thug: Natose is very kind and even quite pretty, but Ren guesses that the eyepatch deters suitors.
  • Fanservice
  • Fiery Redhead: Beni
  • First Kiss: forcefully stolen from Ren by Ageha, after she deemed him being allowed to kiss her hand to be too demure as a way of thanking him. Cue Ren's and his sister, Mihato's (who happens to be watching said scene from a window) complete and utter shock, followed by Ren bawling about his firts kiss on the floor. Ageha then blushes and reveals it was her first too, before running away.
  • Fission Mailed: If you pick the masochistic ‘I want to be scolded’ option when asked what you want as a reward from Shinra, she angrily calls Ren a disgusting pervert who doesn’t know his place, much to his horror. And then she asks if that was an acceptable scolding.
  • Flat "What.": Yume’s reaction to Natose’s attempt at traditional medicine to cure a cold (Leek up your bum) is probably not as enthusiastic as Natose would have liked.
  • Friendship Moment: When Ren is humiliated and beaten down during the climax of Shinra’s route, it isn’t his sister, his love interest or a sudden spark of determination that come to his defense. It’s Beni, the girl he always fights with and the servant least capable of defending herself.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Natose is loved by animals to the extent that random birds will fly down and land on her.
  • Furo Scene
  • Gag Series
  • Gainaxing
  • Genius Ditz: Though otherwise fairly ignorant, Natose knows a lot about gardening.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Miyu. Beni at one point imagines her singing death metal about her twintails. You can also choose to swear loyalty to her by kissing the twintails.
  • Giver of Lame Names: To Ren’s surprise, Shinra’s naming sense is about as bad as Yume’s.
  • Good Ol Fisticuffs: When he goes up against a boxer, Ren does poorly at first until he brings out his street fighting skills.
  • Good People Have Good Sex
    • Applies by default to all the girls, but notably with Shinra it doesn’t really come off as good sex until she stops treating Ren like a toy.
    • With Beni, Ren keeps messing up, but they still keep trying to make each other happy.
  • Graceful Loser: Mihato quietly claims that if Ren is happy, she’ll step aside for Shinra. Then she mutters under her breath that if she gets half a chance she’s going to take him back.
  • Gratuitous English: Apparently cowed by Shinra’s intelligence, Ren tries to cheer himself up by calling Beni ‘Red Girl’ and explaining that it’s the English translation of her name. She’s not impressed.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Beni
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: This.
  • Harem Genre
  • Harmful to Minors: Miyu’s parents died in front of her. The other sisters were elsewhere at the time.
  • Heavy Sleeper
    • Natose frequently wakes up late for the role call.
    • Yume sleeps heavily enough that Ren can pick her up, set her down on her feet, help her get dressed and splash water on her face without her realizing it’s him.
  • Heel-Face Turn: After Ren finally stands up to his father, he stops running away and blaming his son. He quits drinking, starts working regularly and attempts to form a proper relationship with his children.
  • Heel Realization: When Natose kidnaps Ren and Yume she ignores everything they say at first due to her obsession with keeping them safe, so when they have the chance they run away. While chasing after them, she realizes that all she’s done is put them in even more danger when before they were perfectly safe.
  • Her Codename Was Mary Sue: In the Yume Note is a story about her and her sidekick, Shinra, who dotes on Yume endlessly but has to be corrected by the clever Yume. She’s the most popular girl in town, Shinra envies her celebrity status and Beni wishes she could be like Yume instead of such a minor character. I guess now we know why she didn’t want anyone to read it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Deniro blows himself up because Miyu is running away from her fears and dreams in pursuit of empty desires for avoiding death or loss. Not even robots are invincible. Of course, the point was just to make a big impact on her, so he first made a copy of his memory so he wouldn’t really have to die.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Natose considers herself unintelligent, unattractive and untalented at everything that isn’t fighting or gardening.
  • Hero-Worshipper: Beni idolizes Shinra and wants to be an elegant woman just like her.
  • Hey, You!: As far as Beni is concerned, Ren has no name. He’s either You, Manservant or if he’s unlucky, just Idiot. When she stops, she pretends to herself it’s just to manipulate him.
  • Hidden Depths: Natose is a very skilled gardener, though she doesn’t know offhand where the plants originate. She’s also pretty talented at mimicry.
  • Holding It for a Friend: When Ren walks in on Natose and Yume investigating a porn magazine, he simply waits and watches them for a few minutes until they finally notice him. Yume tries to cover it up by telling him it’s Mii’s book, but his response amounts to “Yeah, but you’re the one that has it now.”
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Mihato’s singing is completely terrible. Not necessarily because the tone is bad, but because it causes some kind of bizarre echoing effect. Also, bad lyrics.
  • Honor Before Reason: To the point where you have to wonder whether the butlers aren't being plain suicidal.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Chiharu manages to make his interest in Beni known to anyone exactly zero times before she and Ren start dating. The reader gets one or two tiny hints, but that’s it. Natose’s route expands on this a little, which you think would give Haru more hope… but she still turns him down.
  • I Am Not Pretty
    • Miyu seems puzzled and slightly surprised by the idea that Mihato thinks she’s cute, though given that she’s highly prone to flattery she eats up that sort of comment anyway. Of course, it could just be that she thinks she’s much too mature to be cute instead of beautiful.
    • When Ren asks Natose out she’s absolutely astonished. Why is he asking her out instead of someone cute like Yume, elegant like Shinra, clever like Miyu, strong willed as Beni or at least his sister?
  • Ice Queen: Shinra
  • Idiot Ball: Ren goes from basically model employee to complete idiot when he starts trying to catch the ferret Yume has been looking for and carelessly smashes valuable items around the house. Afterward, he acknowledges his sheer stupidity and is nearly in tears about it because he thinks it makes him like his ass of a father.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: As her surrogate father of sorts, the colonel tells Ren that if he makes Beni cry or doesn’t value her enough he’s going to pay for it.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Yume feels depressed at how much smarter and more accomplished her sisters seem to be and wants to find similar talents for herself. That said, it’s implied that she does have her own talents but simply doesn’t work hard enough.
  • I Kiss Your Foot: Given her domineering nature, Shinra immediately requests a kiss of loyalty from Ren. The best answer is to kiss her foot. Miyu during a similar scene is pleased with the same result, but since she’s just mimicking Shinra she doesn’t care as much.
  • Ill Girl: Miyu is said to be in perfect physical health, but every now and then she feels faint and insists on being alone. Her physical health really is fine, but when she remembers the death of her parents she needs to seclude herself.
  • Indirect Kiss
    • Shinra offers Ren a canned beverage she'd been drinking, and tells him he can finish it. When he does, she forces him to admit that he enjoyed it because it was an Indirect Kiss.
    • Beni accidentally uses Ren’s toothbrush early in the morning. When he walks in, he grabs hers by mistake.
    • Yume shares her icecream with Ren and then gets embarrassed afterward.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Despite her harsh attitude and arrogance, Beni’s self esteem is not nearly as high as she would like people to think.
  • Informed Ability: Shinra is supposedly a great conductor, but she is usually just shown waving her baton arhythmically, though this may be due to the the animators not knowing what music was going to be played at the time of animation.
  • In Love with Love: Yume asks to go out with Ren mostly because she doesn’t have a boyfriend and the idea interests her slightly. Plus, she wants people to stop bugging her to get one. She has no idea what’s going on when she actually does feel a little jealous that Ren has a good opinion of Ageha.
  • Innocently Insensitive
    • When Shinra is a jerk, she’s usually doing it on purpose. However, she eventually makes Yume cry by always ignoring her. She wasn’t trying to be malicious, she simply didn’t notice her behavior was upsetting and in fact thought she was doing what her sister wanted based on an argument they had that only Shinra even remembers.
    • At one point Ren manages to distract Natose by acting like her little brother, giving puppy dog eyes and asking why she’s hurting him. Her reaction is much greater than he expected and he gets uncomfortable without knowing what the problem here is. Notably, he doesn’t try it again.
    • When Ren gets fired, after he leaves the room the other servants agree that while what he said to Shinra was probably true, he was too blunt and straightforward about something that’s a sore spot for her.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Horses were popular in England! Surely if Miyu commands the horse to slow down in English it will comply.
  • In-Series Nickname: Ren and Mihato occasionally call Beni Ponytail for obvious reasons. Or Penisu if they want to make her mad.
  • Instant Runes: Natose has them along with her Battle Aura while guarding the house at night, just to show how awesome she is.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: When trying to find ways to make tea, Ren instead stumbled across endless maid porn.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Natose walks in on Ren and Yume, bringing some snacks. Flustered, she tries to escape, but doesn’t know what to do with the snacks, so she eats them all before she goes. They didn’t even notice her.
  • In Vino Veritas: When Ren refers to himself as just being Shinra’s butler, she gets uncomfortable and makes a pass at him. She still can’t bring herself to be truly honest, however.
  • I Resemble That Remark:
    • Ren shoos Miyu from the kitchen by saying it’s a place for adults to work, much to her irritation. He then distracts her successfully with a piece of candy. Actually, Miyu is easily distracted by candy or pats to the head.
    • Right after trying to establish her competence, Yume starts to leave and reveals that she forgot to put on underwear.
  • Is It Something You Eat?: When Natose tries cheering up Yume once again, Shinra asks her if she actually has any idea what she just said. Is it Chinese cuisine of some sort? Is Kumamoto some dish involving bears?
  • It Amused Me: When Ren asks her if they should make their relationship known to everyone, Shinra declines. Why? Because it’ll be hilarious watching everyone slowly figure it out.
  • Jerkass Realization: As the least empathic and most arrogant of the sisters, Shinra seems prone to these.
    • When fighting with Yume, Shinra holds a grudge over Yume not even remembering the cause of the fight. Miyu has to practically beat the source of the anger out of Shinra after Yume gets so upset she flat out runs away from home. When she hears the story, Miyu has to painstakingly explain to Shinra that she’s holding a grudge over something a little kid told her when she was upset and that Yume not remembering is perfectly natural since most people, Shinra included, don’t remember every trivial little thing that happened when they were little. Shinra’s response amounts to “So what you’re saying is that I’m the one in the wrong here? Well, shit.”
    • Managed without admitting error. After a fight with Ren about how doesn’t understand the expectations she lives under, Shinra fires him. Eventually, they make up partially, but Ren is all depressed by his own issues. When she finally figures them out, the real makeup between them boils down to Shinra going “Wow, I guess poor people have problems too, so I guess I won’t hold a grudge about you trying to help me with mine.”
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold
    • Miyu likes acting distant, arrogant and dignified, but she’s actually very supportive and the one to cheer up Ren after he thinks he failed to pass the preliminary period.
    • Fittingly, Deniro is harsh and arrogant, but after Ren gets on his good side he’s very supportive. He also loves Miyu dearly and values her future more than his own life. Though he did make a backup of his memory, despite it undermining the point he was making.
  • Kamehame Hadoken
  • Keigo: As servants, Natose and Ren using formal speech is to be expected, but they also tend to use it on Yume out of habit, which bothers her. Ren’s mastery of keigo is considered insufficient for use on important guests, however.
  • Ki Attacks: The colonel and later on Ren and Kojuurou, though they're usually used for the Rule of Funny. Natose can use them too.
  • Kick Them While Theyre Down: After Ren returns his father’s beatings he promises to the same for Beni, who interrupts to say she can do it herself. She apparently punches the bruised and battered man quite hard.
  • Lack of Empathy: Shinra has real trouble figuring out how other people feel or seeing things from another person’s point of view. After making it 98% of the way through the story she finally gets enough understanding to think to herself “Waaaait, maybe Ren having a miserable expression, barely talking to anyone and constantly making mistakes in his work means something is wrong with him. Could it be that yelling at him won’t solve the problem? Could it be that I actually care?”
  • Lap Pillow: Provided by Beni when she offers to clean Ren’s ears.
  • Large Ham: Ageha
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Beni is apparently completely unable to talk about Ren poorly in public. Any attempts will be met with karma in the form of Mihato.
  • Lethal Chef: Shinra can’t cook. Her attempt was unidentifiable and nearly poisoned Miyu. To her credit, she didn’t even try giving it to the intended target before having help cooking something properly. The next attempt went a little better, at least.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: In Natose’s route, Ren becomes her lover and her surrogate little brother, causing her to get too wrapped up in him.
  • Loveable Sex Maniac
    • Mistina, one of Yume's classmates and part of her Those Two Girls, is such a masochist that anything even slightly resembling aggression turns her on, including the "harsh sunlight" on her skin — at which point she will melt onto the floor, clutching herself and squealing for more.
    • The nurses taking care of Kojuurou during his stay at the hospital during episodes 7 and 8 definitely count. Sadly for them, he's Ageha-sexual
    • And finally, Shinra's obsession with her sister Miyu, or her constant use of her servants (mainly Benis and Ren) for her own "personal" satisfaction or amusement (Benis simply enjoys it, Ren has conflicting feelings about it). That, as well as Miyu's obsession with little boys is all played for laughs.
  • Love Confession: Usually doesn’t happen with a girl until the middle of an H scene. Chiharu does confess to Beni in one route before getting shot down, though, which inspires Ren to try the same with Natose. Works better for him and his magical protagonist powers.
  • Love Martyr: Ren for the majority of Shinra’s route, which comes to a head when he tries to help her with her problems regarding everyone’s expectations of her and she utterly snaps. Chiharu, Mihato, Miyu and even Yume all have to talk to her individually for her to realize a couple basic facts that halfway mend the problem.
    • First, Ren is actually a good guy and all the servants want him to stay.
    • Second, if Ren gets fired, Mihato is leaving with him, which deprives Miyu of one of the friends and servants she actually has.
    • Third, given that Shinra was doing everything short of outright sex with Ren it’s pretty natural for someone as young as he is to have some sort of assumptions about the nature of their relationship.
    • Fourth, if she’s dissatisfied with Ren’s personal service and over familiarity, she can just cut his pay and dismiss him as her personal servant instead of firing him outright.
    • Finally, after all that she decides to give him another chance as her servant but is still pretty cold until she meets his father and she and Beni help him put his past behind him.
  • Magnetic Girlfriend: The moment Miyu gains some real interest in Ren, Shinra begins teasing him more while Natose and Beni are suddenly significantly more affectionate as well. Well, the latter is mostly teasing, but even that is a step up.
  • Maybe Ever After: Beni turns down Chiharu’s confession after their date, but tells him he’s welcome to try again when he’s grown a little stronger.
  • Meaningful Name
    • Mihato likes to claim that since the word pigeon is in her name, she’s the very essence of peacefulness that the dove represents. Riiiiight.
    • Yume (Dream) has no dreams or aspirations.
    • Shinra’s name carries the character for forest and she spends all her money buying nature preserves.
  • Misery Builds Character: Right when it’s becoming obvious to the reader (but not Ren yet) that Yume is fundamentally weak thanks to being spoiler, the colonel drags him aside and explains that he and Yume are probably going to have a fundamental disconnect. Ren’s hard live has made him tough and Yume’s easy life has made her soft and weak willed.
  • Missing Mom: Ren and Mihato's mother died when Ren was born.
  • Mistaken for Gay
    • Through the use of extreme powers of seeing what they want to see, Yume and Beni decide that Ren must be gay in Beni’s route and then tell everyone else. At least Natose actually bothers to go and confirm it for herself.
    • When Beni and Ren kiss in front of Haru, he runs away crying that his first love ended already. Both Ren and Beni assume they’re talking about Ren.
  • Money Fetish: Thanks to growing up in poverty, Beni obsesses over money money money and wants to be just like Shinra. But Shinra doesn’t hoard money, she spends it on nature preservation, which makes Beni question what she’s been doing just as much as when Ren told her she’ll never be Shinra.
  • Mood-Swinger: Shinra
  • Mood Whiplash: Right in the middle of a dramatic scene where Ren has been angsting over the idea he’s sure to be fired, Miyu steps up and assures him she won’t let that happen… and then bites her tongue mid sentence.
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girl: Inside the Yume Note is terrible magical girl fanfiction.
  • Multiple Endings: Each of the three sisters has an ending, after which choices involving the servants open up.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Mihato likes Miyu, so she can accept her relationship with Ren. She can recognize Shinra’s good side, so she’ll step aside there too. She’ll at least step back a little when it comes to Yume even if she doesn’t accept it. Beni? Beni gets attacked in the kitchen with a knife until Ren drags her aside and makes her accept it. Maybe it’s no wonder that despite his apparent charm Ren has never even kissed a girl.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: After noting once again how much Ren is like her little brother, she swears that she will protect him. She’ll protect her little brother this time for sure.
  • Mythology Gag: In Yume’s bad magical girl fanfiction, Shinra uses an attack called the Iron Claw. When she follows Miyu’s orders without thinking later, she gets revenge with a mundane Iron Claw attack.
  • NEET: Though only Shinra seems interested in prodding her about it, Miyu has done next to nothing after graduating college.
  • Nerves of Steel: No matter how anxious or upset she feels, Shinra is able to easily put all that aside when she has a conductor’s baton.
  • Never Gets Drunk: At the beginning of Beni’s route, she and Ren get into a drinking contest of sorts. One flash forward later and both have passed out while Shinra looks at them pityingly, still completely sober. In her own route, she drinks some very potent sake for hours and manages to get all the way to… mildly tipsy. Or possibly pretending to be slightly inebriated so that she can tease Ren.
  • Nice Girl: Natose and Yume, contrasting the other sisters and servants, are very friendly and outgoing, though Natose is also a little awkward. Yume doesn’t even like the idea of Ren being treated as a servant and being formal with her.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Certain Yokohama landmarks (like the Harbor View Park) can clearly be recognized.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Because he won’t fight back Ren’s father just repeatedly kicks him in the face while hurling abuse at him. When Ren finally fights back, he returns the favor. Beni helps! Awww, bonding.
  • The Nose Knows
    • When Yume runs away Natose tracks her by scent.
    • Mihato can also discern some rather uncomfortable things about what Ren was doing the night before with a single sniff. With much greater detail than you might expect.
  • Not Quite The Right Thing: When Yume was little, Shinra’s forced composure after the death of their parents scared her. In response, Shinra started distancing herself from Yume not realizing that Yume didn’t really mean it and just wanted to be close to her sister. Shinra’s actions just took that tiny gulf between them and widened the gap for years.
  • Not So Different
    • Ren's father tries using this on him, telling him all he's good for is breaking things, something Ren had thought many times before.
    • Shinra gets angry at Ren for probing into her business and eventually decides to overlook it at almost the exact time that he himself as something he doesn’t want to talk to anyone about. He hides it from her just like she avoided him.
  • Not So Weak: Ren’s father has had him completely cowed for years, but after he smacks Beni for standing up for him and starts to attack Shinra, he gets up and coldly informs his father that this has finally made him realized he is much better than his father. He finally hits back when his father hits him.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Ren and the colonel are obviously about to start fighting, Yume and Beni somehow come to the conclusion that they’re about to have sex. Even after they start, they keep thinking in terms of Yaoi.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging:
    • “Don’t mind. I’m used to being forgotten.”
    • After Beni helps make Natose a doghouse as a joke of questionable taste, Natose thanks her for it since she doesn’t receive many gifts. Beni looks rather uncomfortable.
  • Obsessed with Food: Natose
  • Ojou: The Kuonji sisters are three rich, sheltered girls. Yume has been sheltered and kept from adversity, leaving her rather weak willed and easily disheartened, the Kuonji wealth allows Miyu to sit around instead of actually working towards anything and Shinra tried to live up to everyone’s expectations, leaving her emotionally bottled and highly unempathic.
  • Older than They Look: Miyu
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The colonel’s actual name, Yasushi, is mentioned about twice in the entire story.
  • Only Sane Man: Yume. She’s certainly more well grounded than her sisters, but she also manages to be much more normal than the servants as well. Of course, everyone else happens to also be far more talented or hardworking than she is, leaving her to feel overshadowed and neglected as a result.
  • Ore Onna: Kei
  • Overprotective Parents: Played with at first via parental surrogates Shinra and the colonel. They meddle in Yume’s attempts to find a boyfriend and when she settles on someone they seem very against it. When they hear it’s Ren, they relax a little and allow it to continue, though they’re not very happy. The real problem comes in later: Yume has been much more sheltered or even babied than either of her older sisters, leaving her weak, passive and unable to take criticism.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Shinra is a brilliant conductor and Miyu has already graduated college with plans to open a restaurant chain, but Yume is just an ordinary high school girl.
  • Panty Shot
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Wanting to conceal his true identity, Ren pulls off the masterful costume of… wrapping his coat around his face and talking exactly like he always does while giving himself a silly title. Well, maybe his disguise got bonus points for having a baseball cap and sunglasses. Somehow, Yume is not fooled, though her friends might have fallen for it.
  • Parental Abandonment: The sisters' parents are dead. Luckily they left quite a bit of money.
  • Pass the Popcorn: When Shinra begins flirting with/molesting Beni in the kitchen, Mihato makes some popcorn to share with Ren.
  • Playing Possum: After being beaten by Natose in seconds, Ren injures his foot when landing. Or at least, that’s what he tells Natose. He’s actually fine.
  • Porn Stash: When using Miyu’s computer, he pointedly avoids thinking about a few suspiciously named folders.
  • Punny Name: Benisu the maid has a name that unfortunately rhymes with the signature male reproductive organ in phonetic Japanese. Ren calls her Beniko, another gramatically proper way to pronounce her Kanji name, to avoid future awkwardness and embarrassment.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Natose, of course, will pull these off when begging for more food.
  • Purple Is The New Black: Or rather, green is. Shinra’s hair is repeatedly called black, but it’s nothing of the sort.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Natose quickly gets attached to Ren because he looks and acts rather like her own little brother did. When they get closer in her route, she asks if it’ll be a bother to him if she treats him a bit like a second chance to protect the family she lost.
  • Rescue Romance: After Ren saves Yume from potential date rapists, she asks him out. Not exactly the reaction he was expecting, but he goes along with it and ends up getting an instant promotion to boyfriend.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Deniro doesn’t look human, of course, but he acts human enough to want to “make a woman” out of various appliances. Wait, is that normal for humans?
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Mihato has only one ending plus a bit of shared time in Miyu’s route, but is the only one consistently after him. She reacts to her loss with obvious depression.
  • Running Gag: Ren keeps running into Beni when she’s getting changed in the bathroom. She doesn’t really mind the last time considering what happened the night before.
  • Sanity Slippage: In Natose’s route, she grows increasingly obsessed with her desire to protect Ren and begins neglecting everything else to the point where she gets threatened with dismissal if she doesn’t turn her behavior around. Rather than begin working properly again, she decides she’ll have to knock Ren and Yume out and kidnap them so she won’t have to leave them.
  • Selective Obliviousness
    • Beni knows that she’s never going to be Shinra. She simply avoids admitting it to herself until Ren confronts her about it.
    • Whenever Yume hears something she doesn’t like or something that she’ll have to work hard at, she tends to sink into denial.
  • Self-Made Man: Beni’s goal is to be one day as rich and fabulous as Shinra. She started an orphan, was sold to a restaurant and studied endlessly by herself. She worked hard without cease in isolation. She did nearly turn to petty theft before meeting the colonel, who was impressed with her abilities and determination and hired her as the Kuonji family chef.
  • Senpai Kohai
    • As Ren’s senpai, Beni tries to get him to act more deferentially. Doesn’t work.
    • Natose on the other hand earnestly wants to assist Ren properly, but lets him know this after she oversleeps. Not exactly the best example.
    • When Yume asks the older girls about love, Mihato says she looks at her brother to understand love, Miyu indicates she doesn’t know and Natose admits to having no experience. Shinra compliments the food. Natose apologizes for knowing nothing about it and Miyu tells her that admission is better than evading the question. Apparently, Shinra thinks the dessert is also quite nice.
  • Serious Business
    • Whoever thought that butlers should simply be good personal attendants is wrong.
    • Chiharu also obsesses over cleaning and seems to view the destruction of dirt as his life's mission.
  • Servile Snarker: Ren's internal monologue can be rather sarcastic at times and sometimes his mouth slips and he actually says what he's thinking.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Miyu is not bothered when seen naked in front of servants. In fact, she asks Ren to wash her back. Naturally, when she begins thinking of him as something more than a servant, her previous attitude starts fading, much to her confusion.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: The announcer in the water race keeps getting distracted by talking about herself.
  • Shipper on Deck: Natose rather likes the idea of Ren and Yume together.
  • Ship Tease
    • Shinra’s route has some fairly heavy ship teasing with Beni and Ren at some points. Beni’s route opens afterward, conveniently enough.
    • Ren flirts with Natose quite a bit in Yume’s route, giving her more ship tease than Yume herself early on. She even gets happy about the idea of going out with him after work before Beni reminds her it was just group date practice and not the real thing. Aww.
  • Shoot the Hostage: Yume’s author avatar character has a disturbing willingness to shoot through an innocent hostage. She brings it back but…
  • Shout-Out: Numerous, usually by the Colonel, although especially noteworthy is Miyu's "I'm in despair" bit.
    Miyu: I'm in Despair! I'm in despair because my robot bites the hand that made him!
    • In one of the post episode trailers Ren delivers a few lines in a way disturbingly similar to another competent conductor.
    • One Hato Dekopin failed to cause any pain, much to Beni’s confusion. Unfortunately, “You are already dead.”
  • Sickeningly Sweet Hearts: Post dere flip, Beni and Ren have a severe case of romantic diabetes. You can see Haru in the background making various aghast faces at their cute behavior. When questioned about, they admit they’ve neither started formally dating nor even admitted they love each yet, which they settle offhandedly right then and there. Poor Chiharu.
  • Single Women Seeking A Good Man: The reason why Ren appeals to both Shinra & Miyu is the fact that he's honest, hardworking and maintains an air of innocence... somewhat.
  • Sleeps with Everyone but You: PG 13 version: Shinra will grope or tease everyone in the house except Yume and the two guys she seems to view as scenery. Even Natose will do when there’s nobody else. Yume is upset because her sister is always fairly distant with her. Shinra assumes that Yume remembers they had a quarrel after their parents died, but while Shinra was probably about twelve or so, Yume was maybe five and doesn’t remember a thing. Shinra thinks she’s doing what Yume wants and is pissed when she realizes Yume doesn’t even remember the fight to begin with.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Beni is trilingual despite having almost nothing in the way of education before entering Japan.
  • The Smart Guy: Miyu
  • Soft Spoken Sadist: Shinra
  • Something We Forgot: When Yume runs away from home, Ren and Natose eventually talk her through it and prepare her for a reconciliation with Shinra. In the meantime, he calls everyone else to let them know they can go home… except Haru, who is left wandering around town until nightfall.
  • Spit Take: When Yume decides to introduce her new boyfriend, Shinra spits out all her tea. Right onto Miyu, who is convinced she did it on purpose. And she kinda did.
  • Spit-Trail Kiss: Ren & Shinra's Big Damn Kiss in the finale, which results in Ren smashing face-first into a flight of stairs.
  • Stylistic Suck: Yume’s magical girl story is awful, simply awful. It even gets awful background music while Ren reads it.
  • Tearjerker: Episode 10 is largely dedicated to detailing the sisters' and Natose's Dark and Troubled Past it also hints at more issues with Ren and Mihato.
  • Tears of Blood
    • Played for comedy. During De Niro's attempt at singing during the cherry blossom viewing, Kojuuro is seen bleeding from the eyes and ears. And it doesn't appear to bother him in the slightest!
    • When Natose remembers what happened to her village, she not only begins to cry, but blood seeps out from beneath her eyepatch.
  • Technician Vs Performer: Though Shinra’s concert was technically perfect, her teacher criticizes it, disappointed that this is all she can do after such a promising start. Completely confused, she begins training herself harder to make sure there are absolutely no mistakes. When she finally realizes that poor people have problems too and that she was kind of a dick to Ren, she relaxes and rearranges the orchestra to allow herself to show more personal expression in the upcoming performance.
  • The Tease: Shinra teasing or flirting with someone is basically the only way she’ll express affection. She gets angry the first time Ren walks in when she’s changing, but when she comes to like him more she just asks if he likes the view.
  • Their First Time: Ren’s first time, no matter his partner, tends to be kind of odd.
    • Miyu phrases it as a reward for good service as does Shinra. Shinra is also embarrassed or irritated to admit that it’s her first time as well.
    • Beni and Ren are incredibly awkward about it, though it’s also clear that they care about each other deeply and are trying to make things as pleasant as possible for their partner.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted: Miyu clearly has some sort of depression and it’s clearly beyond the cast’s ability to handle. It’s agreed that she ought to go to a hospital to get checked out, but she refuses to get evaluated until Deniro explosively forces the issue.
  • Third-Person Person: Yume
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: When Yume gets into a fight with Kei, she tries to get Natose and Ren to help her out, but Shinra steps in and forbids Natose from assisting. She doesn’t do the same for Ren, but he realizes (with a little help from Ageha) that she’s right and he should make Yume do it herself without being ordered.
  • Three-Way Sex
    • Miyu tells Ren he’s not allowed to get along with other women too well, but then adds that if it’s Mihato she supposes she’s okay with it. Seeing that Mihato is depressed at losing her brother, she follows through on it so long as everyone is clear that any future encounters are seen as a bonus for Ren and a gift for Mihato, not an indication of equality between her and Miyu in the relationship.
    • Much to Natose’s surprise, Yume decided she was willing and able to help Yume’s relationship with Yume advance past just kissing. Natose doesn’t seem to mind much, which is good considering Yume basically ordered her to do it.
  • Token Mini-Moe: Thanks to Miyu’s appearance, Ren thinks she’s a little girl at first when she’s actually at least his own age as well as a college graduate. And probably the most mature of the sisters.
  • Training from Hell: Ren gets put trough this constantly, due to the aforementioned Serious Business.
  • Translation Convention
    • Beni’s first conversation with the colonel began with asking him if he spoke English, presumably while using English.
    • Averted with Shinra and Natose’s first meeting until Ren irritably tells her to speak in Japanese even if Natose didn’t know the language then. Her smirk makes it clear she’s just screwing with him like usual.
  • Troll: Shinra finds it hilarious to make people suffer, like looking really angry after Ren breaks a vase that is actually mostly worthless because she just wants to see him depressed.
  • Trying Not to Cry: After finally blowing up at Shinra, Yume tries to retract her statement by saying it was an April Fool’s joke, but nobody buys it since she’s crying and doesn’t realize it.
  • Tsundere
    • Benisu and Ren argue constantly, but if he says anything genuinely nice to her she tends to get flustered easily. Of course, that rarely happens. At the end of Shinra’s route she steps in without hesitation to defend him from his dangerous father and gets hit for her trouble. Once she goes dere, she also pretty much stays dere. Also, despite picking on Natose more than anyone else (Meaning, at all) she gets jealous when other people feed her.
    • As Shinra becomes more attracted to Ren, she continues to treat him like a toy, indicating all sorts of internal conflicts. In the end, she turns out to have far more difficulty bringing out her dere side than Beni.
  • Twin Telepathy: Apparently, Ren can send complex messages to Mihato by concentrating without anyone batting an eye at the idea.
  • Undying Loyalty: Koujuurou is endlessly devoted to Ageha, partially due to saving him with a transfusion when he was injured.
  • Unequal Pairing: When Haru teases Ren about his devotion to Shinra, he snaps back that of course he’s crushing on her a little. She’s beautiful, talented and way out of his league. Not to mention that he’s just a servant. Even after they start a relationship, he’s still a servant and she once (probably) jokes that if he doesn’t quit teasing her she’s going to reduce his salary. They do get married in the epilogue, though.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: A downplayed example like Sleeps with Everyone but You. After Shinra starts being more affectionate with Yume, she stops harassing Miyu so much, who ends up missing it.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Ren gets Shinra to play a shooter in the arcade by noting you can shoot fleeing enemies in the back or execute captives at the end of the level.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Beni and Ren in Shinra’s route argue constantly, but to their surprise they actually do seem to be friends. The exact same relationship in Beni’s route worries everyone else for some reason.
  • Volleying Insults: Beni and Ren
  • What Is This Feeling?: Miyu is rather confused mid route as to why she’s getting jealous over Ren or shy around him. All the other servants and both her sisters are talking about it while even Ren knows it’s a point of gossip, but she’s completely in the dark.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Miyu finally learns why Shinra is acting so hostile towards Yume, her facial expression says everything that needs to be said. Including a “…Seriously? You’re that petty?” face. Not that she leaves it at that, but she probably could have if Shinra had actually thought about the situation at all from the other perspective.
  • Whip It Good: Annoying Miyu results in a whipping. However, she’s both pretty weak and the whip is designed not to really hurt, so the physical pain is pretty minor… unless the more enthusiastic Shinra uses it, at which point it really hurts and then starts to turn into BDSM play, much to Beni’s annoyance.
  • Woman Wearing The Queenly Mask: Shinra
  • The Worf Effect: In Yume Note, Shinra always gets beaten first so that Yume can save the day for real.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: No matter how angry Ren gets, he won’t hit women. Watching his father do it casually finally convinces him that he’s different from his father and gives him the strength to oppose him.
  • Yandere: Mihato
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Chiharu has a crush on Beni, but whenever it seems like he might be getting a chance she tends to brush past or mock him without even realizing.
  • You Make Me Sic: When Yume tells Miyu and Shinra she has a boyfriend, Miyu corrects her on her English pronunciation. Twice.
  • You Will Be Spared
    • While playing a shooter game with Shinra, they manage to gather a number of captives, including the enemy general. She decides that the general is accepting responsibility for his failure and executes him, but spares his soldiers as a gesture of respect.
    • When Ren’s character dies on the next level, she mercilessly kills one attacker while the other begs for his life. She takes vengeance for her fallen comrade instead.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Yume sports Grade B with short shorts while Miyu has Grade S.

Syukusho GakuenH-GameTick Tack
The Second ReproductionVisual NovelThree Sisters Story
Thermae RomaeAnimeThey Were Eleven

alternative title(s): They Are My Noble Masters
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