Hand Maid May is an eleven episode comedy anime series released in Japan in 2000.
It centers on the adventures of 19-year-old engineering student and hopeless nerd Kazuya Saotome and a hand-sized robotic Cyberdoll named May that Kazuya accidentally orders from the Cyberdyne Corporation website while trying to fix the damage caused by a computer virus. May is programmed to serve Kazuya's needs and desires, but must be plugged into Kazuya's computer at night to recharge her batteries because her standard charger was damaged when he first received her.
Further complications develop due to May, the first being his inability to pay for her. This causes Kazuya's rival Nanbara to try to take May away with the aid of several Cyberdyne Cyberdolls (all of whom wind up falling for Kazuya).
This was followed by the three-episode 2003 OAV spinoff series, Hand Maid Mai (note different spelling), which is about Hideo Ozu, a struggling adult film editor, who received three Cyberdolls named Mai, Ai, and Mie, who resemble actress and childhood friend, Mai Kurosawa, at different ages, with Mai as the oldest, Ai as the middle aged, and Mie the youngest. It also features cameos by Kasumi and Sara, dubbed Cyberdoll Sara Mk. II. Despite all three episodes being completed, only the first episode was released, as the series' original distributor, Five Ways, went bankrupt in mid-2003.
This anime contains examples of:
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Used a few times, but a superb example occurs in episode 7 (spoilered since it's such a fun surprise). The scene is at a Dutch Angle indicating the characters' surprise at Mami's... arrival, and Kasumi stomps on the floor until they're level again.
- Catchphrase: May's "I'll do my best!"
- Chekhov's Gun: In the first episode, Kotaro sends a DVD-ROM to Kazuya, but the disc contains a Computer Virus that would try to crash Kazuya's computer, which led to Kazuya accidentally ordering May from the Cyberdyne website. It turns out that same virus had infected the present and future Cyberdolls in the final story arc.
- Darkest Hour: The final two episodes, where all of the Cyberdolls became mysteriously infected with a virus, leading to them being permanently shut down; Kazuya and May would try to find the cause of the Cyberdolls's infection.
- Ecchi: There's Fanservice in spades in this anime.
- Expy: Nanbara of Jinnai from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World, even down to his English dub voice.
- Festival Episode: Episode 6 takes place at one, with Sara trying out yakisoba, believing it to be a "new form of ramen", and Kei attending a goldfish scooping stand.
- Friendly Enemy: Kotaro Nanbara, the self-proclaimed "best friend and worst enemy".
- Goldfish Scooping Game: Kei attends a goldfish scooping stand at the school festival in episode 6, and is an expert at it.
- Gratuitous Japanese: The English subtitles translate Cyberdoll Mami's Gratuitous English into Gratuitous Japanese; the dub averts this trope.
- Keep It Foreign: See Gratuitous Japanese, above.
- Kid from the Future: Cyber-X and Commando Z, who are descendants of Kazuya and Kotaro, respectively.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: The Cyberdolls, who are hinted to be capable of getting pregnant.
- Robot Buddy: Ikariya, the robot Kazuya is building.
- Shout-Out: The Cyberdyne robotic company has the same name as the robotic company from The Terminator franchise. Also, Cyberdoll Sara is one for Sarah Connor.
- At the end of episode 2, Kazuya and Sarah have one to Gone with the Wind, including Rhett Butler's iconic phrase.
- Show Within a Show: "The Whirlwind of Love", watched by the Cyberdolls; it consists of the main couple saying each other's names.
- Sitting on the Roof: Variant: The ladder between their apartments serves as the private place for Kazuya Saotome and Kasumi Tani, but since it becomes practically an expressway in the anime, they head for the traditional roof escape later.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: "I wasn't thinking of taking you apart at all."
- Small Name, Big Ego: Subverted with Kotaro Nanbara. He actually is very good at the things he does, but people don't like him.
- 12-Episode Anime: Well, Ten Episode Anime, plus one, which is still within the limits of this trope.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cyberdoll Sara loves ramen, despite being a cyborg. Kazuya and Cyber-X enjoy a specific brand of milk.
- Verbal Tic: Mami says "Ara Ara Ara" ("Oh my my!" in the dubbed version) quite frequently.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: Mami was created with this idea in mind; she's a domestic genius who wears a kimono (and she's voiced by Kikuko Inoue), but in a variation she has American traits and can skate up walls.