I finally caught up with all the released episodes of Kaichou wa Maid-sama! and it has honestly exceeded my expectations. The premise sounded so trashy, but it has been a decent shoujo comedy. Let’s go over what I have and have not enjoyed thus far, although with nine episodes into the anime, I don’t think it’s going to be drastically changing its stripes anytime soon.
Tough, do-it-all Misaki doesn’t mince words when trying to get stuff done as the student council president. She does harbor a secret that might undermine her authority should the rest of the student body find out: she works part-time at a maid cafe.
Misaki — It’s nice to see a female characters who isn’t (usually) timid and ineffectual. She isn’t afraid of stepping on a few toes to get things done.
Yeah, those are the calling cards of the tsunderekko, but I think she has her own identity (i.e. not a concept). I don’t think the anime’s purpose is to tame her, which is often the fate for the tsunderekko.
Usui in general — Even if he seems like the Swiss army knife of a bishounen at times, Usui does support Misaki in positive ways. In the third episode, I particularly liked the fact that he kept discouraging Misaki from playing the sister type. Rather, he preferred her to be herself.
Plus, I think the two seem to have chemistry.
Challenging stereotypes — Misaki might be a girl, but she doesn’t have to dress girly and take interest in that sort of thing. On the flip side, Aoi might be a boy, but there’s no reason he should feel guilty about liking cute things. These topics aren’t exactly original, but it’s not as if their lessons have been accepted into the mainstream.
Surprise endings — In episode five, I fully expected Usui to play the knight in shining armor yet again, busting into the maid cafe to save Misaki from the two perverts. As a result, it was actually a surprise to me to see how things turned out. Even so, there’s a limit to my suspension of disbelief.
Either those were plastic cuffs or Misaki’s the She-Hulk. Anyhow, this is approaching Mary Sue territories.
“I hate men!” — I’m sure the anime is building up to some dramatic moment where Misaki blames her father for her some of her attitude towards men. I just wish the anime had dealt with it with any nuance. Her portrayal and outright claims of hating boys early in the anime just made her seem a little one-dimensional and downright bitchy at times. Some of the boys’ hijinks are school are kinda amusing, to be honest.
Misaki honestly doesn’t need to defend her female peers from a little belly-dancing.
Usui, the uber-boy — Yes, he’s the love interest, but he seems like a wish fulfillment fantasy right now than a real character. He’s unbelievably cool, he can cook, he commands the respect of other boys, he understands Misaki deep down, he’s book smart — the list stretches to infinity. At one point, he jumps off a goddamn building for her. If Misaki comes close to being a Mary Sue at times, Usui blows that out of the water.
Yes, his coolness is exaggerated for humor, but it usually just induces me to roll my eyes. Not only that, every girl has the hots for him too. The man has no flaws. Which leads to…
Inconsistent characterizations — Usui’s so cool that he can sort of pin Misaki to the wall and she’ll just blush at him at times.
She might get violent, but that’s not exactly the right way to go either. When the hottest, coolest boy at school has her cornered, even Misaki can’t help falling back into the same ol’ cliches when it’s convenient. Romance doesn’t have to be one-sided power struggle, but Usui seems to have Misaki on the ropes most of the time.
All rich people are arrogant, elitist assholes. — This seems to be all too common in Asian visual media, especially in live dramas.
I’ve written on it before and it bothers me no less now.
— Can they serve anything besides omurice at Maid Latte?
— Lime green and tan plaid skirts? Let’s not forget the red bow to top it all off, making the characters look like some weird Christmas tree.
Seriously, who put this outfit together? There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason with the uniforms anyhow; some people wear whatever they want.
— Lots of lazy animation. When there’s a crowd, people usually become stick figures.
I thought JC Staff was better than this, because it honestly looks like an anime from four or five years ago.
— Sometimes Misaki reminds me of Lelouch in drag.
— Too proud of its Maid Latte gimmick. Well, we are called “Moe Sucks,” after all.
— Corny lines: “There is not a single person in this world that is worthless.” Oh come on, that is patently untrue.
There may be more negatives than positives on the list, but I think the show’s generally watchable and even funny at times. The anime has nothing profound to offer nor is it likely it’ll be remembered by anyone in a year, but it’s a time waster.