~Introducing Misaki and Usui – Two stars of Seika High School~
So, this is the first Spring Anime title I’m picking up. I still have to catch up to the other releases but all in due time. Introductory info can be found in Spring Anime Review. All impressions about the series are in conclusion so without any further ado:
Saya Mizuno’s “My Secret” starts off the series, introducing the two main characters along with a rabble of supporting cast.
We meet the strong headed Ayuzawa Misaki, who is biting off three delinquents of Seika High School (Shirokawa, Sarashina and Kurosaki), whose getups are not school properly unlike Kenta Kiyomasa (Head of Disciplinary Committee). Being the Council President this is her daily routine, being strict and setting examples. She specifically asks Yukimura (Council VP) to make Students Guidelines so that not one student is out of form. She is a workaholic made strong with time. Quick recap tells us that originally Seika High School was all-boys and recently made co-ed, still filled with 80% population of boys. After joining, Misaki took it to herself to get rid of the over dominance of boys and became the first girl President; thus ruling over all boys with an iron fist! She sure is determined and ambitious!
While making school round, she saves a girl from getting bullied by the above three delinquents and happens about a confession in progress. It’s to none other than Usui Takumi rejecting another girl. Misaki starts raging again, going on about terrible men making girls cry. She warns him she won’t let him off the hook if she witnesses this again and slinks off.
A classmate of Usui yells after him trying to needle that why she hates men so much, Usui should do something to shut the Pres up once and for all. I loved the chibi version of Usui going don’t care with a typical deadpan expression. Did I hear a kyaabun?! by the same dude, or my head is going crazy after watching too much Nodame?! *blinks* (It’s J.C. Staff, so I won’t get it past them).
Misaki heads home and thinks about her general opinion of men: hate. Her generic opinion about the population of men gives light to her own past and what happened to her family. Her father left their family (mom and sister) under a big load of debt, which they are still taking care of. That is the reason, their home has become dilapidated – gates coming off their hinges, floorboards giving away –it was quite pitiable but I liked it how this situation was made rather funny. Misaki lives with her mother and Suzuna (little sister). Her mother works in a hospital while doing freelance figurine making and Misaki works part-time at Maid Latte.
Maid Latte is actually a café sporting waitresses wearing the full maid costume. I was glad to see there was no unnecessary fanservicing around the whole “Maid” concept (except for the moe moe omelette rice :lol:). For Misaki it’s a means to an end. After a hard day’s work while throwing out trash out the back alley, she comes face to face with Usui, who gapes recognizing her.
Wow, indeed! I loved Misaki’s expression!
Thinking of the worst, she obsesses over what would happen at school when people would find out that the School President works at a Maid Café. She finds Usui awaiting her in the same alleyway they met before, after work. My first big burst of laughter came from the changeable weird stretching position of Usui in front of the dumpster.
“So, you are back to normal,” Usui says. “What do you want?” Misaki mutters and carts him off to the nearest park, away from any other employee seeing them. She tells him about her family’s circumstances and Usui asks why doesn’t she do hard labor nearby home rather than going to another neighborhood’s maid café? She tells him that she doesn’t have that much of stamina as she needs more time for studies to stay at the top, being the President and all. Usui thinks aloud, that is the reason you’ve entered Seika High School for lower fees… You sure got it tough. Misaki on the other hand can’t figure him out and concentrates on her homework while studying at home.
Even after three days, there is not a peep about her secret in school. She reacts to every mention of the word maid, all unrelated to her. She thinks Usui pities her but she really can’t do much about it.
On her way, Sakura and Shizuko stop her to lift a big, stinky sandbag out of the stairways they need to climb to get to a flower arrangement class. Usui stops to watch her bodily lift it away and order the boxing club to clean their own mess.
Sakura sees him staring at her after which he turns back after uttering, “Pu!” Before Misaki can go about, what the hell was that?! Sakura portrays Usui Takumi as the school heartthrob, who learned Shaolin Kungfu before coming to middle school, an outstanding looking guy who’s even got brains! The only ray of hope in all the assholes of school (down, girl, down!)
Sakura’s fangirling would not be crushed even if she knows that he has lost all interest in girls because of too much interest from girls. Shizuko comments still the confessions are continued. Misaki being a strong willed girl, doesn’t understand the plight of a normal girl’s doki doki heart. She concludes, just because he doesn’t care he hasn’t told anyone her secret.
Just when she was getting relaxed, Usui pays a visit to Maid Latte. Misaki can’t understand the reason of his visit, she’s ready to clobber him for challenging her but decides against at the last minute and gives a very Maid-welcome, “Welcome back, Master!”
Her colleagues think that he’s her boyfriend which Misaki blatantly refuses. She’s at her wit’s end of figuring out why he visited her in the café and why he kept staring at her all the while. On the other hand, Usui asks Takezawa (classmate) about how the Pres was in Middle School. He informs she became like this in the second year due to a family problem. He’s quite amazed at how he was asking about a girl, Pres at that.
Usui arrives at Maid Latte again and her colleague is now sure that he’s definitely interested in her. Why would he look so worriedly after her then?
Next school day, she can’t comprehend why he would be worried about her? On the notice board she finds her name below Usui’s in the honors students who topped the exams. That pisses her even more, he trying to distract her with sympathy while he takes over her as if looking down on her. She fusses over magazines read by the students in school, agreeing to review and approve the appropriate ones. At the Student’s Council office, Council Accountant tells her that the balance sheet of the month is not really coming out properly. She screams at him but agrees to fix it herself. Overworking herself to the limit, she coughs while finishing her duties.
Usui, who has been somewhat shadowing her, visits and confirms his views of her being a masochist and a sadist, pushing herself to the limits. She should loosen up. Misaki falls in delirium of an incoming fever, Usui saving her but she pushes him away, not needing his help. At Maid Latte, while taking a break in the alley, the three delinquents see her and catch up to her. Because she’s feeling weak from fever she couldn’t punch them to kingdom come. However, at the right time Usui arrives scaring the delinquents away (after all, he’s the strongest contender at school).
Misaki apologizes to Usui before passing out. Usui wraps her in his muffler and helps her back to home. After a day’s rest she feels all right again and rejoins school.
On the rooftop, she meets Usui. He assures her that the trio would not tell anyone about her secret. It’s after all his pleasure to keep her secret and does not want anyone else to share in it. When Misaki says, it was for amusement. He responds, if he said he was worried about her, she would get mad. Whatever the case maybe, even if the news got leaked, it wouldn’t be a problem because students were allowed part-time work. So, what if she has to wear a maid’s costume, her intelligence, determination and zest to excel would never change. She should be proud of herself.
Not knowing how to retort to a positive comment, Misaki utters the reason of why she thinks he’s annoying. He’s always running in front of her with ease when she has to give her all only to catch up. It pisses her off that after running ahead, he would turn back and help her out, but he should watch out because she would soon catch up and overtake him, then be the person who worries about him rather than vice versa. Usui gravely watches her while she gives him back his muffler and small tokens of appreciation.
How about being my personal maid for a day?
Honestly speaking, before deciding to review Kaichou wa Maid-sama, I was a bit apprehensive of what to expect. Before its release, I’ve been reading a lot of bad reviews: it would not be good, bad character animation, etc. and ad nauseum. However, my impression of the franchise was completely different because when I read the manga (few months back) I really liked the whole concept of a strong girl, raging against the world and an aloof boy who is actually kind behind his deadpan expressions (in other words hot! <3).
The first episode took me by surprise like the manga; I liked it. I won’t compare it to any other shoujo series because it is too early to do that. But, it has all the shoujo ingredients that you would expect, girl meets boy, a unique twist in their personality (Misaki being President and a Maid), rabble of supporting characters, Cool female/male lead, development of dormant emotions (Usui’s interest for Misaki) and I can bet the list can get long as episodes ensue. The punch to this series is the Maid café angle; being the School President, if anybody found out, this could be a big dent on her reputation.
There were some very funny moments, especially whenever Usui goes into chibi mode and Misaki’s weird expressions relating to them. Animation is pleasing to the eye along with ambiance relevant to scenes and character design is good as well. The main Seiyuus are relatively new (Nobuhiko Okamoto and Ayumi Fujimura) but they suit the characters well. The only thing that really bothered me was the barf green coats! I mean seriously, this was a major eye turn off for me.
However, I like both the lead characters, Misaki being a strong girl while Usui simply kakkoi (I loved his deadpan looks)! So, all in all a good first impression and I would say, go watch it!
I leave with the awesome ED by Heidi (didn’t like OP much):