Anime Review: Kaichou wa maid-sama!

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

IMDB Rating: 8.1/10

Content Rating: 15+

Genre: Romantic Comedy

English Title: The President is a Maid!

Summary: Seika High School, once an all-boys school notorious for its wild students and for generally being a terrifying place for girls, has recently become a co-ed school. With the female population still a minority and living in fear of the over-the-top antics of the males, Misaki Ayuzawa takes it into her own hands to reform the school and allow the girls to feel safe in the rough environment. Training, studying, and even becoming the first female student council president of the school, Misaki has gained a reputation among the male students body as an uptight, boy-hating dictator and as a shining hope for the teachers and fellow female students. However, despite her tough-as-nails appearance, she secretly works part-time at a café in order to support her family. Unfortunately, her hard-earned reputation is threatened when the popular, attractive, and somewhat impassive Takumi Usui takes an interest in her after discovering her in a uniform after school.

So…I’m kind of on an anime kick right now. I used to watch it all the time, and then I would every once in a while maybe watch like, a Sailor Moon episode or something like that, and then recently I started watching Fairy Tail (which is great, btw. I’ll review it when I get farther into it) and I just started researching animes to watch, especially shojo (marketed towards teenage girls). Tons of comments were made about how great Maid-sama was, and so I thought I’d try it out.

I finished the series in two days.

If you’re not a fan of anime, I don’t blame you. Many times, it’s absolutely bizarre, completely foreign (obviously), and has generally negative connotations among the population that doesn’t know much about it. And yes, there is a section of anime that is…ahem…. not suitable for children. But there is so much out there that is great. I grew up watching  anime; Pokemon, Digimon, Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Yu-Gi-Oh…these were all regulars on my Saturday Morning cartoons growing up. I used to get Shonen Jump every month, feeding a love for manga as well. So, I’m not new to the anime scene, but I’ve never really watched any anime that wasn’t super popular in America (or shown on American TV). One of my favorite movies ever is Spirited Away, a Japanese animated film by Hayao Miyazaki. Anyway, long story short, I’ve always been a fan.

Maid-sama! is so fun because it knows how to laugh at itself. There are some weird/cliché tropes in anime, and while they appear in maid-sama, they frequently get made fun of by the main characters. This in and of itself makes it fun to watch for people less versed in anime because they don’t have to go along with some of the cultural differences so quickly. Now, there are some BIG cultural differences. The main conflict of the entire series begins with the fact that the main character works at what’s called a Maid Café. It’s a cosplay café where the waitresses dress up as maids and call the customers “master” or “milady”. I know what you’re thinking, this is probably supposed to be sexual and perverse, blah blah. It really doesn’t come across that way. The maid outfits aren’t revealing at all and are quite adorable actually. Don’t forget that this is targeted to TEENAGE GIRLS so it’s actually extremely tame in that area (no nudity, no sex, etc) I assume cosplay cafes are a thing in Japan, and when I started thinking about it, we have some here in America as well (mostly at Theme parks, although not to the extent as Maid-sama). Now, there are some “controversial” subjects, such as one of the characters is a cross dresser, but since he pretty much looks exactly like a girl, it’s funnier than it would be in a live show.

There are a lot of girl power messages in Maid-sama, with the main character Misaki knowing aikido and being able to take care of herself. She’s the Student Government President of a mostly boys school (she practically runs the entire school; I think you see an actual teacher like, twice the entire series) and all the boys are terrified of her.

Except for Usui, who doesn’t seem to be phased by anything. The show really centers around their relationship (or lack thereof) and how hard Usui works to get Misaki to fall in love with him. Misaki’s got a rough past with her dad (left when she was young) so she’s very distrustful of men. That’s another thing I liked about this series; even though it’s light and comedic, it took the time every episode to have serious moments, giving it the perfect type of weight to keep me interested in the storyline, not just the funny script (such as this moment, where Usui has broken his arm rescuing Misaki):

Usui is pretty much constantly saving or helping Misaki, even though he knows she can take pretty good care of herself and she yells at him a lot for interfering with her life. Misaki is oblivious to the fact that he loves her for literally the entire series, and keeps calling him a perverted alien (oh anime. you and your insults). She, of course, gets far more comfortable with him as the series goes on since he’s ALWAYS around, no matter where she is. But you start feeling bad for the poor guy; he keeps doing all this stuff for her and she’s like STOP IT YOU PERVERTED ALIEN.

The art is quite pretty, and frequently jumps from the regular, pretty drawn characters to the cartoony comedic ones, like this (which is, of course, common in anime from this genre):

This happens most frequently with the Moron Trio (as they are lovingly dubbed by Misaki) who are very entertaining secondary characters and spend half of the show in chibi-mode:

The whole cast of characters, main and secondary are immensely entertaining, and the romance between Usui and Misaki is absolutely adorable. I highly recommend this series to any fans of romantic anime.

And not to start any kind of debate, but you should ALWAYS watch anime subbed, not dubbed in English. Every sub I’ve watched is 100x better than the dub. Although, there is a little language usually in the dub.

Similar Anime: Special A, Ouran High School Host Club

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