Anime Review: Kaichou wa Maid-sama Episode 2

(Originally published on Livejournal on 4/22/10)

Anime Review Second Look:
Kaichou wa Maid-sama Episode 2

I am currently in the middle of the process of taking a quick look at the first episode of each and every fansubbed anime series of the Spring 2010 season. So far, several shows have already received a “passing grade” based on the first episode; now it’s time to revisit some of those shows for a closer look at the second episode. Will it pass the muster?

Synopsis: Misaki is the no-nonsense class president at her high school. Since the school has only recently become co-ed and only has a handful of female students, she feels it is her duty to protect the girls from the rowdy boys, and to help improve the reputation of the school. However, Misaki has a secret: She works at a maid cafe, and if anyone at her school found out, her reputation would be ruined. As luck would have it, Takumi, the alpha-male at the school, discovers her part-time job. But instead of revealing her, Takumi decides to keep the secret…for now…and tease her for his own amusement.

In this episode of Happy Hustle High…er, I mean, Kaichou wa Maid-sama, it’s time for the school festival, and Misaki must decide what the class is going to do. Misaki sees this festival as a chance to showcase a new, improved image of the school and try to attract more female students. Every suggestion offered by the guys in the class is immediately rejected (granted, they’re pretty stupid ideas…a co-ed strip rock-paper-scissors tournament?). But when the couple of girls in the class suggest a cafe, it is immediately accepted. Meanwhile at work, Takumi continues to visit, much to her annoyance. But Takumi also has words of advice, and cautions her that if she continues her hard line against the males students, she may eventually end up unable to do anything.

The day of the festival rolls around, and the boys in the class have a trick up their sleeve to punish Misaki for being continually ignored and belittled. Dressed up in military cosplay, the invade and take over the class cafe, terrorizing the customers. Misaki blows her stack, throws out the boys and lectures them — but the boys, thoroughly fed up with her attitude basically blow her off and walk away. Realizing the meaning of Takumi’s advice and left in a lurch without anyone to help run the cafe, she swallows her pride and apologizes, but it’s too late. Defeated, Misaki heads in alone to run the cafe, using all of her skills from her secret job to salvage the situation, absent-mindedly slipping up and reverting to her “maid cafe” personality and referring to a customer as “Master”. Bemused, Takumi steps in to rescue her from embarrassment, and the rest of the boys follow soon after, and the day is saved.

The Skinny: Cripes! I knew that Misaki was a tough nut, but jeez, this episode made her out be a Class-A Bitch. It’s not that she dislikes men, but that she hates them with a seething passion and rules over the school like a petty dictator. How the hell did she ever become class president in the first place? I would feel a little sorry for the guys, if they weren’t all weak-willed and immature yobs. They really play Misaki’s misandry to the extreme, although that’s really all part of the story to paint her in the worst light possible at the beginning of the series, so that we can see how she changes and softens over the course of the next several episodes (or so I’m surmising). I call it, “The Taming of the Tsundere”.

It’s hardly an original plotline — I’m sure someone with a deeper knowledge that I have of anime could easily think of half a dozen shows with a similar romantic relationship story. For me, it reminds me a lot of Toradora. Yet, just because it’s a shopworn plot does not mean you can’t enjoy the story. Initially I had immediately dismissed this show before watching because of the Maid Cafe element, but that doesn’t appear to be the main focus and instead the show is more centered around the relationship between Takumi and Misaki. Still not sure of the motivation of Takumi, who seems to play the role of trickster more than anything else. And it is easy to hate Misaki for her overbearing negative personality, although that appears to be more from a lack of social skills than innate character flaws. Plus she is so damn cute when she is flustered.

Just two episodes in, and I’m fairly sure I know exactly how the plot is going to eventually unfold. Kaichou wa Maid-sama may not be the most groundbreaking of anime series, but it may shape up to the one of the most enjoyable shows to watch of the season. However, that is mostly because there are no surefire must-see shows I’ve seen so far this month. Next up, Misaki is dreading “Little Sister Day” at the maid cafe.

The Verdict: – potentially the best show of the season, although considering the weak line-up that’s damning with faint praise.

My original ‘Anime Review in a Minute’ of the first episode: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/457723.html
Random Curiosity’s Review of Episode 2: http://randomc.net/2010/04/09/kaichou-wa-maid-sama-02/
Star-Crossed Anime’s Review of Episode 2: http://psgels.blogsome.com/2010/04/09/kaichou-wa-maid-sama-02/
View first episode here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KMBvJfAsxU

Up next for a second look: K-On Season 2, Heroman, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Giant Killing

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