Anime Review: Kaichou wa Maid-Sama Episodes 22, 23, and 24

(Originally published on Livejournal on 10/25/10)

Anime Review:
Kaichou wa Maid-sama Episodes 22, 23, and 24

About The Series: Misaki is the tough-as-nails class president at a recently-gender-integrated high school, where she is working hard to protect the handful of female students while trying to turn the reputation of the school around. However, she also holds a secret: Misaki works at a maid cafe in a nearby town. If anyone at the school were to discover her secret, her personal reputation would be ruined! So, what happens when one of her classmates, the ever-cool Usui, discovers her part-time job?

ep.22 tl;dr review: High school outdoor retreat turns into testosterone-driven stampede; Hinata moves in closer to Misaki…and Usui.

Episode 22 Synopsis: Everyone at the Seika Academy heads to the mountains for a special retreat involving days of meditation, starvation and physical labor. With the boys and the girls separated and doing different tasks, it seems as if the the boys have been lulled into a sense of enlightenment after days of deprivation. Meanwhile, the new transfer student, Hinata, gets friendlier with Misaka, and Usui begins to sense competition. On the final day they trek further into the mountains where the boys, in their delirium, set their wolfish sights on the girls, and its up to Misaki along with Usui and Hinata to fight back the hordes and protect the women.

ep.23 tl;dr review: Eating contest at the Maid Cafe turns wrong as Misaki is forced on a date with Hinata at the Cafe…to meet “Misa”; Misaki is guilted into revealing her true self.

Episode 23 Synopsis: To help out a colleague Misaki surreptitiously enters a sweets-eating contest in disguise at the Maid Cafe…but Hinata with the bottomless stomach is also in the contest, and wins. As a prize, he chooses to come back to have his picture taken with “Misa”, because she has the same name as Misaki, not realizing they are one in the same. Misaki devises a scheme to go on a date with Hinata to the cafe, slip into a disguise and trick Hinata. For some reason Usui tags along, increasingly uncomfortable with the situation. When it comes time to fool Hinata, Misaki can’t go through with it, unable to bring herself to lie to him. Misaki reveals herself to Hinata, Usui comes out unexpectedly as her pimp manager, and the prickling and needling between Usui and Hinata over Misaki turns into an undeclared war.

ep.24 tl;dr review: Magical girl theme day at the Maid Cafe; tensions rise between Hinata and Usui with Misaki caught in-between.

Episode 24 Synopsis: The Maid Cafe decides to have a special theme day based on a popular magical girl anime show, and Misaki studies up on her character. While searching for a special cherry tree from his childhood, Hinata runs across Misaki’s mother, who invites him over for dinner and we learn more about his past and why Misaki is so important to him. At the cafe the next day, the theme cosplay goes off swimmingly, until both Hinata and Usui show up and the sparks begin to fly. At the end of the day, Usui is waiting for Misaki outside, where he reveals his true feelings towards her.

My Thoughts: Okay, with just a few episodes left the plot slowly grinds back into motion again. After wallowing in side-stories and stunted character development for several episodes, it takes the arrival of Hinata as a catalyst to get Usui to get his ass in gear. To be sure, Hinata is an extremely annoying character, the hyperactive weirdo who doesn’t seem to have any internal controls or limits. Yet, Hinata stands alone unlike any other male (save Usui) at the school as someone who is not a sheep following along without any self-drive. Furthermore, he has a long (if somewhat distant) history with Misaki, and the two of them have a certain understanding of each other that no one else can. One telling moment is when Misaki falls easily into a friendly, engaging conversation with Hinata without any reservation; while every conversation with Usui is halting and stressful, each phrase seems guarded, fraught with hidden meaning almost like a verbal joust is taking place.

Hinata may be a dork, but Usui picks up right away that he’s competition for Misaki’s attention. The two guys could not be any more different if they tried, yet it’s clear to Usui that he must take action unless he lose his special place. The defining moment is when Misaki cannot lie to Hinata, and reveals her job as a maid to Hinata — a very special secret that previously had *only* been shared between Usui and Misaki (oh, and the Moron Trio, but they’re harmless). Usui’s reaction is to become defensive and (sadly) possessive, and he is finally forced to solidly define his relationship with Misaki, which is something he had relished to remain nebulous beforehand. For the very first time in the series, Usui no longer has the clear upper hand, and he does Not Like It One Little Bit.

Only two episodes left, and now it’s up to Misaki to make the choice. Either it’s the manipulative, teasing, possessive but caring and reliable man she’s had a love/hate relationship from the very beginning of the series, but who is still almost as much of a mystery, unwilling to reveal his true self, as when they first met. Or, she can choose the annoying (but nice) idiot who just arrived on the scene, but has an advantage in that he is completely open and honest about himself. With all the buildup I find it hard to imagine Misaki *not* ending up with Usui, but who knows if there will be a twist at the end? Someone’s going to get hurt. One thing is for sure, though: If Hinata had not arrived to shake things up then Misaki and Usui would probably never advance past their not-fully-developed relationship.

The Verdict:

Spring/Summer 2010 Series Up Next: Ookami-san (10-12), Highschool of the Dead (10-12), The Occult Academy (10-12), Shiki (10-12), Legend of Legendary Heroes (10-12), Shukufuku no Campanella (3), Kuttsukiboshi (1), MonHun Diary: Felyne Village in Danger (1-3), Armored Trooper Votoms: Phantom Arc (1), Hen Zemi (1), ToHeart adNext (1)

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