President to Athlete to Defender to Tsundere to Maid, a Kaichou wa Maid-sama! review

Kaichou wa Maid-sama! is a popular shoujo anime adapted from the manga series Maid-sama!, created by Hiro Fujiwara.  It follows two high-school students, Ayuzawa Misaki and Usui Takumi, through the trials of high school when one is an infamously short-tempered student council president and the other is an enigmatic heartthrob.

There are many animes out there with deep, psychological themes and plots full of twists and turns.  There are many animes with stories of bravery and sacrifice and the varying shades of morality in the world.  This is not one of them.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama! is the story of Ayuzawa Misaki, a girl from a poor, single-parent household.  She studies in Seika High School, which has very recently become co-ed and has very few female students.  Misaki is the Student Council President and aims to turn the school into a better place with a more equal male-female ratio.  And she’ll accomplish this with violence if necessary.

Needless to say, most of the school’s male population is terrified of her.  Enter Usui Takumi, whose aloofness and good looks have cemented him a place in every girl’s heart.  Every girl except Misaki.  He quickly becomes intrigued and discovers Misaki’s darkest secret.  Namely, that she works at a maid café after school in order to support her family – a job completely at odds with her fearless, boy-hating demon exterior.

The rest of the anime dissolves into typical shoujo manga shenanigans.  What makes this better than most shoujo animes is the hilarious fun it pokes at most shoujo anime staples.  It doesn’t take itself too seriously and delights in nudging the fourth wall with ridiculous asides about the strange things that shoujo manga takes for granted – for example, the flowers of moe actually exist and need to be cleaned up.

And then there are the two leads.  Misaki is determined to make her school a better place and nothing and no one – not even her fellow students – will get in her path.  Her brazen attitude to violence and the way she cows her classmates with a single glare and a dark aura is enough to bring a smile to your face.  Misaki is an atypical shoujo heroine in that she’s usually able to take care of herself.  Even when the plot tries to trick you into thinking that Usui has to come save the day, Misaki mostly manages to extricate herself from the mess with her typical short temper and her fast-flying fists.

Usui Takumi.  I could go on all day about Usui Takumi but here’s the gist – spiky blond hair, soulful green eyes and a smile that’ll make you think you died and went to heaven.  His rather adorable way of showing Misaki he likes her by teasing her and tugging on her pigtails is endearing to watch.  His desire to protect Misaki from all her problems – countered by Misaki punching her way through every obstacle while simultaneously berating Usui for stalking her – is what makes this show so entertaining.

With a whole cast of hilarious side characters, this anime delivers on the humor.  The animation is done perfectly, with characters shifting from fully-realized to cute caricatures as the mood of the situation demands.  While this anime is perhaps more enjoyable to viewers who have already watched shoujo anime or are familiar with its tropes, it is definitely fun for all.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama! is not high drama.  It’s not a psychological thriller.  It’s a rom com and very much a guilty pleasure but it’s one I guarantee you won’t regret watching.
Rating: 3 Stars

 

Neha Upadhya (3rd year, Medical Electronics)

Illustration by Nayana Bangaru (2nd year, Medical Electronics)

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