Kaichou wa Maid-sama! episode 21: Rivalicious

Now, imagine if they’d caught them kissing, or behind the bike shed.

Thank Gawd. After last week’s waste of an epi, this epi reminds us of what Maid-sama has otherwise been like of late. I.e.: On Fire. For example, this week we are treated to: the introduction of a fabulously quirky new character; the three bakas doing what they do best; Misaki in Awesome Prez/ tsun tsun mode; Misaki in dere dere mode; Usui in Usui mode; Misaki x Usui in kyaarific mode; several performances of the Kanou and Yukimura double-act; a dash of the Maid Latte crew doing what they do best; some very impressive aerial acrobatics; lots of hugs; lots of blushes; lots of chibi and loli forms; and the eating of lots of food. In short: lots of Win.


Episode Summary:

A mysterious newcomer heads towards Seika High, followed by the appreciative eyes of several passing schoolgirls, who are less appreciative of the three bakas who are noisily following. At school, Misaki is busy getting forcing the all the smelly sports clubs’ members to clean out their smelly clubrooms. Sensing a possible mutiny, Yukimura, flanked by Kanou, buts in and in his typical Yukimoé mode and promises them refreshments if they follow the Prez’ orders. Fortunately, the boys agree. Unfortunately, the student council members now have to make said refreshments. As the three council members plus one hoodie head inside to begin planning, they bump into Usui, who it seems has just come back from being off sick with his post-Butler-auditions-injuries. Misaki remembers the confession-but-not-quite-confession and the hug that Usui gave the last time she saw him and goes into tsundere mode before she leaves. But not before she hears Usui tell a confused Yukimura that he thinks porridge would make a good choice for their refreshments. All this is not lost on the perceptive Kanou, who later challenges Misaki about her obvious romantic bond with Usui, only to have her vehemently deny it. Unconvinced, Kanou even asks Usui – who he finds reading another love letter that he plans to reject – why he doesn’t officially date Misaki, to which Usui teases Kanou and enigmatically adds that for him to do so would be bothersome.

Meanwhile, the new kid on Seika’s block has been busy searching for food and generally perplexing everyone who clasps eyes on him, including Usui, while the club members are busy cleaning and Misaki and the rest of the student council are busy making onigiri. Soon the cleaning and the eating of onigiri are over, especially when Misaki goes into Demon Prez mode at the sight of all the sloppy eating and the poor reception that her poor onigiri received. Exhausted, she later falls asleep in one of the classrooms holding onto the rest of her rock-hard onigiri, which Usui soon takes from her after he walks in on her sleeping, then gives her a hug before sitting down next to her and eating all of the onigiri. Later on, Misaki wonders where all her onigiri went, but is soon caught up with meeting, telling off, and then showing around the new kid, who is in her class, and is a glutton called Hinata Shintani. Hinata soon captivates the rest of the boys with his nose for sniffing out and identifying any kind of food and his odd back story of being an orphan who has returned to where he used to live in order to find the girl with whom he used to play and made a promise to always be together. A girl called Misaki-chan. I.e. the Prez. After a bit of impromptu tree-climbing from Hinata and lots of telling-off from Misaki, who also threatens to confiscate all of his food, Hinata then slips and falls from the tree. Misaki here remembers him as the clumsy and gluttonous little boy she used to know and call You-kun, and now calls out to him as such. Hinata hears her, manages to fall on his feet, gets her to tell him her full name, recognises her, and promptly hugs her before everybody while loudly crying out how much he’s missed her. While everyone else looks on in shock.


Thoughts:

Oh the relief after last week’s epi. Followed by the LOLs during this one. Lots of LOLs, this time. This epi was like a box of chocolates, without any dodgy ones with icky centres. Seriously, this epi clearly follows directly from the one before last week’s crappy omake, as we see immediately from Misaki’s reaction to reuniting with Usui and her flashback of when she played nurse with him, and thus there really should not have been anything fillerific in between the two epis. Anyway, I thought that this veritable chocky box had it all: romance, comedy, and some drama at the end to boot. Also, the pacing and the voice acting was fabulous, with some really great camera effects and music. The only possible significant gripe that I can think of is what people may have made of Hinata coming along and promptly coming in between Misaki ad Usui, and a certain enigmatic comment made by Usui. Thus, I’ll focus on the last two things as well…

So. That comment made by Usui, eh. Let’s take another look, shall we:

A rather ambiguous response, methinks.

‘A bother’? Usui never struck me as the ‘can’t be arsed’ type. Nonchalant, sure, but when it comes to Misaki he’s always been pretty proactive, to say the least. What kind of bother and to whom is the question, it seems… or, rather, part of it. For, ‘…to get serious’ makes things even more confusing, as he’s pretty much told Misaki that he’s serious about her. For example, during the close of the beach two-parter episode, when Misaki is complaining that she can never tell if he’s joking or not, he replies with his serious face something along the lines of, ‘Does it look like I’m joking?’. Granted, it’s not exactly a proposal, but, as far as his feelings are concerned, I thought he was completely genuine. Thus, on the one hand, it would appear that something else that we don’t know about, probably to do with his mysterious past, might be some kind of barrier to the relationship (oh, and in case you were wondering, without giving away any spoilers, even the manga remains fairly tight-lipped about the details of his past, in terms of how it would affect his forming any such relationships, if at all. Unless I’m remembering it completely wrong of course, lol). On the other hand, it could all just be a red herring, a smokescreen to get Kanou off his back….

Why indeed. Though, you keep telling her too, Kanou! It has to get through one day, right?

As Kanou observes here as he spies Usui embracing Misaki before he chows down on her ‘unbeatable’ onigiri, Usui is (as we well know) completely devoted to her, so this rather perceptive one time bespectacled bunny may be right in his earlier comment, that Usui was simply lying/ denying his feelings in front of Kanou/ in public, whereas his real/ private feelings are true… even if Misaki can’t/ won’t acknowledge them.

Okay, that’s enough about Usui for now. Let’s look at his rival:

My mum would be so proud of him. Incidentally, love triangle alert!

Yeah, him. Love him or hate him, I think I LMAO-ed every time he was on screen. The gluttony and the aerial acrobatics aside, Hinata’s back story was also very entertaining, not least of all the reactions of his food-giving new classmates. His love of food and for his childhood sweetheart was overall pretty endearing, I thought, as well as comic, and, as several characters observed in the episode, he seems more like a child, rather than a High School student. In this sense, he’s the opposite of Mr Cool Cat; Hinata is more like a puppy, in comparison. Though, he does have some similarities with Usui, such as the disregard for what other people think of him, and his single-minded/ selfish passion for the things (and, it would seem, people) that he wants. On a side note, I really like Hinata’s character designs; his rounder face and shorter, scruffier brown hair and brown eyes really work for him, making him seem both boyish (note the girls at the beginning of the epi said he brought out their ‘maternal’ instinct) and kitten-like, and thus making his chibi face more childlike and his serious face more naively earnest (compared with, for example, Usui’s deadpan chibi face and his more mature/ masculine serious face).

Finally, speaking of younger looking faces, we were arguably treated to the most adorable face of the epi, if not the series, towards the end of the epi – that of loli Misaki:

Daww.

I cannot begin to describe how adorable this is. I wonder if this was before her father left their family? She doesn’t seem to have any demon side, let alone a boy-hating side that I saw; even her ‘bossy’ side came across as ‘concerned’, rather than overbearing. Either way, Hinata certainly wasn’t complaining. But then I doubt I’d be complaining either if I was being fed that yummy cake.

Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to how the three members of the love triangle get on with each other and develop in the coming epis. With only five to go, I’m assuming this is the last (or, at least, penultimate) arc that the anime is going to deal with, and thus I’m hopeful that we’re going to get something a bit more meaty; (as well as kyaarific) on the Misake x Usui front. Heck, he hasn’t even cashed in his ‘Be my personal maid for a day’ favour from Misake yet…

Well, as long as we don’t get any more fillerific episodes, then I’m pretty hopeful regarding the final arc(s) of the show. :)

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8 Comments

  1. Posted August 22, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    That was a great episode full of lulz. I normally hate love triangles, but this one isn’t too bad, at least it’s funnier than it is dramatic. Sigh, the manga has been so serious the last couple of chapters, it’s a good thing, I have the anime to remind me of this story’s more humorous backdrop.

    Thus, on the one hand, it would appear that something else that we don’t know about, probably to do with his mysterious past, might be some kind of barrier to the relationship

    Without giving too much away, I always thought Usui was you know, afraid of what’s kind of happening in the latest chapters. Dunno, if it’s true, just a thought.

    • ectholion
      Posted August 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      bring on the lame rival though i do not believe that he could even hold a candle to usui… he is more like a puppy then a love rival

      • Posted August 23, 2010 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Lol, well, he’s certainly different… but at least puppies are cute too :P

    • Posted August 23, 2010 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Hmm, having just caught up with the manga, I think you might be right, at least if chapter 52 is anything to go by *sigh*.

      At least the humour, when it works, is unbeatable, so I hope that they continue to focus on that and keep the drama/ angst to a minimum, unless it’s kyaarific drama of course! :)

  2. theCorpsCommander
    Posted August 23, 2010 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    wow, I haven’t watch this episode yet, but it seems to be good. I already finished watching 17episodes so, I need to speed up my Maid-sama episode watching! thanks!

    • Posted August 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      I would miss out epi 20, or at least the second half of it, otherwise no worries and enjoy catching up! :)

  3. fathomlessblue
    Posted August 24, 2010 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    A brilliant, if slightly odd ep this week. I laughing the whole way through and the drama was pretty top notch.

    I don’t know if it’s because a new arc (as the eye catches made clear enough) has begun, but the direction of this ep seemed different than usual, at least in my eyes. I don’t know how to describe it, the gags and drama were of the same style but felt somehow ramped up. At times I felt I was watching a rapid-fire comedy show, while the drama, particularly Kanou’s musings, felt a little more thoughtful and mature. The pace seemed a lot swifter and even the way scenes cut out/began felt different. The change seemed subtle but still apparent somehow. Maybe it’s just me but I certainly had the sense the style of the show had been tinkered with slightly. That said i’m not even sure if Maid-sama keeps the same directors every episode…

    But yeah again i’m not complaining, we need more eps like this and less omakes. I now need to decide whether I like or hate Hinata. I’m probably wavering towards the latter, he seems a bit of a one-trick pony!

    • Posted August 24, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      The direction and styling did seem significantly different, didn’t it. Well observed re: the cuts and transitions, I knew there was something different about the shots other than the more obviously fast paced/ aerial acrobatics-laden ones, but you seemed to have hit the nail on the head with those points. Either way, I agree about not complaining about it! :)

      Interesting, too, what you say about Hinata’s possible one-trick-pony-ness. It seems he’ll show a more serious side in the next epi(s?) when he’s alone with Misaki, but, judging from the title of this epi at least, his character seems to serve primarily as just a rival figure to ramp up things in the Usui x Misaki front. I hope the new emotional direction delivers though, it’s about time we had the next big development in their relationship!

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