Another day, another cosplay event. This time, our favourite café presents: Magical Maids. Accompanied by angry doggies, runaway fruit, bewitched bakas, frustrated Traps, random right hooks, weird spells, and lost and found cherry trees. All in the name of love triangles, eh.
Misaki and her student council members are having a meeting when they are interrupted first by Hinata, who wants to play with Misaki, and then by a hitherto lurking, book-reading Usui. Soon, the two rivals/ mad dogs resume glaring at each other, before both are booted out by their pissed-off Prez. Kanou, being attached to Yukimura’s hip, notices that something’s up between the two blokes, as do Sakura and Shizuko, who tease Misaki for the latest dirt about her and Hinata. Meanwhile, the sweet-toothed object of their discussion begins to make his way home, where he sees a veggie-care-package from his grandparents and decides to give them a call, during which they basically give him hell for not calling them sooner, until Hinata interrupts them with the news that he’s found his old Misaki-chan. Later, he goes for a walk, seemingly to look for a cherry tree that holds some kind of significance for him, when he comes across some runaway persimmons chased by Misaki’s mummy, before he accompanies his old acquaintance back home in order to flex his persimmon-carrying/ -guarding muscles and to bag a free dinner with three lovely ladies.
The next day, the maidos commence their much anticipated and prepped-for Magical Maids cosplay event, with none more so prepped than Misaki, who has been up all night watching the DVDs of the show upon which the event is based, much to the astonishment/ respect of Trapaoi, who is also around hoping to show off how cute s/he looks as a purple-haired witch. Soon, the even is underway, much to the joy of the three bakas and the other customers, among whom include Usui and Hinata. Noticing that Usui looks unusually bothered and working out that it’s probably due to the threat of Hinata, the manger and Trapaoi try to diffuse the tension. However, the mad dogs resurface and soon Usui leaves, leaving behind a more red-faced and quieter Misaki. Then Hinata asks Misaki to cast a seeking spell on him, and Misaki, though not quite knowing why, does so, before he too leaves.
The event draws to a close and Misaki is interrogated by Trapaoi as to her true feelings about Usui, before she, appearing confused, runs off to put out the rubbish out the back of the store. There, Usui is seen waiting for her and, after a bit of teasing about why a magical girl armed with spells would have to take out the rubbish manually, he then reveals that he overheard Trapaoi’s question and wants to know what her answer is. Flustered, Misaki tries to punch him instead, at which Usui observes that this must be what Misaki does when she cannot bring herself to tell a lie, before proceeding to show her what his ‘answer’ to the question (how he feels about her) would be. He then hugs her close, before whispering a ‘spell’ in her ear that prevents her from lying. The epi ends with some shots of Hinata appearing to find the cherry tree that he has been looking for, with him commenting that this must be ‘fate’.
Like last week’s desserts-themed-event-focussed epi, this week’s Magical Girl-themed-event-focussed epi allows us to bring together most of our favourite cast members to comment on the key character and plot development of late, before once again zeroing in on the café as a focal point for all the tension, and comedy. And though it wasn’t for very long, it was nice to see a bit of the Yukimura & Kanou double-act again…
…as it was seeing Sakura & Shizuko again, albeit in scary fangirl mode. And reuniting Hinata with, what he no doubt hopes will be, his future in-laws provided us with some nice mirroring (c.f. Usui’s encounter with Casa Ayazawa) and several chuckles due to the ladies’ behaviour around him and vice versa (Suzuna being on fine form again, I thought, with the random musings about replacement fathers and weird food-themed childhood games). And, later, the cosplay stuff was quite impressive this time around, not least of all Misaki’s devotion to studying that random crappy show, as well as her rather fabulous and energetic interpretation of her role, as encouraged by those lovable bakas.
The Magical Girl idea also earns brownie points for allowing us to see a particularly psyched-up Trapaoi-chan, whose trademark waspishness was both funny and pushed the whole MisakixUsui-will-they-won’t-they thing in the right direction, complete with a very kyaarific moment towards the end.
Even Hinata wasn’t as hyper as he was in the last few epis, probably because of that mysterious cherry tree he’s also preoccupied with finding, which I expect is the same one that he once fell from in such a spectacular fashion, and probably the same one he’s seen standing underneath during that dreadful ED. [Yes, I still hate that. Nuff said.]
But to focus on that kyaarific scene; yes, that ‘spell’ was a smooth move on Usui’s part. However, and call me a sadist (as I seem to be becoming more and more so in relation to this show, for some reason), I like the fact that said smooth moment came after some not so smooth moments earlier in the epi, i.e. the jealousy, worry and insecurity we glimpse from Usui around his rival and when Misaki is interacting with Hinata. In other words, as much as I love Usui’s random moments of awesomeness, he’s thankfully, just as interesting during his more human moments, and thus really makes me want to see more of this vulnerable and yet determined side of him.
Finally, to focus on the specific words used during that last screencap, the whole ‘lying’ thing seems to have become a recurring issue: Hinata being told by loli Misaki not to lie, evAr, even about his feelings; Misaki in turn, unable to bring herself to lie to Hinata; and Usui forcing Misaki to confront her true feelings towards him. Clearly, yes, lying = BAD. However, the importance these epis are putting on not lying/ being true to one’s feelings is interesting for at least one other reason, I think, for this is presented as being an extremely difficult thing to do, throughout the series. From lying about moonlighting as a part-time maido waitress, to lying (to oneself) about how much one can and should take on by oneself; to lying about one’s real feelings… It seems, as is embodied particularly by Misaki, that character development and personal growth and maturity in the face of various outside pressures and responsibilities can only be successfully achieved (and is thus of any value) through complete openness with and support from others. Not that any of this is easy (especially for sixteen year old boy-hating, fatherless Kaichous with barely two yen to rub together), but the fact that the ‘villains’ in the show so far can all be linked by their contrasting preference for solitude, loneliness and/ or selfishness (e.g. the rich evil Prez, Kanou in pre-bespectacled bunny mode, that Indie Band lead singer, etc.) seems to be an unmistakable wider message.
Anyway, with only two epis to go, let’s see if any of this messege filters through to our fair maido, on the romance front, that is. If not, I guess we can always ask Black Honoka to give her a kick up the arse…