And so, dear reader, we finished it. I.e.: arrived at the end of Kaichou wa Maid-sama! series one. It’s been an emotional past six months, which have prompted our fair share of lol, LOL, kyaa kyaa, gar, doki doki, hmm, hrrmm, RAGE and daww-filled moments. And that was just from me. So, for the last time, here are some of my observations and thoughts on what is, overall, surely one of the best shoujo animes of 2010 so far.
Continuing from the previous epi, Misaki and Usui spend the rest of the day together at the cultural festival, while they wait to be reunited with Sakura and Shizuko who are at the concert. Soon, most of Misaki and Usui’s time is spent participating in a ‘Love Trial’, the proprietors of which promptly mistake the two to be a couple and persuade/ challenge Usui and Misaki to test their long-term compatibility and compete to win a ‘special prize’… as long as they don’t let go of each other’s hand while taking part in the various challenges along the way. Soon, the two are taking part in: a speed eating/ feeding contest; playing card games; playing table tennis; and a hidden object-seeking/ balloon-bursting task. Naturally, they beat the other couples and win. Meanwhile, Sakura and an increasingly annoyed Shizuko are amid the front rows of the concert crowd, waiting for the crappy warm-up acts to finish and for the band to begin. So, naturally, Shizuko takes the opportunity to lecture Sakura about her crap taste in men. To which Sakura insists that the post-hospitalised-Kuga (lead singer and object of her googly-eyedness) is the best thing since sliced bread and, once the band gets the music and Sakura’s smiles going, Shizuko seems to be happier (for her).
Once the concert ends, Misaki briefly bumps into an incognito Kuga, who is on his way to meet Sakura and Shizuko with his bandmates for a stroll around the festival. Having just got off the phone to Sakura who has apologetically blown Misaki off in order to spend the evening with the band, Misaki gives Kuga the third degree, to which he replies that he is serious about Sakura, and that Misaki should stop being such a bothersome scold and go and spend time with her longsuffering ‘boyfriend’ instead. Usui then turns up after Kuga goes and senses that something’s up, at which Misaki asks him if he has, indeed, been putting up with her. To this, Usui ambiguously replies that he has been doing so, but, concerned that she is not her usual self, suggests that they go home. Misaki then seems to think better of it and asks Usui to spend the rest of the evening with her at the festival, reminding him that they should claim their special prize.
The prize turns out to be an invitation to watch a fireworks display after getting kitted out in some rather fetching Romeo and Juliet style outfits. After getting changed, they wander into a nearby empty, darkened classroom and decide that this will be a better place to watch the show, rather than by the originally-suggested-on-the-invite campfire. However, Misaki has been getting increasingly red-faced and worked up about how Usui has been behaving around her and how all his attention has in turn been making her feel, before finally admitting to Usui that, for some apparently inexplicable reason, he makes her both annoyed and her heart race and that she’s in fact wanted to hold hands with him for a long time. At this, Usui seems to give in and takes his time telling her that she too makes him lose his cool and that, basically, she is precisely his cup of tea… and initiates a kiss with her. As the fireworks go off in the background and light up the night sky visible through the windows behind them, the kiss ends and Usui tells Misaki that he loves her. To which Misaki mumbles that she hates him. While holding his hand. The epi ends with the two of them walking away together, still holding hands. [ XD ]
Two words: ‘KYAA!’ and ‘Daww’.
Or, perhaps, just ‘Kyaaaaawww!!’
Yes, the moment we’ve all been waiting 26 epis for finally arrived, giving us the long hoped for kiss and confessions. From both of them. Sort of. But hey, that’s good enough for me. Plus, it was a rather neat way of selecting the source material to provide a satisfying ending to the series without having an anime original ending, given that the manga is still on-going, but still leaving things poised for a possible second series that can easily carry straight on from the manga chapter that these last two epis were adapted. In short, a
Good Kyaarific End for our favourite shoujo couple of the Spring/ Summer 2010 season.
Though, sure, Misaki following up Usui’s ‘I love you’ with ‘I hate you’ may seem pretty lame on the one hand, however it was hardly surprising and is in keeping with her personality. In addition, the build-up to it, including Usui’s observation that this is the kind of situation in which Misaki usually lies (to herself) before he apologises for pushing/ challenging her, kind of predicted that type of response from her. The kiss scene was thus satisfying in the use of timing and the holding-hands imagery, and also due to Usui’s surprisingly long (for him) speech, in which he confessed his feelings to his beloved Kaichou. With the fireworks in the background providing the somewhat cheesy, but nonetheless very sweet icing on the kyaarific cake. Which was also a nice mirroring/ ‘completion’ of the final image in the original ED sequence where, I think, we just saw the top of their heads while, it turns out, the same moment must have been going on.
So, while most of this epi was, in essence, just Misaki and Usui’s unofficial first dayto, it also allowed the two leads to showcase their best traits, and thus reminding us how much fun they are to watch while they are in bantering, competitive, collaborative and rabu-rabu (etc.) modes. The framing plot device of the cultural festival also, of course, allowed most of the other key cast members to make cameo appearances amongst the various other goings on in the backgrounds, including a brief but fabulous ‘…and life goes on…’ style snapshot the three bakas in their element at Maid Latte.
Out of these other cast members, though, the focus was of course on Sakura and Shizuko, waiting with various levels of (im)patience for Kuga’s band to get ready to rock. These scenes were very well played out as counterparts to the main story/ romance, with Sakura’s lesser romance nonetheless highlighting the budding feelings of genuine love that Misaki realises she has developed for Usui. Even the return of Kuga, as small as his role was in the series so far, played his part in unintentionally pushing Misaki in the right direction.
Overall, the epi was gently paced, focussing on in its development of the ‘date’, but there were still plenty of random but welcome comedy gold moments, before we got that emotional climax, which certainly delivered. For example, in addition to the kiss, I particularly enjoyed Usui’s ‘I made their flowers bloom’ comment, the three bakas not only in chibi, but blob mode, and the final sequence where all the main characters assemble in front of the school gates ending with the three bakas randomly crying, ‘Misa-chan moé!’
Not a great deal to add here, without repeating myself, except to emphasize how much I’ve enjoyed watching and taking over the blogging of this series from RV and Impz and conversing with all the cool commenters on these posts. In particular, the show will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the main subject of the entry that I submitted when Executive Otaku led the call for new writers to apply to join T.H.A.T. earlier this year, which became my first post on here. Thus, while Kaichou wa Maid-sama! has its faults (*cough* a few dodgy middle epis including two pointless omake and, yes, that bloody second ED grr *cough* *cough*), it’s a strong and incredibly fun example of the rom-com genre with a fabulous, well-fleshed out ensemble cast and which has provided some of the funniest and kyaarific anime moments of the past two seasons, if not the past year, so far.
And, yes, Usui is pretty freaking awesome.
Thanks for reading!