I admit that I have built up a lot of anticipation within my own crazy brain about Kaichou wa Maid-sama, which by the way, is never a good idea to enjoy anything. Being a shoujo-loving fan, Kaichou wa Maid-sama’s manga had all the ingredients for success. You have a headstrong lady, a cool as cucumber guy with great sarcastic tones and a whole cast of deliciously interesting characters with an almost irresistible need to kyaa your living lights away when the eventual romance between the two main characters blossomed.
So, as with all manga adaptations, how does the transition from manga to anime fare? Will it fulfill the promise of manga lovers swarming to adore the latest shoujo hit, or will it fall flat on its book cover?
Misaki Ayuzawa is the authoritative president of the student council in Seika High School, an all-boys school that recently went co-ed. Misaki takes it into her own hands to reform the school and allow the girls to feel safe in the “rough environment”. Problematic boys include the idiot trio who refused to conform to her strict rules or lazy boys who try to avoid roster duty. Nonetheless, every shoujo female lead has a person she cannot handle in school: Takumi Usui, a very popular boy with the girls who has no interest with anyone and anything. His stoic and nonchalant behavior annoys her greatly but she just cannot find a legal fault against this supposed playboy.
Back at home, it is clear that her family is stuck at the poverty line due to her father’s debts and subsequently his disappearance. In order to supplement the income, she works as a maid in a maid cafe. This was a secret to everyone in the school, only for Usui to find her working there one day. Surprisingly, he did not reveal her secret to anyone, but started to visit the maid cafe much to her chagrin. The cafe manager and Misaki’s co-workers started to gossip that he might be in love with Misaki. However, Misaki dismissed the comments, stating that Usui was simply trying to annoy her.
One day, Misaki fell sick after over-working herself. When Usui voiced out his concern in the student council room, she shouted at him to mind his own business. Just as she exerted her strength to scold him, she almost fainted only for Usui to cushion her fall. Instead of appreciating Usui, she swatted him away and told him to get lost. She continued to feel physically weak at work and the idiotic trio discovered her secret and tried to threaten her. Obviously, Usui came to the rescue and Misaki apologized for her rudeness. In addition, it seemed that the idiot trio did not reveal her secret the next day too. At the rooftop in school, Misaki thanked Usui for her help and swore to become stronger so that she will protect Usui instead.
I was really turned off by the animation at the start. I found really sloppy animation at times, with deformed faces and a rather unattractive Usui and Misaki. I would really love for someone to tell me if I have been tainted by the manga disease, namely an almost impossible expectation of how the anime should turn out. Moreover, I really forgot how Misaki was actually pretty annoying at the start because she was simply acting like a domineering pain in the rear. To add on for Misaki, every single action Misaki did in the first five minutes made me recoil in anger.
In addition, I didn’t like the seiyuu that voiced Misaki (Ayumi Fujimura) as I felt that her attempt to tackle and capture the emotions of both the sensitive and fiery side of Misaki was lacking. I am quite sure I will get used to it right now, but it might take some time. Tell me what you think about the seiyuu’s effort for Misaki. Then, the appearance of Usui, who looked badly animated or translate that to not cool and cute looking enough, just made me even more depressed. I mean, the stoic Usui is the perfect foil for the expressive Misaki, but only because he is just too cool cucumber. This one is just a typical brat-looking shounen. Something is terribly wrong.
Nonetheless, despite my petty complaints about the first episode, the essence of the character dynamics is clearly present. Once
Usui and Misaki started to interact like long-lost bickering lovers, I found myself laughing in love and happiness over the sensitive Misaki fretting over every single action of Usui. In the end, the kyaa kyaa moment just sealed the series for me. I live for sweet cute moments like this in anime series, and the importance of shoujo series is to make you squeal in silly giggles at the right moments. This was done beautifully.
Another plus side could be the seiyuu of Usui. I do admit that Nobuhiko Okamoto did a pretty competent job at voicing Usui, and it is probably because of his good interpretation of Usui’s personality in his voice. The OP was mostly forgettable, and I cannot even comment about it because I forget how it sounds like. Give me a moment as I re-watched the OP… Hmm, really nothing special. The ED, on the other hand, will satisfy the fangirls of this series while I bore myself to death because I am clearly not the target group for the ED.
All in all, if you like a bit of gag comedy and a good dosage of shoujo romance in your anime, Kaichou wa Maid-sama is one to catch. Don’t make some of my negativity turn you off, because this is one good gem, as long as the animation issues don’t degrade further.