So this is another story where an insignificant girl who is shy and modest is chosen by the hot successful guy who then looks after her? Nope. Ok, so this is a strong independent woman who completely becomes dependent as soon as the love interest flutters his obscenely long eyelashes? Wrong again.
With a name like maid-sama, even as a loyal otaku, I would join the group that would have pre-judged doubts about Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama (school council president is a maid). However, my 14-year-old Oneechan said about the series as she’s hyped on the anime, so I gave it a shot. I was smitten by chapter one.
I adore manga that provides a strong feminine role, but I prefer them when they aren’t overly macho. Maid-sama’s Misaki has a great balance, she is troubled, a little odd, powerful (physically… no end to amusement when ludicrous strength is involved), a typical shoujo heroine and most importantly – a good role model. Just the kind of think I want my little sis to be watching. Which is great because she loves it. Also, author Fujiwara Hiro puts as much care and attention into the personality of Usui (the love interest).
The story line is quite deep and teaches good lessons on morality and equality; but not just treating girls as equal as so many do, but also comments on the negative consequences when feminism goes too far and to remember that guys are human too.
I always say how much I like the artwork in manga. As someone with zero manga talent yet aspiring to be a mangaka, I just can’t help it, I really appreciate talent and every little detail. Maid-sama is a beautiful piece of art as well as well-written. But my most favourite part has got to be the hair. Hiro owns some kind of magical hair pen.
I love manga eyes. That’s the true charm of anime and manga isn’t it? What really sets it apart from the rest of the world? The size and shape of the eyes can make or break a manga and it is usually what I base my final judgement on. But the hair is Maid-Sama is pretty, really pretty. It make me want to grow my short hair long again, that is the power of Hiro’s hair talent. This manga has more worth than a bottle of L’oreal. It might look like hair from any other manga to you, but its not. Maybe it is the angle of lines, the depth of shading, I don’t know. But it left the biggest impression.
I also really like Hiro’s ‘filler images’. The adorable chibi stick men type dough balls that add detail between panels. It might be because the hair continues to have detail with them. They just looks so cute and help carry the story along at a good pace.
The anime doesn’t stick to the manga order, which is a refreshing change from some (wait to hear my angry rant on Pandora Hearts) and though the hair has lost its volume and beauty that the manga gave it, the series is still as fantastic. You could watch it in the background while doing something, when your ill, when you want to laugh, when you need some moe, learning about morals and equality , or just whenever, it is an easy series to watch, and the episodes are complete and entertaining so you can watch one at any time.
The episodes don’t stick to one chapter either, if the chapter’s story takes half an hour then it will take an episode, or if it really only needs ten minutes, then it takes ten minutes. To fill the rest of the time slot though it will take the next chapter that fits better, so if you are reading the manga simultaneously, expect spoilers. This decision was better, in my opinion, as it means that you don’t sometimes get stuck with two mini episodes that don’t really run into each other.
Episodes will also have one part school and one part maid cafe so that you can always see both sides to Misaki’s personality and her relationship with Usui.
The anime does have some original jokes and the animation is good, suiting the tone of the scene. It is clean and bright from the beginning, unlike some larger series that starts ok but with practise the characters get into better shapes, Maid-Sama starts off pretty, and remains so. Neither is the animation stale. It stays with the manga’s way of showing emotion on the face, so that the watcher can have direct impact, but it utilises split screen a lot more than I have seen in other anime so that you don’t have a static image in front of you the whole time, there is actual animation too.
Both anime and manga are incredibly enjoyable, it has a serious undercurrent while covered in a floral moe blanket of humour. Great for anyone, and I would recommend both.