|Maid Sama Collection 1
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Up until recently, Seika High was an all boys school with a reputation for being a little rough around the edges. With times growing harder and the population shrinking, the school eventually opened its doors to females but retained it’s rough around the edges reputation creating a not incredibly welcoming environment for the female population.
Enter Misaki Ayuzawa, the man hating, fire breathing girl who wants to see the school as a place where boys and girls can coexist. Working hard to get the role of student council president, Misaki manages to achieve her goal by working to comical lengths and earning the trust of the faculty along the way. That’s just one side of her life however.
On the other side, she’s working in a maid cafe while struggling to pay off the debt that her deadbeat father left her and her family with. As she is attempting to keep her double life a secret, she is discovered by the most popular, laidback boy in school named Usui. Seeing it as a chance to keep a fun secret, the series spends the next thirteen episodes exploring the always teasing, often Misaki infuriating relationship that grows between the two.
Good and the Bad
At the risk of spoiling the rest of the review, let me just say this now: I love this series. I have loved this series in the past and I will continue to love this series in the future. It is a deep unabashed love and I can make no secret about it.
What makes this series special is a clever mix of visual humor with sharp writing that keeps each episode fresh while slowly creeping things forward. From episode to episode, the series maintains a fresh new level of fun events occurring within the president’s life. In one episode she may be dealing with students from a richer school picking on her own students while in another she attracts a quintet of brothers who wish to emulate her incredible work ethic. In yet another her best friend falls in love with an underground rock star forcing them all to go on a lunch date together. No matter what is happening in the foreground however, Maid Sama is always delivering in the background.
It doesn’t matter what is happening right in front of you, what keeps this series intriguing are the ever changing movements being made in the background. Weaving an excellent and ever changing relationship between Usui and Misaki, each episode deals with these characters while always ending in an increasingly predictable ‘Usui saves Misaki from Situation A’. Despite this, the display of emotion from these characters as Misaki attempts to figure out how they feel about each other is always hilarious thanks to sharp verbal (and sometimes physical) jabs inserted along the way.
What makes this series frustrating at times however is that this relationship is really only half this set. Making up the other half of the series, Maid Sama stands apart from other series for really taking the time to develop its supporting cast. From their interests to their histories, everyone from Misaki’s best friend Sakura to the ones who are lovingly dubbed The Three Idiots get some time on screen to become real characters. Even the other girls working with Misaki in Maid Latte are given a little time to be more than just moving props.
While occasionally you’re going to hear a very status quo type of piano theme for background music, the main impression that one takes away from the music is the often ironically rich themes that fill the series. Inside Maid Latte there are very Victorian string themes that fills the room every time Misaki tries to be moe. However be warned that in every single episode you’re going to hear Misaki’s victory theme play at least once in one form or another which will either put a smile on your face or make you want to fast forward until it stops playing for the thousandth time.
With this release, Sentai Filmworks grabbed a winning series. Filled with heart and humor, this will be a favorite in my collection for years to come. This one can’t be recommended highly enough.