Welcome back, master. Today’s review: The President is a Maid! (Kaichou wa Maid-Sama)
The Story: The all-boys school Seika High has recently become co-ed and has just elected its first female student body president, Misaki Ayuzawa, who rules the student body (well, the boys anyway) with an iron first. Yet despite her demeanor, her grades, and her appearance, she and her family are actually dirt-poor, and she supports all of them by secretly working at a maid cafe, scared that some boy might discover her as she works her job.
Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama (Maid-Sama for short) follows a very non-linear storyline. Most of its episodes are not tightly linked together, but they’re held together enough to make the show pretty coherent. They only referenced previous episodes maybe once or twice, so episodes don’t build on one another. Sometimes, the focus of the episodes fails to span the entire duration, forcing the producers to add in filler. The filler is often unrelated, and feels out of place. It makes you wonder why they didn’t just expand the story in the first place to fill the episode.
However, the show does have its moments. I thoroughly enjoyed episodes that didn’t unexpectedly end, for their pacing was quite good. Overall, the anime knew when to be serious and when to be tongue-in-cheek. For a show that doesn’t take itself all that seriously, timing is key, and Maid-Sama gets that timing down.
The Characters: Animes tend to treat their characters in two ways. You can either have a bunch of characters that you explore reasonably in depth (think Naruto and Attack on Titan), or you can focus on one character and structure the anime around that one character (like Ookami-San). Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama took the second route; it has only two characters worth mentioning. All the others are side characters who are not very interesting
Misaki Ayuzawa: In terms of how the plot treats her, Misaki is very similar to Ryouko Ookami (Ookami-San). The show directs much of its resources and time to fleshing her out as a character, and it works; she’s a great character, very well-rounded. She’ll be very smart one moment, and completely clueless the next. As a female lead, what I really liked about Misaki was her balance. She’s established from the start as this paragon of humanity (minus the short temper and violent outbursts) and consistently proves that she can handle things herself. But at the same time, she’s not above having a boy help her.
Takumi Usui: Usui’s one of the most enjoyable characters in the show. Like Misaki, he’s marketed as this paragon of badassery (and apparently sexiness as well). But, when you think about it, Usui’s quite bland in and of himself. He doesn’t have anything interesting for the audience, and he doesn’t have a backstory (as far as the anime is concerned). His sole role is to highlight Misaki. I wouldn’t say he’s her foil, as he doesn’t really contrast her, but he’s similar to Ryoushi (Ookami-San) in his relationship to Misaki.
Final Verdict: I can find nothing wrong about Maid-sama. However, I can’t find anything extraordinary about Maid-Sama either. The anime ended before the manga did, so viewers missed backstory that was introduced later. Whether or not that influenced how anime-Maid-Sama turned out is anyone’s guess, but as it stands, Kaichou wa Maid-Sama is neither extraordinary or crappy