Posted by psgels on 9 April 2010 with categories: Kaichou wa Maid-Sama

I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not to blog Kaichou wa Maid Sama. Basically, the big reason I hardly ever blog Shoujo romantic comedies is because the genre has evolved in such a way that it’s a bit impossible to really tell whether they’re going to be awesome or not, just based on its first episodes. Ten years ago it may have been different (I mean, one look at Kodocha and His and Her Circumstances would tell that they were going to be awesome), but nowadays, I find it very hard to determine whether a shoujo romantic comedy is going to be another Ouran or Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge. Just take Itazura na Kiss, for another example: hilarious in its first few episodes, but completely falling apart after that.

But you know what, I decided to have faith in this series. It’s perhaps not the funniest series this season, but I like its sharpness. The drama is awkward to watch, but in a good way. This isn’t just a series about the romantic adventures of two random teenagers, but it’s also a bit of a battle between the sexes, and it also focuses a lot on freedom and its limits. It lacks subtlety in this department, but that’s one thing that made the drama and the parts in which Misaki forced down her biased opinion on all of the guys in the school. Even though I’ve often seen comments on how this series has nothing original, that kind of drama taken seriously is something I have yet to see in a shoujo series, and because of that I’m giving it a chance.

On top of that, I also have a lot of faith in the director, Hiroaki Sakurai. This guy has really shown that he can be hilarious, while also really good at drama (heck, he co-directed Kodocha and directed Les Miserables, for goodness’ sake). A lot is of course also going to depend on the manga, but this guy is going to be able to get its full potential out of it. And it really shows so far. The past two episodes have been well paced and calculated, with just a right combination between comedy, drama, chemistry and those awkward moments.
Rating: * (Good)

21 Responses

  1. Machi says:

    Funny you should mention old Shoujo’s especially Kare Kano, one of my favorites for the genre, and note a difference. I think one huge difference with Shoujo’s nowadays compared to before is how much clutter there is going on in the background of the heroine. So much in fact that its ridiculous, this applies both to good AND bad shoujo’s nowadays.

    They just want to try and pit the entire world against the heroines. So they generally have to be a) poor b) a man hater (due to dad walking out on family) c) family problems d) perfectionist e) socially awkward. Flaws like that on their own can make a great story if explored to their fullest but when you start combining two or three of those normal flaws together you get a melange that tends to fall flat (which is my gripe with most shoujo’s nowadays). At least with Kare Kano they could just explore to the fullest the idea of being a perfectionist and romance well precisely because the heroine wasn’t busy with a million other concerns, she had a normal family. Even worse I can understand WHY they attempt to dump the entire bag of problems on the heroine its to make her appear strong. That she can overcome them all, I mean cmon Misaki is not only a student council president but has to work part time too (you tell me how that isn’t difficult). It may make them appear strong but it also seems to lack confidence in the ability of the author to depict a ‘strong’ character.

    Along with shoujo’s nowadays such as Kaichou she has WAY too much on her plate, but what infuriates me is that rather than exploring the problems they tend to gloss the flaws (dumb it down or use it to pluck your heart string) as glaze to the romance. Or at times they tend to forget other aspects because there is so much going on, Misaki’s quite busy but there isn’t much effort to socialize or rather it doesn’t become a point of concern.

    Any case this post is more towards shoujo in general today rather than just Kaichou, and this post is more thanks to the topic than the series.

  2. Mentar says:

    Machi: Give the show some time. The gradual development of Misaki from the early caricature to a very well-rounded later is what I consider the strong selling-point of this show.

  3. Mentar says:

    Machi: Give the show some time. The gradual development of Misaki from the early caricature to a very well-rounded later is what I consider the strong selling-point of this show.

  4. Machi says:

    I was talking about shoujos nowadays, since Psgels mentioned it not about Kaichou (not really planning to watch it after reading up to chapter 43 its not something I’d revisit).

    Nowadays you just don’t have the normal formula of first love romance which generally defined shoujos, now its a melange of ALOT of things. The best I’ve seen pull it off would be Sainkoku but even then thats because it had quite good focus and stuck to it, namely Shurei as a woman in a patriarchal society (sure she was poor but the skills she gained and insight she had being poor was that of a woman, that she managed to bring all the way to office. It was her feminine side that shone.)

  5. mds says:

    why did you choose shoujos over seinen ecchis? Do you have something against shounen/seinen ecchis?
    Maid sama’s fine by the way,but i prefers B Gata cause it just screams hillarity..

  6. Sapphire says:

    YES! I have faith in it too. As a huge shoujo fan, this series definitely feels like it’s going somewhere (as opposed to Kimi ni Todoke, for instance). Regarding the fact that it might not have anything truly original, who cares? Why is that necessarily bad? Some clichés are clichés for a reason: they work. And the typical shoujo has a lot of good ones (OF COURSE there are exceptions, as in anything else).

    I think this particular series stands out because of the characters and the chemistry between them. The female lead already has a credible background and the male protagonist also looks like he has a story to tell. Also the comedy is funny, without being blatant enough to overshadow the drama’s potential (like in Full Metal Panic: I just couldn’t believe it when they tried to be serious).

    Anyway, this is just my first impression since I’ve only seen two episodes. But I’m glad you decided to pick it up ^^

  7. c160 says:

    Agree with most of what Machi said.After years of watching/reading shoujo anime/manga(and also their real life drama counterparts),the creators also have the habit to really pile up the main female character with lots of flaws but the male main character would usually only have one big flaw. .While the heroine’s probs would be solved/come to terms with by the early parts of the story,the hero’s problem would be too big and much more serious than the heroine’s and it would take the whole series to overcome.Its nothing major of course but really I just want to point it out. ^^

  8. asa says:

    I have to say I disagree with the first post here. I am glad to see the changes in the Shoujo genre over the years, especially in the female lead department. It almost seems to me that the female leads from ten years ago had nothing in their minds except getting married right after high school, whereas in today’s shoujo many girls seem more ambitious, strong, and independent. Psgel: may i recommend to you Princess Arete, an anime film known in Japan as one of the most successful animated feminist works? It’s not perfect but you might like it.

  9. psgels psgels says:

    Asa: the shows I mentioned (Kodomo no Omocha and His and her Circumstances) had absolutely nothing of it. And interestingly, Itazura na Kiss’s lead, which aired two years ago, was exactly what you described.

    Oh, and I watched Princess Arete a number of years ago and loved it.

    Mds: it’s indeed not about which series is the funniest, as I agree that B Gata H Kei tops Maid-Sama in the comedy department. The reason I chose Maid sama is because underneath it seemed to have more potential. Its drama is more substantial than BH’s.

  10. temperus says:

    This show bugs the hell out of me, and not in a good way. I’m not at all sure why, except that I know I’m supposed to be laughing but I’m not (it’s a lot like Arakawa in that regard). I sincerely want to enjoy both shows, though, so I’ll keep watching.

    I do hope they tone down the whole “you’re supposed to like this girl right here” stuff, though. No matter how often they point out that she’s poor or that all guys are jerks, I still won’t have any sympathy for her.

  11. asa says:

    Itazura na Kiss the manga “began to be serialized and published in 1991″ (wikipedia), so it’s not really a “today’s shoujo”.

    But on Kaichou wa Maid-sama, I stayed up last night until 5am to finish the on-going manga. It’s not great but it’s good. Some plot lines are really silly and the male lead pisses me off at times, but it’s still worth a read.

  12. Anon says:

    I just hope this doesn’t wind up being 12-13 episodes considering there is certainly enough content for ~24 assuming it’s paced well.

  13. Topspin says:

    Jeez, temperus.. it’s not like the show’s going to be on a pseudo-feminist bent forever. It’s so easy to tell what pisses you off :) I guess we’ll have to start watching these shows together so I don’t have to hear you getting upset in the next room all by yourself. Roommates.. 8-|

    Anyway, this show has some potential in spite of itself. It’s not pressing my funny-buttons, but I too would like to see a “goes somewhere” shoujo again. I think the promise of that will carry me through this series even if I roll my eyes a lot.

  14. Machi says:

    @asa: I agree that is a good change in direction but my issue is that it hasn’t been particularly handled that well, since precisely you have everything going against the heroine add to that the whole issue of first love and you have what makes a shoujo today. I don’t think Itazura na Kiss would be a good example considering that in the end its still all about marriage and trying to get the heroine married at the earlier half.

    Saiunkoku (a shoujo) I think would fit the bill best of a female series going past issues of love to care about career, precisely as it stuck to one direction and had time to develop. That direction being a woman in a patriarchal society, sure she was poor as well but poverty as a woman was what was emphasized and the skills Shuurei developed.

    Still in the department of trying to create a strong independent woman, career oriented etc, that I think falls more under josei than shoujo (or at least has been better handled in josei than shoujo). Great example of josei is Honey and Clover or Hotaru no Hikari (not one I liked but would fit the bill better).

  15. inkka says:

    I decided to entrust this show.

    I don’t know the story after this at all. and I decided to didn’t read manga of this. because I heard some people say that the anime staff will skip some of unimportant stuff to go at the main substance for make us didn’t go boring and make this series getting better.

    It’s very obvious that the character development in ep2 is more subtle, more funny and more interesting.At least our main heroine seem to accept the exist of those guys at school a little more.and Usui beginning to show that he will be the important role to make her changed.

    And this series is very knew how to handle genuine fanservice.It didn’t want to depend on panties.It didn’t want to force to make it happened.But… Misaki is very cute !! with maid costume, nekomimi, tsundere mode and her development .I love her !

  16. mambo says:

    don’t worry… battle of BH and Kaichou just like Kimi no Todoke and Kobato. Psgels watch Todoke first, regret, then watch Kobato for the rest :P

  17. Joojoobees says:

    “It lacks subtlety in this department, but that’s one thing that made the drama and the parts in which Misaki forced down her biased opinion on all of the guys in the school.”

    I agree the way that was handled lacked subtlety. Episode two seemed too preachy to me. If this were episode one, I might’ve dropped it immediately. Instead, like Psgels and several previous commenters, I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

  18. Reltair says:

    I’m willing to bet that this series turns out good. It doesn’t have too much drama/comedy/awkward moments at once and spaces it out effectively.

  19. kyuzo says:

    hating the lead guy. what the hell was that “you’re my personal maid after all” crap? and she blushed over that? i hope there’s not much of that in the coming eps.

  20. Girmie says:

    What’s been annoying me about the anime is how much poorer they’ve made Misaki’s family in comparison to the manga: in the manga their house is a little rundown, but not so much that it stands out from the buildings around it, the gate doesn’t fall to bits, and her mother might not have the most stamina, but she doesn’t have a mysterious cough or need to do mail-order type jobs. I don’t get the need for this overemphasis.

  21. Hipployta says:

    I enjoy this manga so much…I had no idea it was got an anime *goes to download and enjoy the goodness*

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  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 09:50 PM)
    @Aidan: well interestingly in the pilot “what doth life?” causes a file not found error, so it fitted perfectly.
  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 04:24 PM)
    @Bam, Nope. Never seen Xavier.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Nov 29. 2015 03:25 AM)
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 10:22 PM)
    @Aidan: it does seem like you’ve actually seen Xavier, in which case I’m impressed. Didn’t think you had it in you.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 09:35 PM)
    Speaking of errors, can anybody else open Evil Genius Scanlations page? I keep getting a gateway error. I know there should be a new Berserk on there but some force is keeping it from me. This is messed up.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:38 PM)
    @Bam, Easy. 404 not found
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Bam: Oh in symphogears case, I certainly laughed but I wasn’t supposed to.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:39 AM)
    @Bam: While it didn’t always work, that first episode of renegade angel was amusing, I particularly liked the part where he went on about Aids being invented.

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