[Images will appear later due to Imageshack having issues]
Well, so far so good: now that the introduction is over this series keeps its balance between the funny and serious parts pretty well, with both parts actually working pretty nicely. The comedy feels used wisely: not too little and not too much, and the jokes so far still fall pretty good, with Usui’s abuse becoming possibly even funnier.
This episode also descended into shounen-territory for a bit. It’s interesting to have a shoujo-series with such a premise that allows it to make fun of these shounen stereotypes. The parodies were pretty standard, but quite amusing. Right now this series needs to take care in not repeating its stuff too much, but if it goes on like this, it should be fine.
As for the non-funny bits: I liked how we got to know a bit more about some of the different side-characters, like their siblings and stuff. This series has overdone it a bit with its setting, where the creators try to push too much for Misaki to overcome, but what they did get right was how the cast is pretty balanced in terms of strengths and flaws. The female schoolgirls are bright and cheerful, but also way too naive, protected way too much by Misaki. (as shown by that weak confession in this episode). The guys in the meantime are portrayed as complete morons, but at the same time they’re creative, come up with a new ideas for every one that Misaki turns down.
Misaki is of course the huge exaggeration in this, having huge strengths (her independence, leadership) and huge flaws (her short-sightedness, on top of that she seems very emotionally dependant based on the few affectionate moments she had with Usui). Usui on the other hand is glad that he chose a person to develop a crush over with some tolerance, because some of the things he says would have scared off most of those stereotypical moe girls. Especially for Japanese standards, they’re very direct.
Standalone, they’re indeed nothing interesting, but I have to admit that together, they’re forming quite an enjoyable Smörgåsbord of a cast. What the writers now need to do is deliver them properly: it’s no use having these interesting characters if they take a quarter of an eternity to get anywhere: it will become way too boring in the process. The past few episodes have been nice and all, but I’ve seen a lot of shoujo who started off with a bunch of strong opening episodes, only to derail completely and never get anywhere after six or seven episodes, so I’m really hoping that this series will be able to avoid that.
EDIT: After a bit of thinking though, I decided to drop this series in favour of Rainbow. Blogging both this series and Kimi ni Todoke has shown me that the shoujo high school romantic comedy series isn’t that interesting to blog for me, especially when I have no idea how it’ll turn out. That’s not to say that I’m completely boycotting the genre, of course. I will blog such a series when it’s really, really good. But to me, Maid Sama just isn’t going to be amongst those series, just like nearly all of the similar series that aired during the past ten years.