Posted on 15 April 2010 with categories: Kaichou wa Maid-Sama

[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.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

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.

Posted 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)

Posted on 2 April 2010 with categories: Kaichou wa Maid-Sama, Ookiku Furikabutte, Some Quick First Impressions

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a teenaged future demon lord.
Again: better than expected. On one hand we have horrid character-designs, some of the most pointless fanservice I’ve seen this season (seriously… why?) and an entire cast of teenaged mages. On the other hand, it’s quite well animated actually plays around with the tropes of its genre. Generic male leads often get confused into pointless misunderstandings. This show takes these to the ridiculous, and plays around with their irony. It actually made me laugh a few times. But yeah: this has the consequence that everyone in this series is a complete moron and just acts how the plot demands it. The jokes also often just fall flat, and are trying too hard. The classroom scene was hilarious. The peeping scene was horribly dull and predictable.
ED: Boring J-Rock
Potential: 40%

Ookiku Furikabutte – Natsu no Taikai-hen

Short Synopsis: Our lead characters continue to participate in the regional baseball tournament.
When comparing to Cross Game, it’s perhaps a bit hard to see, but Ookiku Furikabutte also has truly excellent slice of life, though in a completely different way. This episode showed that more than ever. The creators really managed to show all of the characters as they are, with inspired dialogue as they analyze and talk about the previous and next matches that they’re involved into. On top of that, it turns out that it had no intention to just forget past characters: the opposing team whose match filled the majority of the first season returns in this episode as well, in which we see two of its members (the captain and that first year that never got to participate in the match) deal with what happened at the climax of the first season. A-1 show that they can very much animate three series at the same time with some excellent animation that may not be the smoothest, but is really well directed and inspired, bringing the characters to life. This second season is looking very promising at this point.
OP: Decent enough J-Rock
ED: A bit of a boring song.
Potential: 90%

Kaichou wa Maid Sama

Short Synopsis: Our lead character
works at a maid cafe.
Romantic comedies are one of my least favourite genres in anime. But in this season, they’re either really bad or really good. My favourite opening episodes so far are from those romantic comedies. Again, Kaichou wa Maid Sama has elements that have been beaten to death in attempts to pander to otaku. And yet it gives a fresh look at the genre with well written dialogue and characters. Like B Gata H Kei, the creators really know their characters, and this episode did a great job of not just establishing the characters, but also exploring who they are, what drives them and a bit about their pasts, already slightly developing them. The lead character suddenly feeling ill was a bit forced I guess, but the rest of this episode was a delight to watch.
OP: Nice animation, decent song.
ED: Boring J-rock.
Potential: 80%

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