Kaichou wa Maid-sama! – 23
「スイーツ大盛りメイドラテ」 (Suiitsu Oomori Meido Rate)
“Maid Latte with Lots of Sweets”
As luck would have it, Hinata’s not going down without a fight! Just when I thought he would get written off as a quick and ineffective stepping stone towards Misaki and Takumi’s relationship, he comes back with a strong showing of childhood proportions that even has Takumi pulling out the stops. The best part of all that was that I wasn’t really expecting much at this point. I was happy just to see some focus on Maid Latte and Misaki in her maid uniform again, which hasn’t really happened for the past while with the school tour, beach house, footman audition, arrival of Hinata, and the outdoor school. I had almost forgotten how good she looks with that slightly off-the-shoulder thing going on.
Anyway, we were tipped off about Hinata arriving at Maid Latte thanks to the preview last time, which turned out to be for a full course sweets challenge. With Hinata’s seemingly bottomless stomach, it was pretty much a shoo-in that he’d take the championship with ease; however, the added twist with Erika unknowingly agreeing to go on a date with a regular customer if he should win saw Misaki go undercover to prevent that from happening. She sure has a knack for helping those in need and an impressive stomach to boot in that little frame of hers. It looks like Takumi enjoyed making the sweets a bit too much knowing Misaki’s there though, with his surprise full-size cake as the dessert of choice for the finals. Leading up to Misaki’s early exit in the finals, Shiroyan, Kurotatsu, and Ikkun pretty much stole the show. Mainly Kurotatsu for almost hurling and then willingly tapping out early in anticipation of the punishment he’d receive. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, so Subaru’s mind-blowing head flick was too funny. Who needs a one inch punch when you can do much more damage with a flick of a finger!
Quite honestly, with the short break in between the two halves of the episode, everything looked like it was all green in the Misaki x Takumi shipping lane. Misaki was trying to recover from all the food she ate and struggling to do so, and Takumi swept in all nonchalantly and teased her about using his lap as a pillow or preparing for worse punishment. It wasn’t exactly the two of them hitting it off, but Takumi kissing the coat that Misaki was hiding under did have a nice feel to it. All of that proved to be a nice lead-in to Hinata catching on to Misaki’s disguise and asking her about it, before all three of them went to Maid Latte to cash in on his prizes — his two free lunches and a commemorative photo with the maid of his choice, Misa-chan. During her attempt to keep her job a secret, Misaki showed how she has a soft spot for Hinata’s earnest nature, which was significant because that’s one area where Takumi can’t take him head-on in. He just doesn’t have the same history that Hinata does with her, with the biggest blow to his candidacy for Misaki’s heart being her inability to lie to Hinata after seeing his bandaged fingers from working his part-time job at a gas station.
From the looks of it, Takumi recognizes he can’t do anything about the history aspect either, but I get the feeling Hinata’s straightforwardness about his feelings towards Misaki without forcing them upon her also comes into play. Because of that, I almost thought Takumi was going to back down after Hinata told him how he fell for Misaki after his parents died in an accident, and she got him to stop acting tough and suppressing his real feelings of sadness. As such, it was actually relieving to see Takumi not waver at all and simply ask if making his feelings clear is a declaration of war over Misaki’s heart. I still think Misaki voluntarily revealing her secret job as a maid to Hinata struck a pretty big blow to Takumi, but he did do a good job covering it up by following her lead and snatching Misaki away from him instead of feeling down about it. He even declared his stance on not handing over Misaki, which is exactly what I wanted to see from this type of rivalry. Isn’t Misaki lucky having two good-looking guys vying for her heart? I think it’s about time she realizes how serious both of them are!
Note: Kobayashi Yuu voices Hinata when he was a child, on top of her role as Shizuko.