「美咲ちゃんはメイド様！」 (Misa-chan wa Meido-sama!)
“Misa is a Maid!”
A tsundere high school maid played by Fujimura Ayumi? Now we’re talking. As I mentioned in the Spring 2010 Preview, this is one of the shows I was looking forward to the most this season. It’s a romantic comedy at heart, centering around 16 year-old Ayuzawa Misaki, who worked her butt off to become the student council president of her predominantly male high school. She instinctively hates men after her father walked out on her family, leaving her sickly mother Minako (Kawasumi Ayako) and younger sister Suzuna (Ishihara Kaori) with a large sum of debt, so she tries to reform her school from the top down. She’s relentless with the male school body when it comes to enforcing dress code and ettiquette, which compounds her problems when the most popular guy, Usui Takumi (Okamoto Nobuhiko), stumbles on her part-time job at a maid cafe in the next town over. “Misa-chan” (as she’s known by her customers) thinks her school reputation is over at that point, but is surprised to find Takumi waiting for her to get off work so he can hear her out.
It turns out she’s working this job because it isn’t overly strenuous and only applied to their recently turned co-ed school because tuition is cheap. Upon hearing her story, Takumi offers his condolences, leaving Misaki at a loss on what he’s thinking. She prepares for the worst at school the next day, but a few days pass and no rumors have been spread, confusing her more. However, Takumi starts visiting her maid cafe over the next several days and just seems to stare at her the entire time. To make matters worse, Takumi takes top spot from her in the most recent exam and she starts overworking herself with her student council responsiblities, reviewing magazines students bring in and correcting their treasurer‘s recent blunder. Noticing this, Takumi approaches Misaki wondering if she’s some sort of a masochist, causing her to nearly collapse from everything going wrong. At work, she’s spotted by the three students she has constant problems with, but Takumi steps in to protect her saying they can’t touch her just because she’s cute.
The next day, Takumi tells her that he made sure the other guys won’t spread any rumors because it would ruin his fun. Not wanting to be in debt to him, Misaki offers to make it up to him in some way, so Takumi suggests she be his personal maid for a day.
Unlike the premiere of HEROMAN, here’s an example of an anime adaptation following its manga to a T, except I’m completely happy about it because I loved what I read there. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a soft spot for tsundere characters, which is even better when there’s a nonchalant popular guy to push her buttons. I find this setup particularly amusing because Takumi isn’t purposely trying to get under Misaki’s skin here, yet he manages to inadvertently do so with ease. It’s pretty clear he hasn’t realized that he’s taken an interest to Misaki yet, so his attitude towards her in conjunction with his stalker-like actions and protective nature only serve to confuse her more. What’s even better is that Misaki can’t even fathom dating a guy at this point, let alone the most popular guy at school that all the other girls make a fuss about.
Production-wise, J.C.Staff is doing some really nice work on this series, and I especially enjoy the goofy faces and super deformed characters to help bring out the comedy. In terms of plot, they’ve already shown us the potential this series has in the romance department, by hinting at how Takumi and Misaki’s contrasting personalities actually make them a good couple — more so than it appears anyway. All in all, it’s very Skip Beat-like as I mentioned in the preview, and I love it for that very reason. (Edit: It’s actually more like Special A now that I think about it.) Now I’m not big on the whole maid thing in general, but I have to say that the off-the-shoulder uniform that Misaki wears takes the whole thing from “nice” to “NIIICE”.
Overall, this first episode reassured my plans to follow this series all way through. Marking this series down as a guaranteed watch was one of the easiest decisions to make this season, and I’m already looking forward to episode two. For all you female fans out there (this is shoujo after all), the ending sequence has some Takumi fan-service for you. Enjoy~