ANIME & MANGA - Review
11:00 - 6th February 2016, by NEO Staff

Maid Sama! Collection 1

Since its opening, Seika High School and its all-male student body have courted a reputation for unruly rowdiness. Even following the controversy of going co-ed, the men still hold an 80% majority, and are kept in check only by the school’s first ever female student council president, Misaki Ayuzawa. Rising through the ranks with hard graft, long study and a little superiority, Misaki lords tyrannical over the lads, reprimanding them for every misdeed, no matter how innocuous. Their only respite comes from looking up to heartthrob Takumi Usui. Good-looking and with grades to match, Takumi is an object of worship for the guys, and adoration for the girls.

But Takumi accidentally discovers that to help fund her tuition, Misaki works part-time at a maid café in the next town over, a fact she’s desperate to keep secret from her subordinates. In return, Misaki learns the truth behind his do-gooder attitude and dreamy looks, and his pervy tendencies and apathy soon rub her the wrong way. It’s a riff on the classic odd couple, given new space to expand with the depth of character that comes from the strangeness of their situations. The gags tick over, wrapped around some astutely observed social commentary handling stalking, sexual harassment and even economic divides in a way that’s both meaningful and arresting, undercut only by the collection closer.

There’s no overarching plot beyond the ebb and flow of Misaki and Takumi’s relationship, so episodes can be swapped and switched, but with its exquisite pencil sketch backdrops, that’s no bad thing.

Maid Sama! frequently changes tact to keep from going stale, making for an easy to binge-watch 14-episode collection.
SCORE: 4/5
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