Sunday, May 24, 2009

Maid Sama! vol. 1 Impression

Maid Sama! volume 1 from Tokyopop takes a very strong personality student president, one working to keep her school strong, and places her in a job that could ruin her reputation. The hitch, the most popular guy in school knows her secret but for some reason he won’t tell.

Class President Misaki has a daunting task. She is the only female student council member in school that is 80% boys. Having just switched to being co-ed the boys are still a little … rough and Misaki takes it upon herself to clean-up their acts and make the school safe for, and to attract more girls. Things get tricky as her personal life forces her to take a part-time job at a café that is catering to a certain cliental. Halfway across town, far from school Misaki works at a Maid Café to help her family with bills and basic expenses. The hitch, local mega-hot and popular Takumi Usui finds her working there and the cat is now out of the bag, he will tell everyone and Misaki will be ruined. But a strange thing happens at school the next day … nothing. He did not tell, but why? Seems Takumi has his own reasons for not telling and as he continues to show up day after day at the café and even helps Misaki in a few situations (like a bad theme at the school fair) the two grow closer in the most peculiar ways. Will anyone find out about Misaki’s job or will Takumi continue to torture her, time will tell.

Hiro Fujiwara, you have created a manga that takes a very particular fetish and weaves a story that is both fun to read and engaging. The character designs are a bit different than typical Shojo stories. Beautifully detailed characters hook the reader and the backgrounds are just outstanding. Many manga pass over backgrounds but not Maid Sama! This book is really pleasing to look at and it does not hurt that the attractive school president spends half her time in a uniform, the other half in a maid outfit. That should hook most male readers but don’t overlook the story. Learning more about Usui is so much fun as he really tortures Misaki with his knowledge while helping her out with three admires other students who wonder into the cafe and also with some thieves. She’s no slouch with her study habits and marital arts skill but she learns through sickness that even she can require help. The reader can start to guess where this story is going but it’s how we get there that’s fun. A class of boys who play strip rock-paper-scissors, yeah it’s kinda crazy.

Overall the book is a fun read, similar in its humor to another of my recent post, Ouran High School Host Club, but with more Shojo mixed in, meaning the stories romantic layer gets resolved in this first volume, it’s not dragged out. The art is plain great, really no wasted panes in this manga volume. Now there is a bonus story by Hiro about a girl who always had a crush on a boy. That boy passes away but she can see him as can his best friend. They talk and share some special moments. He ends up passing on and she learns about herself. Quick synopsis but this story is very touching and a nice bonus, not just some thrown in. Fans of romantic, comedic Shojo manga will enjoy Maid Sama! and anyone that enjoyed Ouran should check it out also.

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