Maid Sama! Volume 1 by Hiro Fujiwara
Emma aside, I generally don’t go for manga about maids. I ended up being pleasantly surprised by Maid Sama thanks to an engaging protagonist. Misaki’s father left her and her mother on their own. As a result Misaki is a confirmed man-hater and driven to excel in school. She’s attending a high school that just recently went co-ed because it has cheaper tuition. Even though most of the students are boys she has risen through the school hierarchy to become class president. Misaki spends most of her time policing uncouth male students and shouldering the responsibilities of her fellow student council members. The only part-time job that she was able to find that would leave her enough time to study and give her money to support her family was working at a maid cafe. Misaki is terrified that if her secret gets out her authority at school will evaporate.
Takumi is the most popular boy at school, spending most of his time rejecting confessions of undying love. Misaki hates him since he’s always making the girls she protects cry. Takumi spots Misaki taking out the trash in her maid uniform and Misaki explains why she’s working. She shows up at school the next day expecting that he’ll have told everyone, but no one seems to know her secret. Takumi starts to attend Misaki’s cafe after school. He’s intrigued by her, and concerned that she seems to push herself and others too much. Takumi warns her that if she continues to browbeat the boys, she’ll end up with a rebellion on her hands. When other students threaten to discover Misaki’s secret Takumi takes action to protect her.
The plot elements in Maid Sama will be familiar to most readers. The competition between a headstrong girl and emotionally intelligent yet aloof boy, hijinks at a school festival, and dealing with otaku maid stalkers are developments that I was expecting. There’s plenty of broad comedy as the boys at school keep wanting to hold strip rock paper scissors tournaments and Misaki’s delivers frequent beatdowns of anyone who doesn’t bend to her will. The final story in the volume explored the situation more from comedic characterizations of the supporting cast as a group of five eager boys start following Misaki around because they’ve decided to model their behavior on hers.
While Maid Sama isn’t a groundbreaking shoujo series by any means, it was definitely a pleasant diversion. The art is nice, with particular attention paid to highlighting the over-the-top emotions of the characters. Misaki’s rage contrasts well with Takumi’s always cool personality. I’ll be checking out volume 2 to see if I want to continue to follow their adventures.
Review copy provided by the publisher.