Maid-sama 5

February 17, 2011

Hiro Fujiwara – Tokyopop – 2010 – 12+ volumes

It has been a long time since I read the last volume of this. I’m sorry for that, because this volume was really, really great.

There’s a short story at the beginning of the volume that deals with Misaki having fun with some of her friends on the student council and getting harassed by some jerks, but it wasn’t very good. Of course Usui rushes in with the save, Misaki snaps and tells the boys off, and everything turns out okay. Cute, but pretty par for the course.

The second story takes up the rest of the volume and is the best thing in the series yet. A butler cafe threatens a hostile takeover of Maid Latte. The owners of the restaurant turn out to be none other than the rich student council members from the rival school that Misaki spited earlier in the series. The butler cafe has “Footman Tryouts”, and Misaki decides to enter with one of the other Maid Latte maids in order to show them that Maid Latte is every bit as good as a butler cafe.

This story pulls out all the stops. You have to audition as footmen in pairs, and several side characters enter the race. This is mostly for comedic value, but there are still some good moments. Of course Usui secretly enters the race, and eventually he and Misaki are paired up and in the finals. There are some really great scenes between the two, including one where Misaki proves her masculinity to the judges, some close moments between the two, a couple hints about what Usui is really like and who his family might be, and a wonderful finale that brings out the best in both Usui and Misaki. It’s really great stuff, and unusual as far as tournaments go.

The last chapter is semi-related, and features Misaki… well, basically acting as a personal maid for Usui, just as he wished at the beginning of the volume. Except the context is very serious, and it’s one of the sweetest scenes between the two yet. Almost one of those game-changing moments, really. Can the story back away from the tension the last pages of this volume showed us? I wonder.

Luckily, I have two more volumes of this to find out.

Maid-sama 4

June 28, 2010

Hiro Fujiwara – Tokyopop – 2010 – 8+ volumes

There are two major stories in this volume, one breaks the school formula but not the manga formula (the employees of Maid Latte go to the beach on a company trip), and the other involves taking care of a problematic student from the previous volume and forcing him to work for the better of the school recruitment rally.

There were lots and lots of Misaki/Usui moments in this volume, and I was slightly taken aback by the hints of progression we were getting.  Not only is Misaki right on the cusp of admitting she may not hate Usui (her actions in one story speak louder than her words when she goes to great lengths not to hate Usui forever), Usui is definitely taking his game to the next level.  The beach is the perfect setting for such things, and not only does he get to give her a nice, forced, very very romantic kiss while she’s wearing her two-piece swimsuit (as opposed to her school suit… there was some joke that missed me about her wearing it, but everyone on the beach seemed mortified), he also gets a story full of pouting when she doesn’t want to be beach queen to his king.  It was ADORABLE.

There’s also still plenty of humor, but the slapstick seems toned down a bit from previous volumes, which is fine by me.  That’s a big part of the personality of this series, but all the same, I think the amount that sticks around is just enough.

The end of the volume was filled with… well, what seemed like short gag chapters and filler and whatnot.  It wasn’t all that great, but you got to give the mangaka a break sometime.

Maid-sama 3

January 25, 2010

Hiro Fujiwara – Tokyopop – 2010 – 8+ volumes

I reviewed this for the weekly Manga Minis column at Manga Recon, so you can check it out over there.  Lots of other good stuff to read about in mini form this week, too.

I still like Maid-sama quite a bit.  I know there’s not as much to it as, say, Otomen, but it hasn’t gotten old yet, and I still like the characters and think it’s very funny.  And that’s really all it takes to enjoy a series, right?

Maid-sama 2

September 9, 2009

Hiro Fujiwara – Tokyopop – 2009 – 7+ volumes

I reviewed this for the weekly Manga Minis column at Manga Recon, so you can check out my review over there.

A lot of the new Tokyopop licenses seem… hmm.  Last week I reviewed Bloody Kiss, targeted at people looking for vampire romance.  Maid-sama is for romance junkies with a fondness for maids.  I like Maid-sama a lot and did not care for Bloody Kiss, but I wouldn’t say Maid-sama is the better series.  Well, maybe a little, but both could go very well or very badly depending on your particular tastes while reading them.  You like to laugh?  You don’t mind maids?  You like tough girls and dopey guys?  Try Maid-sama.  That’s what it has to offer.  I liked it quite a bit.

Maid-sama 1

May 11, 2009

I reviewed this for the Manga Recon, so you can check out the review over there.

This one’s definitely an acquired shoujo taste, in that if you really like shoujo manga, you’ll probably love it, but it doesn’t really have much to offer fans outside the genre.  I got a big kick out of it, it’s a pretty shallow but fun read.  I’ll be looking for volume 2.