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Maid Sama! Volume 1

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Maid Sama! Volume 1 by Hiro Fujiwara, a shojo manga series published by TokyoPop

Maid Sama! Volume 1

© 2005 Hiro Fujiwara / HAKUSENSHA Inc.

The Bottom Line

Misaki is strong and smart so it's little wonder that she's class president. But Misaki has a secret: she works at a maid café. When she's seen in her frilly apron by Takumi, Misaki thinks that her hard-fought rep is ruined. But her hunky classmate has other things in mind as he finds himself attracted to the maid/president.

With its playful mix of fanservice, battle of the sexes comedy and a just a hint of steamy romance, Maid Sama! has most of the ingredients for an addictive shojo manga treat. It's up to Fujiwara to prove that she can deliver something more substantial than one volume's worth of guilty pleasures.

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Pros

  • A simple, yet enjoyable shojo manga battle of the sexes
  • Misaki is a hard-working, proud and likably flawed heroine
  • While one-dimensional at times, Takumi's affection for Misaki seems plausible
  • Fujiwara's artwork delivers an appealing mix of romance and comedy

Cons

  • Scary scene where Misaki is tied up and almost tazered seems inappropriate for younger teens
  • Takumi is a classic shojo hunk, but he needs to do more than preen and rescue Misaki
  • Unless Fujiwara spices things up, this story could quickly become repetitive
  • The supporting male and female characters are essentially scenery, not people
  • While I'm all for equal opportunity fanservice, does Takumi have to flash his chest so often?

Description

  • Original Title: Kaicho wa Meido Sama (The President is a Maid) (Japan)
  • Author & Artist: Hiro Fujiwara
  • Publishers:
  • ISBN: 978-1427814036
  • Cover Price: $10.99 US / $12.99 CANADA
  • Age Rating: T – Teens Age 13+ for reasons for some sexual harassment, violence and fanservice
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
  • US Publication Date: April 2009
    Japan Publication Date: September 2006
  • Book Description: 208 pages, black and white illustrations

Guide Review - Maid Sama! Volume 1

By day, Misaki Ayuzawa is the stern, boy-hating class president of a formerly all-male school. But in the afternoon, she dons a frilly dress and apron to work at a maid café. She stomachs this indignity simply because she has to: her father left the family with a crippling amount of debt, and Misaki must help her mother make ends meet.

But just when she thinks things can't get any worse, Misaki's secret is discovered by Takumi Usui, the class heartthrob, and the only guy in school who isn't afraid of her. Takumi surprises Misaki by not revealing her secret, but does something a little more horrifying: he starts to fall for her.

Fujiwara does a decent job of setting up the dynamic that draws Misaki and Takumi together. Misaki is a hot-tempered perfectionist while Takumi is a cool operator who seems just as disdainful of passive girls just as Misaki is of 'stupid' boys. It's immediately apparent that they belong together because they have so much to learn from each other -- although in this volume, it's Misaki who does much of the learning while Takumi mostly smirks and bares his chest.

Battle of the sexes stories are nothing new -- but Fujiwara has cleverly used maid cafes to simultaneously provide fanservice-laced comedy and romance while critiquing modern male / female roles. By making Misaki both the fierce woman warrior and the pitiful princess, Fujiwara gets to have it both ways -- she gets a strong but vulnerable heroine who caters to several female fantasies, e.g. 'I don't need no stinkin' men' vs. "Someday, my prince will come."

Like the maid cafes it portrays, Maid Sama! panders to its clientele's appetite for simple but unrealistic fantasies. But on the other hand, it's served up with a wink and a smile, so it's hard to deny this guilty pleasure when it looks like it's having so much fun.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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