28 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Kaichou no Maid-sama episode 1

‘The Student Council President is a Maid’ is the token shoujo series of the season, and anyone who thought this was otaku-bait fails at research. And we all know what to expect from shoujo series by now. No, not button-less bishies falling of buildings. We expect the backgrounds to be full of-

SPARKLES!

BUBBLES!

FLOWERS!

FLOWERY BUBBLES!

SPARKELY FLOWERS!

SPARKLEY BUBBLES!

4B PENCIL STROKES (haven’t seen this used as much before)

STREAMS OF SPARKELY BUBBLES!

You get the picture. Kaichou no Maid-sama is another shoujo that acts in pretty much the same way as any other shoujo. It comes in the same line that brought Kimi ni Todoke, Skip Beat, Itazuru na Kiss, Lovely Complex and so on. It’s got the same sense of humour, same character archetypes and pretty much everything you’d expect from a shoujo series. If you like that sort of stuff then great. JC Staff have clearly put effort into this. The animation is great, the directing is spot on and hey, I found myself moderately amused by the main characters reactions to the guys blank stares. But no, shoujo just isn’t for me. It’s teenage girl wish-fulfillment, rather well made teenage girl wish-fulfilment I must admit, but something I have learned through painstaking hours of sitting the entire way through Fruits Basket and Itazuru na Kiss as something I will just never like. Call me back when they make a shoujo series that truly breaks beyond the boundaries of its genre.

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26 Comments

  1. Posted April 3, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Yeap Kaichou wa Maid-sama is definately shoujo that does exactly what it says on the tin. I enjoy well made shoujo anime, but they’ll never rank up in my favourites. I just prefer them in manga form – anime adaptations always seem to destroy the character designs.

    Still I enjoyed the ‘switch off my brain and just go dawww~’ quality of Kimi ni Todoke so will probably keep this on as a replacement :P

  2. Freya
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Agreed. I read quite a bit of the manga, and it was moderately entertaining, but the characters are just so stereotypical shoujo it hurts, and it got so bad that I could pretty much predict what was going to happen word for word, so I didn’t bother reading more.
    I couldn’t stand Fruits Basket and didn’t touch Itazura na kiss again after one episode, but there are good Shoujo out there Scamp, you just gotta search.

  3. Posted April 3, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Call me back when they make a shoujo series that truly breaks bey­ond the bound­ar­ies of its genre.
    Is that even considered shoujo anymore? Well, there’s ARISA… It really just focuses on the mystery and suspense over everything else.

  4. Scamp
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    @Caraniel

    Yeah I never enjoyed the ‘switch my brain off an go daww~’ feel. Cuteness has never appealed to me in the long term. Guess this is going to the dropped bin

    @Freya

    I have searched! I watched Fruits Basket, Skip Beat, Ouran, Itazuru, Kimi ni Todoke, Love Com and even read the manga for Full Moon all to no avail. Well, actually Love Com was all right but that’s not exaclty high praise

    @Kiseki

    WTF, I typed Arisa into MAL and found this
    http://myanimelist.net/anime/3307/Arisa

  5. Posted April 3, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Heh. I got a good laugh out of that. :’D This.
    It’s not that all predictable until you’re reading it in Japanese monthly like me. I figured out a certain pattern for the plot, but as I say that, it throws me off again.

    Unfortunately, it does not have enough material to be adapted into an anime yet. It’s popular though, enough to have it licensed already.

  6. Nericas
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I like the manga.
    I never particularly am interested in the Anime remakes

  7. Posted April 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Haha, combining shoujo backgrounds into fearsome new combinations!

  8. Posted April 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Though some wish fullfillment is better then others. I like shoujo, but Kimi Ni Todoke was taking it too far…

    And yes, I’ll let you know if I come across a shoujo series that’s something special. The shoujo that is something special never seems to get made into anime though…

  9. Posted April 3, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    At least for the first half, Kare Kano is the best shoujo romance ever because it actually explores the relationship between the leads (they get together in, like, the first three episodes), and it has this manic energy and style to it that hasn’t been replicated in any other romance series I’ve seen (though Toradora! comes close at times). The ending is a total mess, of course, but I love the series all the same.

    (Rose of Versailles is my personal favorite shoujo series, but I hesitate to label it purely a “romance” series, since it develops the historical angle just as much.)

    As for Maid-sama, the first episode is better than I expected, but I agree with you in that it is just OK for now. Solid production values, potentially likable characters.

  10. Freya
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Lovely complex was mildly entertaining but it wasn’t any better than mediocre. Ouran had some witty humour in it in some parts, but in the end all those series fall into the same cutesy romance type.

    Absolutely seconded on Rose of Versailles. It’s in an old style, and it’s over-dramatic,theatrical and slow paced at the start, but once it changed directors I fell in love. It wasn’t cutesy but harshly realistic for the time it was set in (Pre-revolution France) and with very well rounded characters. In the end I was crying like a baby.

    I also have a love/hate relationship with the Revolutionary Girl Utena series. For the early episodes I was hating it, I felt nothing for the two main characters and it seemed overly cliche despite having an unusual premise, and the humour was unfunny and stupid. But then the mindscrew and kicked in and with it came some amazingly directed scenes, all the pre-conceptions you had of the characters were thrown out the window and every character was deconstructed mercilessly. Even now, I still can’t tell if I liked it or not, But it certainly was different.

  11. Posted April 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    lol How did I forget Utena? Guess it slipped my mind because it rips apart everything shoujo … but it still counts, really, so that is my true favorite (it being my favorite series and all, haha). And I love Utena’s sense of humor; it’s the closest any anime has ever — or will ever, frankly — come to Looney Tunes-level of insane slapstick humor. There’s such a surreal dedication to its comedic stories, and the comedy episodes come in at the most awkward times, that they floored me every time. The cow episode is still one of my all-time favorite anime episodes.

    I personally enjoyed the overdramatic scenes in the early part of Rose of Versailles, because the emphasis on bitchy catfights and absurd drama about the stupidest, most insignificant things, because it seemed like a deliberate thematic choice to emphasize the disconnect between Versailles and the reality of France. It’s definitely overdone (hard not to be overdone when you give in completely to melodrama, haha), but it’s so crazy that I can’t help but love it.

  12. Scamp
    Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    @Kiseki

    Guh, I’m terrible reading manga. I haven’t touched Yotsubato in ages…I should really get back to that

    @Kabitzin

    First person to find the ultimate sparkely flowery bubbles combination wins a cookie

    @Janette

    The problem with wish fulfillment is it’s female wish fulfilment. I’m not a female. I do not wish a hawt guy sees me in a cute maid outfit

    @Shinmaru @Freya

    Utena is sitting around at home at the moment and it sounds like something I should like. Rose of V is something for the future though. I’m not much of a fan of over the top dorama…actually, I absolute hate dorama but hey, I’ll give it a shot one day

  13. Posted April 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    If it helps, RoV’s main character, Oscar, is a total badass. She’ll carry you through the dorama, because she takes it in, cool as a very badass cucumber.

  14. Posted April 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    And… This kind of review is why I love your blog.

  15. Posted April 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Personally I thought the intro episode messed up a few things (compared to manga). But Kaichou was meant to be the excessively generic shoujo. And… nice way of venting your frustrations xDDDD

    Most shoujo will be mood-driven and stay mood-driven. So unless you turn off your logic circuits—

    Try stuff like Kare Kano for fast-paced shoujo, or Saiunkoku Monogatari for your very intriguing shoujo (because it’s a political drama, don’t see much of that in the genre).

  16. Posted April 4, 2010 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    “Shoujo is teenage wish-fulfillment and I can’t watch it”

    “Shounen is…”

    Ho ho ho, Irish. Way to apply a double standard.

  17. Posted April 4, 2010 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    There’s Ashita no Nadja. I don’t remember if there were any bubbles or stuff, but it’s a rather girly show. (The character design is based off the 1970s shoujo style.) However, it’s my favorite shoujo because the character development in that is simply amazing.

    Urgh.

  18. Posted April 4, 2010 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Okay, so since it’s an anime original so they don’t have to adapt screentones (and the manga is crap), I can’t find any of those bubbles/sparkles/flowers/etc. when skimming a couple of episodes, but this is girly shit that is probably too girly for you to like.

  19. Scamp
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    @Siri

    Why thank you~

    @Aorii

    I wasn’t that frustrated because I expected exactly this. I’ve learned by now never to get my hopes up for shoujo

    @Sorrow-kun

    I am a man. I have male wishes. I do not have the wishes of a female. Therefore it would make perfect sense that I would have more interest in shounen that shoujo. That’s not double standerd, it’s common sense

    @Kiseki

    I think I’ll stick to Utena. And hey, if Chobits can be one of my all-time favourites then I’m not comletely lost to cuteness

  20. Posted April 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Aww, come on Scamp, don’t you want your prince on a white horse to swoop in a make life amazing for you even though you hate him? ;)

  21. Hogart
    Posted April 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Spot on, but this one looks truly awful. In fact this was the first shoujo my wife has wanted to drop before the first episode even ended. In fact, I was having so much fun watching her get frustrated that I only remember this being about an incredibly unlikable ball-busting bitch, and some robot that stalks her for no reason.

  22. Posted April 5, 2010 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    i resent that you put kimi ni todoke in the same bin as kaichou wa maid-sama! D: i mean, kimi ni todoke isnt the most interesting ground breaking shoujo ever, but at least it isnt a shoujo that puts the emphasis on the sparkly bishounen and actually bothers to develop its characters and focus on much more than just the romance (actually, a lot more.). kaichou, on the other hand, i would drop in the “generic shoujo” bin with the perfect sparkly bishounen hitting on the tsundere girl and he OMG…knows her secret. DUN DUN DUNNN.

    i cant think of a shoujo anime that i really enjoyed and would recommend to non-shoujo watchers. doesnt help that i havent watched a lot of shoujo anime either. i would have recommended honey and clover, but you’ve already seen that and people label it josei nowadays anyways.

    um, princess tutu? *skips speech of how the title is misleading*

  23. Scamp
    Posted April 5, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    @Janette

    I’ve tried to take my lead from shoujo male crushes but it never works in real life. I think it’s the lack of sparkles and bubbles. I need someone with a sparkler and a bubble blower ring behind me when I try flirt from now on

    @Hogart

    I think the only episode I dropped before the ep ended was Ikkitousen and I only watched that to see if the rumours of 30+ panty flashes were true. They were

    @gw_kimmy

    I liked Honey and Clover quite a bit…well, the first season anyway, but as far as josei series go I defo prefer Nodame. As for Princess Tutu, I’m sorry to say that I tried it and round really really poor. I know there’s people out there that would balk at someone saying that but I really did not like that anime one bit

  24. Posted April 5, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    And with sparkles and bubbles, there is the solution to all life’s problems. ;]

  25. Nemo
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Your post is actually very true about all the sparkles and such. Gave me a laugh :) I still plan to watch this though, I am very guilty to liking these kinds of shows.

  26. Animefann1
    Posted July 13, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    whats a shoujo?

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