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Maid Sama Part 2 (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000172451
Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 17/1/2016 16:39
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    Review for Maid Sama Part 2

    7 / 10


    The first half of Maid Sama was pretty entertaining for a romantic comedy anime. It must be said that there was a lot more in the way of comedy than romance, and in a show centred on two protagonists, Misaki and Usui, it turned out that Usui’s personality was yet to be delivered, and it was left to the character of Misaki to do the heavy lifting. But even with all that, Maid Sama turned out to be one of those rare anime comedies that actually make me laugh out loud. I’m hoping that Part 2 at least continues in the same vein as Part 1, and it will be a bonus if Usui gets some much needed character development, and there’s a bit more romance along with the comedy.

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    Misaki Ayuzawa is a hard working high school student, the first female student council president in her school’s history, which is understandable given that until recently when it went co-ed, it was a boy’s school, and even now the girls are outnumbered by the boys by five to one. However it was a degree of misandry that motivated her to get elected, so that she could crack down on perverted boys, and protect the girls in her school. It didn’t hurt that the rest of the student council are ineffectual, so even if she has to do most of the hard work, it does mean that she does earn her reputation as a strict disciplinarian, able to turn even the toughest boys to quivering messes.

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    You’d think that she’d be riding high, but her home life is a lot more difficult, skirting poverty thanks to a father that skipped out on her mother, her, and her sister Suzuna, leaving them saddled with debt. So Misaki works a part time job in a maid cafe, playing the ideal subservient maid to otaku clientele. It’s a personality that is directly opposed to the front that she shows at school, which is why she made sure that the cafe was in the next town over. It was all going so well, until Takumi Usui walked into the shop, a particularly annoying playboy from school who she has marked down as a menace to fawning girls. Now that he knows her secret, her life is about to get a whole lot more difficult, if interesting.

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    Maid Sama Part 2 offers 14 episodes across 3 DVDs from MVM.

    Disc 4
    15. Bespectacled Rabbit at the Open Campus
    16. Maid Latte at the Beach House
    17. Usui Becomes the Enemy
    18. Maid Sama is a Footman
    19. Footmen Through a Change of Pairs

    Disc 5
    20. The Vice President is a Prince?! Aoi and Her Fun Companions
    21. Usui’s Rival?! Hinata Shintani
    22. Tag at the Forest School
    23. Maid Latte and a Whole Bunch of Sweets
    24. Lovey-Dovey Through Latte Magic

    Disc 6
    25. Hinata and Misaki and Usui
    26. Too-Cruel Ayuzawa and Usui the Idiot!
    27. Omake dayo

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    Maid Sama gets a 1.78:1 anamorphic NTSC transfer, progressive of course, as I’ve come to expect from modern anime releases in the NTSC format. It’s also another pleasing presentation on disc, clear and sharp throughout, with a minimum of visible compression, and as you might expect from a comedy romance, replete with bright, primary colours, a minimum of digital banding too. The character designs are agreeable if generic, the animation is fluid, but comparatively simplistic, and you get the usual comedy tropes of deformed characters to emphasise jokes. This show also has a fair bit of on screen text, almost like manga sound effects, to explain character motivation and the like, and it’s all translated in the subtitles.

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    You have the choice between DD 2.0 English and Japanese, with subtitles and signs. For this release the subtitles are locked during playback, although the audio isn’t. You can’t have the show without a subtitle/signs stream, but you can in effect have any combination of audio and subtitles. I went with the original language and the dialogue was clear throughout, the comedy action presented well through the stereo, with some agreeable music supporting the story. It’s fine and unproblematic just as you would expect from an anime release these days. The subtitles are accurately timed, and are free of typographical error, and this is a show with a whole lot of on-screen text to translate, although you won’t need to press pause too often to read it.

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    The discs present their content with static menus and jacket pictures. Each episode is followed by a translated English credit scroll.

    Finally, you’ll find the textless credits on disc 6, one opening and three endings. Omake dayo, the 27th episode is essentially a bonus episode after the end of the series proper, and short at just 14 minutes.

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    I like Maid Sama, it’s a great show to relax to, a light, frothy comedy that looks only to entertain, and is never mean-spirited or spiteful. It may be disposable, but it’s fun and engaging, and rarely fails to put a smile on my face. It’s great if you’re looking for a light, frothy comedy. If however, you’re looking for a light, frothy, romantic comedy, about the frustrating relationship woes of two people who look at first glance to be ill-suited to each other, but in the end are perfect partners, then you are looking in the wrong place. And given that this is what Maid Sama is supposed to be, I guess it would be appropriate to call it a failure. It’s just that I don’t have this much fun watching failures.

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    It’s all down to Usui, the supposed romantic lead in the show. His sole character trait is that he teases Misaki, driving her distracted with his attentions. At the end of Part 1, I opined that Usui needed some serious character development for him to really balance, and become an effective partner for Misaki, and while the end credit animation hints at who Usui really is, that’s never explored in these episodes. Yes, Maid Sama is another of those series that end on the optimistically open note, hoping in vain for a Season 2, leaving fans seeking out the manga to see what happens next. So through this collection of episodes, Usui remains a stick to poke the sleeping bear that is Misaki, other than the odd moments that he might actually react to something, such as a potential rival boyfriend.

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    As it is, the Usui Misaki pairing is about as emotionally effective, has as much chemistry as Tenma and Karasuma in School Rumble. The climax of the show gets predictably heavy on the emotions, and I admit that I might have got a little misty-eyed, until I realised that it was Misaki carrying the emotional weight of the moment, and that she could have been playing to a plank for all the difference that it made. Maid Sama also gets predictable in that in this half it introduces the rival for Misaki’s affections, Hinata Shintani. This could be problematic given that he actually has a personality, gets character development and we learn more about him in half an episode than we do about Usui through the whole series. You might actually start thinking that he’d be a better match for Misaki. As it is, he’s annoying, clingy, has been nursing a crush on Misaki since infancy, and very much sees her as a nurturing replacement mother.

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    Given all this, you’d be justified in asking just why I like Maid Sama so much. For one thing, it’s that the character of Misaki is so well developed and strong, and as I mentioned, she can carry the emotion of her relationship issues without the aid of her potential suitors, wet fish they may be. But in terms of the supporting cast, the situations and the potential for comedy, Maid Sama is an embarrassment of riches. You have Misaki’s quirky sister and playful mother at home, you have the rest of the school council (cross-dressing Yukimura gets a new friend in this half in the form of failed hypnotist Kanou), and Misaki’s friends, and you have the Maid Latte cafe with their unconventional staff.

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    There are the obligatory beach episodes, the posh Miyabigaoka school returns with another challenge, so Misaki and her friends go undercover in a butler competition (it all gets a little Ouran High School Host Club here), you get the various theme days at the maid cafe, always fun, especially with the three idiots trying to get special services from Misaki, and even Shintani’s fun when he’s obsessing about food and not Misaki. The one weak episode in this collection is the school excursion to the temple, which suggests that all boys turn into potential sex-criminals after three days of deprivation and seeking spiritual enlightenment, which is an unfortunate cliché bordering on the distasteful.

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    Maid Sama is a fun, entertaining comedy; as long as you don’t watch it for the purpose it’s intended. It’s fast paced, and has an appealing visual aesthetic which blends animation with the trappings of manga (sound effects written on screen and the like), which gives it a singular style, and it’s a delightful show to unwind to. The DVDs are attractive and watchable enough, but the Blu-rays will be along soon enough if you are willing to wait.

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