Friday, January 1, 2010

Manga Review: Maid Sama! Volume 3

The comedy-romance manga, Maid Sama!, began its lengthy run in Japan in 2005. The manga by Hiro Fujiwara has lasted for ten volumes overseas and is even in production to become an animated series at some point in 2010. Needless to say that speaks to some level of popularity, but how does the series resonate with American audiences? We've already seen the first two volumes of the series, but recently Tokyopop just sent the third to store shelves. Let's take a look, shall we?

Just in case you're unfamiliar with the manga, you should know it's all about a girl named Misaki Ayuzawa who happens to be the student council president of her school. This may seem like nothing special at first, but considering Seika High used to be an all-boys school prior to becoming co-ed, it's fair to assume that girls typically don't rise to that level of power. Misaki is feared by many and respected by most. She uses her influence to make changes for the better and she thrives in the tough atmosphere. Imagine, if you will, what the male population's reaction would be if they found out she also had a part-time job as a maid at a café. One boy in particular, Usui, discovers her secret. Cue hilarious antics and the beginnings of a relationship.

At the start of this installment Seika High is holding a Dress-Up Race. Students that are participating must dress up in costumes provided by the student body. It's a random grab and wouldn't you just know it? Misaki pulls out a maid costume that was put there totally by chance from her adoring fans. The events leading up to her discovery of the costume are pretty funny, and once she actually dons the maid outfit it gets even better. Usui's reaction to her is classic and when it comes time for the event there's some support from her friends as well.

Moving forward there are more scenes that take place both in the school and café that develop Misaki's character and her relationship with some of her friends. One of the chapters also introduces the café manager's niece, Aoi, into the fold, and let's just say that she creates an interesting and beautiful dynamic. She's very dramatic and contrasts Misaki's character quite strongly I like the prospect of what her character offers the series, and it will be interesting to see what comes of Aoi in future installments. Another interesting development happens towards the end of this volume that involves some hypnotism. I'll leave it for fans of the manga to discover what happens during this bit, but let's just say that we see Usui and Misaki in a compromising situation.

As was the case with the other volumes Hiro Fujiwara's manga looks fantastic. The characters are nicely detailed with attractive designs and wonderful expressions. I really enjoyed the maid-fetish design that was at play here and it's clear that Fujiwara has an affinity for it as well. Scattered throughout the book are omake and amusing little bits that aren't a part of the main story. It all comes together with the writing and translation to make a volume that absolutely pops and has a lot of personality.

If you haven't read Maid Sama! before, then you should definitely add it to your list. The manga is full of humor, placates to otaku fetishes in some ways, and offers a fine balance with its dramatic moments. The third volume pushes the series forward and introduces some new things that should prove very interesting in the coming installments. Highly recommended!

Maki Rating:

No comments:

Post a Comment