Thursday, April 02, 2009

Maid Sama!, vol. 1

By Hiro Fujiwara
Published in the US by TokyoPop

Slugline: Anger and daddy issues go together is the taste great, less filling of storytelling

Misaki has dad issues, and using the toughness she had cultivated after her dad abandoned her to help keep the male dominated school body in line at her school in her role of president.. But every character in manga has a secret and hers is that to make some money she works at a maid cafe, where she has to be polite and call visitors master. This does not come easily to her but Misaki manages to keep the two parts of her life separate until Takumi, the bored and thus sexy head male student at her school discovers it. Rather than take advantage of her over it, Takumi uses it as a reason to get close to the one girl in school that is not intrigued by his natural charm, thus making Misaki the only one that interests him at all.

The intersection of the maid and high school settings gives some slightly new twists to many of the same situation that fill out all shoujo . Sometimes that is all it takes to bring a little bit of freshness to staid situations. It is also nice to see for once that the missing/abandoned parent issue being used for more than just a rationale to keep cast size manageable and for explaining why high school students can stay out for all hours. Having a missing or otherwise uninvolved parent seems to be a staple of anime/manga but it rarely seems like it drives any of the characters in a meaningful way, unlike in many types of American fiction. Here at least her father's abandonment has shaped and changed Misaki in ways that matter and if her father ever returns you have some juicy storytelling potential there.

Maid Sama!, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga


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