Review by Kristin Cox
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shoujo
Overall Score: 7.5/10
“Your sudden smiles always surprise me. They’re interesting but dangerous enough to make my heart race.”
– Usui Takumi
Misaki Ayuzawa is the first female student counsel president at a school that only recently became co-ed. She makes it her goal to make the newly co-ed school more female friendly and to encourage more girls to join the school in later years. However, the male students are not so inclined to change their ways. She uses an iron-clad will to whip the boys into shape, causing them to fear her. One student, however, Usui Takumi sees right through her tough exterior and uses his hidden knowledge to taunt her relentlessly. What isn’t apparent to her right away, is that he is subvertly guiding her to make the right decisions. When he finds out she works at a Maid cafe after school to help her poor family make ends, she becomes quite fearful he will tell the school and her tough-guy persona will be completely erased.
Each character brings out pieces of Misaki and Usui’s personalities and allows them to build upon the complex love-hate relationship they have formed. You are constantly asking yourself what Usui is going to do next as Misaki gets herself into situations she cannot handle on her own – and even those she can. His predictable – yet unpredictable – attitude towards Misaki is entertaining, to say the least. His overbearing possessiveness is balanced very well by his desire to help her improve herself and not do everything for her – making him to be much less the typical ‘possessive jerk’ you would normally see.
Here is where the anime really falls short for me. Misaki and Usui are set against many challenges; most of which prelude to something much more but those plot points are never explored further. I feel as if the storyline left many holes as it explored different mini arches throughout the show. For example, there is a bunch of foreshadowing and mentioning of Usui’s past, often in passing, but it is never fleshed out and you are left wondering who he really is and where he came from. I find it to be one of the biggest plot-holes of the series.
However, minus the holes in the plot, the anime does keep you on your toes and constantly guessing what will happen next.
Monica Rial is amazing as Misaki. You can feel her frustration, anger and love for her classmates in her voice along with the passion for wanting the best for everyone. She keeps up with Misa’s emotional psyche very well.
David Matranga’s voice as Usui is absolutely perfect. I don’t think anyone else could have played the part as well. I absolutely adored him in Clannad (Tomoya) and here is no different. His somewhat monotone approach works very well for Usui’s quiet and calm demeanor. Yet, he can pull off the few outbursts of emotion that Usui has without so much as a hitch. You can hear the subtle feelings in his voice without so much as changing the pitch or pace. He is definitely great at what he does.
I didn’t find anything overly amazing about the animation but I certainly didn’t find anything that annoyed me, either. I felt it was done nicely and fit well with the mood of the anime. It certainly had me laughing at times.