DVD Review: Maid Sama – Part 2
18/01/2016 1 Comment
We take a trip back to Maid Latte to see what Misaki and Usui get up to in the remaining episodes; but is it a happy-ever-after or a disaster story waiting to happen? Well for now we will keep it a secret but what did we think of this DVD release by MVM Entertainment? Find out in our review of Maid Sama – Part 2.
If Misaki Ayuzawa didn’t already have enough problems being the first female student council president of the formerly all-male Seika High School and carrying on a secret double life as a waitress at a local maid cafe by night, the fact that she may be starting to have feelings for Usui, the first boy to discover her dual life, has pushed her nerves to the breaking point. But fate certainly won’t leave it at that, and now she has to deal with a new guy who is not only extremely anti-girl, but a hypnotist as well!
Toss in an organized crime cartel that wants to replace the maid cafe with a butler bistro, some very annoying new transfer students, and the inevitable trip to the hot springs and everyone is guaranteed to end up in hot water one way or another!
The first half of Maid Sama offered a welcoming mixture of slice-of-life entertainment with the elements of a romantic comedy and while this second half attempts to re-create that experience it instead fails and offers a relatively dreary, but amusing, experience that leads up to its relatively inconclusive ending. Fear not something ‘new’ is upon us on in this second half but when all is said and done it does nothing but to extend the shows running time; or so that’s my thoughts at least.
Picking-up right where the first half of Maid Sama ended we see Kanou’s attempt at making Misaki forget all about Usui fail; and in turn Misaki makes Kanou a member of the Student Council in an attempt to make his fear of girls a thing of the past. It’s a relatively short tale – spanning only two episodes – buts it one that sees Kanou come out of his shell and be more open with others; especially the vice-president Shouichirou Yukimura.
The remaining episodes meanwhile can be separated into two distinctive paths; for starters the first half of this set offer a varying set of circumstances each spanning a handful of episodes. For instance following the school festival the staff members of Maid Latte take a relaxing trip to Satsuki Hyoudou’s relatives beach house resort but instead of being a trip of relaxation the group ends up turning the beach house into a bikini themed maid cafe; much to the distraught of Misaki and amusement of Usui. Elsewhere however the student council of Miyabigaoka High School host a competition to find out who is the best footman (butler-themed-waiter) so that they can open a new cafe in place of Maid Latte. It’s an event which woman, especially Misaki, should have no involvement in but because it puts her beloved place of work at risk she pretends to be a man in order to take part and show how good she really is. Each selection of episodes, or story, offer plenty of comedic entertainment but in hindsight it adds nothing further to the character relationship between Usui and Misaki; case and point including an episode which sees Shouichirou’s younger sister, and Aoi, take center stage in a relatively spin-off styled episode.
The talking point of Maid Sama – Part 2 however lies within the arrival of Hinata Shintani; a childhood friend of Misaki who has returned to the city in hopes of finding Misaki and confessing his love to her. It’s a situation common in most romantic comedies, and in turn creating a type of harem, but in this particular show nothing of the sort seems to happen. Sure enough Misaki and Usui begin to have more confrontations; and it leads Hinata to feel ‘disconnected’ from the girl he once knew but Hinata never really makes a move on her and it even gets to a point where Hinata just fades out of the picture entirely before, to a certain extent, the show comes to its conclusion. Fear not there is an ending to be had, and it’s one that we’ve seen coming since earlier on in the series, but it feels so inconclusive that it doesn’t actually feel like a true ending and this is where the disappointment lies.
There’s been so much build-up to the characters and discovering their intentions that to ‘quickly glance over them’ within a few minutes before coming to an end is just disappointing; it’s like an “open-air” ending where the next episode –if one existed – could just be another of what we’ve previously seen. Mind you it’s not the only disappointment as Hinata’s introduction to the series is another; sure it enough his introduction added new scenarios for Usui and Misaki to play in but throughout the experience it never seemed to threaten the ending we ‘assumed’ would happen; which is another shame.A pentiultimate decision, with two guys attempting to get the girl of their dreams, would be better; but in the end it all just fades off into an ending that really isn’t.
Once again the bonus features included with Maid Sama are pretty bare; as while Part 1 featured trailers for numerous other anime releases this Part 2 instalment only has the textless opening and closing songs used throughout the series.
You could of course say that Episode 27, otherwise known as the OVA Episode Omake Days, is a bonus feature but as it is included in the main episode line-up, for this particular release at least, it can be overlooked. The OVA episode meanwhile is a 15 minute length feature that sees Misaki’s younger sister and mother wear heir maid uniform around the house which leads to a continuous chain of comical events.
Media: DVD 9 x2, DVD 5 x1
Running Time: 2:08:25 (Disc 1 & 2), 1:05:44 (Disc 3)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
What Maid Sama – Part 2 offers is a continuation of a story that could have ended within the first thirteen episodes or so; as the relationship between Usui and Misaki rarely makes any progress until towards the end to which the series ends in an undramatic fashion. The episodes contained within this second half of the series are, if not entertaining, consistent with events that transpired previously. The bullies turned fans of Misaki continue to attend the cafe and Usui continues to protect (and pester) Misaki at every possible turn; however the difference here is that Maid Latte – or the school – isn’t the centre of attention but more like an after thought.
Instead the mini-arc events which see the staff members of Maid Latte visit a Beach House, or the posh-school attempting to buy-out the shop are just entertaining distractions that lead up to the arrival of Miskai’s childhood friend; Hinata. This is the real talking point of the show, and while Hinata adds some ‘interesting qurks’ and a comical back-story it does nothing to further spice up the show than extend its running time. As mentioned a better confrontation between Usui and Hinata attempting to gain Misaki’s affection would have been the better choice of entertainment action – but in this show a few choice ‘background words’ unlock Misaki’s feelings for Usui; but even then it’s not conclusive enough for a happy everafter and instead offers more of a pretence to what could be if the anime had a few more episodes in it.
While the episodes contained within this release offer varying content, both in entertaining value and story presentation, these DVD discs by MVM Entertainment offer pretty much the same as what the previous instalment offered. As such three DVD discs, with episodes spread across them, are offered in both Japanese and English dialogue options; the result is a far better picture quality than past Sentai authored releases and in the long-run it shows. The English Dub, produced by Sentai Filmworks, also continues to show its strength and while Hinata may have a questionable voice acting choice it’s nothing that isn’t overcome after a few episodes. My only gripe with the English Dubbing however would be choices of words used by some of the translation team; especially in Episode 24 of the series. When Hinata visits Misaki’s household he plays a game with Misaki’s younger sister, Suzuna, and in the English Dub she says “it’s a cartoon we used to watch” but in the English Subtitled variation she says “it’s an anime we used to watch”. It’s such a small error but it further adds fuel to the fire of “anime isn’t a cartoon” debate; even if it wasn’t intended; furthermore Sentai Filmworks should have known better.
Another gripe of course would be the lack of bonus content; sure enough Maid Sama – Part 1 only included trailers for other anime releases but its bizarre to see this second set treated with the same attention to detail. Speaking of which the main menu lists all of the episodes with audio options and, depending on the disc, bonus materials having their own separate menu. It’s traditional Sentai Filmworks and while it is relatively simplistic it does work as you would expected.
Overall Maid Sama – Part 2 concludes the anime variation of the Maid Sama storyline and while the product as a whole is good the progression of the story is questionable; even if it does get the job done. In my eyes an inconsluvie ending is whats on offer here; as while Misaki uncovers her own feelings and begins to understand them – something which this show has been working towards – plotlines created in the meantime, such as Hinata’s own feelings, are still left relatively unfinished. You can take Maid Sama – Part 2 however you like; but in my eyes its not as good as the first half but it does continue to be an amusing story with a unique set of colourful characters.
Maid Sama – Part 2 will be available on DVD from the 25th January 2016. A Complete Series Collection is expected to be released on DVD and Blu-ray later this year.