Home > Episode Reviews, School President is a Maid > School President is a Maid Episode 8 – Forced Romance

School President is a Maid Episode 8 – Forced Romance

Last time we had the set-up for the current conflict, with Misaki being given a tempting offer to transfer to a private-school-on-steriods combined with a possible romantic rival in the form of said school’s very (outwardly) charming school president. That means, of course, that this episode requires some form of resolution for that, as well as for Misaki to further come to terms with her changing relationship with Usui.

Although, like some previous episodes, this one stays a bit too close to formula to be very surprising, there are enough variations (and good enough execution as a whole) to keep in firmly in the “watch” column. I couldn’t help but think, however, that it could have been done better than this. Misaki, it seems, is allowed to be as competent and brave as is needed—except when it comes to Usui.

The episode starts with Miyabigaoka VP Mika stopping by Misaki’s run-down house, with a slew of presents and, upon seeing Misaki’s sister, an offer to pay for her way into Miyabigaoka too. With this new incentive dropped on her, she now has a conflict of responsibilities between her school and her family, and the school, as always, seems like an unrewarding enterprise. (To take one example, she catches a conversation of male students reflecting that with her gone they can go back to living as they please, and misses the part where other, also male students rebuke them for shorting everything she’s done for the school.)

The two guys backing up Misaki here were the ones whom she defended last episode. Karma can sometimes work for you

Even her friends can’t seem to give convincing reasons for her to stay at Seika, with all the opportunities that Miyabigaoka can offer. Meanwhile, Usui isn’t around at all, not interacting with her at school and being conspicuously absent at her work. Without any convincing reason not to transfer, she sets off for Miyabigaoka at the end of the three day wait period that Igarashi set for her.

Miyabigaoka looks like everything she could want, but before she can officially give a response to Igarashi, an aide “accidentally” spills drinks on her, completely soaking her. Igarashi, on cue, offers use of the showers that happen to be attached to the student council offices (absurdly rich school, remember?) and that’s where things get interesting. When Misaki finishes cleaning up she finds that her clothes have been taken “to be cleaned” and that another outfit is waiting for her.

It's not clear if Igarashi tripped his subordinate here, but he seems to value his followers only slightly more than his women

Misaki really doesn’t want to wear it, but Igarashi, still playing innocent, expresses concern that she might be hurt, and says that he’ll enter the changing room (whether she’s dressed or not) to check in just a matter of seconds. Misaki gets dressed in record time, into a maid outfit that is decidedly more revealing than her normal cafe garb. Igarashi, seeing her like this, complements her on her getting dressed so quickly, and her skill in knowing exactly how to wear it.

Misaki, at this point, finally realizes that her counterpart president is up to no good. Igarashi reveals that he knows all about her side job, and about how that proves that she’s just another woman who will do anything for money. To him, that’s the primary reason she’s here, to take advantage of the financial support he’s going to offer (he literally throws a suitcase’s worth of money at her as he says this), and that’s why she’s going to submit to his advances just as she is going to help on the student council. He then, using his own skill in judo to counter her akido skills, forces her on to the coffee table.

I admit I'm a bit inexperienced in the whole romance thing, but I don't think this is an accepted way of expressing affection

Igarashi is perhaps a bit too confident in himself—were I a dastardly uber-rich seducer I would have waited until after Misaki had officially transferred before revealing my true colors—but his actions do fit his mindset. Igarashi is so used to having anyone do anything for money that the idea that Misaki would object to becoming his play-toy doesn’t seem to occur to him; even as he prepares to rape her he seems to think that she will still transfer and play the whore (or good student council member or whatever else he desires of her at any given moment) so long as she benefits financially. In his world, money is the only thing that matters.

Misaki, despite being in a very disadvantageous position, manages to keep her cool, informing him that his view of people as worthless money leechers is his own problem and that she came to turn down his offer to come to Miyabigaoka. Unfortunately, this only seems to get him all the more interested, as he’s tired of “obedient” women and find Misaki’s resistance all the more alluring. As he leans down to steal a kiss (probably intent on much more to follow), Misaki whispers Usui’s name. So guess who bursts in to rescue her?

Here he comes to save the day!!!

Usui, having beaten up all the guards lining the school hall, surprisingly doesn’t touch Igarashi, but only warns him that Misaki is off limits for him. Misaki, as she prepares to leave gets her ice queen persona back and informs Igarashi that he is free to contact her, in her capacity of Seika Student Body President, at any time. Only after they’ve left the room does she slow down a little, both embarrassed by her need for help and grateful for her rescue.

After getting back her school uniform, the two leave Miyabigaoka to find a crowd of Seika students waiting for them at the school gates, gathered to try to convince her not to leave Seika. Of course, she was never going to leave Seika in the first place, but it’s probably good for her to get some positive feedback about her job—something that has been lacking from all sources save for the not-always-honest Usui. Letting Misaki be loyal to her school was an important part of this episode, but so is showing that the school is loyal to her.

I don't think Misaki has ever had this many people supporting her up at one time. Not that they had a clue what was going on, but still

The main problem with this episode is that, while it develops Misaki as a person, it doesn’t really seem to do much to further develop her relationship with Usui. It’s unclear at this point whether his rescue has resulted in a simple reset to their pre-kiss stage, but that’s what seems to be the case. Granted, there is her whispered plea for help as Tora prepares to have his way with her, but I found that more annoying than romantic. (Sure, she needs Usui to bail her out this time, but I don’t think she’s at the point of admitting it yet, particularly when she has no reason to expect him to come.)

Some of this might have to do with my lingering dislike for Usui as a character, from his seeming perfection at everything he does to his inability to treat Misaki respectfully and express his attraction to her at the same time. The more I watch the show the more I come to the conclusion that Usui isn’t constantly harassing Misaki because he’s stuck in a fifth-grade when it comes to showing affection; it’s because he likes to dominate her, and that’s his best method for doing so.

You can tell that Usui isn't going to drop the "Misaki calling out for rescue" thing anytime soon

Certainly, Usui is a better choice than the borderline sociopath Igarashi, but both seem to think that Misaki, at the end of the day, is a form of property. Witness Usui’s continual remarks about Misaki being his maid, or how he is the only one who can have her. Usui also has a better handle on Misaki as a person, knowing that the lure of money isn’t going to pull her away from her responsibilities. But his entire approach to wooing Misaki, including his backing off in the early part of this episode, seems like some form of elaborate game rather than an honest expression of intent. Actually admitting that he’s truly in love with her would be an expression of need and weakness. And he can’t have that.

Can I enjoy the show despite thinking that the male lead is a bit of a douche? Apparently so, as I’m still watching it. But I’m watching it looking for any hint of weakness, any hint that Usui and Misaki’s relationship will ever be something reciprocal. Right now Usui is in the driver’s seat, helping Misaki as he pleases and taking liberties with her as he wills. But the central reason Usui is attracted to Misaki is supposed to be her independence, drive, and force of personality, and that’s the main reason the audience finds her attractive as well. (At least, it’s the reason I do.) Is it to much to ask for some of that to slip into the romance that defines the show?

Of course, the last shot of the episode indicates that Igarashi isn't done yet either

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