Home > Episode Reviews, School President is a Maid > School President is a Maid Episode 14 – Induced Honesty

School President is a Maid Episode 14 – Induced Honesty

After a long slump, I think that School President is a Maid is starting to regain its footing. Granted, it does so by replicating a formula it’s done a half-dozen times by now, but the formula actually works: Misaki is daunted by external threat that could threaten her presidency and/or make the school less pleasant for women, Usui swoops in and provides a crucial amount of support, Misaki accomplishes the rest by her own strength, and is mildly miffed at Usui for his presumption and for his over-the-top advances.

But within that formula, there are a few key elements that need to be added for the show to reach its full potential. Mainly, Misaki and Usui themselves, and their relationship with each other, must somehow develop in a visible manner. If a show doesn’t tell us more about Misaki, or Usui, or make us feel at the end that they are closer to become the couple they are destined to be, it’s missed out on the most important part.

Even hearing girls talk about him is enough to get Kanou to freak out. It's a wonder he's able to approach Misaki at all

This episode’s threat concerns disgruntled freshman Soutarou Kanou, who is both gynophobic and skilled in hypnosis. Intent on discrediting the school in the run-up to its latest open house (and thus scaring away female students who might otherwise attend), he hypnotizes each of the student council in turn to disrupt their activities, finally targeting Misaki herself.

His idea is make her act as if she’s intoxicated and then drag a teacher to watch; Misaki would of course have to resign her post from the scandal. Of course, Usui intervenes, sequesters Misaki away in the nurse’s office, and then is alternately amused and distressed by Misaki’s “drunken” behavior. He keeps her safe, however, and records the entire situation to show her later (and for his own future amusement, no doubt).

Misaki's drunken antics are quite amusing, if for no other reason that she still considers Usui a pervert

Misaki, understandably, is furious when she finds this out, but her response is rather odd (and also quite unwise): She goes to confront Kanou directly, only to get hypnotized again. This time, he hits her with an oddly conditional compulsion: Should she fall asleep within the next 24 hours, she will wake up hating Usui. I don’t know why he simply didn’t implant the hatred without the condition and be done with it, but perhaps he simply wanted to make her sweat.

Misaki doesn’t, in fact, sweat, as she’s convinced she hates Usui already, but she still tries to stay awake just to spite Kanou. Usui, of course, joins in on the Misaki sleep watch, much to her annoyance, but she finds herself ultimately grateful for the help, particularly after Kanou arranges for her to take a drug that causes drowsiness. She eventually seems to doze off, five minutes before the 24 hour deadline, and the episode ends as Kanou starts to gloat.

Why did Usui make Yukimura cross-dress to test Kanou's gynophobia, rather than ask an easily charmed girl? Because otherwise we wouldn't have met the trap quota for the episode

Granted, this episode was in some ways even more indulgent that previous iterations in the particular type of fanservice that abounds in shows for a female audience. Yukimura has been made increasingly effeminate in every episode, with both another forced cross-dressing and the profoundly girlish way he responds to Usui’s presence. Misaki even feels compelled to point out that he should be acting disgusted around Usui, not shy.

But another male/male pairing is introduced through the interactions between Kanou and Usui, when the former moves to hypnotize Usui with unnecessary aggression, only to have Usui resist just as forcefully. (That violence characterizes their interactions will only fuel the fantasies of the fangirls who go for that sort of thing.) Aside from providing some iconic screenshots, it also takes another, unnecessary step toward establishing his perfection: making him so sexy that even guys are affected.

Tie grabbing is a recognized signal for fan fiction writers everywhere

But—and let’s be honest here—the show has been very open about its target audience, which means anyone with a strong aversion to the particular type of fanservice that audience typically wants should have bailed on this show after episode four. That it’s been particularly strong of late doesn’t negate that. And on the positive side of the ledger, this episode also brought out several points the show has been doing its best to avoid for the past five or six episodes.

Usui tells Misaki again that he loves her (finally!), and claims that she likes him in return—a claim informally supported by Kanou’s attempt to separate them. He gets visibly flustered by Misaki’s quasi-advances while she is hypnotized, which is a sight I always welcome. Misaki, on her part, notes in as she starts fading away into sleep that she never really thanked him properly for all that he had done to help her, and finally openly expresses a regret should she wake up hating him. It’s another example that she is willing to acknowledge her own feelings whenever the stakes are high enough. I just wish that would happen more often.

Yes, I feel compelled to have a screen shot every time Usui's armor cracks even a little

Even better, we get to know more about Misaki’s character as a whole. When she goes to confront Kanou, she’s obviously very angry, but she doesn’t threaten to expel him or otherwise punish him. Rather, she tells him what he did was unacceptable, but that she is willing as the school president to listen to any concerns he might have and help address them. It’s an incredibly mature response and one which shows how seriously she takes her job of representing all students.

Likewise, Usui indicates that to be hypnotized, you have to trust the hypnotizer, which perhaps paints Misaki as foolish for being open to Kanou twice in a row, but also shows her own implicit trust in people, born no doubt from her own innate trustworthiness. (Usui, by contrast, claims that he avoided being hypnotized because he doesn’t trust anyone, which—even if it’s not entirely true—is a interesting revelation.) Getting development of Misaki, or Usui, or their relationship, is something the show has been avoiding lately, so getting all three at once is a treat.

I haven't shown off Misaki in her maid costume for some time now, so here you go

Now, I’m not that happy that the conflict of the episode (and possibly next episode) revolved around hypnosis, which strikes me as rather cheap and cliche. But at least it’s a conflict where the stakes are higher than Sakura or Yukimura’s feelings getting hurt. Of course we know that this is a romance show and thus nothing can come between Misaki and Usui forever, so any cliffhanger is muted as a result. But, cliches and fanservice aside, this episode finally returns School President is a Maid to its proper subject matter. I’ll take that trade any day.

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