Home > Episode Reviews, School President is a Maid > School President is a Maid Episode 16 – Beach Maids

School President is a Maid Episode 16 – Beach Maids

One underlying theme of School President is a Maid is that maid cafes are normal. Well, not normal in the sense that no one would look askance at them; Misaki does have good reason for keeping her employment status secret. But they are normal in that they are seen to offer a service normal people, and not just socially maladjusted otaku, can enjoy.

This has been carried through in a couple different ways in some of the earlier episodes, as Misaki notes that all the gimmicks and props of the maid cafe are really just meant to help the customers relax and feel well served. It popped up again last episode, where the girls of Seika High were quite unembarrassed to don maid outfits for a special event, and after a little coaxing the prospective students were fine with it too.

So, it’s not surprising that, since Maid Latte itself hasn’t gotten much attention in the past several episodes, they get brought back in force with a new costume change. Although I will admit I wasn’t expecting the change in venue.

Nagisa has the same opinion of Aoi's cross-dressing as his father does, which is probably why he got shipped off here for the summer

Satsuki, Maid Latte’s owner, decides to have a little retreat for her employees, to a beach house which her younger sister Nagisa runs. In addition to the girls themselves, Usui tags along as a “bodyguard” (even though he claims to hate hot climates) and Aoi is already there doing his best to stay in drag, succeeding only to the extent that the fanbase requires it.

While ostensibly the girls are just there to relax, they find that Nagisa’s beach house is having trouble drawing in costumers thanks to its less than ideal location. So, nice people that they are, they decide to do a one day marketing blitz for their hostess, in the way you’d expect people with their training to do so: by donning aprons over their swimwear and going into full maid mode. And, since maid cafes (as this show tells us) are perfectly normal, it works out great.

In this show's world, a maid cafe (beach-side or otherwise) is an experience the whole family can enjoy. Business booms quickly

I can’t tell, however, if that’s just window-dressing for the interactions between Usui and Misaki, or the interactions between the couple are to fill out the length of the episode. This is not a good sign. It’s not as if their relationship doesn’t progress, but it feels more like a couple of events tacked on to the main narrative, rather than a fully integrated aspect.

Misaki, for all her skill at her job and willingness to don silly outfits, is still rather modest in her behavior. The most exposing outfit she’s worn was due to the trickery of Igarashi (and even that wasn’t too bad), so she’s less than keen on the whole swimsuit maid idea, particularly when it’s clear that her school one-piece isn’t going to make the cut. But finally she agrees to help out, and just finishes switching in a rather revealing bikini when Usui walks in. And immediately gives her a hickey on the small of her back.

This is certainly the most aggressive thing Usui (or anyone) has ever done to Misaki. Even Igarashi didn't make it this far

This forces her to wear a t-shirt over the outfit to conceal it, which puts her back to the level of modesty that she prefers anyway. So did he do it because he read the situation properly and gave her an excuse to back down from an uncomfortable situation? Did his wild masculine instincts take hold of him? Some combination? The episode doesn’t tell us, although it implies the last option. It does tell us, however, since Usui was not immediately ground into the floor, that Misaki is no longer as opposed to his advances as she once was.

The other event is when Misaki, after having passed on a free trip to the local hot springs (again because of the hickey) notices that the tickets were left behind and goes to catch up with the group. However, the path to the springs leads by a set of cliffs said to be haunted, and ghosts are the one thing that Misaki is afraid of. (Typically, strong girls in anime are afraid of either heights or lightning, making Misaki an outlier here.)

Misaki's faced bullies, stalkers, rapists, and the ever present threat of her job being revealed. Nothing spooked her this much

Usui, of course, manages to terrify her, but only inadvertently; he was trying to catch up with a flashlight and Misaki freaked out at the light. This is still enough to get her shivering in his arms—which isn’t quite an advance in their relationship, but is the closest this episode comes. It is a bit disappointing, however, that after how well their romance advanced last episode in spite of having a plot that seemed to ignore them entirely, this episode fails rather badly at it even with more overt events.

Oddly enough, it’s Aoi who does the most to bring  all this issues out in the open. As he’s increasingly frustrated that Misaki isn’t being honest about her feelings for Usui (perhaps because Aoi is unwilling to be honest about his own feelings for her), he outright tells her to admit it after he finds them together post-scare. While Misaki of course denies everything, she still contemplates his charges, if only for a moment.

Aoi's dishonesty with his own feelings makes Misaki look like Abe Lincoln. This look of embarrassed attraction comes two seconds before he calls her an old lady

One reason I like having Aoi around is that, in the two episodes in which he has prominently featured (this one and episode four), he has been a direct force for pushing Misaki to acknowledge her affection for Usui. Unlike just about everyone else who has figured this out—including the staff of the cafe and probably Sakura and Shizuko—he is actually openly pressuring Misaki into the relationship, if only so then he can finally give up on her.

Was this as good an episode as last time? Unless you have a need to see 2D girls in swimsuits, or you just love watching Usui sexually harass Misaki, not in the slightest. But it does, almost in spite of itself, manage to keep the central relationship advancing, if ever so slightly, and that’s almost completely due to Aoi. According to the preview Aoi will be playing a major role next episode, so there’s some possibility he’ll continue to serve as a catalyst. We can only hope.

One credit to Usui is his complete lack of interest in other girls. Misaki may not like that she's his sole object of devotion, but she is

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