Home > Episode Reviews, School President is a Maid > School President is a Maid Episode 20 – Spoiled Princesses

School President is a Maid Episode 20 – Spoiled Princesses

Despite the fact that they are both inherently visual mediums, there are several problems with adapting manga into anime. Long conversations that on the page can accompany a single panel require multiple different shots on the screen to remain engaging. The “gaps” in an action scene that a manga reader is expected to imagine have to be filled in when animated. But the most pressing problem is the time restrictions; anime episodes are 24 minutes with 90 second opening and closing animations and a new episode preview. That’s 20+ minutes a show must cover, regardless of what its source material is like. Normally, this means that two or three manga chapters get put into each anime episode, which perhaps some shuffling around to ensure that the break points seem natural.

School President is a Maid has done a fairly good job with making its episodes feel like unified stories—until now. This episode is quite obviously based on two unrelated stories. And while the result isn’t bad, exactly, it does seem I was premature in calling an end to the show’s stalling on the main plot.

Yukimura is so unimpressive his seven-year-old sister lies—like a pro—to hide their relationship. Will his humilation never end? (The answer, in case you weren't clear, is no)

Story one relates to the show’s favorite whipping boy, Yukimura, whose little sister is shown to be ashamed of him for being so effiminate and unprincely. Ruri herself is obsessed with being seen as a princess, so she immediately falls for the princely Usui; Yukimura, desperate for her good graces, begs him to play along.

What follows is variant on the classic anime “date” episode, where a pair of would-be lovers get “secretly” tailed by the rest of the cast. In this case, Usui obviously doesn’t have any interest whatsoever in his date (he even lets her trip and fall on her face, when he’s shown superhuman ability to save Misaki from similar injury), but that doesn’t stop the assorted followers from trying to gin up situations to allow Usui to be discredited and turn Ruri’s favor back on her brother.

The final and most effective distraction is Misaki pretending to be Usui's high-class yet jilted lover. The costumes, courtesy of Aoi, ensure Misaki gets her mandatory wardrobe change this episode

Ruri, however, is a rather smart seven-year-old, and promply figures out what’s going on. Her resulting tantrum at her day being ruined causes her to knock over a china hutch in the restaurant she likes, and only the quick action of Misaki and Usui keep there from being serious property damage. Ruri herself, however, is shielded by Yukimura, and she ultimately accepts him as a brother.

The second part is on Aoi, back in drag, trying to do a video for his idol work. Roping in first Yukimura and Kanou, and then the idiot trio, he successfully puts together a video, even while treating his helpers (all of whom think he’s a girl) like dirt. Once he thinks he’s lost the video due to a random mishap, he shamefacedly thinks he’s burned his bridges with his work crew, only to find that they are all still willing to help, making him somewhat ashamed of his previous treatment of them—if only for a moment.

Ruri's favorite cafe also employs maid costumes, if in a more British and less otaku-pandering style

All this is fun, but there isn’t a hint of progress between Usui and Misaki in the episode, or development for them, or anything else of use. The show only has six episodes left; one would hope that they would try to introduce a serious plot sometime soon. Arguably, both plots are about a somewhat spoiled princess, far more concerned about an aspect of that role (dignfied and stylish behavior in Ruri’s case; looking really cute in Aoi’s) than about being a decent excuse for a human being. Both are ultimately corrected for their behavior, but aren’t really meaningfully punished; this is a show, after all, where bad actions don’t really have any serious consequences.

These are hardly bad stories, but I face the same problem here that I did with episode 10: I’m watching this show for Usui and Misaki, not for the bit characters. I like Aoi when he’s helping to drive the romance forward, but not when he’s just being a brat. Ruri is observant enough to note that, despite her crush on him, Usui is meant for Misaki rather than for her, but we don’t need her to tell us that.

Misaki is conveniently there to save Aoi from a nasty fall. As if he didn't have enough reasons to have a crush on her

Ultimately, I’m not certain how much School President’s pacing problems are the fault of the source material, and how much are the fault of the adapters. All the stories, including these two, came from the manga—but the anime series has played so fast and loose with the series chronology so far (Igarashi and the sports festival both show up earlier in the manga than they did here, for example), so I don’t see why they couldn’t eliminate unnecessary stories altogether. It’s not like what happens here will matter at all in the long-term.

A manga has the financial motivation to keep the story going as long as possible. A 26-episodes-and-we’re-done series, however, has every motivation to make sure those 26 episodes pull from the best plots available. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case here. I know that J.C. Staff and the animators have a greenlight to play around with their source material, because they’ve done it already. Why can’t they use it when it counts?

Another narrative problem is that both Ruri and Aoi learn their lessons a bit too quickly, but I'm not asking for Shakespeare here

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