Home > Episode Reviews, School President is a Maid > School President is a Maid Episode 22 – Seeking Renewal

School President is a Maid Episode 22 – Seeking Renewal

Anime is so cliche ridden that certain tropes seem unavoidable. This is particularly the case with fan-service tropes, as the “beach episode” or “hot springs episode” manages to cover the same bits of 2D exploitation every single time. The “school trip episode” is often a variant of the hot springs episode, in that it pretends to be about something other than girls commenting on each other’s breast sizes and feeling each other up (while the guys the next bath over listen with complete attention) for portions of it, but really that’s all it’s about.

School President is a Maid, however, is a show aimed at girls, so the particular cliches it falls prey to are unrelated to all that. This does grant it a certain leeway in executing what should be regular tropes, and this one is no exception. It’s fair to say that this is one of the most unique takes on a school trip I’ve every seen in an anime, which makes it all the more amusing.

If this were the result of my school trip, I'd be less than pleased too

Seika juniors, traditionally, get sent to what they think is a resort, but is actually a Buddhist monastery that seeks to impart discipline and enlightenment to its guests, mainly through hard physical labor. Thanks to the lies of their seniors (who have continued the deception on each successive following class for years on end) the men of Seika are disappointed, tired, and ready to mutiny, and Misaki has her hands full keeping them in line.

In particular, she has problems with her new admirer Hinata, who for all his worship of Misaki still lets his appetite control his actions. Misaki’s constant attention on Hinata in turn makes Usui jealous, and he starts acting up just to get Misaki to start looking back to him. It’s a major headache for her, and makes her less than inclined to take either of their antics lightly.

Misaki's frustration with Hinata probably doesn't have anything to do with the fact that his protestations of love to her have the entire female population of Seika enthralled. Probably, that is

Of course, Usui has let Misaki deal with problems on her own before. The particular problem of Hinata isn’t that he’s a thorn in Misaki’s side, but that he’s an actual romantic rival: someone in love with Misaki, open about his affections, and—as we discover from this episode—more than capable of helping Misaki out in a pinch. He’s no Usui, of course, but that may be part of his charm.

Hinata’s openness and honesty is constantly contrasted to Usui’s guarded advances. Hinata, like everyone else in the cast who isn’t Misaki, can easily figure out that Usui is seriously interested in Misaki romantically, and not just as a plaything. As someone who doesn’t has a duplicitous bone in his body, he wonders why Usui hasn’t just started dating Misaki, and Usui seems regretful that things just aren’t that simple.

Hinata is sufficiently unguarded as to open admire Usui's physique. The implications of this may be lost on him; it certainly won't be lost on the slash-fic writers this show seems to cater to

But why aren’t they that simple? I think at this point we have some glimmer of the weakness I’ve been wanting to see out of Usui, and it lies precisely in my biggest complain about him: his seeming perfection. Usui, for whatever reason, can’t allow himself to be shown as weak, or helpless, or in a situation out of his control. Being honest with Misaki would involve giving her a measure of control, so he plays his games instead, seeking to dominate what he loves. It’s not exactly healthy, and here he seems to acknowledge that. But it’s all that he knows.

Hinata, by contrast, has no trouble being vulnerable. He knows he has an uphill battle to win over Misaki, that Usui already has a head start, and that Usui in many ways far outclasses him. Yet, when fate conspires to get him locked in a storage shed with Misaki (an example of a genre cliche School President does not avoid), he goes full out and admits his hopes to Misaki anyway. Is he afraid of being rejected? Probably. But that doesn’t keep him from saying what he feels.

Getting locked in a shed might be a cliche, but what happens inside certainly isn't

Of course, this is a romantic comedy series, so we can’t have it be all serious. The guys, having been worked to the bone for several days, go completely wild the first night after being released from the temple, and the plans by the teachers to keep them away from the girls fail due to unfortunate circumstances. Misaki goes to save her classmates, but this time Usui’s needed help is complemented by Hinata’s, as the latter proves quite capable in a fight.

Of course, the entire concept (guys turning in mass into rape gangs and having to be beaten into submission) would be horrific if it weren’t so over the top, demonstrating again that this show’s humor is best when it’s completely zany. Between the wolf imagery for the guys, the smackdowns, and both the idiot trio and Yukimura suffering regular humiliations despite not being involved in the mayhem at all, this episode remains humorous whenever it wants to be.

Apparently, exhausted and seemingly enlightened men turn into uncontrolled wolves when reacquainted with the opposite sex. Good thing I don't have to take this show seriously

But I’m hopeful that however good this show is at implementing its basic formula, it won’t stop there. Hinata seems to be changing the state of play just by being himself, and I for one welcome it. I’m only sorry that his narrative role, obviously, is to pave the way for Usui to open up to Misaki, and not to succeed himself.

Romance anime aimed at guys may overemphasize how much girls like nerds and losers so long as they are “nice”—whatever that means—but those aimed at girls elevate the bad boys. The best case scenario is that Hinata will force Usui to mature a little, even as Misaki draws closer to him. That, at least, would be another sign that School President is a Maid is not merely aware of, but willing to constructively improve upon its cliches.

Perhaps to keep them sympathetic, the idiot trio don't join in the raid on the girls—but their attempt to get decent food instead is thwarted by Hinata. Hinata's hardly the only guy in the show who seems destined to get the short end of the stick

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