Maid Sama! or 会長はメイド様! (Kaichō wa Meido-sama!, in Japanese), literally means ‘The president is a maid!’ is a high school romance story revolving around a maid cafe.
The lead character, Misaki Ayuzawa is a high school girl who lives a double life due to her family’s poor financial background, but there is a twist to it.
She is a fierce, up-tight and aggressive high school president during the day and works as a submissive waitress in a maid cafe located at a different district in the evening to sustain her family, but her alter ego behaviour wants her double life to be kept a ‘secret’. Until one day, a school peer came to know her secret by accident.
Her secrecy was at the verge of crumbling when a few more peers saw her working in a maid cafe. More dramas ensued involving her concerns and attempts to cover it. Despite against all the odds, her struggles opened her eyes to discover the true meaning of love.
It is a simple, straightforward and light-hearted plot with an emphasis on personality, chemistry and friendship. The exaggeration in the concept, the chemistry between the leads and the humours played by other characters made the story entertaining. Some opined the concept as sexist, stereotypical and male ego-feeding fantasy, while others perceived the maid cafe setting as a fan service and a vehicle to critique gender roles. Romance aside, the story highlights many fascinating aspect of a maid cafe.
Maid cafe or also known as ‘meido cafe’ in Japanese is a concept cafe that appeals to certain lifestyle of a community by offering products and services designed to match their desires. Maid cafes are a subcategory of cosplay restaurants predominantly found in Japan.
The cafe carries a ‘master-servant’ culture whereby waitresses are dressed in maid outfits, act as servants, address customers and treat them as masters/mistresses. There are etiquettes that govern the social aspect of the cafe’s staff and customers are expected to follow the basic rules when patronizing the place.
Naming a few, customers should not touch a maid’s body, ask for a maid’s personal contact information, or otherwise invade her personal privacy (by stalking). Another common rule in a maid cafe is that it forbid photographs of maids or the cafe interior, however the option may subject to an extra fee should the customer wish to photograph with a maid of his or her choice.
The food served in the cafe are at premium prices and many activities are organized to keep the cafe’s atmosphere afresh and vibrant. For example, they have special hairdo day, thematic costumes day and etcetera.
Occasionally the cafe offers ‘special gimmicks’ or ‘sweet treats’ to customers.
Point system is implemented on purchases of any food from the cafe’s menu. The accumulated points would later benefit customers or to qualify a customer in any ‘card games’ with a maid of a customer’s choice or participation in any ‘special’ food challenge and more.
These are little things that add flavours to life while moderation and self-control are expected from the public consumers. It’s not that kiddy after all if we are talking about the concept of a maid cafe through this anime, don’t you think so?
About Maid Sama!
Maid Sama! or Kaichō wa Meido-sama! in Japanese is a shōjo manga series by Hiro Fujiwara and serialized in Hakusensha’s monthly shōjo manga magazine, LaLa. An anime adaptation of a season began airing on 1 April 2010.
Misaki Ayuzawa is the first female student council president at a once-all-boys-turned-co-ed school. She rules the school with a strict discipline demeanor, but she has a secret: she works at a maid cafe due to her family’s circumstances. One day, the popular A-student and notorious heart-breaker Takumi Usui finds out her secret and makes a deal with her to keep it hush from the school in exchange for spending some time with him.
The manga series have ended with 85 chapters and you may have to read the manga version should you be keen to know the ending of the story.