What is the secret of Usui's background? What is his family like? These are questions inquiring minds, especially Sakura and Shizuko, want answered. Then, it's time for the Sports Festival.
What They Say
From J.C. Staff comes the story of the most unlikely class president...ever! Misaki Ayuzawa is the hard-boiled, hard-nosed, boy-hating class president of a former all male school, recently turned co-ed. A beacon of hope to the female students as well as teachers, she rules over the boys with an iron fist and a heart of ice. When a popular male student stumbles on her secret double life, she's forces to make a deal: spend some time with him, or have her hard earned reputation destroyed by revealing her embarrassing secret: working part-time as an upbeat and cheery waitress at a maid cafe!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So, one day, Usui is minding his own business, walking down the street, when an apple rolls to his feet. Ahead of him is a slightly put upon woman who is slowly losing her apples. When the bag she has them in rips apart completely, Usui is kind enough to help her carry them home. She recognizes his school uniform as that of Seika High, where her daughter goes to school. Speaking of her daughter, Usui figures out quite quickly (we already know who the woman is) that he has run into Misaki's mother. Once there, she invites him in, to offer some thanks (in the form of apple slices) for his help. Adding to his helpfulness, he is called upon to fix the floor as well, since we see it break just about every time that someone walks in the front hallway.
When Misaki comes home, of course, she is stunned by Usui's appearance, and drags him out as quickly as possible. She takes him to a local park to talk things over (though her dragging him out of her house does not go unnoticed by others). Misaki then thanks Usui, dismisses the suspicion that he had planned this as a means of getting into her house, and then tells him to never come to her house again. Usui just notes that he'd like to learn even more secrets about Misaki that no one else knows, which, of course, just makes Misaki blush and hit.
The next day, of course, Sakura and Shizuko, who saw the couple leaving Misaki's house, ask Misaki about her and Usui going out together, which, of course, is the wrong idea, according to Misaki. Later at school, during lunch, Sakura has an extended thought about what Usui's house and life must be like, wondering if he is actually an upper class kid who goes to their average high school for some reason or another. Come to think of it, none of the girls even know where he lives.
So, later that day, while Misaki is off to work, she gets a call: Sakura and Shizuko have followed Usui to a cafe in a "neighboring town." Neighboring town? Misaki gets a sinking feeling. Yes, they have followed him to Maid Latte. Not wanting to reveal the truth to them, Misaki begins to sweat like mad. In a stroke of luck for her, Satsuki, the owner, notices her sweating and tells her to go home and rest. Good fortune for Misaki, but bad news for the Idiot Trio, who came there with all of the money they had been saving for a while, in order to challenge Misaki to a game (in order to win a photograph with her).
Misaki sneaks out the back and meets up with Sakura and Shizuko, trying to dissuade them from following Usui. However, when Usui suddenly leaves Maid Latte, the three of them follow him, though Misaki is somewhat reluctant about it all. They follow him to a high class sports club, where he takes a swim. After that, he visits a high end clothing store, and walks out in a custom made suit that likely costs a fortune. Oddly, this is starting to sound familiar, as it appears to be following Sakura's wild imaginations earlier at lunchtime, when she "predicted" all of these events exactly as they have transpired. It then gets even weirder, as Usui runs around the city doing all sorts of strange things, never once going home. At the end of the day, as it is already dark, the trio give up. After Sakura and Shizuko have left, Misaki turning to go home, runs into Usui, who is seen picking up an abandoned kitten. The classic cliche about being kind to animals is subverted a bit, however, as the kitten tries to scratch Usui's eyes out, not exactly a reaction inspiring trust (which Usui himself mentions). He reveals to Misaki that he's known about them following him all afternoon, and that's why he did all those things. So, we are no closer to the truth than we were before about Usui's family and background. When he offers Misaki information about that, she tosses it away, seemingly uninterested. Of course, later on, we see that Misaki picked up the note and so now she knows at least where he lives. We see the place itself in the final shot, and it appears that Usui lives alone, in a penthouse apartment. And he wears glasses. So it would seem.
In the next episode, we get one of the "classic" high school events, the sports festival (similar to field day, for schools in America which still have one of those). In preparation for it, Misaki has been training hard, as she intends to win all of the events. What makes the competition so fierce, is that each event has a prize for winning (including getting to kiss Sakura as the prize for winning the obstacle race, a surprise that makes Sakura break down in tears, but fires up Misaki all the more). The first race, a sprint, is an easy victory for Misaki. As the running races continue, Misaki starts racking up the prizes, though at a cost. For she is just one person, competing in just about every event and winning. The boys, of course, are resentful. Particularly a boy named Gouda, who wants to win the kiss from Sakura. He wants it enough that he even tries to cheat by attempting to push Misaki into the water during one part of the obstacle race, which would disqualify her. Of course, and this could have been predicted well ahead of time, Usui was there to save her. That was nice, but it's not quite enough, as Misaki's body is not able to go much further, having been pushed beyond her limits already by all of the competitions. Usui tells her to leave it to him, and he takes off to beat Gouda.
Of course, Usui manages to defeat Gouda (since Usui is boringly invincible), and also as expected, Usui refuses the prize of a kiss from Sakura, though he does it with style, saying that he prefers to be the one kissing rather than just a person receiving a kiss. As Misaki managed to take second place (Gouda was stunned by Usui's outpacing him), she then took the prize and received a nice little peck on the cheek from Sakura (this is not a shoujo-ai, let alone a yuri, title). After lunch, comes a race that no one takes seriously, the Costume Race. It tends to attract the athletically non-gifted, and the costumes, so some onlookers say, tend to suck. Misaki originally wants to pass, but when it is noted that the participant has to change in front of everyone else taking part, Misaki agrees to "take one for the team" and enters the race. Making things interesting, an unexpected costume gets mixed up in the race...a maid costume. And it just so happens that Misaki picks it. Of course, she manages not to wind up having to wear it (as her student council helper Yukimura is instead forced to embarrass himself in it), but Misaki does her best to participate in the race, and winds up improving its image among the student body, who have generally considered it a joke event.
We end, of course, with yet another standard touching scene between Usui and Misaki.
In this pair of episodes, we are first teased with learning more of the life story of the enigmatic Takumi Usui, about whom we really know precious little. It winds up instead being mostly a red herring chase, as untruthful clue after untruthful clue is dropped before our eyes (except for one clue that is interesting, but depends upon a classic cliche being played straight or being deliberately thrown in as yet another red herring). In the end, we learn very little new about Usui, even as we see his home for the first time (outside of the ending animation, where we have seen part of it before). The second episode is the genre-required Sports Festival (all high school anime must have a Culture Festival episode and a Sports Festival episode at least once during their run). While it ends with another tender moment between Usui and Misaki, there really is no further advance in their relationship. Thus, the series, at this point, seems to be more treading water than anything else.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard