Maid-Sama! 2-in-1 Edition collects the first 9 chapters or so (first two volumes) of this very popular series from 2006. Included are the side panels and author’s chatter. The manga had a very popular run at 18 volumes and also was made into a 26 episode anime in 2010.
Story: High school student Misaki’s family situation is poor and she has had to make up for the lack by working extra hard at everything. Now, as the first female student council president at a mostly male school, she is on a mission to turn around the sloppy and slovenly boys. But she carefully guards a secret that she works in a neighboring town in the afternoons at a maid cafe. When aloof fellow student Usui catches sight of her in a maid uniform outside the cafe one night, he is intrigued. Thus begins their very complicated relationship – for Misaki hates men after her father abandoned her family in drowning debt. But Usui doesn’t become discouraged easily….
The spark of this series comes from a “Boys Over Flowers” type vibe in which we have a strong and fierce female lead and a guy keeping up with her. Misaki may not need saving much but Usui knows how to lend a hand when needed. His only frustration is that Misaki will never consider him a love interest until she gets over her utter dislike of men.
Unlike a lot of shoujo, Usui states very early that he likes Misaki for her strength of character and intelligence. It’s never about her being cute so much as her determination and strength of will. They make for a great couple and Usui’s continual frustration at not being able to successfully express his attraction for Misaki is very sweet. A cast of quirky side characters add to the story.
With this 2-in-1 Edition, quite a bit of the opening of the story gets covered: from Misaki piquing Usui’s interest to the machinations of a rival elite prep school. This is quite a fun series and definitely worth the read. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.