Posted by psgels on 9 May 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews

I really didn’t know what to make of this series when I first started watching it. Maria-Sama ga Miteru has been going on for three seasons and one OVA right now, and this review is going to be of the first of the bunch. It tells the story of a very strict Christian school and especially the elite students: the student council and the ones around them. The focus isn’t so much on the management-tasks of the council, but much more about them being the role models that they are, and their relationship with their so-called “Soeur”: an underclassman that they pick out to be their “sister”.

My initial impressions on this series weren’t exactly good. The beginning episodes were just too… boring, and there wasn’t really anything that made me want to watch the next episode. The drama mostly revolved around things that were hugely overstated: the characters really made a fuzz about even the smallest things that their co-stars did wrong. I can understand how gossip is supposed to be an important part of the show’s themes, but it really didn’t interest me at all.

Yumi (the lead character) didn’t help either, as out of all the characters she was the most annoying one, which is something you really don’t want to happen to one of the central characters in a series. She’s naive, just keeps whining about all sorts of things, she lacks background (that may be saved for the future seasons, though) and all in all, her story just isn’t as interesting as the other ones of this show.

But oh my god, the side-characters really were amazing, especially within only 13 episodes. While nothing much interesting happens in the first half of this show, the cast really comes alive in the second half. I especially loved Sei’s story, with one magnificent episode dedicated to her past standing out as the absolute highlight for me, but all members of the side-cast are rich and colourful, they have a deep story behind them and are very subtly developed.

And the side-characters really are the ones who are solely able to carry this series. The character-designs are well done, but the animation has quite a few bugs here and there, and you also don’t want to watch this series for the storytelling or setting: they do their job of being solid and staying in the background, don’t have any flaws, but also don’t stand out either.

So yeah despite Yumi I just can’t look negatively at this series. Good things come to those who wait, and that definitely applies to this series. There’s lots of character-development, but it all has a sense of subtlety, which is pretty rare in anime, and even Yumi isn’t the worst of characters once you get to know her a bit. And while she may be featured often in this series, there still is plenty of time in which the rest of the cast has the chance to get fleshed out. I’m interested what the other seasons can add to this series, because there’s plenty of potential left after only thirteen episodes.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

8 Responses

  1. Howling-kun says:

    I watched this two weeks ago and my opinion mirrors yours.
    This show is surprisingly good.
    When do you plan on watching the other seasons?

  2. Windy says:

    Glad to see you enjoyed it! The other seasons won’t be disappointing either, you’ll see, you’ll definitely enjoy them!!! This series really stands out and is one of the best!

  3. Sniperk says:

    The only thing that bothers me in this show is the f****ng slow pacing. They can revolve entire episodes around things that usually get done in about 5 minutes in any other show. Though this can be one of the highlights of the show, if you don’t watch it with the right mindset, you get annoyed early.

  4. Machi says:

    I think Sei was the biggest saving grace of the show. I haven’t heard anyone who wasn’t really won over by her, or had bad comments about her. Which in the end affects the latter parts of the series as Sei hardly appears, and no longer has a role really :(

  5. Windy says:

    Sei is an outstanding and heartwarming and the most funny character I would say but ,as for me, nearly every single character (among the main characters, of course)in this show have their own interesting personality that reflects a different image and they’re all just magnificent, and the pair Sachico/Yumi is just amazing as well, they make us laugh and cry with them and their relationship really affect us people, as if we lived through it ourselves, and the slow pacing is what makes us feel like we’re taking part in their life, not just watching. And to live the everyday life of the Lillian academy and to see the different features the characters display.

  6. Kurisu says:

    I’m positively surprised by your rating and that you enjoyed Marimite. There are actually 5 OVA by now, not one, but maybe you meant OVA series. I think it’s even labeled as 3rd season but it’s actually a bunch of stand-alone episodes. If I remember correctly, the first OVA episode was the first I saw of it and I enjoyed it very much because it’s so harmonic, layed back (when it’s not in drama mode), visually and emotionally just beautiful. It also has a rather distinct look that one might have to get used to by I grew quite fond of it. So anyway, I like the OVA episodes most except for the second which was rather boring.

    Though I must say, the recent 4th season was somewhat disappointing. I only watched half of it although all episodes have been subbed. There were some minor but noticable changes like a pop song with vocals instead of the unusual but very befitting classic instrumental opening song.
    Walking slowly used to be preferred but apparently not anymore. Also they seemed to use some regular but cheap SD effects this time. The most important point is that there just happens too little in the first eight or so episodes, too much “more of the same”.

    The first season was much better and I think the second even improved upon it, the OVA epsiodes are stellar but the 4th season is rather “meh”.

  7. AG says:

    Glad you watched and liked it!

    The first season sets the scene, the 2nd is very melodramatic, and the 3rd is light-hearted and great fun.

    As you get on, you’ll find that Sei isn’t the only interesting character in the show…

  8. mithai says:

    i really love marimite too but i thought sei was rather a too open lesbian,especially in the episode about her past.i like shimako most of all,she s adorable,its a good story but with no really incident or no destination,its like what happems in normal life,problems in relations and all which is sometimes really boring.however i am greatly fond of the pretty girls like sachiko,shimako,yoko and others.the anime is good :)

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  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:43 PM)
    Anyway seriously though, I’d say it does actually make sense in context xD Since none of monsters are actually that threatening.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:42 PM)
    .-. I have no words, mainly because whenever anyone uses word “Realism” in context of video game, I want to say rude words xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:40 PM)
    I think he gave it a passing glance and felt it wasn’t his thing, I remember he also felt that he thought the idea of sparing the monsters wasn’t believable or realistic given that he felt if you were realistically placed in that situation yourself, the real thing to do would be to fight back out of fear.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:37 PM)
    Did he actually play the game though? I mean, did he actually discover it himself or did he just heard the spoilers?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:35 PM)
    I had a talk with a friend about undertale and he wasn’t a fan, he prefers other types of rpgs, the choice element also made him uncomfortable and that he felt the game was too punishing.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:34 PM)
    @Kaiser: Puzzle elements, outside of sparing everyone, seem to be mainly just parodying video game puzzles. Like, only place where you actually have to solve actual puzzles is in Hotland, before that pretty much every puzzle is automatically solved, really easy or has some silly twist to it. Like the puzzle you can skip by pressing a switch in tree trunk. Can’t say I’m too fond of puzzles either, but I liked how game was making fun of them
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    Speaking of awful sense of humor and things that dorks like, just wanted to say that turns out I was right about Jitsu wa watashi wa in that main couple does get together before chapter 100(forgot what exactly, some where in 80-90 range I think). But they are such huge dorks that they do everything ridiculously slowly because they are that embarrassed, so they have had like just one date(in chapter 100). Not that I expect anyone to remember what the heck I’m talking about xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    The battle system grew on me a bit, but I didn’t like the puzzle elements it offered, the actual gameplay looked kind of dull also. Some of the characters were likeable enough, Papyrus, Asogore, the flower guy being my favourite though the plot didn’t really get interesting until the end.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:27 PM)
    I think any emotional response from undertale for melargely came from that it gave me this great sense of nostalgia bomb, but I’m okay with that totes =)
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:27 PM)
    And as a dork, I can say its to me personally funniest crap I have played in long time because it appeals to my sense of humor so well that I realized things about my sense of humor that I hadn’t noticed before while playing the game <_< I mean, its really darn silly game, even with the emotional moments.

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