Posted on 25 March 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



The previous seasons all sort-of picked a bunch of characters, who surrounded the two lead characters of Yumi and Sachiko, and developed them. This season however, is different. It leaves most of the characters for what they are, and instead just picks one: Touko. While she might not have the most airtime, the entire fourth season is so written to explore her character to the fullest. Considering that she already had quite a bit of depth thanks to the second and third season, it’s perhaps not much of a surprise that this fourth season of Maria-Sama ga Miteru is my favourite one yet.

You could see Maria-Sama ga Miteru as a slice-of-life series, and indeed there are a ton of scenes in which we see the regular lives of the characters. However, I prefer to see it much more as a character-study: it’s always thinking to show off new sides of characters. It’s always thinking of ways to evolve them or give them more depth. You can see this not just in the main ones, but also the side characters. And really: we’re four seasons in at this point. When you add everything, the total amount of character-development in this season reaches higher than ever.

But the real star of this season is Touko. Basically, the creators try to pull something similar as to the climax of the second season, but it’s much more well balanced, and the conclusion is much more satisfying. The interplay between Touko and Yumi is explored really well. It’s emotional, and yet it doesn’t try to be too melodramatic (especially not when compared to the standards of most other anime).

Unfortunately, the animation isn’t up to par with what we’re used to from this season. Granted, it did have to follow up the great standards of an OVA, but I guess that at the time of this series’ production, Studio Deen’s best artists were working on… Jigoku Shoujo, Higurashi Rei and 07-Ghost, I guess. Faces in the background are often distorted and ugly and lack a quality check. There’s enough movement, though, so at least the creators didn’t try go take the cheap way out. This show certainly can’t complain about its inbetweeners.

But yeah. This is pretty much what you get when you give series the opportunity to fully shine by not suddenly cutting them off after 26 episodes: they really get to show their full potential. With nearly 50 episodes at its disposal, its character-development really set itself apart from most other high-school series out there. Here’s to hoping that many more series get this chance.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Well balanced slice of life and drama. Makes really well use of its setting as an elite high school.
Characters: 10/10 – Continues building up to the huge amount of character-development that this series already had.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Great inbetweeners, key-frames often lack quality checks.
Setting: 8/10 – There are already tons and tons of high school series. This is one of the few that actually makes this setting stand apart from the others.

2 Responses

  1. Alec says:

    still no conformation for a 5th season -_-

  2. windy says:

    Glad you watched and liked it! I loved this season, where all of Touko’s past is unraveled! It took a slow pace to advance step by step and not to rush anything, but the wait was worth it. The storyline Yumi/Touko was so well-executed and it took great care of showing how their relationship evolves and how they each tend to anticipate what the other is thinking or what she may think or feel! It portrays the spiritual connection between the “soeurs” in even a more depicted way.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 10:47 AM)
    Now this is very very good news to me, dark horse is releasing more of Satoshi Kon’s manga in the west, seraphim and opus, I’ll grab anything this guy has worked on. Definitely excited for this.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 10:46 AM)
    Not bad at all not bad songs for the new jojo at all =3
  • gedata
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 10:14 AM)
    @Juno, you aren’t alone.
  • Juno
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:37 AM)
    Because as of this moment, my childhood could NOT be happier…
  • Juno
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:37 AM)
    I can’t be the only one FREAKING OUT OVER THE NEW JOJO ENDING THEME, right?
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:32 AM)
    And although everyone said already, the launch scene is gorgeous.
  • K-Off
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 05:30 AM)
    @Friend Man, you are something else. The chapter reeled me into the story. I didnt see any faults with it, except for one typo. The scenes are well composited, and like nyan said, the only “faults” are nitpicky things :)
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:21 AM)
    Yeah, I think this falls more into the category of typesetting than anything else and there’s plenty of different ways that can go depending on preference. If the readers don’t have an issue, then it’s fine.
  • Friend
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:11 AM)
    A problem ve faced with american comics is that they usually dont contrast the speech bubble with the surroundings too well. That might be a factor, as large bubbles mean more visibility of the text itself.
  • Jalapeno Bagel
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 04:05 AM)
    ah well, I don’t really mean the amount of content, but a negative space thing. it’s easier on the eyes when there’s a bit of space around the bubble for me.

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