Posted by psgels 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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  • AidanAK47
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 04:05 AM)
    “Firechick, answer: Hell no. And don’t impersonate Bam. You suck at it.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 03:05 AM)
    Yeah guys! Why aren’t you reviewing Go! Princess Precure?
  • Firechick
    (Sunday, Feb 1. 2015 02:51 AM)
    Is anyone gonna review Go! Princess Precure? I hear it just aired.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:14 PM)
    Synecdoche is incredibly rich in detail, and keen return viewers can find a lot of things they missed the first time thru. Kaufman didn’t have a single teacup in a shot that didn’t mean something. Pacing is a bit of an issue, but if you notice the passage of time you can see that was deliberate as well. The movie could’ve been livelier, but for a movie about death and decay that would’ve been a bit of a sell-out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 11:01 PM)
    @Emma: Birdman and Synecdoche have a lot of thematic elements in common, and given that Synecdoche was released in 08 makes me realize that Alejandro González borrowed quite a bit from it; although in the end they are different enough to justify Birdman’s existence. Where Synecdiche was a better written movie, I feel that Birdman was the better directed one.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:15 PM)
    And I’d go as far to say this beats out birdman for me by miles.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    The film is a solid mood piece thanks to the in tone cinematography, a great performance from Hoffman that along with his characters drama makes for an emotionally investing film. And before it gets TOO sad theres all those bits of dark humour fitted in there that work out pretty well. This is probably my favourite work by Kaufman currently.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 04:14 PM)
    Well Bam, I had a go of synecdoche there. A bit of a slow burner, near the end slightly drawn out, however that last stretch was forgiven by that bonkers ending.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:23 PM)
    The voice of the main character got kind of annoying though, the dub wasn’t all that good either.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 01:22 PM)
    This was based on/was a homage to a series by the Gigantor creator and having grown up with gigantors 90s reboot this felt like a nice throwback, plot is fairly simple but used effectively. It’s a shame that it feels like there was more to tell but at seven episodes I suppose it avoids outstaying its welcome.

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