A Review of Maria-sama ga Miteru: A World of Lillies Moving Slowly and Elegantly

Gokigenyou (Good Day) my name is Andrain, Otaku, and I’d like to invite all of you, my friends, into a story about a very different ordinary life. So everyone, I ask you calm down, make yourselves presentable and relax. I’m going to change a bit in my review format. In the case of Production, I’m going to remove 10 points from that section in order to create an Adaptation section. Most anime start as something else, a Light novel, a Visual novel, a Manga, part of the charm of anime is bringing those stories people love to life. I personally feel the accuracy of the adaptation is important, Anime is notorious for not telling the full story, and if it is stories I happen to know then I’ll share some information about the accuracy of these adaptions and which I believe is the superior format. Also I’d like to take ten points from the premise section so that I may make a separate Approachability section. There are some anime that are more… difficult for whatever reason for newer viewers and absolutely must be considered before I feel like I should recommend the work to a newer viewer. So, let’s begin, this is my review of Maria-sama ga Miteru (Mary is watching.)

The maidens, who flock to Maria-sama’s garden, once again pass through the tall gates today yet again with innocent, angelic smiles. Their pure hearts and bodies are clad in dark colored uniforms. The pleats on their skirts should not be visible, and the white sailor collars must always be tidy. Walking slowly is preferred here. The Lillian Academy for Girls, a Garden of Maidens.

Story Premise: It is Fall at the Lillian Academy Fukuzawa Yumi is a first year having quietly gotten through the first six months in peace and quiet. Lillian is a Catholic girl’s school with many original traditions. The most important is the Seour system (Sister in French.) The idea is a Sempai takes a younger girl under her wing to guide her in their school life. It is a sacred bond that takes as many forms as the relationship between blood related sisters and it seems the girls always remain close. At the moment however, Yumi doesn’t have a Grande Seour at the moment, well that, and her quiet life will all change one fateful morning…

The Storyline paints a beautiful, (EXTREMELY) Dramatic view of growing up. It’s atmosphere is prim and proper and you’ll find yourself drawn into it. Even as you wonder why these people just can’t TALK about things! They’re girls aren’t they?! (15/15)

Approachability: Marimite is a rather advanced anime. A departure from common sense will be required to fully enjoy this piece. Because for a story about a bunch of girls… Communication is just… wow. I would never recommend this as a first anime. This is something more for someone who has been in it for a while looking to get into the classics (6/10)

Characters: Most of the Main characters here are part of the Student council of the school the Yamayurikai.The Yamayurikai consists of the Three Roses, equal power among the school, generally third years as one would expect. Their Petite Seours are known as “en buton” (or budding) representing the fact that, unless something strange happens, these will be the new three roses.

The house of Rosa Chinensis (Red Rose)

Marimiteredroses

Fukuzawa Yumi is our heroine and main protag. She begins this story as a first year in an almost Cinderella story as this ordinary seeming girl out of nowhere rises to the position of highest elite. It almost seems far to much for her especially since she’s constantly thinks little of herself. Still as people do, she slowly rises to her position.

Ogasawara Sachiko is the current Rosa Chinensis en buton as the story begins. A chance meeting with Yumi will begin monumental changes in her life the instant she decides to make Yumi her Petite Seour literally just to get out of a play. Sachiko is a stubborn incredibly strong willed woman who hates to lose more then anything. She is of course a High-tier ojou-sama (Rich girl) who for sooooooooooome reason, doesn’t like guys that much (Frankly The men in her life (one exception) are total buttholes I wanna shoot in the face… but I digress.)

Mizuno Yoko is Sachiko’s Onee-sama and the current Rosa Chinensis. As one would expect, Sachiko is always giving her problems, but over the long years she’s become adapt at taming the willful woman. She has a mischievous side, but other then Yumi there’s no one else in the world who cares more for Sachiko. She’s always generally has a smirk on her face due to overwhelming confidence.

The House of Rosa Foetida (Yellow Rose)

marmiteyellowroses

Shimazu Yoshino is Yumi’s best friend, and begins the series as the Youngest of the Yellow Roses. Yoshino begins the tale as a frail girl with heart problems. She overcomes them revealing herself to be much different then one would imagine. Yoshino is a strong willed girl as well that easily gets jealous and always likes to be ahead or find the truth. She’s energetic and a real go getter.

Hasekura Rei is Yoshino’s cousin as well as her older sister in the Seour system. Like Yoshino, Rei is also more then meets the eye and tends to doubt herself especially when it comes to her dear Yoshino. That’s probably her main weakness; one, Yoshino never fails to exploit.

Torii Eriko is the Rosa Foetida as the story begins. Eriko is… an oddball, a super genius that says and does random things much to the bewilderment of everyone. For example, she picked Rei as her little sister because the strange Rei greatly interested her and one of her favorite hobbies is to troll the easily jealous Yoshino.

The House of Rosa Gigantia (White Rose.)

marimitewhiteroses

Todo Shimako is another good friend of Yumi who holds her secrets close to her heart. She’s extremely quiet and seems especially aloof almost too in place in this school. She is one of the few actually practicing Catholics in the cast though the anime doesn’t explain this significance very well. It is only after a long way into the story that the viewer can learn a lot about her. Though she is Yumi’s Age she becomes the Petite Seour of Rosa Gargantia just before Yumi meets Sachiko (In fact Sachiko had her eyes on the girl).

Sato Sei, oh what can I say about this beautiful devil. Sei, is a troll, a fantastic, wonderful troll. Quite honestly, she is one of the finest women in anime PERIOD. You just have to see her at work to be able to understand her genius and her absolute charisma. Sei is almost like a second sister to Yumi (Which makes Sachiko SOOOO adorably angry) as well as finds herself admirers everywhere. You can’t just describe this woman. She’s also this series’ insane female driver.

Others

Tsukiyama Minako is the newspaper club president. You know, that means the Drama in the land of the gods of the school, the Roses. She wants to know it all and will stop at nothing to get the absolute finest scoops! ‘eh She’s an ok girl when not working.

Takeshima Tsutako is a main character in her own right. Another important friend of Yumi’s. She is wise beyond her years and a photographer that has an eye of being able to perfectly understand the subjects that come into her viewfinder creating stunning photographs (That she never lets them get published without permission). She is without an older sister being one of he few who trudge on through Lillian without one. She provides support and advice to Yumi from a different perspective and is often employed for her skills by the newspaper club, though she freelances.

Yamaguchi Mami is the petite seour of Minako and is the control switch for her older sister’s normal desire to take things just a little too far. She’ll become an ally of Yumi and Yoshino sharing the same class together. Though she will do her job, when things come down to it she’ll also cut them a little slack if she can help it.

Fukuzawa Yuki is Yumi’s Twin brother. Unlike his older sister, Yuki is a pretty collected and pragmatic dude who has it together. Yuki attends the all male Buddhist school up the hill (Strange family right?) He’s quite popular with the Ladies of Lillian and is also there for his sister even if he does troll her sometimes as is his right. Fun fact: Probably because he is Yumi’s Twin, Sachiko actually likes him.

Kashiwagi Suguru is Sachiko’s cousin and Fiancee, He’s a troublesome guy in troublesome circumstances. I mean he likes Sachiko enough as a person problem his line is kinda curvy and judging by the flirting he does probably has a crush on Yuki. He definitely doesn’t know how to drive but other then breaking Sachiko’s Heart, hasn’t done anything wrong. Of course Yumi can’t stand the bastard.

Those are just the main characters. There are others I can cover but I think you can get the gist of it, and remember there’s a whole new year out there too. It’s a character driven slice of life, unawesome characters are unacceptable (25/25)

Animation: This is a hard thing to score. The anime began in 2004 and the latest season hit in 2009.  (Some say last I say no) Frankly the scenery is Ok-ok-ok! The character designs especially the facial expression are exquisite so honestly I don’t have anything bad to say. The amount of drama in this series can only be workable if the drawings are at least that good. Season 2, an all OVA season clearly showed they had a far more advance budget and do some pretty nifty artistic designs. Make sure to check that out.  It’s amazing how, though, they didn’t change much at all in 5 years. Still I think it was all very fitting (12.5/12.5)

scenery

Music: Another important part of the show was the music. The first OP without any words at all gave the feeling and started you on that journey into a slow and proper world *Holds up pinky finger* It honestly just got better from there even up to the Fourth season with a more traditional sort of theme which was a bit more upbeat but by about 10-15 points. The Eds were all fantastic pieces of music and the in-series audio only served to enhance the series, especially Ave Maria. (12.5/12.5)

Adapation: Marimite was originally a light novel series that actually just recently ended. The great people at the Bakatsuki translation project: http://baka-tsuki.org/ are working hard to translate this series and have done a little bit of what the anime didn’t get a chance to get to. The Anime did a few things better then the novels (Like for example an especially early introduction to Yuki which I thought was fitting) however they miss a lot of key details that helped to guide the actions of the cast.considering the amount of material they went through. I won’t say they did a stellar job, but I would say it was a job well done and worthy of note. (7/10)

Production: I’m not gonna list the voice cast, too many great unbelievable names. Anyone who listens to this well agree the voicing is wonderful. Any problems with this Anime come with the pacing and the overdrama which was an effect of the novels. You see, once the world expanded beyond Yumi, Yoshino and Shimako became co-main characters in the novels and important events during periods of time were often mixed up and played three times one for each of them while giving the readers JUSSSSSSSST enough information to make a timeline. When done in Anime form, you feel like that they’re consecutive for some reason and not happening all at the same time because they don’t make those connections. That’s my main beef with the anime, Oh yeah, the Drama that’s the original author’s fault! Anything in this series, can MORE then likely be resolved in a sentence. For example “I won’t be at school because I’m going for my Driver’s License.” Could have literally saved approximately a week’s worth of emo in this series. (10/15)

Marimite is a classic and is a must watch for every anime fan. I don’t know about marathoning it. I will say to give it a chance. The character you like best might show up later (Oh screw that, Sei takes the show). If you’re able to do it, I personally found it a delight to read the novels while watching the series (Particularly since a good portion of the novels in the series haven’t been translated yet). So I urge you to watch with care. Let’s tally up the final scores shall we?

  • Premise: 15/15
  • Approachability: 6/10
  • Characters: 25/25
  • Animation: 12.5/12.5
  • Music: 12.5/12.5
  • Adaption: 7/10
  • Production: 10/15
  • Final Score: 88/100 – 88% (B)

Huh, it took 3 months exactly to finish this! As expected of a Marimite review! Yeah… totally… intentional… in anycase I hope everyone is doing well! This Winter season has been a great one hasn’t it? Well I’m going to keep watching more anime, if there’s something you think I should review let me know! Until then, I’m going back to Magical Girl Land since the Good Maceart, who is head of Doremi fansubs FINALLY finished the entirety of Ojamajo Doremi! So, after a rewatch I’ll review that for everyone! Until then, Ja ne!

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