When Yumi Fukuzawa entered the Lillian Girls' Academy, a prestigious all-girls Catholic school in Tokyo, she never imagined she would catch the eye of beautiful and demure Sachiko Ogasawara, one of the school's most popular students. Now Sachiko has offered to be Yumi's soeur, her "sister" and guide for all her years at the academy. The whole idea has Yumi completely flustered—after all, they hardly know each other!
The entire campus is abuzz with rumors about the two of them, but Yumi is conflicted over accepting Sachiko's offer. While she admires Sachiko, being her soeur would also mean constantly being at the center of the entire school's attention!
I've had a very complex history with this series. I only started watching it because people were making a fuss about how another series copied an extremely famous scene from Maria-sama ga Miteru, but I ended up watching both the first and second seasons. (The third season wasn't out at that time.)
This is now my favourite series. But it was far from being a favourite then-- I watched it all very quickly, and I don't think this is a series that was meant to be seen like that. I overlooked a lot the first time around and it ended up seeming the characters were making baseless observations about others. It's easy to watch those slice-of-life school comedy series quickly, for example, since you're just in for a laugh or two, but Maria-sama ga Miteru has got characterisation, believability, and complex interpersonal dynamics that should be savoured slowly.
The seiyuu are great overall and generally convey characters' thoughts and feelings very well. The animation, however, could've been better... some parts look a bit unnatural or perhaps a bit mechanical, but I don't think it detracts very much from the series overall and I enjoyed the art style.
I fell in love with the series when I rewatched it because there's so much in it. This isn't your typical, run-of-the-mill series where you can just watch for mindless enjoyment. It isn't something you just watch because you know there's f/f in it either. This is possibly the best f/f series you'll ever watch-- without your usual crazy and melodramatic minor character lesbians in it, to boot. (Note that the f/f present is largely on the subtext level, which I find makes it even more delectable. There's canon stuff though, so it's not "just wishful thinking".)
On the other hand, I am of the mind that Maria-sama ga Miteru would still be enjoyable for those who don't like f/f or aren't particularly into it. The wonderful characterisation alone should be enough of a draw, should it be the sort of thing you look for in anime. Let me put it this way: This series doesn't necessarily focus on f/f too much if you're inclined to see it that way. Such is the beauty of subtext.
Oh, and if it matters to you, the focus isn't on religion despite the series name and the setting (a private Catholic all girls' school). It's really just about a group of young women and what happens to them and between them... which I guess makes it fall pretty firmly into the shoujo genre.
Maria-sama ga Miteru, then, is not recommended for those who only enjoy panty shots or seeing two girls somehow ending up in unrealistic, compromising situations. (Please go watch seinen for that fanservice stuff because there's no fanservice in this at all.) I wouldn't recommend this to people who like a lot of action either, because, well, it doesn't have much. It's slice-of-life (probably leaning more toward drama), so if you need an overarching plot to sustain your interest, this is also not for you. This is for those who are starved for a series with, finally, good characterisation.
And lastly, there are no self-pitying and screaming adolescent boys piloting mecha, thank goodness. read more
Poor quiet anime with fabulous, fabulous storytelling and characterisation. They get no love, and this is apparent for Maria-sama ga Miteru.
It tells the story of girls in a Catholic school. That's all. It's them, their lives, and yet it sucks you in like nothing else could, wraps you up in their stories and makes you itching to learn about them more.
There's a little controversy of sorts about the lesbian content of this anime. Honestly, it seems like all the girls are in love with one another, but that isn't the case. There's only one real lesbian in the entire story. So it's interesting to see girls who actually care for one another and are insanely close other than spend their time plotting and hating on one another like other shoujo anime.
I love this anime. I can't think of anything unfabulous about it other than inconsistent art and a confusing first few episodes. It will take you while to get used to the names they call one another. read more
I wasn\'t sure I was gonna like it at first.. I usually judge anime by watching the opening theme, and I thought it was so dreary because it was all instrumental.. After watching the first two episodes I was satisfied and decided to watch the whole thing.
It brought back memories from my high school days, since I came from a private catholic all girls school, much like the one in the anime.. We didn\'t have a soeur system, but there were other similarities, such as girls crushing on other girls..
There were a lot of french terms used, but you didn\'t really need to learn how to speak French to understand the story.. the only french words used in the dialogues were the titles, such as rosa gigantea en bouton, and soeur of course, and they weren\'t used much after the first episodes. The episode titles are also French.
There was little lesbian action going on, but it was very discreet so it didn\'t really scare me too much.. The only character who was openly gay was Sei, and the rest of the cast didn\'t give off any impressions that they were gay. There is a big shortage in men characters, the only male characters were Sachiko\'s cousin and fiance, and Yumi\'s brother.
The visuals were amazing. All the characters were beautifully drawn, which is one of the reasons why I decided to watch this. All the women were beautiful, but I get the feeling that if you took out their hair and gave them identical wigs, they would almost look the same.
The storyline wasn\'t bad - It was mainly about Yumi\'s character and how she tries her best to get along with her onee-sama, Sachiko. During the series, a few episodes are dedicated to Rei and Yoshino\'s relationship, as well as Sei\'s history. We also see some side stories about Sachiko and Shimako.
As I\'ve mentioned, most of the music were instrumental, and there was only one song with words in it, which was Rosa Canina\'s rendition of \"Ave Maria\". Still dreary, but the story does make up for the lack of better music choices. However, I do think that the classical music fits the storyline well. It is a rather serious storyline.
All in all, I have to say this is one of my favorite series. I have watched many slice of life series, and this one is the best among the rest. It is definitely as must - see.read more
"Maria-sama ga Miteru" is a sweet and enjoyable shoujo. For a shoujo it's surprisingly undramatic, but this means it lacks melodrama too, so no deathbed love stories or over the top villainous girls.
As yuri sorts of shoujos go, it's more realistic and less silly than "Strawberry Panic" but not quite the "these are real girls" experience of Aoi Hana. There's a good deal of silliness here, but it's presented in a natural enough way. It helps that the central character Yumi is likeable enough, and doesn't come off entirely as a Mary Jane sort, a Little Miss Perfect without any personality.
I think it's ultimately a nice balance. It's amusing and funny but you don't find yourself rolling your eyes at unbelievable characters and goofy melodrama. There are deep friendships and light romance but it's not sappy. A lot of the relationships are presented in a clever way, such as Yumi and Sachiko, such that you think you understand a character but in later episodes, fascinating new layers are added that build on tiny hints of their character from earlier episodes.
The only annoyance for me is that many episodes seem to focus on a specific character and story, to the neglect of everything else, with Yumi hardly showing up in some episodes.
This is definitely a "quiet" anime, even by shoujo standards. There is not a lot of screaming and high drama, but this is actually refreshing because the story is so laid back and void of melodrama that makes you not take it seriously.
I didn't find the art in this series to be anything special (it did get better in the second season). The music in the first season was also a disappointment, the arrangements of "Ave Maria" (basically obligatory, given the title) might sound great to Japanese ears but as someone familiar with western arrangements of it, I have been underwhelmed.
If you like well-written shoujo, especially the sort with intense friendships that border on yuri, this is definitely worth checking. read more
Girls are said to be the most loving beings in existence, something that is true in real life and in anime. So what about girls who love other girls? Well that, my friends, is the definition of yuri anime. From just friends to more than friends, here are 20 of the best yuri anime of all time.