Do not shy away from this title because it has the word Virgin in it's title.
This anime is not about sexual themes, however; sexual themes are relevant. When it comes to telling a cohesive story, many anime fail. They don't have underlying themes, and character motivations are vague for the most part. This is NOT the case for Maria the Virgin Witch. The cast is quite large, but they are introduced in a sensible way and slowly. Each and every character has a reason to exist, and they're motivations make sense. They all contribute to the big picture
and the show actually tackles ethical issues regarding war that can still resonate with people today.
I love the characters and how they interact with each other. The conversations feel real and while there may be drama, it's never because the characters are socially incompetent(this is rare in anime). The show also portrays middle-age society in the most realistic way I've ever seen surpassing even shows like spice and wolf.
The relationship between religion, the common people, and war is complex and makes sense, but let's not forget about Maria. She's amazing. She has her own will, and is very goal orientated. It's endearing and exciting watching her proudly struggle through achieving her goal. She's an amazingly well-written female character, and her romantic life is handled quite well.
If you like deep introspective shows that will leave you thinking about the problems it presents after watching it, you'll like this show.
If you like interesting character interactions and a really nice romance, you'll like this show.
TL;DR: An enjoyable fantasy adventure that suffers from an increasingly bad clash between theme & tone as it tries to go from bawdy comedy, to a more serious drama, to a Disney happy ending in the space of twelve episodes. Worth watching, none the less.
Maria the Virgin Witch is an interesting little show. A ecchi, bawdy sex comedy set in France during the 100 Years War that explores issues of war, morality, theology, gender politics, societal values & other quite heavy topics, all through the prism of a teenage girl who wears a swimsuit crossed with a blacksmith apron. That it tries to do so
is laudable. That it manages to do so well is more debatable. (review contains spoilers, I'm afraid)
Medieval France, probably the early - mid 15th century, is a land riven by war. The English & French ravage the land as they fight battle after battle in the hope of conquering or defending the land. Or at least they would, if it wasn't for the intervention of one little witch who doesn't take to kindly to people killing each other in her neck of the woods. Said witch is Maria, who unlike her kindred witches doesn't care to simply sit in the shadows & try to manipulate things from behind the scenes, but prefers to just rush in atop her broom (or pitchfork, as she rather charmingly rides instead) & deal with the problem by summing a giant snake to chase the combatants away.
It's not all done of a whim, of course. Beyond merely not liking war, Maria has a personal reason for her interventions. There's the little girl Anne, who lives in a nearby village that reveres Maria for her witch medicines & whose father periodically get's called up to fight. There's also Joseph, squire to the local count Guillaume, who Maria takes a liking to after he comes to her asking her favour in the upcoming battle. Armed with the stubborn certainty that they know how the world is & how to make it right that only a teenager possesses, Maria flies off all powers blazing whenever she feels the need arises, & it soon gets her the attention of forces both temporal & spiritual that don't appreciate her hands on interference in things.
Maria the Teenage Witch starts out strongly. While starting seemingly with all the high minded naivety that young adult literature is often full of. She's a teenager who doesn't care how adults do things & thinks she knows how the world is, but put her in a room with a boy & suddenly it's all blushes & awkward gasps mixed with a childish curiosity about the birds & the bees. The chasteness & naivety of girls is often placed on a pedestal in anime & other media, but Maria doesn't go for that, at least at first.
Maria's mental & physical virginity are played against a world where they quickly seem naive & narrow minded. Her interventions in the battles are followed by combatants not simply cheering for her saving them, but cursing her for getting in the way, either of a decisive victory or simply of getting paid (no battle, no battle pay). Unlike Maria, the other witches & her succubus familiar Artemis are no strangers to the world of sex & they mercilessly tease her for her ignorance of such pleasures; which Maria is both grossed out & intregied by. The Christian church that Maria soon comes into conflict with is likewise not depicted monolithically. Clergy call for the persecution of Maria as a heretic yet engage in heretical practices themselves. Brother Bernard, the shows overall antagonist, is a man both well versed in scripture but also more than happy to be flexible with his theology if it gets results.
At first, all this is interspersed with a lot of bawdy humour. An early tryst involves Maria trying to use her familiar Artemis to seduce some English clergymen, only to discover that their homosexuality makes her unable to do so. This should be a simple case of summoning a male familiar, which Maria promptly does. Unfortunately for her & newly summoned Priapus, she doesn't know what a naked man looks like, resulting in Priapus being formed without a rather integral appendage for an incubus. Many a dick joke ensues. Sabrina the Virgin Witch does a pretty good job of keeping the humour blue without resorting to offensive stereotyping or the usual anime standards of boob grabs & bath scenes. In fact the shows sex humour is about as "mature" as any anime I've seen, if such humour can be considered mature.
The show also has an interesting spiritual cosmology. From the outset & throughout, Maria's world is one where all religions & supernatural beings can exist so long as humans have reason to believe in them. God sits above the clouds, watching the world from a distance & unconnected to the human church that proselytes in His name. He's the number one deity in town, but only by virtue of having the most believers. Valkyries watch over the battles, awaiting the souls of dead warriors. Maria is occasionally visited by a nebulous form that calls itself Cernunnos, the remains of an old deity now all but forgotten by humans.
In some ways it resembles the cosmology of Terry Prachetts Discworld, where supernatural beings can come in & out of existence if enough people believe in their power (though sadly there is no Eater of Socks). In this world, Maria stands out not so much for being a supernatural being, but for being one that still chooses to actively involve herself in the day to day life of humans, whereas most others have for various reasons retreated into the shadows, so to speak.
However, as the story progresses the themes & tone presented in the first part of the series start to clash with the way things develop. After having enough of her multiple refusals to listen to heaven's commands, the archangel Michael descends to strike down Maria & restore balance to the "natural law" of the world. Swayed by the last moment intervention of Anne & Joseph, who attacks Michael to defend Maria, Michael instead places a curse on Maria: that she will be able to keep her witch's powers, but only so long as she's still a virgin.
For much of the show this curse isn't much of an issue. Maria continues to act like nothing's happened (coz ain't no fool gonna tell her what's right & wrong), heaven continues to be pissed off at her & the show continues to explore its themes in the same enjoyable way. This apparent disconnect, however, between the tone of the show as a bawdy comedy where Maria's virginity (& by extension her naivity) are the butt of jokes & her virginity now being the only thing that lets her keep her witch's powers becomes more of an issue as the show draws to a conclusion.
The problems really start with Maria the Vacuum Switch when it starts to transition from a bawdy comedy to a more serious drama. Maria's worldview shifts from a thing of mockery to increasingly being held up as an ideal way of thinking as the show progresses. There's nothing wrong with wanting a world without wars or where you can be who you are (a witch, for example) & live life free of harassment from others telling you what to think & do. Indeed, those are admirable aspirations. However, Maria's means of attaining her goals often feel like they conflict with those goals themselves.
Take not wanting wars or people to die in them. The cause is noble & indeed Maria is not the only person pursuing it. The problem is that her actions, intervening in battles often long after the killing has started but before a decisive victory can be attained, have the opposite effect. Yes, count Guillierne's repeated exaltation that the next battle will be the decisive victory to win the war can be seen as mocking that type of thinking that so often proves foolish & costly (how many battles in World War One were meant to be the one to end the war, for example?). But the only reason none of the battles can be that decisive one is because Maria, in the name of ending war, keeps interfering. It doesn't help that the actual 1453 Battle of Castillon is considered to have been exactly the decisive victory to end the war (or at least the fighting part of it) that the show seems to be dismissing the idea of.
Indeed a lot of the subjects Maria raises are not nearly as simple as it ends up wanting to portray them as, or their ultimate conclusion raises as many problematic questions as it answers. One of the more controversial elements of Maria comes when Bernard gets wind of Maria's virginity curse. Despite the plan he concocts going against pretty much every idea of Christianity, he uses this knowledge to conspire with count Gillierne & the mercenary Galfa to rape Maria. After all, Michael's curse never specified how she was to lose her virginity.
This is obviously a very hard subject to handle in a way that isn't grossly offensive & crass, & to Maria the Sturgeon Fish's credit it manages to do so. The problem comes more in how after the act, or rather Galfa's failure to fully go through with it, Maria's loss of power is portrayed. After Galfa's attack, she still loses her power, implying that even without actually being "raped" Maria still has, or feels she has been sullied to the point of losing at least the appearance of her virginity, & hence she loses the appearance of being a witch.
Even this isn't a problem in itself. Plot-wise It allows for her & Bernard to finally come face to face & also for her to reflect on what she values in life that would make it worth fighting for. Thematically, the idea that merely the appearance of her having lost her virginity being enough to cause her to lose her powers is an interesting reflection on the nature of virginity itself & how it's viewed in society. After all, when people talk about things being "virginal" they often mean a lot more than simply it not having had penetrative vaginal sex.
It's only when the show changes gears & goes for an almost Disney fairytale finale that the problem with all this, in my mind at least, rears it's head. You see, Maria doesn't get her powers back because she comes to some self-realisation that Galfa's attack didn't actually take her powers or her virginity. She gets them back because Joseph asks her to marry her. Yes, all is well in the world & balance is restored because the boy she liked still liked her, her supernatural abilities returned because a guy still thinks she's cute. I understand why the show goes for the happy ending it does, but it's execution does not mesh well with the themes the show explores up to that point.
Bernard as the antagonist is a further example. His almost Machiavellian approach to theology is rightly decried by the show as hypocritical & wrong. His exploitation of his position in the church to pursue temporal, family agendas is made to look all the worse when it is shown how much of an influence he has on the mind of his underling, Gilbert, who sees Bernard as a well read & enlightened theologian. That Bernard would misuse such an individuals faith in him is shown as part of his bad character & why he is the shows antagonist, & rightly so.
However, when it comes to confronting Bernard with this, the show stumbles on at least two key occasions. First is the occasion Bernard & Maria finally face off against each other. Bernard wants to understand the mindset of a woman who seems to eager to intervene in worldly affairs despite the obvious negative consequences she suffers when doing so. When she challenges his beliefs, he has a moment of almost existential crisis trying to rationalize his faith in the face of her world view. The writer had clearly done their homework, since he lists off a number of theological treatise in the process of this. Unfortunately, the actual dialogue between them is laughably clumsy, boiling down to Maria putting on a pouty teenager face & saying "whatever, man. You're just a sheep, man. God being everything is the same as being nothing, man. I've got this book by Nietchzhe you should read, man." The Diet of Worms this most certainly was not.
The second occurs again when the show is trying to have it's Disney ending & Bernard is finally punished for his misdeeds. The problem is not that he is, but when & how he is. Gilbert confronts Bernard about his apparent hypocritical stance on Maria, only for Bernard to reveal that thanks to his exchange with her, he is working on a new thesis that argues man no longer needs the divine grace of God to either be holy or to worship Him. In effect, he's arguing for a rather humanistic interpretation of religion, one where God is still at the top but not one where humans cannot understand anything about the world except by God's grace.
No sooner has he come to this realization, then the archangel Michael turns up in the flesh to once again throw Bernard's world view into chaos, causing him to attack Michael & be turned to ash. As if that wasn't enough, the last thing we see Gilbert doing is burning Bernards texts. For a show that seemed to be taking quite a humanistic & relativistic view of religion at the start, it seems odd that it would end in a way that reinforces orthodox church doctrine (Gilbert is very much in the burn all the witches camp throughout), not least because in this period in history the Catholic church was happily burning & killing Cathars, Waldesians, Hussites & other heretics for daring to utter similar heretical ideas. Again, it feels like the show discards a lot of the more difficult subjects it tried to wrestle with for the sake of it's happy ending, & it doesn't sit well for me that it did so.
Beyond the story, though, there's still plenty to like about Maria the Prison Snitch. The relationships & interactions between the many characters are enjoyable to watch & for a show with quite a decently sized ensemble cast, it does a good job of fleshing out the characters enough that we care about them, or at least care to dislike them.
The art, particularly the character designs of the witches & their familiers, is all of a decent standard & never noticeably went off model or deteriorated in quality. One might find the ecchi minded wardrobe, paticularly of Maria & Artemis, to feel like it becomes more out of place as the show gets more serious, but it's not much of an issue.
Likewise the animation, while this isn't the most high octane of shows, remained up to task throughout. The magic powers all look suitably impressive & things such as monsters being summoned out of cauldrons are well put together. The battles between the French & English themselves are not the most exciting affairs, but when an individual character needs to be shown in danger or the like, the show is up to the task.
Finally the music is again perfectly fine for the show. None of it really stands out, except perhaps for how the end credit song reminded me a bit of Spice & Wolf (not entirely sure why). But by the same token none of the music in the show felt out of place or wrong for any scene in which its used.
Maria the Fremen Witch, then, is a show that is both laudable for what it tries to do but not above criticism for where it fails to do so. The first half or so is a very enjoyable bawdy comedy that still manages to raise & discuss some interesting subjects whose exploration is well suited to the medieval fantasy the show takes place in. However, I feel the show suffers for trying to take things in a more serious direction in the second half, only to then try & try up everything with a happy ending that, while one certainly feels Maria deserves it, feels tonally inconsistent with what came before. None the less, Maria the Virgin Witch is ultimately an enjoyable series that at least tries to be more than just another ecchi comedy, & for that alone it is worthy of note.
I always feel like I’m stepping into gangster territory whenever I bring up my opinions on fictional products about soldiers and anti-war themes. Yeah I know that not even the fans like everything about Full Metal Jacket, but that doesn’t change the feeling that if I ever admitted that it was the film that cemented my hatred for the genre in public, I’ll have more holes put into me than Sergeant Hartman did after he realized that being an asshole can backfire on you massively. Not to mention, what can one possibly say about the products from that genre even if you are a fan?
It has tanks? It has blood? War is rough? This actor captures the grittiness so well? I mean I like my share of martial arts movies, but trying to say something new amongst every single Jackie Chan film just isn’t worth it.
Anyways, the point is that I can enjoy anti-war stuff if they do something differently other than saying how awful it is – which is a theme I’m very against because not only is that message filled with so much “duh” you can run around with a giant bag of it and be mistaken for a bank robber, it’s completely pointless to say something like that. War ain’t going to change just because of a movie, let alone an anime, you know. And it also doesn’t help that I find soldiers to be some of the most annoying characters in existence what with their irritating jargon and hardcore behavior that comes off like a little kid thinking that cursing makes you more mature. So I wasn’t exactly hyped when I found out the director of Planetes combined with the writer of Moyashimon was bringing out a story set in the Hundred Years’ War and that the main character is basically a lewd version of Nausicaa. But hey, maybe just like Nausicaa, this anime will do enough with the formula that it’ll actually click with me?
Well after finishing the anime, you’ll be pleased to know that Maria the Virgin Witch does some things differently with the anti-war formula. It just doesn’t do enough things differently with the formula, and a bunch of the differences aren’t even for the better – mostly due to the fact that its lead character is pretty much a female version of Vash the Stampede from Trigun. Because, y’know, the original Vash wasn’t stupid enough.
The story is centered on a witch named Maria (of course) who lives in small hut on the outskirts of the Hundred Years’ War – which I’m not really familiar with beyond the fact that it lasted 106 years, so I’m not going to go into the specifics of it and I don’t think it really affects the anime too much anyways. As expected from a female Vash – if Vash used witchcraft rather than guns – she hates violence and whenever battles happen around her area, she jumps on her broom, flies off to the carnage, and sics giant monsters on the armies in order to scare them away without actually killing them. During her exploits, she falls in love with a soldier named Joseph, befriends a small group of villagers who think she’s cool because of what she’s doing, and incites the wrath of a church who wants to see her hanged for her transgressions. Oh, and she also calls upon the judgment of the heavens in the form of Lord Michael and an Ezekiel who obviously has no relation to the original prophet because this anime portrays said figure as a whiny little girl who conforms towards Maria’s way of thinking really easily. It’s like discovering that the scary Oyashiro-sama is actually an annoying moeblob who goes hauu~ all the time.
Whilst it is obviously not stating that war is a good thing, a good chunk of what Maria the Virgin Witch is about are the compromises between the different factions and what they stand to gain or lose from the conflict – and there you have my reason for paying attention to the show. Because it wants to be a modern-day Nausicaa/Princess Mononoke, and I’ll gladly support an anime that flies that same flag as some of my favorite anime films if it can pull it off well. Which would have helped if Maria, y’know, actually had the ability to pull it off well and not sabotage that message by making “Maria-Sue” out to be more of a Jesus-Dalai Lama-Christ than Nausicaa can only dream of being. And it doesn’t exactly help that she turns into a lame blushing school girl whenever someone so much as mentions the idea of sex to her. There’s being naive and then there’s being someone I can’t take seriously.
I obviously have no problems with pacifism and wanting to avoid war altogether, but I really can’t stand it when it’s portrayed so one-sidedly by fiction in general, let alone these types of stories. And it doesn’t exactly help that whilst she’s not as obnoxious as Vash in terms of personality, Maria lacks the compelling reasons and supporting cast that at least tried to make his adherence to that pacifistic philosophy tragic, even if it ended up failing kinda horribly because his way of thinking ultimately won out in the end. There are only three important characters who oppose her, and they’re portrayed as the villains, so it’s hard to really say they lend much weight to the discussion. Everyone else supports her thoroughly, and even Ezekiel ends up conforming to the Church of Maria after a single episode of getting to know her. The show just gets ridiculously one-sided with what should be a multi-faceted issue that it felt less like I was watching a narrative and more like I was watching author propaganda disguised as shitty fanfiction.
To be fair, the show does try to make Maria face up to her own philosophies. I say “try”, not “do”, because it doesn’t succeed very well. Around the halfway point, without getting to spoiler-y, Maria pulls off a lighter-version of the turning point in Spec Ops: The Line by pulling out the big guns during a major battle in order to save her love, and not only do the heavens punish her for it, but her actions end up making the war worse and causing a bunch of dicks to go after her in the process. But whilst I’m not asking Maria to go the same path as Spec Ops: The Line given how even the most adult of anime wouldn’t dare follow that route since there still has to be enough that’s “fun” to watch, the show doesn’t punish her enough for my taste. She goes through a lot of physical punishment sure, but there’s not much in the way of inner turmoil – even if you compare it to something more kid-friendly like Kiki’s Delivery Service – and it doesn’t help that a lot of her friends still think that what she did was right after all that. Not to mention, the show pulls a Little Mermaid (the Disney film) at the end, which I found insulting in that movie and I find kinda more insulting in this show due to the heavy subject matter of the material along with it f*cking up worse than Trigun did with its final episode.
I’m not going to spoil the details of what actually happened, but after being subjected to its teeth-grinding awfulness, I hunted around for people who liked said ending in the hopes of finding a good justification for why the show went that route, and none of them were able to give me a satisfying answer. The biggest thing people seem to agree on is the fact that Maria’s viewpoint won out in the end with the only thing that changed about her being how she went about it, which might have worked if said change was major and there were some interesting characters to counterbalance her views. Unfortunately, she just traded in one form of happiness for a “different but equal” form of happiness, the people who opposed her lose out in the end, and the reasoning was more stupid than a mime trying to fit in with the Crips. But who cares about ambiguity? Who cares if she ends up solving the final conflict with the same logic that got her in trouble in the first place? Who cares if that ending is the equivalent of celebrating the lowering of your high blood sugar by eating a whole strawberry cheesecake? She’s cute, and that’s good enough for us.
Maria the Virgin Witch is good on an aesthetic level considering it’s Goro Taniguchi working with Production IG, and a lot of effort has been putting into capturing the feel of the time period this show takes place in along with portraying the religious aspects accurately if you ignore the fact that they’ve been “anime-upped” a little (although a certain religious colleague of mine would say otherwise). But even that doesn’t pay off as well as it should. The battles are mostly boring to look at, the animation takes a huge dip during the penultimate episode, and the final climax is just a bunch of talking heads. All in all, Maria not only does not come close to the level of Nausicaa, but it goes so far in the opposite direction that it caused me to get annoyed with it at the end. It’s not unpleasant on the surface, and I guess if you don’t think too hard about the show it’s not a bad watch. Just don’t expect me to be on your side, because as much as I like the dude, I am physically incapable of enjoying the kind of stories that would make Winnie the Pooh happy.
Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch) is a rather peculiarly interesting show. Whenever the word ‘virgin’ tends to be mentioned, you may think a show is about concentrates on a character with focus on their relationship or perhaps even their journey to be deflowered. But in this series, it’s a whole lot more than that. Junketsu no Maria takes on a set of refreshing concepts with a thought provoking premise to craft a surprisingly deft story.
I have to admit that my expectations coming into this series weren’t high. The manga doesn’t have many chapters while the author’s other works are virtually unknown;
with perhaps the exception of Moyashimon. Regardless, the series is adapted by Production I.G based on the manga of the same name. It takes place in a fictional world set in France during the era of the Hundred Years’ War. Maria is known throughout the story as a witch with magical abilities. Her desire to stop the war and maintain a balance of peace has put her on the wrong side of some factions, in particular the Church. That’s not the main problem though. It seems that she has also attracted the eyeful attention of the powerful Archangel Michael, who takes an interesting in Maria. For a show like this, there’s a really a creative balance of ideas – warfare, magic, religion, and who can we forget…virginity.
To be honest, the show indulges on fan service but without actually explicating it as a source of shock value. What does that mean? It means that the series has fan service in the form of dialogues (the endless sex jokes), actions (succubus seduction), and character designs. But taking at a closer look, the series actually portrays this in a more solemn way. For Maria, we can see that she is a lonely young witch. The thought of losing her virginity often gets her embarrassed as others teases her for it. And despite being a witch, she holds a pacifist nature and wishes to establish peace between humans. Unfortunately, the show also makes the point that witches are deemed “evil” by certain members of society. If we trace back to origins, there was once a period known as ‘Great Witch Craze’. And although the series doesn’t focuses primarily on that, Maria becomes a target for witch hunt. To think though, this is all because some people believe that witches operate in a defiled manner to society and a threat to their beliefs. Maria isn’t an exception either. The show goes far enough to portray the Church as an antagonist force, bound on making Maria suffer and judging her for just being a witch.
As Maria is the primary focus on the show, many characters she gets involved in plays an influence in the story. Early on, we also have the Archangel Michael who instead of punishing her decides to offer Maria a chance to retain her magical abilities except if she loses her virginity. This really builds on a foundation of an almost ludicrous plot device as Maria becomes an object for tease. She doesn’t seem to mind it although deep down, there’s no doubt she feels lonely. Luckily, she has friends such as her witch friend Artemis, her familiar Priapos, and perhaps even a love interest, Joseph. The show makes it clear that although she can’t have sex with Joseph (without the threat of losing her magical powers), there’s a romantic tension between the two. It can be genuinely interesting to see how far Maria can resist her urges despite knowing full well the consequences of being deflowered. Unlike some shows where it primarily relies on the accidental peeking or To-Love Ru-style crotch fallings, this series develops Maria as both a witch and woman. The interactions she has with other characters is attractive as it brings out their personalities. And despite lacking the sexual appeal of some other witches, Maria does have influence on others. She can even make friends with almost anyone including Ezekiel, an angel sent by Heaven with an original intention to kill her. In fact, this is where the show shine through characterization. Taking the example of Ezekiel, her outlook on the world around her begins to change as she interacts more with others in particular Maria. Even opponents such as Galfa and Bernard sets as good examples to portray their motivations. In retrospect, the show’s character cast has plenty to offer with its appeals.
A good amount of the story also concentrates on the war. Taking place in such an era breaks apart the usual generic settings of high school or fantasy world. Rather, the war itself looks realistic with the soldiers on the battlefield. France itself also gives off that nostalgic vibe back during the old days when crude weapons were used as instruments of war. Speaking of which, the show also a decent amount of supernatural tropes whether it’d be the powers of witches, angels, or other divine entities. As foremost, there’s also the sense of tragedy with war with people dying and others losing hope. Despite this, the show is able to maintain a good comedy composure with adequate timings of the character interactions. Just be aware that the jokes of the series are not only repetitive but often alludes to sexual undertones; you can thank Maria’s friends for that. Oh and I forgot to also mention that one of the characters lacks a penis in the show (despite being a male) so prepare for some cringy jokes indulged by cookie cutter awkwardness. On a more serious side, there’s also some mature themes including the implication of rape and torture. How you take these ideas to heart is up to you but I think the show’s necessity to craft these themes is to show how cruel a world can be as a witch.
Production I.G has made a reputation with their high production quality. This show is no exception as the artwork is not just refreshing but has a realistic way of portraying war. It also presents supernatural elements in the forms of angels with their divine-like design. But for character designs in general, most of the witches are categorized by their unique outfits. Maria, despite being a virgin, doesn’t dress like one. In fact, she shows plenty of skin alongside some of her fellow witches. This shouldn’t be a big issue though as the fan service isn’t directed with diehard attempts to distract the viewers. Instead, it’s more like an appeal to articulate our characters. Otherwise, the world setting of this show has profound landscapes, architectures, and nature that are all designed fluently. Insightful violence also exists (without censorship) with a strong degree of showing cruelty.
Soundtrack on most parts knows what it’s doing. The OP and ED songs has a serene-like composure and plenty of decorative tones in the backgrounds. I also give some credit to the OST because of its ability to convey the many expressive scenarios of the series. It’s not always easy to adapt scenes that transits from butt jokes to mental breakdowns. A good set of soundtrack has to go with the flow to get the job done. Thankfully, this show does it well. Character voice mannerism on most parts are also decent although Joseph’s monotonous nature can be bothersome to listen. Maria on the other hand can be a mixed bag for some people. Her voice has more of a balance between childish and caring.
A show like this is actually a rare breed with its atmospheric nature and sensible themes. As a witch, Maria is a character you just wants to know more and more with her potentials. But luckily, the other characters can be quite interesting as well if you pay careful attention to them. For a story like this, the premise injects a variety of concepts to make the show inventive. Even with the over repetitive sex jokes, the series maintains a genuine act of comedy during this duration. Now coming off as a manga reader, there’s a bit of an incentive to complain with adaptation. Although the series does have anime original characters and some changes, it still gives a delightful performance.
Maria the Virgin Witch turned out a lot better then I expected it to be despite it being the POV of a female character. This anime was one of my most liked for this season and here's why.
The story takes place around a blonde, stubborn, peace-loving witch who tries to stop any fights that happen near to where she lives, which is in thw middle of a secluded forest. Despite being a stubborn girl, she shows kindness to her few closest friends which encompass a little girl, her summons, and a few others. The story progresses as the Heavens above don't like her meddling
in natural affairs that they think should otherwise be allowed to happen.
Surprisingly, this anime had one of the most vibrant, colorful art out of all that aired this season, which seemed kind of ironic due to how many people got stabbed or killed in this anime (don't worry, most are side-characters).
The sound was extremely well and fit everything perfectly as well as set the mood throughout the anime, through-out the serious and comedic parts.
The characters, in my opinion, were extremly well done with few, if any, cliches anywhere.
Theres the main heroine witch who dislikes fighting.
The witchs summonings which are a succubus and a incubus who doesn't have any nether regions due to the witch's messup
The angel Micheal whos just the basic guy no one likes.
The messenger who secretly likes the witch.
The "dove" whos sent to keep an eye on Maria and see if shes doing anything bad.
And a few other characters as well, which I won't spoil any more.
Despite this being a anime aimed at the opposite gender, I really found this anime to be among my most liked for this season. It just being good all around led me to really enjoy this anime, and I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a serious, romantic/comedic show about medival witches.
So the series started very promising as a fanservice – action packed mahou shoujo one of a kind and I’m fairly happy to say that it disappointed…by NOT being just that. First of all, magical powers aren’t the main topic here and they’re not wildly used like you often see in series of the same genre and it also comes with a price, or rather with a condition which makes things sooo much more interesting.
Maria fights to maintain peace (I know how stupid that sounds) during The Hundred Years' War (1337 – 1453) without actually
taking any side, but making sure that all the battles going on around her are stopped. What I love about this series is that it also shows the consequences of her meddling and that not all of them are good (like for example the mercenaries who no longer have a job to do are attacking the allied villages in order to get the loot they couldn’t receive otherwise) and thus she attracts the attention of God who sends Archangel Michael to bring her to justice for interfering with the natural order of the world. And this is where things start getting really heavy.
The plot itself is both historical (really like that whoever was in charge of graphic design actually took the time to study armor designs) social, philosophical and unexpectedly religious. It deals with the problems the Catholic Church is mostly renowned for and the difference between faith and dogma and also brings into question the purpose of war on Earth. Maria’s magical powers are also based upon summoning ancient creatures and will further on emphasize on the idea that all myths survive as long as there will be someone to remember them. The “new faith” seems to be taken into account as well, although it’s not blatantly mentioned like so. Through Bernard’s character atheism is also masterfully placed on the table in contrast – or rather in perfect harmony with everything that has been shown throughout the series as secular humanism.
All these serious aspects of the plot are gradually sprinkled with some good doses of warfare, humor, magic, lively characters and sizzled innuendos that won’t disappoint if you’re only looking for a light series.
All and all Junketsu no Maria is so far this year’s must watch and a real delight for all fans of the genre.
Hello. My name is Naoto, and I will be writing a review for this show. I have come across this show in my forum post, in which I asked for recommendations of anime whose setting takes place in medieval times, preferably with a female main character. I was recommended this anime series, and thus, I watched it in my free time. I am glad that I did, as it is very likely that this is the best series that I have watched, despite the ratings that I have given. This is my very first review so, please, do not hesitate to give me any constructive
criticism that you can think of.
Now that the background of the review has been introduced, let us continue with the review itself.
The setting is, indeed, medieval, during the hundred years war, a time where witches were oft suspected in villages and were considered heretics, as is shown in the anime itself. I believe it is relevant and important to note here that while the anime is fictitious, it draws heavily from the bible. If you need proof of that, look no further than to the names of the characters, which should be obvious if you know even a fraction of Christianity. Maria, Joseph, Michael, Ezekiel, Artemis, etc. However, that should not be reason enough for you to judge the series or shy away from it. It is very well worth watching, in my opinion, and I will elaborate more on that later.
The characters are very well fleshed out and developed, save for a few, such as Edwina, and Gabriel. Maria is very well fleshed out throughout the entire series, and she continues being developed from the first episode to the very last. She seems to be a solitary witch who takes her power for granted and tries to impose her belief that humanity should not fight one another for any reason using her magic. The Archangel Michael comes down to Earth upon her when she tries to do this to a group of mercenaries, and "puts her in her place" using her own logic against her. As the synopsis says, she refuses and defies him, causing him to place a curse and warning upon her; if she loses her virginity, she will be stripped of her magic, and if she uses her magic, Michael, himself, shall punish her again. Michael cannot watch over her constantly himself so he sends down Ezekiel in his stead with the task of observing Maria's actions and reporting back to Michael should she disobey his orders. Naturally, what ensues is a comical "battle" between Ezekiel and Maria, with Maria outsmarting him by shielding his vision while she continues to use her powers to end battles by a draw.
The story itself is heavily based on the story of the lives of the Virgin Mary and Joseph depicted in the bible. This is the artist's interpretation of that story, which I found to be quite interesting. There are some elements in the anime that were added from the creator's own creativity, possibly so that he would not be called out as a heretic himself for dishonoring the Holy Bible. But, enough of that, I enjoyed the series greatly and I give it a perfect score on many levels. I absolutely loved it.
My recommendation: watch. In my opinion, it is a series that can be viewed by theists and atheists alike, and does not pick a side on the religious spectrum. I hope those of you who read this and watch the series do enjoy it, as it is very interesting, although, there are some things in which viewers may not understand. I hope this review was at least useful to some of you.
One of the things I hate most is when media decides to give a happy ending to complete tragedies. Honestly I find it disappointing and almost treacherous to the good writing that led to it.
Maria is a pacifist witch, who lives in medieval times, when countless wars are done in the name of the (green) god. Using her magic and her succubus servant, she keeps interrupting skirmishes, battles, campaigns, and pretty much pisses off EVERYONE, including angels who want to see souls heading to Valhalla. In the end Archangel Michael beats her and puts a curse on her, so that when she loses her virginity
she will also lose her magic. That may have a miscalculation on his part though, since despite Maria dressing as a complete slut, she is having real trouble with the guys (you figure that one out).
The plot gets further complicated with betrayals, assassination attempts, the conflicted moral issues of both Maria and the guy she likes, who has to serve a corrupt war-thirsty feud lord, and is friends with a mercenary. Sooner or later, because of Maria's unexplained passion for pacifism, everyone ends up getting hurt or traumatized. That may sound hardcore and all, but there are two big problems: 1)Everytime we're about to see some enjoyable looting, butchery and mayhem, Maria ends up interrupting it with her plot powers, pissing off the viewer as well, and making her completely unlikeable despite the show trying to present her as a tragic heroine. Honestly if I had so much power the last thing I would do is be a pacifist. 2)I won't spoil it, but the series just had to have a happy ending. That is already an insult to the many hardships the characters went through, but considering Maria, after being terribly tortured and betrayed doesn't have a single psychological trauma left, it's simply retarded. It reminds me of the crap I had to through after the first 12 minutes of Kotoura-san. Come on story writers! You can't have them being that much tortured and then pulling off a "and they lived happily ever after"! It does not compute!
Honestly a big disappointment, also not really a fan of Maria's character design, including both the clothes choice and her face.
When analyzing any given work, how much of ourselves is it okay to insert in a review? Like many who enjoy judging works of fiction, I don’t believe a 100% objective review is possible, but I stand by the idea that a certain degree of objectivity is possible and desirable, otherwise reviews would just be a matter of “I don’t like this” or “I prefer that way”.
One thing I believe can be taken into consideration is perspective. Many analyses I’ve seen made me think “Well, I don’t agree with any of that, but those are some pretty good arguments”. This happens when the author constructed
the arguments in a manner that allowed me to understand how that judgment can be valid from the perspective it comes from. We all have different notions what qualifies as good, bad, mediocre, average, etc, as well as which problems or qualities weight on the quality of a work, or even qualify as either one.
Now, here’s an even harder question: how do we take into consideration other peoples perspectives and morals when reviewing? I’ll ask you to think about that along with me, as I look into Junketsu no Maria, or Maria the Virgin Witch.
Story and Characters
If you are a mildly experienced anime fan, you might have noticed the fondness the Japanese have for deconstructing, subverting, referring or straight up parodying Christian lore, more specifically the beliefs based on the Bible. Whether it comes from cultural chauvinism of some authors or simply creative intent in the same fashion of how we use ancient Greek and Nord mythology, is not important, what matters is how these themes fare in the work itself. This is the most curious aspect of Junketsu no Maria. The series, besides what the title may imply, primarily focuses on the dilemma of faith, how it’s presented, how people deal with it and how they react to divergence. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s start with the simpler aspects.
By reading the series description and looking at the title, the viewer’s first reaction would be to assume that it’s an ecchi comedy, possibly with jokes at the expense of the main character’s virginity. Now, although this aspect is really brought up in comedic fashion, it’s not as frequent as you would expect and fan service itself is kept to a minimum. The majority of the anime’s plot is directed to the theme of war and its relation with religion as it was seen during the middle ages, with the liberties of the phantasy genre, off course.
The first question it might lead the viewer to ask is: doesn’t it mean that the anime has problems with tone consistency? Well, surprisingly no. Junketsu no Maria avoids distasteful tone shifts by having a very good sense of range. This is the main problem for works that try to balance lighthearted moments with heavy subjects but fail miserably (just look at Akame ga Kill), they don't realise that you can have Seven Deadly Sins or Berserk, but you can't have the two at the same time. It is important to understand how much you can stretch the mood either way until it begins to displease the audience. The comedic moments are used sparingly and never become goofy, and although the plot and themes revolve around war, violence is moderated, with reasonable amounts of blood but no gore.
That aside, let’s talks about the themes presented. First of all, it’s important to understand that Europe during the middle-ages was not only a significantly more violent period, when it was considered normal for children to watch public executions, but without advanced science religion was the source people looked for to give some logic to the world. Having that in mind, the anime has a subtly harsh, but nonetheless comprehensive outlook in regards to religion. Where the attitudes of the Church in the middle-ages justifiable? No, but they were understandable, taking into consideration the mindset and ethical standards of the time.
Maria’s morals and ideals, in the other hand, are not treated as gospel by the anime. It’s frequently put into question if her actions have ultimately good outcomes, despite the good intentions behind them. Some people live from war, so while Maria may be saving lives, she’s also making living more difficult for others. The writing in this point is not always spot-on though, as in some cases the angels, characters who should have the superior knowledge given the context, raise question that are self-evident and hold no ground. The audience is likely to react with an expression of “Why the fuck are you even asking that?”.
I suppose I should get to talk about the characters now:
Maria, the virgin witch of the title, is stubborn, headstrong but not completely unwilling to chance. She makes a point of keeping faithful to her ideas and actions against war, but is forced to learn more about the implications of her actions, and understand they can be seen as forcing her morals into others. Her mindset is not altered completely, but she grows into a more sensible individual by the end.
Joseph is the main love interest for Maria, he’s naïve and mostly emotionally driven. Although sharing her ideals of peace, he has to manage also being a human commoner, having to serve and obey the powers of the authorities, even when in disagreement.
Bernard is an antagonistic force for most of the series, but not necessarily a villain. Torn between his idea of faith, the validity of the Church and the role of humanity in the world as well as God, he’s a dualistic figure and an incredibly compelling character, making for the most complete human in the whole cast.
Ezekiel is the lance of Mikael, the angel who placed the punishment on Maria, and is the character who grows the most in the series. She initially follows blindly the orders and ideas passed on to her by the authorities of Heaven, but as she spends time on Earth she starts to assimilate more and more the mentality of humans, coming out as a well-rounded character by the end.
Among the side characters, the more noticeable are Maria's familiars, the other witches (special attention to Viv) and Garfa, a Mercenary that befriends Joseph at the begining of the series. They show less impactful changes than the ones mentioned above, but are are nonetheless good representations for the themes the anime tackles, in varying degrees of depth.
When it comes to the visuals for Junketsu no Maria, I get to use that dreadfully ambiguous statement: it’s good enough.
Done by Production I.G, famous for Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex, the Blood series and a fuckton of other good-looking stuff, Maria’s visuals are solid overall: character models are consistent and there’s hardly ever any misshapes to annoy the sensitive eye, movement is economic but well-paced, as long as it’s not a battle sequence with dozens of figures in the same frame moving at the same time, all those cynic requirements necessary to claim “It looks nice”. CGI is also not an eyesore, by the way.
What the series lacks is a visual presentation that stands out aside from a few character designs. The witches, angels, familiars and some other magic creatures are drawn with creativity and flare, but normal humans in general are unremarkable, baring only the basic visual traits for a medieval setting. On a more personal note, does anyone else miss the early 2000s dry colorization style Production I.G used in their previously mentioned works? I’m not saying it would look nice in this series, but that style had a personal charm I miss nowadays.
Sound-wise, there’s little I can say about the soundtrack besides “it was there!”, but the voice-work offers a little more. For once you have Hanazawa Kana as Ezekiel, pulling a pitch of annoyance I would not think she was capable (because she’s usually adorable). This may sound like a criticism, but it isn’t, Ezekiel is supposed to sound obnoxious in her initial moments up until her character development. Sakurai Takahiro, famous for Suzako from Code Geass and also some very flamboyant young men, plays Bernard, a role efficient in reminding us that he is a voice actor with very good range. The rest of the cast does a good work.
Now I think it’s time to go back to the question I raised at the beginning: how do we take into consideration other peoples perspectives and morals when reviewing?
It’s not hard for me to imagine that people who believe in the Bible or follow Catholicism would be uncertain or even displeased with this series in regards to its premise and the way it goes about some of its themes. In that sense, I think it’s fair to judge the work not only by my own idea of what composes a good fictional piece, but also how it might relate or be perceived by people with that mindset.
From my point of view, it seems like Junketsu no Maria is trying to put some perspective into the debate of how religion reconcile good or bad things happening to people who might not deserve them, as well as the belligerency of human history (I apologize if that came out incredibly pretentious). If the anime had a bitter outlook at religion, the Church or people who share the faith, basically if it looked down at them, I’d give them all the reason to criticize it based on that attitude. However, the series appears to be very comprehensive when dealing with the subject, never reproving blindly.
Is Junketsu no Maria the best at handling its themes? Most likely not, but as it stands it’s a very reasonable work and a very good anime.
this review is spoiler free and comprehensively judging from my stand point
this story set out based on war between England and France, the church ploy and also the involvement of Witches hired by several Lords to help them win the war. Maria, slightly different from another witches, she hates war. So she stopped them using her magic.
from story point of view, it is quite intriguing because well the tense between British and French is like never ending problem until now, and this Anime Series emphasizing on the war between them. So yeah, quite intriguing if i may said so. The story
progression is disappointing, because i can't see the story developed well. Mostly Maria put end of war and that's it, there's no something more after. The romance is... well i kinda say is more to lust than love. There are no concrete relation between Maria and the other guy, mostly just boring old cliche romance comedy ending. The comedy is something that i can say as a advantage because it provides a gag. Not a cheesy one and not funny, but the good and pervy one (i kinda like that one though)...
Art... well its production IG ... they consistent for their art.. but i think they spent a little too much for this project because the story progression is the downside of the whole story.. but IG's Art is superb and consistence so why not try this one?
Sound... the opening song brought by ZAQ and surprisingly not very convenient to my ear and not much to remember with. BGM is very lack and disappointing, surprisingly they fit well to the scenes.. the ending, not much i can say about. The only advantage from the Sound is the seiyuu... Some of them are the best in anime stuff, Kana hanazawa, Yoko Hikasa , Kanemoto Hisako... several others.
Character... all the character in this anime are interesting, Maria the the Virgin tsundere witch, Ezekiel the guardian Tsundere, "one too much" teasing succubus and "genital-less" incubus.. they all created a good drama between them. this is the advantage for this anime
Enjoyment.. this anime really enjoyable, if you don't have another anime to watch with. but production IG's anime never disappointed me because the art work is great and it really is. Kinda disappointed why they decided to create anime project for this one. but i'd say this is not a failure, but they could try for another appropriate project..
(This has been adapted from my blog/reddit thread. Spoilers ahead!)
Something that’s hard to do, no matter who you are, is change your way of thinking. It sounds simple enough, though, especially given the context. If you were raised to learn that one plus one equals three, it’s mathematically possible to prove you incorrectly and move your thinking from wrong to right. But what if it was something more esoteric? Perhaps you’ve always known that after dinner you should have three cookies, but somebody comes along and says no; that you should have four, not three, to whet your appetite. Are you right, or is the
other person? But even more important, is there a different way to think? While Junketsu no Maria doesn’t deal with numbers or desserts, it’s this idea of changing one’s beliefs that makes it quite the interesting anime to see.
Junketsu starts off easily enough: Maria the Virgin Witch and her servant Artemis move around medieval France, using her magic and Artemis’s promiscuity to prevent war, fighting, and violence from breaking out across the land. But as is quickly learned, not everyone finds Maria’s ways to be for the best.
The show’s genres shouldn’t be as misleading as they are; it’s true that it contains comedic material that is perverse or sexual in nature, but said material is more “seinen” in its presentation. This maturity isn’t just found in the events that take place but also in the themes that the anime seeks to tackle. For Junketsu, one of its most prominent ideas – and as was talked about in the introduction – is the notion that people think differently. That selfishly thinking that one’s own way of believing is incorrect; that “everyone else but me” must be wrong. This is cleverly done by using Maria as a lens to demonstrate something common: ignorance. In other words, she isn’t just inexperienced when it comes to sex but also “inexperienced” when it comes to understanding the hearts and minds of others. And the anime takes its time in showcasing just how different people think in comparison to Maria: Galfa thinks only about money and revenge, Ezekiel loves to learn about what humanity thinks and does, Viv believes in protecting her friends, and Joseph doesn’t know what to think. The difficult part comes when putting everyone together, because, while they may each have their own, separate ideals, everyone believes themselves to be right. This leads to the numerous conflicts that arise between every cast member included, and subsequently the events of the narrative are allowed to naturally unfold. Such progress provides the audience not only with the chance to see a diverse range of viewpoints but also gives them the opportunity to compare their own type of thinking to the people on-screen.
Part of the reason for this being as effective as it is stems from the anime’s ability to balance rather nicely the real and the unreal. The setting itself is realistic: lone villages are entirely influenced by the people that reside within them, the war skirmishes actually showcase relevant tactics of the era, and religion is rampant. Junketsu always has its individual instances find refuge in realism in order to keep the themes it presents as grounded as possible and give them an elevated sense of importance. But interlaced among the realistic aspects are those that are mostly make-believe. Maria and the other witches’ magic summons, Ezekiel descending from the heavens, the various potions, transformations, and unexplainable entities; there is just as many unrealistic happenings as there are those that make logical sense. By incorporating such imagination in this rational world, the anime not only prevents the themes from becoming too heavy-handed but also provides them the opportunity to grow. Archangel Michael or Edwina and what they represent, or even something as simple as the general populace’s fear of witches – which is itself realistic and unrealistic – wouldn’t be permitted to exist in an environment that was fully steeped in believability. Meaning, the anime is given more chances than normal to play with its ideas by not restricting itself to the confines of the realistic setting in which it establishes.
Once again due to the aforementioned balance in terms of the real and unreal, the show is able to take part in quite the variety of artistic direction. The locations are often landscaped in acquaintance with war, but even then the detail is rife. Cannons, arrows, shields, wieldable weapons, horses, tents; the show takes its time in making both the era and the setting believable. Other locations include taverns, run-down huts, church halls, jail cells, and castles, adding further to the anime’s setting. At the same time, the unreal aspects fit snuggly in with everything else: the mythical beasts, Cernunnos the ancient one, and Maria’s forest cabin are depicted as magical but “normal.”
The character designs likewise see strength, mostly because they, too, are real. The characters’ faces, bodies, and gaits are given more human-like qualities and detail than anime is used to. Galfa with his squinty eyes, blue shirt, and short hair; Joseph with his rounder eyes, auburn hair, and peddler attire; and Guillaume with his weird hat, bored posture, and more regal clothing continue with the show’s trends. And the fantastical persons are no different: Maria’s large blue eyes, blonde hair, and strange coat; Viv’s curly locks, large bust, and pink cloak; and Michael’s holy armor, angelic wings, and dazzling aura contrast well with the show’s realer facets.
And to complete the package, the actual animation is usually higher than average. The fighting contains arrow volleys, duels, and other battle-centric moments; the beasts are often larger-than-life with fluid movements of their own; and characters perform their own separate actions, whether during conversational segments or during other situations. Anne jumping for joy, Maria overreacting with embarrassment, and Martha’s regretful actions are a sampling of the shows focus on nice, overall animation.
There are actually quite a few characters within Junketsu. However, the discussion here will be on the three most important: Michael, Bernard, and Maria. Before doing so, it’s also warranted to highlight the biggest flaw that each undergoes. And that is instantaneous development. For all three, while the messages and ideas they represent are rather strong, the progression of their character happens too suddenly to be deemed meaningful. Michael’s happens near the end with his highly-convenient mind powers, Bernard has an existential crisis after conversing with Maria, and Maria herself flips from selfish to caring after hearing Joseph’s confession. It’s unfortunate, but the anime was forced into this corner in order to wrap up its thematic presence in as clean a way as possible.
Michael is an angel – or more specifically, the Archangel of heaven. As the protector of the “natural law of the land,” as he puts it, he is an entity that is entirely devoted to God and his ways. So much so that he has no qualms with killing or attacking that which disrupts said law. While he barely shows up throughout the series – maybe five times at most – he only listens to himself and God, essentially making him out to be, as Maria deems him, a tool. As a thing that has no reason or even thinking of his own. And therefore, in an act of charity towards Maria and his own person, near the end of the show, he finally does something he never did before: listen. He doesn’t just act based on predefined rules; instead, he actually thinks for himself by first reaching out to the people who came into contact with Maria. While it literally took every witch, magical creature, and even a servant of his own to oppose him for him to ultimately realize the error of his ways, Michael correcting his mindset proves that even “God himself” can think incorrectly.
Brother Bernard is a man of the cloth, and therefore sits in the middle of God and man. While he follows the teachings of the church, his actions are there to benefit the masses. And that’s what is shown; thinking that Maria and the other witches to be vile blemishes on humanity, the movements he takes are done to eliminate them. His interpretation of God’s decree leads him down this path. In a certain sense, he is like Michael: a man who serves not only God but also acts as a tool for him. For the beliefs he holds aren’t entirely his own; they are learned, received, and derived from the holy books he reads. And like Michael once more, when he converses with Maria, he comes to a startling realization: that the way he thinks is wrong. He more or less denounces his ways, instead campaigning human reasoning and individual thinking. Or as he puts it, “…humans can move the world by themselves.”
Most interesting of all, though, is Bernard’s death. It’s symbolic thrice, from low to high level interpretations. The low-level idea is that he was killed simply because he attempted to hurt Michael. Given Michael’s reliance on violence up to this point, disintegrating the monk for crossing him isn’t completely out of the question. The middle-level interpretation is that God and the heaven’s must exist. His trying and failing to attack Michael not only leads to his demise but also leaves us, the audience, with the notion that there is some higher power that reigns supreme. However, the high-level interpretation is perhaps the most profound: there exist wrong types of thinking. Bernard states that “humans live only on human words alone” and that Michael’s existence – and subsequently the “words of God” – should not be possible. But the evidence is right in front of his eyes, so him refusing to think his way is flawed is wrong in and of itself. This is something that the anime has constantly shown us. Not just with Bernard here, but with Michael, Maria, Ezekiel, and countless other people. That is, sometimes, we do think incorrectly.
Last but not least, and serving no one but herself, is Maria. That is not an understatement; she flat out believes that her way of thinking is the correct path not just for her but for everyone. She’s half-right: while she saves many people through her abilities and medicines, she also hurts others or prevents them from finding their own happiness. Because people don’t necessarily think the same way as her, and her unending selfish behavior proves that she doesn’t understand this. But Joseph’s thinking, the love he has for her and the actions he takes for her, open her eyes, giving her the epiphany that people act and think differently. Her greatest contribution though is that, despite learning this, she remains staunch in her convictions. In other words, while she now understands that everyone thinks in their own way, that doesn’t mean she has to stop thinking in her own way, too. Because she is just like everybody else; right or wrong, she is allowed to believe and think for herself.
The opening theme for Junketsu is pretty fast, almost uncharacteristically so. The vocals do a lot of the work throughout the piece, but the mysterious instruments and off-beat tone work well towards making it sound as magical as the events that take place around Maria. The ending theme slows everything down, and once again the vocalist takes center stage. It’s an alright piece that gains some power by the halfway point that reflects Maria’s own peaceful and courageous way of thinking.
The soundtrack is an okay offering, with more mood setting pieces than tracks that are worth remembering or listening to. “Ichiba wo Aruku” provides a forestry-vibe that fits well with the locations visited. “Kyoui” is highly instrumental, frantic in its tone to match the often hectic happenings that occur. And “Kuchi Genka” is playful in its presentation to provide us with some fun music to match the comedy.
The voice acting done throughout the series is somewhere slightly above average. A special shout-out goes to Hisako Kanemoto as Maria for her womanly and often reactionary way of speaking.
The scene that everyone remembers from the anime is the one that was the most unsettling: the rape involving Maria and Galfa. Now, while I would still consider it rape due to the motivations behind it all, the abuse, and the extent to which everything was done, the anime recounted endlessly afterwards that Maria was never raped, her virginity was still intact, or any other way to phrase it. This was undoubtedly done to ease my mind and everyone else’s. Which made me relieved to say the least; such a situation was very hard to stomach or forget for quite a while. But it was somewhat “unfair” in the direction it took, misleading everyone into thinking it went one way only to rescind and go another. This scene and a few others were quite well done – Galfa and Joseph’s duel, Bernard’s dive into insanity, and Maria’s snake-like dragon summon following the first sight of a penis, to name a few. And while I had a few laughs here and there, usually thanks to Maria’s embarrassment and the sexual nature of the jokes, it was never a show that I found myself greatly attached to.
Junketsu no Maria is an anime that not only makes you think but also wants you to think differently. While the music is lackluster and the story isn’t fully engrossing, the characters with their strong themes and the slick art and animation make this a show that does, in fact, have a mind of its own.
Story: Good, thinking theme with nice balance of that which is realistic and unrealistic
Animation: Great, nice art style, very good character designs, above average actual animation
Characters: Good, Michael, Bernard, and Maria exemplify the thinking theme once more, but instantaneous development hampers them all
Sound: Fine, okay OP, okay ED, okay soundtrack, slightly above average VA work
Enjoyment: Fine, some nicely done scenes, some laughs, but nothing too engaging
I watched this about a week ago when i should have reviewed it then but im gonna review it now since i remember the key things. Im not very good with keeping promises about spoilers so bare with me. Im going to be reviewing Junketsu no Maria also called Maria the virgin witch
Story- The synopsis is already available for it but im giving a run down basically the main character Maria is the most powerful witch she hates any kind of conflict and her powers go away when she loses her virginity aka the name of the anime.
To tell you i was interested in the
story because fighting clearly wasn't gonna be the bread and butter of this particular anime and i must say the story was quite good during early France times so it was heavily religion based, The story will basically give you three things, many people are sheep and many people are blinded by others and those who choose to go against the cards that they are dealt are the ones you should focus on. Kind of a controversial story if ya see it that way but that is how the story was and i enjoyed majority of it.
Art- I liked it different from most of the anime i watch so it was refreshing but then again the art style isn't all that great its good however clothing designs are on point the art was done quite well at least in my opinion you might like it too.
Sound- The ost didnt really stick out to me but it did fit the historical time and wasnt anything out of something you'd expect from the era, I loved the opening really upbeat the video behind it was also cool but as far as the sound goes through the fighting scenes and voice actors everything seemed to be insync id say it was good not great though.
Character- You get Maria who is a great person although looked down on by everyone except for a select few people, A cute little girl who is grateful to maria for what she does to help her family, A succubs, The male MC who is a full pledged wimp but wants to protect Maria so he has to get stronger, the witches werent heavily involved in everything but had their parts but as characters you shouldn't expect much aside from one of them. All in all good amount of characters and many decent ones.
Enjoyment- a solid 7 i enjoyed it but i was not clamoring to really put all my time into it although i did by the end because i wanted to see how it ended and it was good. I'm not really a fan of the religion irl or in anime but i understand its place and it fit quite well to the era and the setting of the anime so i cannot hate that.
Overall- 8/10 id personally say it is quite good little hints of comedy alot it has the historical factor down pact and quite a bit of dramatic instances throughout the episodes its worth the watch and don't let the title mess you up i was expected something completely different but i wasn't disappointed when i got around to watching it.
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I went into this anime expecting some mindless trash (I was in the mood for mindless trash, to be perfectly honest), but what I found instead was a surprisingly heartfelt gem. There are pervy moments to be sure, with Maria's incubus and succubus familiars providing some raunchy laughs, but this solidly takes backseat to a character-driven medieval drama with some complex questions about religion and love. Go figure.
I powered through this show in a day, and wound up rooting for all of the characters despite their starkly clashing objectives (with some heartbreaking consequences for me, let me tell you). Maria's straightforward and
earnest goodness makes for a lovable main character, as well as an excellent foil for the moral ambiguity taking place all around her. Despite only having 12 episodes, the show uses its time wisely and produces a satisfying emotional buildup between its web of characters, throwing them all forward into personal growth and conclusion against a backdrop of wartime violence. It is not as politics or battle heavy as a show such as Arslan Senki, but the medieval setting feels genuine and the plot natural, if character-driven. I'm not kidding when I say it actually gets philosophical at points. No really!
The art is not particularly original but certainly well-done. Overall, it is simply a show that feels like it got all the love and attention it could have hoped for, and then some.
A warning for viewers however: There are themes of sexual assault throughout the series in varying intensity. I would not recommend the series if you're particularly sensitive to these topics.
Set during the 100 years war, this show follows a young witch called Maria, who is determined to put a stop to the fighting and bring peace to the land. The catch? Should she lose her virginity, she will also lose her magical powers.
No prior knowledge of the 100 years war is needed to watch this show. Maybe this is for the best, as I suspect that this show is not at all historically accurate, given the attire of the witches and their familiars. I know that this is nit-picky, but no woman during that time period would dress in what amounts to little
more than a bathing suit. That, combined with the complete and utter lack of response of the male characters to said attire was immersion-breaking. Also immersion-breaking was the show’s iffy theology. It is not in keeping with Christian doctrine to argue that God is incapable of love and that He acts as a detached, passive onlooker to our world. So to use these arguments to set St. Michael and, therefore, God up as the main antagonists was an unusual choice. But if you’re able to overlook this and view this show with a more secular mind-set then perhaps you’d find more enjoyment in it than I did. Nevertheless, this show does allude to some interesting themes, e.g., gender politics, “purity” as a woman’s worth, and the nature of good and evil. Regrettably, these were not explored in much depth. Also unfortunate was that this show’s bawdy sense of humour often deflected attention away from these themes.
This show’s art was pleasing enough and its music was passable – if a tad unmemorable!
Personally, I felt that the characters were one-dimensional. Each character seemed to have one sole defining trait, e.g., Galfa desires glory and power, Joseph likes Maria, Maria doesn’t like conflict. These traits were a tad bland and, as a result, none of the characters especially stood out to me. That the characters lack depth may explain the show’s inability to explore its juicer themes in much depth. How could these characters explore, for example, the nature of good and evil when their chief concerns were simply capturing the affections of another character or climbing the slippery pole of success?
Maria the Virgin Witch is probably best enjoyed as mindless fun. Begin to dwell more deeply on it and it is easy to find historical and theological inaccuracies that can detract from one’s enjoyment. This is a shame, as I believe this show begins to touch upon some interesting themes, themes that may go unnoticed if passively consuming the show.
Maria the Virgin Witch is a competently handled, historically astute and thematically rich anime that stands among the best titles to have aired in 2015.
The story of Maria, which starts when she begins her valiant crusade to end all war between France and England, is a relatively fast paced story that isn’t bogged down by unimaginative exposition or flashbacks, instead respecting the audience’s intelligence enough to allow them to determine character motivations and attitudes through engrossing dialogue. In the earlier parts of the story, which are devoted heavily to establishing the world and characters, the story may seem slightly meandering, with conversations about intentions and
underlying desires seemingly unrelated to the overarching story laying down the foundation for later character conflict. However, once the half-way point of the series is reached, several parties, each with their own individual aims and justifications, are locked in an intense cycle of both trying to understand each other, and bring each other down. The Catholic Church, military, townspeople, witches and Maria are all left with the decision of who to side with and for what reason. This leads to some very heart-wrenching and thought-provoking moments, while not presenting any side as inherently “correct” or “incorrect”. On top of this, it resolves most loose ends without resorting to a Deus ex Machina resulting in the absolute triumph of good over evil, and delivering one of the most emotionally satisfying and complete endings I have seen in an anime thus far. On the whole, Maria the Virgin Witch carries a fast paced story along with the gravitas and pacing needed to make it consistently engaging, particularly in the second half.
The diverse and colourful character cast of Maria the Virgin Witch, however, is what truly allows this series to sparkle. Maria herself is a head-strong, naïve young witch who seeks out peace for reasons that are revealed over the course of the story. As far as lead female characters go, she is a sympathetic character that the audience can still see the flaws in while routing for her to overcome them. Over the course of the story, she gradually comes to see the consequences of her actions through her interactions with other members of the story. Of course, for this to occur, a strong supporting cast is needed, and thankfully, in this anime, they are plentiful. Ezekiel, the overseer of Maria sent by the angel Gabriel, develops organically and consistently through her time spent with Maria and across the country, as she sees the horrors of war and begins the question her own outlook on the situation. Her growth is nearly as satisfying as Maria’s, and has an equally perfect ending. Maria’s familiars, Artemis and Priapos, also have well-define characteristics, more in the case of the latter than the former, and Maria’s shy, yet good-intentioned lover Joseph is also faced with important decisions with great ramifications on the plot.
Viv, the sharp-tongued and ever entertaining and outspoken member of the Witch Society, Bernard, the sociopathic and manipulative overseer of the Church, and the Archangel Michael all influence the world of Maria the Virgin Witch, embody the spirit of their respective organisations and disagree with Maria for different reasons. The most likeable Viv serves as great foil for Maria, having a similar caring attitude, though with experience-based temperament that leads her to make more responsible decisions. The gradual unveiling of Bernard’s character is fascinating to watch, as it is revealed through his interactions with the other members of the cast rather than dry, unimaginative internal monologues. Michael is nearly completely steadfast in his beliefs, though he serves as a great final boss figure. Not even taking into account Galfa, another well-developed and sympathetic character, this anime is full of well-utilised, well-written characters who reflects many ideals and historical concepts in a way that is rarely seen in modern Japanese anime.
The tone of Maria the Virgin Witch is very deliberate, alternating between culturally appropriate raunchy humour, most of which is dealt with in a way that juxtaposes Maria with Artemis or Viv, and a heavy war drama. Though, on paper, these two elements seem like they would conflict horrifically, causing both aspects to fail, the anime manages to have sufficient build-up to war scenes, and cool-down from them, that such scenes never feel out of place. The risqué dialogue is most prominent in the former part of the series, establishing Maria’s purity in contrast to the rest of her country (particularly mercenaries like Galfa), though it’s far away when it isn’t needed, ensuring that the series is serious when needed, but without casting a blanket of morbidity over the entire 12 episode run. However, it is plausible that some may be offended by the presence of ecchi elements in this series, regardless of how well they are implemented. Some of the subject matters dealt with in Maria the Virgin Witch are quite loaded, such as rape, murder and the actions of the church. However, they are all addressed with maturity and in a way that feels organic to the story. Rape isn’t made into a joke for the amusement of the audience, murder and grievous injuries are treated both as natural outcomes and tragedies in their own right and the actions of the church are addressed in such as to question the interpretation of the bible, rather than the actual teachings of it. Maria the Virgin Witch is a story with minimal pretension that doesn’t make the mistake of biting off more than it can chew.
Another area worthy of praise for this series is its art direction and colour choices. From Production I.G., this anime unfortunately does not boast very high production quality by their standards, paling in comparison to the likes of Guilty Crown and Psycho Pass. However, the fairly simple and colourful lighting of this series does serve as an excellent contrast to the series’ dark tone, particularly in the final section of the story, and each character has a unique and memorable design that reflects their characteristics very well, from Edwina’s safe, down-played dress to Maria’s skimpier in design, but purer in colour scheme outfit. The armour, fighting styles and weapons employed by the soldiers are extremely historically accurate, serving to further juxtapose their mortality against the likes of the absolute angels of the more abstract, removed-from-history witches. Additionally, the few action scenes in this series carry a sense of weigh and power to them, something that many higher-budget anime series cannot successfully pull off. From the genuine armour and weapon designs, and believable character movements and strong sound design, when a sword strikes a shield or body the impact is palatable, and this is consistent throughout the whole anime with little dip in quality.
On the topic of sound, this doesn’t quite match up to the other aspects of Maria the Virgin Witch. The energetic and optimistic opening is catchy and upbeat, showcasing most of the major characters and themes via visual metaphors, though it doesn’t quite manage to capture the entire essence of the series. The ending song provides valuable insight into the past of Maria, though it also isn’t the most memorable song, only warranting two or three viewings. The soundtrack on the whole is appropriate, utilising soft instruments in character changing moments instead of splurging them on epic battles and overall adding a sense of richness to the scenes with instruments that fit within the context. However, few of the tracks manage to stand well on their own, requiring the context of the scenes to really stand out. The voice acting is solid in both languages, as Maria the Virgin Witch was one of several anime in the 2015 winter season to get a simulcast dub. Alexis Tipton takes a couple of episodes to gel with the character of Maria, though by episode 3 I found it difficult to imagine anyone else voicing her. Joseph in English does sound a bit off at times, though stands out when he needs to. The star of the dub, however, is the widely acclaimed Colleen Clinkenbeard in her unrecognisable performance as Viv. Not only does she give Viv a suitably jolly accent that meshes well with her simple, yet well-defined nature, but she also gives her a genuine presence that is extremely difficult to pull off in a character with comparatively little screen time. The Japanese is good too, with most voice actors fitting their characters at an earlier stage than the English counterpart. The Japanese track also boasts some memorable performances, with Artemis sounding more elusive and potent as the sexually active succubus and Priapus lacking that nasally quality that made his English voice actor seem off at times. With that being said, though, being set in the France-England 100 year war and featuring voice actors who mature into their characters as the characters themselves mature, I’d have to give a slight edge to the dub.
On the whole, Maria the Virgin Witch is a well-written, well-directed and well-acted adaptation that succeeds as a coming of age story, sporting a wide range of well-developed characters and thought-provoking themes that didn’t get the attention it deserved in the 2015 winter season.
"This was back in the days when the battle against England was still ongoing. There was a witch living on the village who hated wars. That witch would not curse people nor do evil deeds...but instead use her powers to put a stop to the fighting. Her name was Maria. She held the same name as the Blessed Virgin... and was herself a virgin, too."
An outstanding anime which can be compared to the old but never getting old classics, Junketsu no Maria is an anime that has great expectations yet it makes use of it's own medium for good. The combination of historical, ecchi, comedy,
and fantasy is often used during the 90s, but what will we get these days? Definitely something better!
Virginity is a sacred or a word that must be used with caution, especially for the church. Junketsu no Maria or Maria the Virgin Witch is very honest to itself, it knows where it stands and does a great job in using it's limited resources for the best package it can offer. Set in Medieval times, the story is about Maria, a witch living in the forest who hates wars(wars were held at that era for gold), and her adventures in stopping and interfering in wars using her own magic. The story can be quite misleading though, for her magic will vanish if her virginity is lost. Why? Because this is her punishment for stopping wars and to maintain balance in the world without the use of magic and something like the "natural law" of the world.
The art is standard, nothing bad about it and it's quality just above average and at time it can be so-so. But I'll say it's quite good because s really sets the visuals to become old but still has the good quality and sets the mood like what we see on old times. Character designs were simple yet kinda weird, backgrounds were pretty because of the little details and the right use of magical effects are good. I won't say the art is bad, but it gets the job done right.
Character section is the most important part in this anime, for these are the elements that carry and support this show. We have the main character Maria, and she has the right characteristics to become a great lead. She's cute, entertaining, and I think she's a rare kind of girl. We can't see a main character like that these days. Supporting characters such as Artemis, Priapus, Ezekiel, Viv, Galfa, Lord Michael, Le Comte, Joseph, and other side characters are also important for plot progression as they are related to Maria. Their actions are justified by their motivations and this has no melodrama for dramatic scenes, characters have heart and real personalities. I don't think any of them are annoying, but they still have flaws, which, can be remedied by sufficient amounts of character developments(which, the anime has already applied). Speaking of, character development in this anime is slow and unnoticable, but in the end we will realized how much they changed.
The opening "Philosophy of Dear World" by ZAQ is just an average upbeat song, and it emphasizes the Magical and Fantasy genres of the anime. The ending song "Ailes" by TRUE is just calm and sweet, it portrays the medieval theme of the show. I must give a high recognition for the voice actress of Maria, her voice fits well with Maria's personality and her expressions are really topnotch. Sound effects are decent and they have various sets of soundtracks being played. One thing I also noticed is that even the slightest little sound is detailed, which can give more life to the scene and give impact to the viewers.
These kinds of shows are not appealing at first, but it's really enjoyable and have it's own merits to stand on its own and has a lot of potential to become a more promising tragedy-fantasy series. It's unsatisfying though, because the series is really short but it can have more episodes to flesh out the characters more with its current state. I won't say it's rushed, more of it has just the right pacing. Totally underrated in my opinion, this series is a total delicious treat for plot-driven stories lovers.
A LITTLE WARNING : The plot may lead people to become atheists and may change their views on the church because of blasphemous scenes and dialogues. Sex jokes and explicit scenes are also present(although very little), but become an open-minded person and see the moral lesson inside its core.
Story - 8
Art - 8
Sound - 8
Character - 9
Enjoyment - 10
Overall - 9
1-9 were great, 10, 11, 12 totally ruined them.
It discuss some moral topics between a girl trires to do the right thing and the world's reacts of it.
But somehow it come to a end of conventional "love solves anything" .
I'd say it's the episodes screenwriters to blame. You can even judge by the episode title, 10,11,12 is all about love while the rest is about Faith, war, Death.
I'd give episode 1-9 9/10 and the rest 3/10.
So I just got around to finishing “Junektsu no Maria” Or “Maria the virgin witch” which aired this winter season 2015. And I really have nothing to complain about. It was just good, not too much else to say~ Unfortunately its English name sounds like a weird porno so most people wont take it seriously but its very rare that you have an anime in a medieval setting, that is not an action show.
If you like history you will enjoy the alternate history setting (France at war with England). If you like mythology you will love all the references to Greek/roman,
pagan, and other mythology. If you like the church, or better yet, if you like to bash the church you will get plenty of that in this show too!
The ending felt like the end to a movie. It wrapped everything up nicely. The story fully ended and was contented to do so, so rare in an industry so obsessed with sequel baiting.
Now NOT EVERYONE will ENJOY this BUT IF YOU LIKE religion, history, mythology and philosophy I think you will have a good time with this 12 episode show. Plus its extremely underrated so you can feel like a hipster. I give it a 9/10, it was no masterpiece thats for sure, but it was just plain good and got me thinking.
Who would have thought that an anime about war, rape and inquisition could be this charming?
The way this anime tries to teach us that "the church is EVUL!" is a little bland, but as far as I can judge, the portrayal of catholizism in the middle ages is pretty realistic. I mean, everybody should know what messed up things happened in the name of god back in the days, but I wish Maria would be a little more subtle about it. This includes the way Michael acts. Criticising the church is one thing, but the actual religion? But putting all that aside, this anime is
very interesting and well written. It lashes from comedic parts to dramatic ones and back again and there's always something changing by the actions of the characters. This somewhat helps to overlook the unfortunate implications.
The anime looks pretty good. I like how different all the characters look, as this is a problem many (even the good) anime have. There really isn't anything bad to say about it, though it could have been a little more flashy here and there.
Opening and ending were very generic. I would have chosen something more fitting, make it sound a little medieval. This actually goes for the music in general. The voice acting is pretty good, especially the seiyuu of Maria and Galfa do a good job.
Even taking into account that the church in general is supposed to be in the wrong here, the characters all fall somewhere between right and wrong and not all are clearly good or evil. Maria wants to stop the war, yet it is teased that this might not be for the best for everybody. Galfa does everything for money, but he pretty much has no other choice. And Joseph is torn between his belief, his love for Maria and his loyalty to Guillaume, same case for Ezekiel. This makes them feel more realistic, even the clearly evil and insane Bernard has his reasons.
Despite all the nice things I said, it did not feel as great as it may sound up to this point. This anime doesn't do much wrong, but it also doesn't give the vibe of being something special. I think it is too ambitious in its portrayal of the catholic church, so that the story suffers from it. But as I said, it doesn't really do much wrong, so you won't make a mistake watching these 12 episodes. But don't expect a masterpiece, for it is not.
Before I cover this review, I have to admit I'm somewhat amused about the timing of watching this series considering its themes would be a touchy subject for more religious viewers in spite of the fact I completed it over Christmas weekend of all times. Getting that ironic moment out of the way, let us get to the focus of this review on Maria the Virgin Witch, a fantasy comedy-drama focused on witch Maria defying the forces of heaven to halt ongoing battles waging in the Hundred Years' War escalating between England and France.
First impressions of the series can be a bit misleading. At first
sight, this can seem like yet another perverse anime comedy with the sexual humor that comes at play about Maria's virginity, the lack of genitalia from one of the familiars, and the scanty attire that she and her familiars don. However if you are able to watch through the first few episodes of the series, you will come to realize that this series has some deeper storytelling it unveils that involves some coming-of-age tribulations with Maria coming to learn more about the ways of the world and other themes such as religious hypocrisy, human morality, and existentialism coming to light.
Let us first explore the coming-of-age developments that come from our lead character, Maria. She is portrayed as a powerful witch with an idealist bent who intervenes in the battles that take place between England and France through use of her magic, and she is mistrusting of God and the church's influence on human society. While her moralistic beliefs are admirable, she is naive to the real world consequences that her actions can cause as two of the battles that she halts lead to other areas of suffering to take place for the French populace during the series and she finds herself having to confront the flaws of her beliefs in later episodes of the series. Also sex jokes aside, Maria also finds herself conflicted over whether or not she wishes to give into her own personal happiness as she is romantically interested in a young man named Joseph, yet can lose her magic if she consummates the relationship due to heavenly punishment cast onto her from her frequent intervention in human battles.
Besides Maria's developments, the influence of religion and personal beliefs have a hand in affecting the developments of several other notable characters throughout the series. Like in real-life during medieval times, the Roman Catholic Church has a large influence on the beliefs of the common populace in the world of Maria the Virgin Witch and this power is abused by those in influential positions to exert control and dominance over others. In addition, those among the forces of heaven adopt a strict belief in non-intervention over the affairs of humans as part of the natural order of existence in spite of humanity's regular suffering and oppose Maria's intervention in human wars due to violating the order they have adopted. Characters like Joseph and Ezekiel find themselves coming to realize the flaws of both these belief systems as they try to comprehend them and come to their own conclusions over what they desire to believe in, despite the flaws being a regular part of living within their world.
Outside of its themes and story development, another thing that prominently sticks out with Maria the Virgin Witch is its surprising accuracy in depicting medieval era France. Outside of the use of magic and the attire of the witches, the series is very accurate in depicting the politics, style of dress, weapons, armor, buildings, and ways of life that were commonplace for the people of the era. Things such as the beginnings of gunpowder-fueled cannons, witch hunts, the aftermath of the plague, and the caste system were faithfully portrayed for the era in which Maria is set in.
In spite of seeming like another perverted anime comedy, Maria the Virgin Witch actually offers up some engaging plot developments and themes focused around Maria confronting the flaws of her beliefs, characters confronting the flaws of their world, and a surprisingly accurate depiction of life in medieval-era France. This is a definite recommendation if you are a fan of medieval fantasy anime titles, with a smidge of perverted comedy tossed into the mix.