Yumi and the Yamayuri Council have found two new helpers in Kanako and Toko. Unfortunately, their assistance comes with tension, as neither girl is particularly fond of the other and both seem likely candidates to be Yumi's petite soeur. Will either be a good fit for Yumi? As the school year marches on, the work for the Yamayuri Council piles up, and pressure begins to mount for Yumi to make her final decision.
Let's get the bad out first. The art isn't stellar, and the only episode that has stunning character animations is 12 where all of Touko's emotions are beautifully evoked. There is a muted cello-ish classical soundtrack, but it's more whimsical and repetitive.
If you're expecting major plot developments, there aren't any, this is yet another "slice of life" Yamayurikai. This season focuses on the development of Yumi as a mature and complex character, and not the goofy foil to her aloof big sister Sachiko. The usual suspcets are back, with more emphasis on the maturation of the younger sisters Yumi, Noriko and Yoshino.
Similar plot elements of
dates, subtle yuri elements, friendship, family, and whatnot are back. If you haven't watched the other three seasons, you'll be lost in the various characters and their backstories.
This show, though, essentially is about the interplay between Touko and Yumi set along the course of the school year through different pespectives. It's slow, deliberate, well-paced and doesn't misstep too much.
With that said, the show almost indulges itself in its sexual ambiguity. It constantly teases and hints at relationships, only to pull back and make the characters just friends--which is somewhat unreasonable given the feelings it seems to portray they have for one another, something that makes it seem shallow. Or, another theory, is that the characters are good at smugly downplaying what happens behind closed doors, but that's hardly plausible in this sugary world.
It also abandons several plot arcs abruptly and just writes characters out from the final few episodes, which makes you wonder why they didn't streamline it from the beginning, making it feel a bit sloppy. Also everyone being sweet and kind, and only evil for a good reason is a bit cliched and you wonder if there are no bad people in the world of Maria Sama and all can be fixed with some tea and cookies.
I've watched alot of anime in the past, and seriously... alot. I got done watching Strawberry panic, I liked it to and I found "Maria-sama ga Miteru" And I tried it out hoping that I may get lucky.. and I really did. Though seasons 1-3 were better, this one didn't disappoint. The Story could use some touch ups. Because at points during that it started telling you everything that was coming(which isn't exciting) The sound was good but sometimes it got bland or really tried to drive drama that wasn't even there or was barely there.(Which got annoying or hyped you up
for nothing) But the art I thought really captured something that most don't. It tried to bring out the character and not be really too detailed on body and anatomy. Which in both cases defined the characters and make you understand them more. So in my opinion it pushed away some of the perverted aspects that come out of usual shows like this. And tried to really bring out the emotion. Overall I give this a 9. I loved it, I hope everyone else does too. I cried too ^.^;
Maria-sama Ga Miteru was quite a ride. I enjoyed the first two seasons, though it took me a while to get used to the french terminology and the relationships between the Student Council. The second season was more enjoyable, and when I saw the third, I was absolutely hooked. After taking a pause, I decided to rewatch all of it and finish off the last season.
Marimite has a wonderful setting, an all-girls Catholic school. The school obviously fosters graceful behavior, moral qualities and faith in its students, and it was very refreshing to see anime show Catholicism in a more realistic light, after all those
vampire-killing Vatican priests you often see in action shows. Granted, I'm fairly certain there's nothing like the Souer system in actual catholic schools, but it's a great concept consistent with the premise.
Two girls who become sisters are something more than friends, yet not lovers. There is no romance or sexual attraction here, but very deep friendships. There is one character who is a straight-up lesbian, however (Sei), and she is definitely one that sticks out from the cast, and has several episodes devoted to her. Still, the relationship shown does not end up in happiness and explores a part of her character.
In general, most of the Student Council members get focused on individually, and their personality and relationship with their Sisters is a common subject through the show. Yumi and Sachiko are often portrayed as an ideal couple, and settle their quarrels fairly quickly, but I liked that Sachiko is a very flawed character. Her temper and personality often reveal an ugly side, but she is nevertheless a good person who tries her best to deal with people, and finds much support in Yumi.
The animation varies through the seasons. Watching the first season again really reveals the budget constraints here, and it can get very bad. Still, it didn't inflict my enjoyment of the show. As it goes on, the animation gets steadily better and reaches its peak in the third OVA season, which is really beautiful and has a distinctive art style. Season 4 is really good on this department too.
The music is very memorable and mostly consists of classical pieces that fit the mood of the show perfectly. I recommend listening to the soundtrack.
I'll give the whole show a rating of 8/10. It has its downs, but the emotional impact it had on me was very powerful and easily overshadows some gripes I have with the shows, such as occasionally cringe-inducing dialogue and huge dramas over trivial matters.
This is my most favorite season out of all and the reasons behind it are:
1. We still have Sachiko/Yumi moments in it but in lesser quantity. Yumi stops being a Sachiko obessed one and she finally starts to notice other things, not only Sachiko. Not that she never cared about her friends before, but she still was thinking only about Sachiko. Now she starts to notice others what means she won't break down once Sachiko graduates.
2. Yumi finally grows as a character. She still is the same cheerful and kind one with silly expressions but despite all that she had finally matured and reached the
level of being able to take Sachiko's place once she graduates.
3. We have much more depth about Touko and considering that she is my favorite character, it was a plus. In second season a lot of people believed that she was a "bitch" but if you had payed attention to season 3, it is clear that she isn't one. And this season shows who exactly is she and why she acts the way she does.
4. It doesn't have that much side stories about other characters as before but we still are able to meet with previouse Roses and we also get Yoshino to slowly develop. She still loves Rei but at the same time had slowly started to let in another person who might become her new souer. And we also see some other minor characters to develop or show their real colours.
5. Some of the things might seem rushed but considering that we have only 13 episodes, I think they can be over looked.
To people who had thought that season 1 was boring, I must say that in comparison to other shows, this series gets better with each season so I do recommend you to continue watching or at least give a try to season 3 and 4.