In search of true love, Kanako Miyamae transfers to Ame no Kisaki Catholic school, inspired by how her parents fell in love with each other there. There is just one difference, though: because men make Kanako break into hives, she has actually come to the all-girls school to find a partner of the same sex.
When she meets the beautiful Mariya Shidou, Kanako believes she has found that special someone; however, there's more to Mariya than meets the eye—it turns out that Kanako's first love is actually a cross-dressing boy. Mariya threatens to expose Kanako's impure intentions unless she keeps his real gender a secret, and to make things worse, he also replaces her original roommate so that he can now keep a close eye on her.
Maria†Holic follows Kanako as she looks for love in all the wrong places and searches for the girl of her dreams—that is, if she can survive being Mariya's roommate!
*A great entertaining product by SHAFT backed with hilarious out-of-the-blue jokes.*
"I-I don't even understand the letter C in Catholic!" - Miyamae Kanako
If I was asked to describe Maria + Holic in one word, I believe “wordy” will suit this show perfectly. The amount of monologues in the show is tremendous! Plus the “rail gunning” of words shooting back and forth between the characters simply makes the anime difficult to follow without pauses in between (assuming you need to read the subtitles). And the occasional weird reference to various things also contributes to the complexity of the show for an average viewer. These issues may turn
some potential viewers away, but if you can get accustom to these minor issues, Maria + Holic is actually a rather unique experience.
The anime itself should be praised for following the manga closely. The entire series covers pretty much the first three volumes of the manga (out of a total of four serialized volumes so far). While certain episodes may seem like fillers, especially if they are not designed to advance the story in any way, these filler-like episodes actually are indeed part of the manga. It should be no surprise that these episodes still manage to be highly entertaining albeit a bit random in most cases.
As a SHAFT product, those who are familiar with the studio should know what to expect. But if you don’t have a clue, here is a general description. Maria + Holic have high quality animation with good looking characters. Background scenes tend to be overly simplistic to contrast with the detailed characters. What this mean is that while the character usually look professionally drawn, the background often seem like the work of an elementary kid. This may be strange for some viewers, but surprisingly the result is quite pleasant to watch.
The OP will most certainly take some time to get used to. It is so … unique. On the other hand, the ED makes use of voice changers and the effect turns out quite enjoyable. Frankly, the BGM in Maria + Holic are nothing unique like the OP or ED making them less memorable after the show is done. However, to counterbalance the “average” BGM, we have a few astonishingly stupendous seiyu that can make us forget the pain of the lack of good BGM. Out of the few bright stars in the anime, Yuu Kobayashi is particularly outstanding. In part due to her singing the OP, also her ability to change between two highly different male and female voices make her one of the biggest asset to the show.
We normally see the male protagonist having perverted thoughts on various female characters in an anime. Maria + Holic is no different except that the protagonist is a girl. And her lust for other girls is stronger than 99.9% of her male counterparts. Here is another good lesson to learn. Never judge anybody by physical appearance alone. Kanako may look like a regular big chest girl in your eyes, but deep down inside she is quite a frightful lady … in a perverted way. It should come as no surprise that she also an openly declared lesbian with a tendency to execute a nosebleed faster than you can say the word nosebleed. The cause of her nosebleed is often due to her encounter with an ecchi scene. In fact, she spurts so much blood that it became a regular routine for the viewers to see her in the school infirmary.
Next we have a very cute looking babe plus an equally sexy voice. She has a good body proportion, excellent grade at school, and is loved by all her classmates. But she is a guy. Yup, you read that correctly. This hot babe is a guy proven and tested, through some grabbing, by our perverted female lead. Maria + Holic is full of interesting characters that will surely put a big happy smile on your face. It is unfortunate that the story has an open ending (since the manga is no where near done either), so fans will just have to be patient for the time being until someday a continuation to the series is announced.
Maria Holic is a series which starts out with unexpectedly great promise and expectations only to fall on its face and drown itself in a pool of its own blood (literally).
I can’t say that the initial premise of this show intrigued me at all. Cross-dressing sadists... again? Honestly I just don’t understand the fascination Japan has with boys dressing up and pretending to be girls, and being creepily good at it too. Yet when this show was airing, it had some unexpectantly good word of mouth and early reviews so I thought I would give it a chance. Our protagonist is
Kanako, a transfer student to an all-girls Catholic school that her mother went to and met her father. That should’ve have been a warning sign right off the bat but I was distracted by beautiful character designs and lovely artwork. Kanako is "allergic" to men; she breaks out into hives when coming into physical contact with one, so using her logic going to an all-girls school to meet her destined lesbian lover seems like the right plan. On the very first day though she accidently discovers the school idol, Mariya, is actually a man and he immediately begins tormenting her so she will not reveal his secret.
The comedic possibilities are there for an amusing series. However though I was initially impressed with it after a few episodes it soon became quite apparent that the writers for Maria Holic only had about six gags. So we get to see those same gags over, and over, and over, and over, and over. Get the point? The humor becomes repetitive and quickly boring. While the humor is definitely on the dark side it’s just not funny. Unless you think transsexuals, lesbians, and rape threats are uproariously hilarious that is. The story... um what story? That’s right it goes nowhere! Maria Holic has a serious case of ADD as it just meanders around to its ending, or I should say its last episode, since there isn’t one.
As much as the story overall sucked, it doesn’t even compare to the steaming pile of turds that make up the characters. Maria Holic succeeds in being one of the few shows with an entirely unlikeable cast. Kanako is initially amusing and interesting but despite the horrible way she is treated not only by Mariya but almost every other character in the show, she still manages to be completely unsympathetic. Mostly because she devolves into a walking cliché and stereotype. Her lesbian delusions and resulting nosebleeds start off as being very funny but that is basically all there is to her character. She becomes more and more creepy in her perversions and bleeds enough blood to fill the bodies of everyone at school. There is no depth to her at all besides her breast measurements and she remains basically unchanged from beginning to end. If you expected to learn more about why she is allergic to men or for her to mature as a character your watching the wrong show. She doesn’t really care about anyone and fantasizes about anyone with breasts who talks to or even so much as walks near her. To real lesbians I imagine she has to be one of the most offensive characters out there.
Mariya, I suppose would be the next most important character. He/She/It is pretty much unlikeable from the start. That’s not unusual but nothing happens in terms of character growth and development to make you change your mind. He is as sick and twisted as you would expect of someone who is forced to dress up like a girl. So in a sense he is probably the most real and non clichéd character in the series. A real person in his situation is going to be probably extremely emotionally disturbed. Much like Kanako he really doesn’t care about anyone and only thinks about how to torment them or how he can torment Kanako further.
The rest of the cast is just standard uninteresting stereotypes. To top it off there are too many of them as well. A short series doesn’t need this many characters. Especially since over half the episodes are devoted to developing characters that aren’t important to the overall storyline and once we get this information the characters quickly fade into obscurity. What was the point of providing backstory on them in the first place? Most likely because the writers knew they couldn’t fill 12 episodes with nothing but lesbian jokes and nose bleeding fantasies (though they did give that a good try).
Art and animation are the strongest aspect of the series. I really did like all of the character models and the settings were stunning. It’s a shame that such talented artists and animators were wasting on such a piece of crap story. The acting is solid but again they aren’t given much to work with. I did enjoy the OP and particularly the EN theme songs and thought they were pretty cute and original.
Overall Maria Holic is one of the most disappointing titles I have seen to date. Its initial promise is buried under the weight of overused and mean unfunny gags and a storyline that fails to deliver anything of substance. I cannot recommend this series to anyone and suggest you stricken it from your list if you plan on watching it. If, like me, you were unfortunate to see this as well. My condolences.
While I was watching this anime, I couldn't help but compare it to another girls' love anime I watched once: suffice to say, it's one that it kept me away from the GL genre for a while for having too much fan service and too little plot. Well, as it turns out, Maria†Holic fits that description a lot better.
You'd think the plot would be centered around the cross-dresser Mariya and her reasons to do so. It's not. The moments in which this is developed in the plot are few and far in-between. In fact, the plot is basically non-existant: the whole series feels like
a bunch of random scenarios thrown together.
The lack of plot makes most of the cast uninteresting, since there is no development whatsoever. Some are still good, though. There is the Dorm Mistress, who's pretty funny, there is Matsurika (Mariya's maid), who reinforces Mariya's personality pretty well, and finally, there is Mariya herself. Mariya evades the delicate crossdresser stereotype completely. She is just EVIL, something you have to watch and see.
As for the main character, well, she is a pervert. By fantasizing about whichever girl(s) is(are) on her vision range, she puts famous pervs, like Brock from Pokémon, to shame. She is, of course, the excuse for a whole truckload of fan service. If you are looking for anime girls in bikinis and bras, you just found them. Unfortunately, I wasn't.
Now, see, you might notice that all I did until now was to bash the anime, and yet I gave it a 7/10. That's because there is one very important point about Maria†Holic that needs to be made. This series is NOT supposed to be taken seriously. It doesn't take itself seriously, and you shouldn't either.
So what if the scenarios is completely random? It's still pretty funny. In fact, there are so many situations that are so absurd and completely blown out of proportion, you WILL want to continue watching it even after making the "wtf am I watching" face several times. It's those kinds of things you'll only see in an anime.
Finally, I'd like to comment on the opening and ending sequences. They are awesome.
In summary, my thoughts on Maria†Holic are basically this: Take it lightly. Don't come in expecting lots of romance and depth, instead, just expect goofy humor. You'll enjoy it.
Keep in mind this is a review, not a summary! If you want a summary go to wikipedia.
Story: The story in this show is actually somewhat unique. Dealing mainly with a rather funny (closet) lesbian lead character, Kanako, who has problems with guys (she actually contracts hives if she comes in contact with them) and another lead character, Mariya, who is actually a male cross dresser but looks rather feminine. The actual plot jumps around from episode to episode but has so far remained genuinely entertaining and by episode 6, the larger plot of the show all together is revealed to you.
Art: The animation in
the show is superb, I have only found one scene in the first 6 episodes that the animation (a characters face) looked just a tiny bit awkward. Maria†Holic has a great opening and the actual show all together has a very unique style to it as well, featuring vivid colors, interesting cut-scenes and slightly unorthodox backgrounds. (I mean that in a good way)
Sound: The voice acting is great, the actors voices fit the characters and sync well. Just what one would expect from any quality anime. The music does a nice job of supporting the story throughout the show and I think it fits very well with the overall "feel" of the show.
Character: The characters are pretty interesting, the lead, Kanako, is damn funny at times while the other lead Mariya with her cruel, shameless humor keeps it interesting as well. They haven't really expanded much on any side characters as of yet, but none stand out to me to be particularly boring. (yet)
Enjoyment: I haven't enjoyed a show this much for a while. Like I said before its quite unique and with some pretty funny moments. The last episode I watched, I must have laughed out loud at least 5 times. The same could be said for the other episodes I've seen.
Overall: While its not the best show I've ever watched, it certainly was one of the funnier shows I've watched. Bottom line: If you like humor in your anime, try to sit down and watch this show, even if your uncertain about the whole lesbian and cross dresser thing, I can bet you will enjoy watching Maria†Holic. So stop reading this and go watch it! :P
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