An incredibly rich and fascinating world that is full of wonders and enchanting beauties—a world in which men are watched over by the mechanical goddess Marie who at times appears on the sky. Marie's music brings people happiness and harmony. Their life is free from advanced technology and the longing for progress. The story centers around Kai, a young man who develops a deep affection for Marie. His quest for enlightenment leads him inside Marie's mechanical body where he learns the unbelievable truth about her and his own world.
First of all, I usually don't write reviews for this website. I review anime and manga when I have time on my personal blog, but I tend to stray away from MAL reviews, simply because I've seen so many outstanding reviews on here that I feel like whatever I write will be utter crap.
But when I finished The Music of Marie, or Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku, I felt like I just had to at least say something about this remarkable manga.
The Music of Marie is one of the most underrated manga I've ever had the pleasure of reading, underrated in the sense that almost no
one knows about it. It's definitely an undiscovered gem, and I personally feel like that's one of the best things about it. The author is clearly trying to tell a beautiful story, instead of pulling some deep philosophical stuff out of nowhere in order to make some money.
So, without further ado, the actual review. (For the sake of fluidity and time, I'll be using "Marie" to refer to the manga itself. If I'm referencing the character Marie, I'll do it without quotes.)
The story of "Marie" is deceptively simple, yet amazing. Basically, the character Marie is a mechanical goddess that watches over a peaceful, post-apocalyptic world. The plot revolves around two teenagers, Kai and Pipi, as they go through a series of events that ultimately makes them question their world, and perhaps their entire existence. Nothing is what it seems in this manga; everything is full of mystery and wonder, which is what makes the story so captivating. "Marie" is definitely one of the more different stories I've come across, and the ending is absolutely shocked me to the core.
Now, why did I give it a 9, you ask?
Well, it's more of a 9.5, or even a 9.8. The only reason why it's not a full ten is because I felt like the author could have expanded on Kai and Pipi's relationship. Even after the story was finished, I still couldn't understand exactly why Pipi was so in love with Kai in the first place. Maybe I missed something...but anyways, for just two volumes, the story and concept was fantastic.
The art in "Marie" is absolutely gorgeous. I've honestly never seen any manga drawn with such attention to detail. All of the scenery and technology in this manga are drawn so imaginatively and beautifully. I'm not much of an artist myself, so there's little more I can say for this aspect of the review. But basically, the art in this manga is breathtaking.
To be honest, the characters in this manga by themselves aren't that unique or memorable, though I suppose Pipi is a bit of an exception towards the end. But overall, it's more of the roles the characters play in the whole of the series rather than their individual qualities that makes them shine.
I finished this series in one day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. "Marie" has now been added to my favorites, where it will most likely stay for a VERY long time. Never before have I read a manga that combines philosophical ideas with fantasy so well. Although this series reminded me of Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica in some ways, I don't even think that could possibly compare to the level "Marie" is on. I'm not religious at all, but I could even relate to the religious overtones found in "Marie". Basically, everyone should read this.
*** I somehow managed to find scans of all 16 chapters (including the prologue, which many sites don't include for some reason.) so if anyone is interested in reading this I can message you the link. They do tend to be a little hard to find.
I recommend The Music of Marie to every one and anyone, regardless of what genre you usually enjoy. Even if you don't like manga, you will like "Marie".
I disagree with most of the fans of this.
Is it good?
Is it underrated?
Do I like it?
The art style felt way too shoujo which distracted me from what could have been very good looking artwork
The story took too long to go anywhere, half of the entire thing and even then it wasnt satisfying considering I had to slough through half slice of nothing happening.
characters were bland and got better but again a bit too late.
There is an astounding level of imagination on display in this tale of unrequited love of more ways than one.
The concept is kooky and mysterious as hell, and it’s all complimented by an aspect lacking in the majority of manga: world-building. Sure characters should be the main priority in a story, but the world they inhabit should also be developed and at the very least drawn with some level of detail, to further pull the reader into a story. Most authors either are not bothered, not capable or don’t have the time to fill out their backgrounds, either in art or story
content. Some authors, thankfully do put in effort to create an entire backdrop for their stories, Usamaru Furuya being one of them.
Marie's idyllic world is detailed, unique, and fully showcased with big panels or whole pages, sometimes with excellent plot-reveals that make you pause to take it all in, visually and narratively.
The story opens with two childhood friends, Kai and Pipi, making a trip an hour away from where they live. A good excuse for Furuya to give us a tour of the island, leading us to the first amazing reveal of the manga. It wouldn’t be much of a spoiler to mention that we see Marie for the first time. As for what this bizarre contraption is, well that would be a spoiler and you'll have to read this great manga to find out.
The backdrop of this story is a utopia populated by inventers and creative minds, all flourishing together without any conflict at all. The island that we concentrate on anyway, other islands in this world have other specialities, and all of them trade with each other peacefully, sharing their wares. It’s all so idealistic it might bring a tear to your eye.
The driving force of the story is based around the mythology of the world, the design and purpose of everything, the economic system, the religion. Especially religion. Marie's presence is dominating, floating around in the sky like a strange angel; its purpose and its effect on Kai are very interesting indeed. Hovering between idol-worship, obsession, and lust, you have to applaud Furuya's imagination on display here, for using simple templates of destiny and perhaps Plato's cave but dressing it all up in his own quirks.
There are no major conflicts of good versus evil, but there is definitely something vaguely not right hovering around the edges of the tale. It’s this subtle tension that makes the story so addictive, as all good mysteries should strive for. A story without any conflict at all is worthless however, but the form it takes in this one is via Pipi’s love for Kai going unnoticed by the guy who’s more preoccupied with Marie in the sky with melodies. The characters themselves aren’t going imbed themselves in your mind, but their plotlines are good enough to drive the narrative.
As of this review only nine chapters have been scanalated, but regardless of how the manga ends, it’s built up enough goodwill from this reader through excellent world-building; and decent characterisation and art. If you want to immerse yourself in a strange unique world then check out Marie and her surreal melodies.