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4Tran 2009-04-01 00:26

Maria-sama ga Miteru - Overall Series Impressions & Total Series Rating
 
This thread is to be used for discussing the entire 13 episodes of Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th or all of Maria-sama ga Miteru ... your thoughts about the show, overall impressions, speculation on the possible Maria-sama ga Naisho episodes, etc., etc…

A few subjects you might want to ramble on about:
  • General impression of the series.
  • Opinions on the overall story, writing & plot devices.
  • Thoughts about the animation quality.
  • Will there be additional DVD only episodes and what will they contain.
  • Characters/Character Design
  • What the show meant to you.
  • What could the creators/animators/writers could have done better.
And so on.

The poll represents your total series rating. In other words, how you would rate all the episodes combined (1-10)? If you'd rather rate the whole series by technical/artistic merits, you can do so. An example:

Animation Quality: 1-10
Voice Actors: 1-10
Script: 1-10
Editing: 1-10

Average = Total Series Rating

Or a combination of the two. Or your general gut feeling.


Note that because Maria-sama ga Miteru is licensed, the following apply as well:
  • Asking where you can find Maria-sama ga Miteru downloads.
  • Providing links to Maria-sama ga Miteru downloads.
  • Discussing Maria-sama ga Miteru fansub groups (past or present).
  • Asking for help downloading Maria-sama ga Miteru.
  • Asking for playback help for Maria-sama ga Miteru episodes.
These rules applies to fansubs (in English or any other language) and raws alike.

4Tran 2009-04-01 00:51

As far as I'm concerned, Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th is vying with the OVAs for the title of the best of the Marimite seasons. In the 4th's favor, it has more drama, and we've had more time to grow. In the OVA season's favor, it has more variety, and the humor is more pronounced. I think that I the 4th's drama by a bit because I'm a big fan of that genre, and it's so hard to come across good examples. Either way, both shows are excellent.

For the 4th overall, I can't say enough good things about it. The creators know the show and the characters so well that they almost can't help but do a good job at the execution level. In particular, I've constantly remarked on how well the nonverbal communication is pulled off. This allows the characters to convey a lot of meaning through subtle gestures and expressions, adding lots of interesting flavor to the scenes and greatly contributing to the enjoyment factor. Some other big draws of having strongly built up characterization is that it's easy to see when characters act differently from when they normally do so; thereby making those particular moments stand out better.

A very good case in point is the growth of Yumi. She's still much the same kind of character she was at the beginning of the first season, and what mannerisms that drew viewers to her before are still very much there. However, she's grown much more into her role, both as a character and as a figure in the Marimite universe. In essence, Yumi is more full of Yuminess now than she was at the beginning.

All in all, this is very good stuff. In fact, I can only think of two criticisms for the entire season. The first is that Kanako's back story doesn't work. The whole thing is clunky, awkward, and has little to recommend it. The saving grace is that the creators seemed to be aware of this and touched on it as little as possible, but they were still burdened by the apparent weakness in the source material. The other problem is a lack of time to cover all the material that was in the novels. This leads to important plot material or amusing subplots only making an appearance in the preview narrations, of all things. I can definitely see that this would have been impossible to include in the show itself given where they wanted to finish off.

In terms of the entirety of the Marimite animation, I think that it's a real triumph - it successfully takes the old shoujo standbys, and repackages them into a very savory bundle for a rather new audience. There have never been all that many shoujo drama anime out there, and it's always good to see another one that's well made without being overly indulgent. If that were the limit of Marimite's merits, that would already be enough, but I think that it goes a bit further in giving us some of the best characterization, dialogue and even direction of anything out there right now.

And among my favorite shows, I think that Marimite as a whole stands quite highly:

Favorite Anime TV/OVA shows
1. Twelve Kingdoms
2. Azumanga Daioh
3. Full Moon o Sagashite
4. SDF Macross
5. Revolutionary Girl Utena
6. Macross Frontier
7. Maria-sama ga Miteru
8. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien
9. My-Hime
10. Gunbuster

Molenir 2009-04-01 07:30

Wow, on your top 10 list, only Number 3 and 7 are ones I would consider having on mine. Marimite would definitely make my list, while Full Moon, probably wouldn't.

Top 10 favorite anime shows, in no particular order.
Haibane Renmei
Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru
Ghost Hunt
Lucky Star
Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya
Nodame Cantabile
Lovely Complex
Marimite
Hidamari Sketch
Skip Beat


Trouble with lists of this kind, is they're so subjective. I mean, one day Hidamari Sketch might make my list, the next I would leave it off in favor of Soukou no Strain, another show I really enjoyed. The next day I might consider knocking Haibane Renmei out and replacing it with Doujin Work or something. The point being, this list is my favorite at the moment, but tomorrow it might change into something else. That said, Marmite would stay on the list regardless.

agila61 2009-04-01 09:45

"25 episodes" ... is that New Math? I thought that Season 4 was another 13 episode season.

Oh, wait, you are saying there is a secret series of TWELVE MORE SEASON FOUR EPISODES, which haven't been released to the general public, and is only available to a lucky few insiders ... I assume, covering all the side stories, flashbacks, White Rose and Yellow Rose story arcs, and all the stuff skipped over in the regular 13 episodes.

I know that it is against forum rules to ask where to go to find the 12 secret episodes, but that restriction weighs heavily on me.

Alternatively, it could be a typo.

I don't rank different anime series against each other, I classify them into "don't care for it", "like it", and "like it a lot", and put Maria-sama ga Miteru Season 4 in the "like it a lot" bucket.

But comparing one Maria-sama ga Miteru season against each other, my favorite is the 3rd season, the "Summer" OVA's, and I'm putting season four right up there with the other two broadcast television series.

They each had their own strengths and weaknesses, and since Maria-sama ga Miteru is first and foremost as study in character development, obviously the characters in Season Four exist because of their growth in the first three seasons ... but the central "Yumi-san and Touko-chan's Journey" plot arc, turned into a literal Journey in the finale, worked for me.

And for those who felt that Sachiko-sama was not "there" enough ... I still feel you aren't looking closely enough at Yumi-san as she is growing into a proper Yumi-sama for the current crop of first year's ... Sachiko-sama is there to be seen, whether she is in the same room or not.

-Kh- 2009-04-01 15:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by agila61 (Post 2312551)
"25 episodes" ... is that New Math? I thought that Season 4 was another 13 episode season.

I was going to point that out :p



Well, I gave it a 9 in the poll for the overall series, just because I wasn't too fond of the second season.

Although I consider S4 to be the best, I still feel that some characters could have gotten a bit more screen time. Anyway, having the focus on Touko and Noriko this time was a great change of pace, from the seriousness and maturity that Sachiko and Rei inspire into a more colloquial style thanks mainly to Noriko, which in my opinion, has been the best addition to the Rosas mansion.

I hope we get another TV season for Yumi's year 3, and a shorter OVA that focus on some of the secundary characters like Mami, Tsutako and Chisato. And I would like to see more of the previous Rosas in their college life.

You know, like a Summer OVA would be great for those kind of side-stories, and just before starting the third year for the TV series focused on Touko, Noriko and Nana.

*Shrug* too much wishing.

4Tran 2009-04-01 16:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by agila61 (Post 2312551)
"25 episodes" ... is that New Math? I thought that Season 4 was another 13 episode season.

Uh... Touko's curls make numbers quantum or something like that :p. Anyways, ours is not to question why ;).

agila61 2009-04-01 16:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by -Kh- (Post 2313187)
I hope we get another TV season for Yumi's year 3, and a shorter OVA that focus on some of the secundary characters like Mami, Tsutako and Chisato. And I would like to see more of the previous Rosas in their college life.

And season four certainly showed the quality to justify continuing.

But, but, but ...
Spoiler for Is this a novel spoiler or common knowledge?:

cynicalicious 2009-04-01 17:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by agila61 (Post 2313246)
And season four certainly showed the quality to justify continuing.

But, but, but ...
Spoiler for Is this a novel spoiler or common knowledge?:


Just today, the latest volume of O-Shaku Sama mo Miteru just came out in Japan.

http://tinyurl.com/c35dn9

So...

Spoiler:


Important stuff in the spoiler thread. I put it there to keep things on-topic. LSS: New MSGM short story just came out today.

Beo 2009-04-01 18:26

Spoiler for future:

ziggr 2009-04-03 22:59

This was my favorite season. When my only complaint about this season is "I wish there was more of it," I have to give it a 10.

The art was good: they stayed on-model most of the time. I cringed at only a few art mistakes. I don't know how they managed to afford that on a television budget.

The animation was great. There is little overt action in a show like this, so the few scenes that required animation got lots of attention. I thought Touko's revelation/breakdown was a little over the top, but that scene needed something more than the zoom on her face and the collapse to her knees. I really loved the lighting in the bicycle ride around the Ogasawara compound.

The voice acting has been properly gushed over. Let me add that it's always a little odd to hear Iwakura Lain and Coppola Ana coming out of the White Rose family. Watch with your eyes closed and you'll hear it, too.

C'mon, the Pizza Hut placements were fun! It became a game: "I wonder how they're going to wedge Pizza Hut into this week's episode?" It's like looking for the pie in a Piraro drawing.

My only complaint about this season is that it raced to get through Anata wo Sagashi ni by season's end. We lost the slow, thoughtful pace that made me fall in love with the first season. We lost stories about all the other characters, which made the second season revealing. So really, I wished season 4 was slowed down and split into two full seasons. I want more.

And that's about the clearest compliment I can give a series.

-Kh- 2009-04-04 04:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by ziggr (Post 2318509)
C'mon, the Pizza Hut placements were fun! It became a game: "I wonder how they're going to wedge Pizza Hut into this week's episode?"

Were you seriously even thinking about Pizza Hut before/during/after watching the episodes?

Man... they did get their marketing on with some people then. I hope your game ended up with a call to your nearest PH to order your favourite large pizza.

I didn't even consider PH to be a relevant element. And it was even funny as with some cases in Code Geass. It was just like another background element that was pretty much irrelevant, besides for the fact that it was from a real life franchise.

And I clearly remember a very bad spot:

http://f.imagehost.org/0488/pizza.jpg

"What an interesting Pizza Hut advertising we have here. Hey young ladies, you should come and see this great piece of art before it is taken to the Louvre." - It's what that dude in the background is saying

agila61 2009-04-04 09:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by -Kh- (Post 2318990)
And I clearly remember a very bad spot:

http://f.imagehost.org/0488/pizza.jpg

"What an interesting Pizza Hut advertising we have here. Hey young ladies, you should come and see this great piece of art before it is taken to the Louvre." - It's what that dude in the background is saying

Oh, no, what Mr. Salaryman is saying, but in a thought balloon rather than out loud, is "if I stare at this Pizza Hut advertisement, will it convince you that I am not perving on you cute teenage girls?"

For myself, if the Pizza Hut tie-in was either what allowed them the animation budget for the subtle facial expressions, eye catches, etc., or quite possibly was what allowed the series to return from OVA to broadcast television at all, I'm happy with it. Its not like they switched to giving a Rosary in front of a PH billboard.

-Kh- 2009-04-06 14:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by agila61 (Post 2319303)
For myself, if the Pizza Hut tie-in was either what allowed them the animation budget for the subtle facial expressions, eye catches, etc., or quite possibly was what allowed the series to return from OVA to broadcast television at all, I'm happy with it. Its not like they switched to giving a Rosary in front of a PH billboard.

Well, actually I'm with that. If advertisement is going to help to produce more anime series/seasons, then I'm all up for them.

Just like in the movies on games, adding a little bit of advertising, might be seen as funny sometimes, but if it helps the studios (or developers in other industries), then that's alright.

Well as far as it doesn't turn in scenes like Broadway in NY. But stuff like Geass, Marimite, Sorakake, it will be great for the anime industry.

Wampbit 2009-07-07 12:24

I couldn't care less if there were a few adverts placed here and there - if it keeps the series profitable I'm all for it; I love marimite, and I don't mind the odd advert - what I actually dislike are commercial breaks, as they just break up an episode, a billboard; I didn't notice - it just added the authentic street feel :shrug:

mitsuganae 2009-07-07 19:00

A little news from okazu: Right Stuf/Nozomi (@ AnimeToday on Twitter) has announced that the fourth season of Maria Watches Over Us is slated for a 2010 release. I assume this means region 1.

While I'm here, I suppose I'll voice my thoughts on the fourth season (though I'm probably just howling into the wilderness at this point).

I enjoyed the ride, but I didn't find it entirely convincing. I know the powers that be decided that they had to get to the Valentine's date in 13 episodes. Of course, this also means sacrificing the sense of ensemble of the previous seasons. Mostly gone are the little arcs that focus on a particular character or rose family, alas. Most of the fourth season (from episode six onwards) is Touko's story, basically. It's not a bad story, mind you, but that means all the other characters (except Yumi, obviously) become secondary. To me, this isn't such a good thing for something as driven by an ensemble of characters as Marimite. The previous seasons have Yumi and Sachiko as first amongst equals, i.e., two parts of a whole, central but not dominant. The fourth season abandons this balance, much to its harm, IMHO. Touko and Yumi become dominant instead of merely central, and the other characters' moments in the spotlight are all too brief. Of course, the sense of a balanced ensemble might've been retained had the season consisted of, say, 24 episodes rather than just 13. That way more time could've been devoted to other characters and other arcs (this is especially painful to one who is aware that much of the source material had to be sacrificed this time around).

Forgetting the issue of ensemble, I'm still not sure if Touko's story is told as compellingly as it could've been. Perhaps it comes across as more convincing in the novels, but as presented in the fourth season, it comes across as rather, uhm, meh, to put it bluntly (actually, that's the only way I could put it). On the other hand, although Touko is by nature a drama queen, the season handles her (mostly) with admirable restraint -- she could've easily become a caricature. I'm just glad they didn't shamelessly milk the drama, or the season could've easily sunk into bathos. Still, it would've been interesting if we saw Touko's lighthearted side more often -- the side (glimpses of which are in the second season) that is worldly-wise (but not world-weary), witty-snarky, yet doesn't take itself too seriously.

To me, the most moving scene of the entire season is Touko's breakdown and Noriko's subsequent entrance -- now *that* is drama done just right (any more or any less and it would not have worked IMHO). Also high on my list is the Red Rose's Sigh -- a wonderful reflection on many aspects of what is commonly called "love" (it isn't what *I* would call love, but that's another matter entirely).

Overall, I still think the third season is my personal favorite of the four, simply because it lets us see the characters in the happiest of lights and enjoy them to the fullest. Is it coincidental that the third season also seems to be the most straightforwardly adapted from the novels? For drama done just right, certain points of the first (Sachiko's whirlwind courtship of Yumi, Forest of Thorns) and second (the Shimako/Noriko and Rainy Blue arcs) seasons seem to ring more true than Touko's story in the fourth season. If there is another (most likely last) season of Marimite, I hope that the sense of ensemble would return, along with the structure of having small arcs devoted to certain characters. I know the Yumi/Touko story is not over (and there is the inevitable Touko/Yumi/Sachiko triangle of sorts to deal with), but now that their protracted courtship is finally done, I hope we can delight in the other characters and their stories once more.

428 2009-07-25 09:31

Quote:

Originally Posted by mitsuganae (Post 2499060)
A little news from okazu: Right Stuf/Nozomi (@ AnimeToday on Twitter) has announced that the fourth season of Maria Watches Over Us is slated for a 2010 release. I assume this means region 1.

Sounds good. :heh:

Quote:

While I'm here, I suppose I'll voice my thoughts on the fourth season (though I'm probably just howling into the wilderness at this point).

I enjoyed the ride, but I didn't find it entirely convincing. I know the powers that be decided that they had to get to the Valentine's date in 13 episodes. Of course, this also means sacrificing the sense of ensemble of the previous seasons. Mostly gone are the little arcs that focus on a particular character or rose family, alas. Most of the fourth season (from episode six onwards) is Touko's story, basically.
I didn't mind. Give that it was only 13 eps, I treated it as an OVA. Touko's arc. :heh: It's how you see it sometimes. After all, having to repeat all the three Rosa clans can be tiring, it's a nice change to focus on Chinesis (though now it makes me interested in a Shimako/Noriko OVA :heh::heh::heh:)

Quote:

It's not a bad story, mind you, but that means all the other characters (except Yumi, obviously) become secondary. To me, this isn't such a good thing for something as driven by an ensemble of characters as Marimite.
True. But it's only 13 eps, mind you. Myself; Yourself (also 13 ep) crashed by giving too much screen time to the minor characters. :heh:

Quote:

The previous seasons have Yumi and Sachiko as first amongst equals, i.e., two parts of a whole, central but not dominant.
Like the core. But Touko is new and shiny :heh:

Quote:

The fourth season abandons this balance, much to its harm, IMHO. Touko and Yumi become dominant instead of merely central, and the other characters' moments in the spotlight are all too brief.
They expected you to have seen the past 3 series, and get bored of them. For me, I did get bored of all of 'em except Sei, Shimako and to some extent, Noriko.

Quote:

Of course, the sense of a balanced ensemble might've been retained had the season consisted of, say, 24 episodes rather than just 13. That way more time could've been devoted to other characters and other arcs (this is especially painful to one who is aware that much of the source material had to be sacrificed this time around).
That's why we need a Shimako/Noriko/(Sei?) OVA. :heh:

Quote:

Forgetting the issue of ensemble, I'm still not sure if Touko's story is told as compellingly as it could've been. Perhaps it comes across as more convincing in the novels, but as presented in the fourth season, it comes across as rather, uhm, meh, to put it bluntly (actually, that's the only way I could put it). On the other hand, although Touko is by nature a drama queen, the season handles her (mostly) with admirable restraint -- she could've easily become a caricature. I'm just glad they didn't shamelessly milk the drama, or the season could've easily sunk into bathos.
Drama? Like NiceBoat?? :heh:

Quote:

Still, it would've been interesting if we saw Touko's lighthearted side more often -- the side (glimpses of which are in the second season) that is worldly-wise (but not world-weary), witty-snarky, yet doesn't take itself too seriously.

To me, the most moving scene of the entire season is Touko's breakdown and Noriko's subsequent entrance -- now *that* is drama done just right (any more or any less and it would not have worked IMHO). Also high on my list is the Red Rose's Sigh -- a wonderful reflection on many aspects of what is commonly called "love" (it isn't what *I* would call love, but that's another matter entirely).

Overall, I still think the third season is my personal favorite of the four, simply because it lets us see the characters in the happiest of lights and enjoy them to the fullest.
True. But after that, the 4th's change was welcome too. Gives hope for another "stretched OVA" involving Shimako :heh:.

Quote:

Is it coincidental that the third season also seems to be the most straightforwardly adapted from the novels? For drama done just right, certain points of the first (Sachiko's whirlwind courtship of Yumi, Forest of Thorns) and second (the Shimako/Noriko and Rainy Blue arcs) seasons seem to ring more true than Touko's story in the fourth season. If there is another (most likely last) season of Marimite, I hope that the sense of ensemble would return, along with the structure of having small arcs devoted to certain characters. I know the Yumi/Touko story is not over (and there is the inevitable Touko/Yumi/Sachiko triangle of sorts to deal with), but now that their protracted courtship is finally done, I hope we can delight in the other characters and their stories once more.
Can I haz a Shimako/Noriko/(Sei?) OVA plz? :heh:

But still, gets a 9 from me without reason other gut feeling, seeing as these kind of series usually screws up my logic compass. :heh:

mitsuganae 2009-07-25 11:10

^ Consider yourself lucky, since you can always read and reread the novels (and satisfy your blatant white rose fetish). That's not an option for many followers of the franchise (myself included, unless someone or something makes Baka-Tsuki translate more quickly).

BTW, using any particular smiley/emoticon too often makes it lose its impact.

428 2009-07-26 07:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by mitsuganae (Post 2537629)
^ Consider yourself lucky, since you can always read and reread the novels (and satisfy your blatant white rose fetish). That's not an option for many followers of the franchise (myself included, unless someone or something makes Baka-Tsuki translate more quickly).

BTW, using any particular smiley/emoticon too often makes it lose its impact.

Sorry. That's what you get when you're typing at 3am after an unexpected housecall from a demonized fella.

Triple_R 2012-09-23 20:41

There's a certain sadness in discovering a fantastic and heartwarming piece of anime art like this, long after it has finished airing.

I can't help but wonder that the experience might have been even richer for me if I could have taken part in discussions on this subforum as this series was airing live. Unfortunately, it was at a time in my life when I was still a 90% shonen anime guy, and would still be months away from starting to discover great slice of life-esque character dramas like this one.

Then there came the recommendations for Clannad, True Tears, ef, etc..., and for whatever reason, this series here had completely fallen through the cracks for me.

Then, a little over a month ago, Last Sinner recommended this anime series to me, and I started watching it, slowly at first. Before I get to this final season, I have much to say on the first three seasons, but to save space each will be placed in spoiler space.

Spoiler for Maria-sama Season 1:



Spoiler for Maria-sama Season 2:



Spoiler for Maria-sama Season 3 OVAs:



For me, the final season was like the anime paying off in flying colors over all of the groundwork done throughout the first three seasons. It's kind of like when the lengthy preparations for Christmas are finally over, and now it's time to wake up on Christmas Day morning to just relax, have fun, and let your spirits soar high.

In this vein, I found the very different OP quite fitting. It's just chock-full of youthful exuberance and whimsical magic. I think it shows just how far Yumi has come - You can tell that of the three peers (her, Shimako, and Yoshino) she has become something of a leader and inspirational figure. You can tell that Yumi has truly come into her own, and has claimed the Student Council as her own while still showing proper respect to Rosa Chinensis, Rosa Foetida, and Rosa Gigantea. The Student Council no longer feels like something that Yumi is simply a part of - It now feels like it's as much her baby as it is anybody elses.

So Season 4 starts off fresh, dynamic, and upbeat, like a cool glass of lemonade on a bright, breezy, warm, sunny morning.

But a very carefully and slowly-developed arc of drama soon takes hold, and that is reflected by the powerfully symbolic ED that so wondrously captures Touko's role in this final season.

I think it's fair to say that the final season is largely about all of the drama and uncertainty surrounding Yumi and Touko. While other characters certainly maintain important roles, and established characterization and character dynamics are certainly respected, the Gigantea and Foetida families truly do slip into the background some, even while some of the people in them maintain a strong individual presence. I think that Yoshino, for example, works very well as a kind of straw that stirs the drink and adds some zest and flavor to the plot. And Noriko is to Touko what Yoshino is to Yumi.

But at the end of the day, this final season really is Yumi and Touko's.


Perhaps my greatest difficulty with this final season was adjusting my perception of Touko.

Now, from reading some of the other posts on this subforum, I know that many people disliked Touko at first. I honestly really liked her at first. Not so much for the person she was, but rather for the impact that her character had, especially at a meta-level.

Touko, in my eyes, was a brilliantly designed anti-thesis to Yumi. At a visual level, Touko is much like Yumi - Similar stature, build, frame, weight. They're about the same height. Both even have twin-tails, Touko's just happens to be drill-styled.

But for all their physical similarities, the two girls had such diametrically opposed personalities, at least in Seasons 2 and 3. Whereas Yumi began almost like a frightened animal caught amongst hunters in the first episode of Season 1, Touko's first appearance in Season 2 showed her to be breathtakingly bold, happily playing the villain to help out Shimako and Noriko. While Yumi began as very cautious and reserved, Touko began as very expressive and outgoing.

On the flip-side, though, Yumi seemed like a very loving and caring and considerate girl of humility. Touko seemed like a bit of a playful trickster, with ambitious aims and a certain self-centered nature that was quite different from Yumi. Touko honestly amused me a lot in her first few appearances - I even jokingly called her "Bizarro Yumi" (a lot of comic book fans will instantly get what I meant by that. :heh: ).

For me, Touko was set up as the perfect rival for Yumi. And not only in a direct sense, but also in competing for Sachiko's affections. It made for an absolutely awesome yuri love triangle at first.

So, how does this relate to Season 4? Well... to go from all of that to how Touko is portrayed in Season 4 took some real getting used to. :heh:

Bizarro Yumi has gone from being Yumi's rival to being someone that is in an on-again/off-again tight bond with Yumi herself. I'm glad that the anime took a lot of time to develop that because otherwise this transitioning in Touko's character never would have worked for me.

And yet, by the time that the final episode of Season 4 had ended, I had become a true believer in Yumi/Touko's loving "sisterly" relationship. And Touko herself had come amazingly far from where she had began. A character that I once perceived as being defined by fervent pride, particularly in her boasting of her relation to the rich and respected Sachiko, now seemed like a humble girl that just wanted to feel needed and respected in that world of the rich that wasn't truly her world of birth.

From an amusing Loki-like ojousama that I received many laughs from but never took that seriously aside from the brilliant contrast she provided to Yumi, to a fully realized character in her own right that seemed so warm and with a surprisingly delicate heart. It's good that Touko loves drama and acting, because that too made her startling character development easier for me to buy into and accept.


And so Season 4 brought a softly enchanting culmination to the drama between Yumi and Touko. I don't think that Season 4 could have possibly ended any better than it did. That date episode, which began as a nicely dramatic follow-up to the cliffhanger of the episode before, did everything that it needed to do.

While I do feel some sadness over the thought of how this anime now certainly appears to be done - Over three years have passed since this final season aired, so this is almost certainly it for the Maria-sama anime - I also feel like it ended with the same grace and splendor and effectiveness with which it began. And it ended by going full circle.


The 4th Season also was like a good book that I could not put down, hence me marathoning it all in just one day this past Thursday. I think that speaks well of the quality of this show.

Maria-sama has vaulted straight into my 10 favorite anime shows of all-time, finishing just a nose behind Clannad: After Story and ahead of such luminaries as Steins;Gate and True Tears.

Speaking of noses, that's honestly something I liked about this show - The fact these characters actually had noses! :heh: In complete seriousness, character designs did a lot for this show. The lack of "anime-style colored hair" didn't hurt this show one bit given how distinctive the facial structure and designs were for each major character.

It's sad to see the character design philosophy of Maria-sama is not one that the anime world has taken after, because I think it would be better if it did.


Anyway, this sums up this review of Maria-sama Season 4. I hope the few people reading this found it to be a decent read, albeit a very long and rambling one. :heh:


95/100 for Maria-Sama Season 4, and 9/10 for the series as a whole.

Qilin 2012-12-28 22:12

Quote:

Originally Posted by Triple_R (Post 4366181)
There's a certain sadness in discovering a fantastic and heartwarming piece of anime art like this, long after it has finished airing.

I can't help but wonder that the experience might have been even richer for me if I could have taken part in discussions on this subforum as this series was airing live. Unfortunately, it was at a time in my life when I was still a 90% shonen anime guy, and would still be months away from starting to discover great slice of life-esque character dramas like this one.

Then there came the recommendations for Clannad, True Tears, ef, etc..., and for whatever reason, this series here had completely fallen through the cracks for me.

Then, a little over a month ago, Last Sinner recommended this anime series to me, and I started watching it, slowly at first. Before I get to this final season, I have much to say on the first three seasons, but to save space each will be placed in spoiler space.

Spoiler for Maria-sama Season 1:



Spoiler for Maria-sama Season 2:



Spoiler for Maria-sama Season 3 OVAs:



For me, the final season was like the anime paying off in flying colors over all of the groundwork done throughout the first three seasons. It's kind of like when the lengthy preparations for Christmas are finally over, and now it's time to wake up on Christmas Day morning to just relax, have fun, and let your spirits soar high.

In this vein, I found the very different OP quite fitting. It's just chock-full of youthful exuberance and whimsical magic. I think it shows just how far Yumi has come - You can tell that of the three peers (her, Shimako, and Yoshino) she has become something of a leader and inspirational figure. You can tell that Yumi has truly come into her own, and has claimed the Student Council as her own while still showing proper respect to Rosa Chinensis, Rosa Foetida, and Rosa Gigantea. The Student Council no longer feels like something that Yumi is simply a part of - It now feels like it's as much her baby as it is anybody elses.

So Season 4 starts off fresh, dynamic, and upbeat, like a cool glass of lemonade on a bright, breezy, warm, sunny morning.

But a very carefully and slowly-developed arc of drama soon takes hold, and that is reflected by the powerfully symbolic ED that so wondrously captures Touko's role in this final season.

I think it's fair to say that the final season is largely about all of the drama and uncertainty surrounding Yumi and Touko. While other characters certainly maintain important roles, and established characterization and character dynamics are certainly respected, the Gigantea and Foetida families truly do slip into the background some, even while some of the people in them maintain a strong individual presence. I think that Yoshino, for example, works very well as a kind of straw that stirs the drink and adds some zest and flavor to the plot. And Noriko is to Touko what Yoshino is to Yumi.

But at the end of the day, this final season really is Yumi and Touko's.


Perhaps my greatest difficulty with this final season was adjusting my perception of Touko.

Now, from reading some of the other posts on this subforum, I know that many people disliked Touko at first. I honestly really liked her at first. Not so much for the person she was, but rather for the impact that her character had, especially at a meta-level.

Touko, in my eyes, was a brilliantly designed anti-thesis to Yumi. At a visual level, Touko is much like Yumi - Similar stature, build, frame, weight. They're about the same height. Both even have twin-tails, Touko's just happens to be drill-styled.

But for all their physical similarities, the two girls had such diametrically opposed personalities, at least in Seasons 2 and 3. Whereas Yumi began almost like a frightened animal caught amongst hunters in the first episode of Season 1, Touko's first appearance in Season 2 showed her to be breathtakingly bold, happily playing the villain to help out Shimako and Noriko. While Yumi began as very cautious and reserved, Touko began as very expressive and outgoing.

On the flip-side, though, Yumi seemed like a very loving and caring and considerate girl of humility. Touko seemed like a bit of a playful trickster, with ambitious aims and a certain self-centered nature that was quite different from Yumi. Touko honestly amused me a lot in her first few appearances - I even jokingly called her "Bizarro Yumi" (a lot of comic book fans will instantly get what I meant by that. :heh: ).

For me, Touko was set up as the perfect rival for Yumi. And not only in a direct sense, but also in competing for Sachiko's affections. It made for an absolutely awesome yuri love triangle at first.

So, how does this relate to Season 4? Well... to go from all of that to how Touko is portrayed in Season 4 took some real getting used to. :heh:

Bizarro Yumi has gone from being Yumi's rival to being someone that is in an on-again/off-again tight bond with Yumi herself. I'm glad that the anime took a lot of time to develop that because otherwise this transitioning in Touko's character never would have worked for me.

And yet, by the time that the final episode of Season 4 had ended, I had become a true believer in Yumi/Touko's loving "sisterly" relationship. And Touko herself had come amazingly far from where she had began. A character that I once perceived as being defined by fervent pride, particularly in her boasting of her relation to the rich and respected Sachiko, now seemed like a humble girl that just wanted to feel needed and respected in that world of the rich that wasn't truly her world of birth.

From an amusing Loki-like ojousama that I received many laughs from but never took that seriously aside from the brilliant contrast she provided to Yumi, to a fully realized character in her own right that seemed so warm and with a surprisingly delicate heart. It's good that Touko loves drama and acting, because that too made her startling character development easier for me to buy into and accept.


And so Season 4 brought a softly enchanting culmination to the drama between Yumi and Touko. I don't think that Season 4 could have possibly ended any better than it did. That date episode, which began as a nicely dramatic follow-up to the cliffhanger of the episode before, did everything that it needed to do.

While I do feel some sadness over the thought of how this anime now certainly appears to be done - Over three years have passed since this final season aired, so this is almost certainly it for the Maria-sama anime - I also feel like it ended with the same grace and splendor and effectiveness with which it began. And it ended by going full circle.


The 4th Season also was like a good book that I could not put down, hence me marathoning it all in just one day this past Thursday. I think that speaks well of the quality of this show.

Maria-sama has vaulted straight into my 10 favorite anime shows of all-time, finishing just a nose behind Clannad: After Story and ahead of such luminaries as Steins;Gate and True Tears.

Speaking of noses, that's honestly something I liked about this show - The fact these characters actually had noses! :heh: In complete seriousness, character designs did a lot for this show. The lack of "anime-style colored hair" didn't hurt this show one bit given how distinctive the facial structure and designs were for each major character.

It's sad to see the character design philosophy of Maria-sama is not one that the anime world has taken after, because I think it would be better if it did.


Anyway, this sums up this review of Maria-sama Season 4. I hope the few people reading this found it to be a decent read, albeit a very long and rambling one. :heh:


95/100 for Maria-Sama Season 4, and 9/10 for the series as a whole.

I probably already responded to your post with this, but it didn't occur to me at the time to actually respond within the thread itself (which is kind of a weird thing to forget). So yeah. I'll leave it right here for everyone's benefit.

Spoiler for series impression:


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