The main title ‘female’ protagonist with ‘her’ secret already uncovered right in the first episode.
After watching a few more episodes of Gintama (I have a big reservation about the third season – read about it in its review some time in the future), I stopped again and then started to watch yet another Blu-ray rip in the form of Maria Holic. A second season of this is currently running, and I don’t feel like waiting for it to finish in time for a combined review the way I do it with Kuroshitsuji. Maria Holic is a 2009 anime, but the current holder of the ‘Anime of the Year 2009’ title Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei has nothing to worry about. And the latter has quite a little bit of connection with the former, which would be explained later below.
An apt description of the main title protagonist.
Our main protagonist transfers to an all-girls school so that she can relive the memories of her parents’ romantic encounter in the past. Being a closet perverted men-hating yuri-fag that she is, she quickly was attracted to the blonde-haired aristocratic main title protagonist whose grandmother used to be the chairwomen of the said school. But in double-quick time, she inadvertently learned the shocking dirty perverted secret harbored by the seemingly innocent main title protagonist. Fate then decided that the two perverted main characters are to share the same dorm room too, just in time for the new school year to start.
This anime is basically a character-driven title, with the two main protagonists being the core of this anime. The main storyline mainly consists of the character developments of the main protagonist as she started a new life in the school, alongside her new (in)famous roommate. The main protagonist is quite similar to the main protagonist of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei in their tendencies to use plenty of monologues. As for the main title protagonist, ‘she’ reminded me greatly of the main protagonist of Seikon no Qwaser, with the supernatural powers being replaced with pure malice and the perverseness for breast sucking replaced by cross-dressing tendencies. The mannerisms are too similar for me to ignore.
References and parodies exists intermittently in this title, but the one series that are referenced multiple times is Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Not only the main protagonist of this anime acted similarly with Nozomu Itoshiki, but some aspects of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei’s presentation were also copied verbatim. The good thing is this anime doesn’t copy the terrifying pacing that plagued the first two seasons of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Storyline developments isn’t problematic either, although the way the plot goes can be bonkers sometimes. The comedy in this anime is decent too, but not up there with the likes of Guu. Another thing I like about this anime is how it doesn’t somehow manage to turn into a harem title, which would have been a bane of this kind of anime series.
This anime has a couple of weaknesses. The first one is the main title protagonist has too little airtime. Her case here is not as bad as Index is, but it is not too far behind. Because the main title protagonist is also one of the best characters in this anime, this anime isn’t able to reach its greatest potential with the amount of airtime ‘she’ received that is pretty typical for secondary characters. In fact, a couple of the secondary characters in this anime may even have more exposure than ‘her’.
The constant dilemma our main protagonist has to face.
The second weakness of this anime is how, sometimes, the direction of the plot tends to go bonkers, testing the limits of suspension of disbelief. The perverted monologues of the main protagonist often leads up to awkward situations, but the problem is those awkward situations usually were disconnected from previous scenes. Some episodes are simply bad in quality, like the penultimate episode. Incidentally, the best two moments in this anime are when the main title protagonist’s ‘brother’ makes ‘his’ appearance (the family is sure full with perverts). The ending is not exactly an ending, it looks like a regular episode, with a little bit of cliffhanger at the very end. But knowing Japan, the second season will surely fudge upon it with more silly plot misdirections.
Character development is uneven. The main protagonist has a lot of them, but the main title protagonist character building is very minimal. The latter in particular has minimal differences in character structures/essence between the first and the last episode. Still, both of them are definitely the best characters in this anime, with the main protagonist edging ahead of the main title protagonist. These two characters is a good tsukkomi pairing, and the former is so disgustingly perverted, she makes Darling and Raou looks like Virgin Mary. It may have to do with the fact that Darling and Raou are open with their perverseness while she is simply a closet yuri lover (but with her true nature being open to the audience on the other side of the 4th wall). But this is why I like her the most; that unbridled perverseness that sometimes scared even the main title protagonist. I hope that the main title protagonist has more airtime and character developments in the second season though.
The two main protagonists of this anime surely shared my view about this kind of hairstyle.
The character designs in this anime is good, especially the design for the main protagonist that perfectly fits her secret-pervert profile. Black hairs are rare, but do exist. And that hairstyle above…
This anime is quite simple actually, storywise.
Voice acting gigs in this anime is uneven overall. The voice acting for the main title protagonist is excellent, but the other main protagonist is just ordinary. And that isn’t a good thing considering the amount of airtime she has. She and some other characters like the school council president (with chocolates cones hair) has a lot of room for improvement (and they will really need it).
The OST is decent, but you cannot say the same thing for the OP and ED themes.
This anime sure like its steampunk-inspired black rains.
The animation quality in the Blu-ray rip version I watched is excellent, overall. Understandably, fast-paced scenes and choreography are basically non-existent in this anime. The directing is decent too, or at least it wasn’t flawed (assuming of course, that he didn’t write all of those bonkers plots).
This anime sure does its rains better than the likes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Legend of Legendary Heroes. The rains in this Blu-ray rip are almost comparable to what you can see in Makoto Shinkai works.
This shoujo-style character depictions are commonly used in this anime. If you ask me, they are not necessary at all.
6 out of 10. A bigger involvement by the main title protagonist should, in theory, improve this anime’s quality.
Oh BTW, I will start the audition for the inaugural ‘Anime of the Year 2011’ winner in the next entry. The tentative list of titles in the audition can be seen at the right-side of this blog. As for Gintama, well, it may have to wait for quite a bit, although I will watch a few episodes at a time.