One theme of ecchi that has never really appealed to me is traps; young, beautiful boys dressing as girls to deceive those around them and cause some utterly hilarious situations. Personally speaking, I like my girls with no padding in the mammary department or for them to be brandishing a “surprise inside”. And so it was with more than a little trepidation that I embarked on Maria Holic – a show that has long been a favourite with certain members of Club ISSUP (The International Study of Something Umm Perverted) because of what has been described as a “delicious trap”.
Telling the story of Kanako, Maria Holic’s delicate setting of a Catholic school for girls instantly put me in mind of Maria-sama ga Miteru. Thankfully, Holic instead quickly cements its name in perverted comedy as the hapless protagonist reveals her true nature via a somewhat unique reaction to a jaw droppingly stunning shoujo. As frequently occurs in ecchi anime, this leads to an unexpected twist that sets this show apart from others in the genre. Instead of the overly done harem or tiresomely vapid heroine, the writers instead choose to make the most desirable female a cross dressing megalomaniac. Cross the fact that poor Kanako is wrestling against her overtly yuri feelings against an allergy to males, and you quickly realise that the blend of dark humour works wonders.
In an effort to keep this joke from becoming tired, Kanako’s over the top nose bleed reactions are compounded by a classroom packed by a bevy of stereotypical typecasts; the bespectacled bookworm, little miss "ditzy but kind" and the skilful sports star all tickle our heroines fancy on regular occasions. Sadly, it is these once comical immense exsanguinations that are killed by the aggressive repetition. In my mind, the rapid expulsion of blood from a male character is representative of a sudden surge of blood to the head (if you know what I mean). As Kanako is lacking a one-eyed trouser snake, this initially funny joke results in questioning whether the writers have tried to be a little too clever with this little quip and resulted in completely missing the net.
Disregarding this one lack of judgement, the show's primarily episodic approach works well. The storyline easily flits between perverted swimsuit antics at the swimming pool and adventures of the adorably sinister dorm mistress named God. As time progresses, the flow of dark humour permeates every pore of this surprisingly amusing show but sadly seems to lack drive as it loses all momentum by the time it reaches a pointless cliff-hanger ending. At its best, Maria Holic is extremely reminiscent of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei: the non-stop flow of inner monologues and angst-ridden teen years flow by effortlessly with much mirth from the viewer. Lacking the same exclusive Japanese driven humour of the latter, Maria Holic is an easy going flirtation with a titillating blend of comedy and ecchi that will definitely tickle the fancy of many an otaku.
Once again, parallels can be drawn with Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei in the art department; boldly drawn cartoonish characters are lovingly rendered with garishly complex patterns and designs. Although not quite as deliciously obnoxious as futuristic Gankutsuou, the crazy palette composition strangely works for the modern day Maria Holic; girls sparkle and glow as they become the latest object of Kanako’s affections, occasionally being turned into a shimmering stained glass piece of artwork in homage to the show's Catholic setting. The sparing use of CG finds its way into some unusual scenes, such as the fantastically crazy opening credits – I have to say, the sight of a maid’s ample bosom being freed from her apron never looked so good!
Initially breaking out with an upbeat and funky opening track, the musical score throughout Maria Holic is catchy and boogie-liciously addictive. The closing track is an electro-beat ditty that is impossible to get out of your head once it works its way in there, and the ambient background tunes are pleasant on the ear.
Thankfully, the voice acting is also up to par, with each of the seiyuu turning out a stellar performance. From the lovelorn Kanako to the creepy yet innocent dorm mistress, it seems that the casting department were on a roll the day of the auditions. Worthy of a mention is Yu Kobayashi, whose vocal talents bring the gender confused Mariya to life; flitting between her girlishness when public facing, the change to a gruff male is seamless and only goes to enhance the curiously mischievous side of our beloved cross dresser.
Starting with the best of the bunch, the troublesome pairing of Mariya and Matsurika is an absolute pleasure to watch. Their relentless bullying and manipulation of weaker personalities that surround them is both genius and cringe worthy at the same time. Mariya’s gender deception sees his inspired plotting at its best: playing both a delicate flower carefully picking her way through life and an insensitive despot who lives to prove his supremacy over the lesser beings in life, he wears each persona as easily as a mask. On the other hand, Matsurika is happy to play the deadpan sidekick to her master, only getting caught up in the merciless scheming when ordered to. Her cold, almost robotic facade never slips, thus making her intriguing to follow onscreen.
Unfortunately, the main protagonist does not come across quite as well. Kanako starts off as a mildly likable character, but her unwavering attraction to the fairer sex quickly plummets from being amusing and quirky to gut-wrenchingly dull. Setting out with so much promise, she quickly becomes nothing but a two dimensional, stereotypical pervert. Although this does keep the show moving along at times and can be very funny, it just seems a little too over the top to be used and amplified as the episodes roll by.
Overall, Maria Holic is a delightfully different mismatch of genres; from schoolgirl angst to black comedy, yuri fantasy to surprisingly sexy cross dressing, the bizarre combinations work well. Although far from being perfect, the series wields enough charm to keep the viewer entertained for all twelve episodes. If you harbour even a smidgen of curiosity about pretty females packing heat, then this show is less of a guilty pleasure and more of a stupendous introduction to the fascinating world of lady boys. Comparing it to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, it feels like a lighter version that includes a lot more boobies and far fewer in jokes aimed at the native Japanese audience – perfect for those who like a substantial handful of mindless pleasure with their entertainment.
Its a good show if your looking for a laugh. This show is the exact opposite of Ouran High School Host Club.
Well this is my first review ever for Anime-Planet, so what series gets the honor?
Maria Holic of course!
What is Maria Holic all about? Now now, don't get your hopes too high for some super insane action series that BLOWS EVERYTHING UP, since Maria Holic is a school life comedy, so there's no real story going on, but rather more a setting. The story is simply about Kanako, a normal high school student who just wants to find love (aww cute), but there are some problems :
1- She breaks out into hives when she gets touched by a boy
2- She's FREAKING TALL
3- She's a pervert
4- Yeah, she's a lesbian
So, our little Kanako decides to transfer to this Christan girls-only high school, Ame No Kisaki, to find her soul mate, just like her parents did back in the day (no her parents aren't 2 girls, her dad was a teacher and her mom was a student). The day she transfers to her new school, she meets this small cute girl, Mariya Shindou, and is immediately infatuated with her, love at first sight as we say, but to her horror and bad luck, she finds out that Mariya is a sadistic guy that cross-dresses for personal reasons (IT'S A TRAP). Funny thing, is that she is still turned on by Mariya even though she knows it's a boy and gets constant nosebleed, so many that she's most of the time in a sick bed at the nursery.
...Yep... That's the story of Maria Holic. Pretty interesting if you ask me. WELL ENOUGH FOR ME TO WATCH IT.
Here's the main cast by the way
Matsurika Shinouji (Mariya's maid)
Mariya Shindou (Trap)
Kanako Miyamae (Yuri pervert)
Maria Holic was produced by Shaft, quite a nice studio if you ask me, they're recognized for their use of colors, paints and unique animation style, which is a plus for Maria Holic, I'll talk about this later. We all know the reasons why this series sounds awesome : there's yuri, a maid and a trap. I mean come on, if that's not enough to get your attention, then I don't what will. Anyway, let's get this train rolling now.
Animation : 8/10
The animation studio was Shaft, and Shaft is quite the unique on it's animation styles, I could post some screen shots, but that would mean for me posting every second of every episodes. The use of sudden contrast colors, video effects and paintings is a nice plus, but all and all, the characters drawings themselves were rather...bland... Nonetheless the animations were quite a feast on the eyes. The opening animation was quite something too, here's a link for the opening
Characters : 7.5/10
Hmmmm.... Characters... Well Mariya is certainly not our first cross-dresser in the industry, Matsurika on the other hand is a special maid, she freely insults her master just for fun, and shows no respect for either Kanako, constantly calling her Pig or Eiffel Tower, or Mariya, calling him names like cross-dressing freak and such names. Even though she acts like that, I'm pretty sure she is fond of both of them. The rest of the cast/class is just your typical high school student, you have the group leader, the hyper-active one, etc... BUT, as we all think the one wearing glasses would be the smart one right? Well you got that right, the one wearing glasses simply sucks at school. Ah, stupid myths. Since this is a comedy anime, there's no such thing as character development or whicever, maybe one time or two, but really, nothing happens much.
Glasses girl : Nanami Kiri
Hyper-Active one that has access to Hammer-space : Sachi Momoi
Story : 8/10
What do you want me to say about an nonexistent story? Each episode consist of an unrelated story to each other, pretty much like every comedy series out there, consisting of weird puns, jokes and the rest. Well since there's no "real" story you can just pick up any episodes and watch it. Well there are some stuff from each episodes that finally come back, but that's not important. For example the thing in Kanako's bag usually resurfaces here and here but nothing else. It's your typical 12 episodes long comedy series.
The Thing O_o ...is hungry...
Sounds : 8/10
Strangely there's always no astonishing stuff in the sound department, but the cast was quite funny to hear, especially Kanako's long monologues, or maybe Matsurika's mundane voice when casually insulting someone. Voice acting was great. Background music, so-so. I did like the opening song and ending song though.
link to ending song : Maria†Holic Ending - Kimi ni Mune Kyun
Overall : 8.5/10
All and all, Maria Holic was an enjoyable series. Made me laugh some times (loved Kanako's song on the cosplay angel :link: Kanako's Cosplay Angel song) All the characters were pretty fun to watch, so if you're into maids, yuri, traps or any of these, you should give Maria holic, or if you just want to kill some time and get a good laugh, Maria Holic is for you. Of course, you're probably thinking that for 12 episodes we're just going to see some weird pervert nosebleed after some fan-service shots, well yeah you are, but every episode is something new, so you can't predict what they're going to put. I hope you enjoy Maria Holic as much as I did.
The Good :
- Great setting idea
- Nice visual effects
- good laugh there and there
The Bad :
- The jokes tend to get repetitive after a while
And with that, the Maria Holic crew bids you farewell
Story: Perverted lesbian girl meets girl who is actually a boy. The premise itself was a selling point for me but it gets better. The crazy antics of Mariya and Matsurika are hilarious, I would have preferred the perspective from the maid because Kanako does get over-the-top. It reminds me of Wallflower with the level of nosebleed but I found Sunako to much more lovable, as strange as that sounds. I don't like perverts so I don't really like the story to be told by one. However, it is still filled to the brim with humor. The ending falls flat with a weird cliffhanger and many questions unanswered. I felt that it wasn't long to fully tell the story. Some development was there but definitely not enough. There were also little running gags that I didn't understand. Again, I'll have to refer to the manga for the rest of the story. However, there is enough good to make this an enjoyable.
Animation: The animation of the characters are fairly decent. They are very cute and stand apart from each other. The clothes flow well and fit right. I loved the opening and ending. The Matsurika-guitar was priceless. The backgrounds were a little bland and flat at times. The colors are vivid. However, I HATED the stained glass stills. They had some really creepy eyes and did not achieve the effect they were going for.
Sound: The opening and ending songs were great. However, the score was fitting but unmemorable. I loved Mariya's seiyuu and the rest of the voice actors fit.
Characters: Mariya is amazing. I don't know why, but I love characters like him. Mariya and Matsurika are just amazing. They're a great duo and are really the reason for watching Maria+holic in the first place. He's sarcastic and witty and surprising. Your jaw will drop at the words and actions that he says and does. I love him! Also, I have the same feelings for Matsurika. However, Kanako is a completely different story. She gets worse throughout the show and she's more open with her pevertedness. Maybe I'm just biased against perverts, but I wished she would be more toned down throughout the show but, aghast, it does not happen. There is some development for the characters but not nearly as much as there should have been. However, that is expected since the series was so short.
Overall: Maria+holic could have been really great had Kanako improved and there had been more episodes to really flesh out the story. It fell short. However, I did find it throughly enjoyable and those who are opposed to shoujo-ai, give this a chance. I am no fan of yuri but I really liked this. Definitely FAR from excellent, but it is good if you're looking for something with an odd sense of humor. I would watch this again. Also, for those who want more of the story, read the manga. It's pretty much the same but no creepy stained glass stills.
Since I find gender-bender stuff really interesting (especially traps owo ) I found this anime & thought that it's going to be just a masterpiece for me. I was really dissapointed, though. I thought that this anime is going to be about MARIYA (since the name is Maria Holic, as we can see). BUT INSTEAD, Mariya was just a side character. Instead of him, we got a one annoying yuri girl Kaneko. Yes, she WAS annoying. She just was so dumb, that sometimes I wished I could just slap her face.
Other than that, the show was pretty fun to watch. Story was ordinary, I liked the animation & sound.
So, overall I would give it an 8/10 I guess.