Story: I will admit, I started this anime with high hopes. Created by Shaft, Maria Holic has the same creators as Bakemonogatari which I found to be brilliant. However, what I encountered was utter disappointment. Maria Holic is the story of Miss Miyamae who transfers to Ame no Kisaki, an all girls school, so that she may seek true love with a beautiful girl. Miyamae has a deep seeded hatred for boys and breaks out in hives whenever she is touched by a member of the opposite sex. The day before school starts she meets a beautiful girl from her school named Mariya only to find out that Mariya is actually a boy who is cross-dressing in order to attend this school. All this is set up in the first episode. It sounds interesting on paper but this is actually all there really is to the story. I understand it’s a slice of life anime but every other episode except the first felt like filler. I am usually forgiving with those episodes, but when a show feels like 11 episodes of filler with only 1 relating to plot that is a bad sign. I will admit that some of the shenanigans that the main character gets into are worth a giggle or two but that is about the only worth the story has to the show.
Animation: Approaching this show after watching Bakemonogatari and its sequel I was expecting something marvelous. Unfortunately, that is far from what I got. The art styling was decent. The characters animation was smooth which does go a long way. A lot of the animated lighting was well done. However, I didn't feel like it was horribly unique. Quite a few shots are reused frequently. I don't mind this usually but it seemed rather obvious in this anime. The opening had really interesting art work, which made me expect something pretty masterful. I will admit, the art isn't bad, it just wasn't amazing.
Sound: This was the only part of the anime that I thought was solid. The opening theme is utterly addicting and the closing theme is adorable. The voice actors did a great job with incredibly dull characters. I especially liked the handeling of Mariya's voice where the male and female voices were believably coming from the same person but it was still easy to distinguish the two of them and believe that both were coming from the same person.
Characters: This section was the ultimate bane of my existence. Let’s start with the main character Miyamae. Her portrayal, to me, was incredibly irritating. Firstly, there was the assumption that she had to be traumatized by men in order to sexually prefer women. It was an assumption that felt unnecessary and forced to me. Where did this genuinely come into play in the story? Mariya would bug her sometimes by touching her which didn't seem like a horrible inconvenience. The only priest at the school gave her hives twice but, once again, he seemed annoying enough on his own without giving her hives. The point is, this felt like the creators saying "We need to give her an excuse for why she likes girls" even when its role didn't come up all that much in an all girls school. Furthermore, Miyamae has no other interests but fantasizing about girls. None! She has no clubs, no hobbies and obviously doesn't study much. So, I am left to think that this is all that she does with her life. Also, Miyamayae will get a nose bleed over anything in a skirt. I mean that quite literally. She has a crush on every woman she encounters at the school. Even when she acknowledges that some of them are incredibly creepy she still wants to date them. Even when that character is a boy dressed as a girl she still seems to have a crush on/ be in love with him in a pretty masochistic way. I don’t understand how she somehow still has a crush on this guy after he has made her life miserable at every turn, even going as far as to threaten her with rape if she tells anyone he is a boy. I feel like that’s crossing some lines of likability that you just can’t ignore. I suppose she is the female counterpart of the boring lead male in harem animes. Those characters irritate me anyways because I find a lot of those to be equally offensive representations of men in that situation. I think it is a poorly developed character archetype in any gender it’s used in. Let’s move on to the more interesting character of the show; Mariya. I started out being really curious about this character. He is a sadistic boy cross dressing to get into an all girls school. Sounds like a fun show. I was shocked to find that Mariya actually bored me. He didn't actually do very much except pick on Miyamae. Most everything he did was just to be a bully to the main character. I was genuinely expecting a character like Izaya Orihara from Durarara!!. A sadist who toys with everyone but who somehow has pretty universal trust from the characters. We didn't end up with that in the show. We ended up with a sadist whose entire fount of evil is focused on childish pranks on the main character. Furthermore, all the "deep dark secrets" this character was hinting at in the beginning were entirely mild. What is the reason for his cross-dressing to get into this school? An entirely pointless answer that really isn't worth keeping a secret for 7 episodes. I won't spoil it in case someone desires to watch it. Why is there such a mutual hatred between him and the student body president? Again, the answer was not worth the wait. Lastly, a little question on the grounds of logic. How long has Mariya been cross-dressing? Its states in episode 1 that it is for school and that he would desire to dress as a male again if he could (I will grant that this line of dialogue is contradictory to his decisions to dress in sexy cosplay to mess with people.) Yet, the student body president has known him since they were children and she seems convinced that he is a girl. Has he been cross dressing all his life? If so, the explanation for his cross dressing does not encompass this. In the end Mariya's character is a mass of contradictions that culminate in a petty sadist that could have been so much more interesting. The rest of the characters are not worth mentioning as they are all generic personalities who are not interesting in the slightest.
Sure, this show is fun for a laugh or two but gets old really fast. The opening is pretty awesome but it isn't really worth watching past that.