Orientation at Ame No KisakiWe stand at the silver oak lined gates of Ame no Kisaki, a Catholic all-girls boarding school, where pretty girls mature into beautiful ladies from the nurturing of Mother Mary’s principles. Ame no Kisaki is a dream of any man, a garden flourishing with budding womanhood. It’s also to dream of any woman, who happens to be a lesbian. Enter Kanako, our token perverted lesbian. She has come to Ame no Kisaki, for one thing, to find her fated lover.
On her first day touring the grounds she meets Mariya Shidou, young, cute and blonde. Kanako instantly falls in love, befriending her immediately. They seem to be a perfect match… at least in Kanako’s eyes. But just as fate giveth, it taketh as well. Kanako stumbles into Mariya and to her despair find out she is a boy. To keep Kanako quiet, Mariya takes over the poor lesbians life, torturing her emotionally to keep her mouth shut.
The setup for the plot was quite humorous. The situation seems incredibly hilarious. But the problem with the story as moves through the twelve episodes is that this situation becomes a sort of side note. The plot is utterly scatterbrained, strung together by small scenes between Mariya and Kanako. By the en of the series were left with the question: What was the point of all that?
Genre Maria†Holic is mainly a black comedy. It has it funny moments, but the jokes feel over done by the twelfth episode. It somewhat succeeds as a parody of other lesbian anime but that success only lasts as long as the anime is funny. The irritating characters combined with maddening dialogue makes the series a bit of a failure as a comedy. The anime is a bit ecchi, but there is never anything quite stimulating. There is cleavage abounds, but all of it feels presented on a silver platter and unnatural.
ThemesSo sitting here writing this review, I pondered what the maelstrom of monologues and collage of confusing scenes could mean. It was about discovery…I guess. Kanako discovers the joy of camaraderie, surrounding herself with caring friends who were cute to boot. She discovers the tender side of men, collecting the small betrayals of Mariya’s kindness. Its about the discovery of alaria, a spongy algae that expands in water, and seeing how large it could grow in a storm. It’s about the discovery about a missing bra. Though at the end of the day it was about my discovery of the great mindf**k while watching this anime.
Style The art is gorgeous in this anime. There hand painted backdrops look stunning against the colorful character design. The palette is bright and appealing. The use of different animation styles is amusing as in the span of one episode the art direction can switch from bright and cheery, to 300, to a noir film. The music is quite appropriate for a Catholic school, filled choral vocals, organs and violins. The production was one of the rough gems that didn’t lose its luster, as the rest of the anime became a mess, lost in the dirt. The voice acting is hit or miss. Kanako, as voiced by Asami Sanada, is a miss. Her long winded perverted monologues get grating on the nerves and lose their effect. Sanada’s voice is partially responsible, the timbre of her voice getting progressively annoying through each episode.
Conclusion I was hopeful when beginning Maria†Holic. The premise seemed interesting, the characters dynamic and the production was top notch. But soon the dialogue became aggravating, spoken as trades of long monologues between characters. Most of the cast is one dimensional, most of which were unmemorable save for the Mariya's maid for her deadbeat humor. Episodes became more and more disjointed, becoming a hodgepodge collection of tedious scenes. The antics of Kanako and the cruelty of Mariya quickly got old and were not enough to hold the anime afloat for the twelve episodes it ran. I was disappointed to say the least. I could only recommend watching the first six episodes and getting an early transfer from Ame no Kisaki.