First Impressions – Maria†Holic

January 1, 2009 at 11:01 am | Posted in First Impressions | 19 Comments
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This post feels so late because of the early stream…and since I watched the early stream too. None the less, here we go. (My First post of 2009!)

This anime is officially my favorite of the winter season (yes it’s that easy to decide). I absolutely love it when an anime surpasses expectations that are already…pretty darn high. But of course my sadistic trap anime does just that (is this the only anime in the new sadistic trap genre?).

I don’t think I can remember laughing so much and enjoying a completely new series in quite some time. It’s all owed to Maria, who is now the best trap evaaar in my opinion.

Ahaha~ This anime. I watched the early-streaming version and then had to go right ahead and read the manga. I swore I didn’t want to do that with this anime, but can’t really change that now, can I?

mh01-01Besides, this one seems to be pretty well done so I can imagine laughing and enjoying the anime even after reading the manga. That doesn’t really matter too much though. I was only able to read four chapters and the last three are really short so it won’t be long before the anime passes what I’ve read. I’m betting it’s all covered in episode two.

But lol…this is anime is so awesome.

I believe that this is my first Shaft anime. Going into it I knew some people loved Shaft and some people hated them and now I know why. At least if lots of their anime are like what I’ve seen (just the first episode of Maria+Holic and the openings for Ef). They seem to be fond of shapes and backgrounds and stuff. Filters and whatever else.mh01-06

At first it kind of bothered and distracted me. When the backgrounds changed so much I kind of started going, “Wait. Where are they again?” and I’d get distracted and not pay attention to what was being said. It was especially troublesome since I was watching it raw.

I got pretty used to it by the end. I don’t know if they toned it down (because I did notice a few parts that kind of jarred me out of the story), so I might have just gotten used to it. In which case it’s no problem at all.

Besides~ If Shaft does such good animation and art, I don’t care about them showing off a little extra. A lot of the fun…effects fit this anime too. Stainglass church windows and old-style drawings like you’d find in some old shoujo (and yuri) manga. Fitting since Maria+Holic is basically a parody of classic yuri series.

Of course, I wouldn’t just call it a parody. Parodies lack originality, but Maria+Holic seems to have more than what would just make it a parody. Some sort of storyline for starters.

mh01-05That storyline as of right now is basically just Kanako being tortured by a sadistic trap. The real storyline will probably be them getting beyond the torture and such and developing a real relationship of some sort. I’m betting on romance since Kanako isn’t actually gay. She’s just afraid of men and likes women (wat. It’s totally different.). Well anyway that’s the obvious route that I think things will take. From what I’ve seen all of ther characters outside of the main three seem to be pretty one-dimensional. Basically just perfect girls for Kanako to worship.

Let’s see. I think that’s all the random thoughts I have right now. So I’ll attempt to gather everything else into categories (trying new things on my blog always ends up being a messy experiment).

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Animation & Art

Well there’s all that stuff I mentioned about why some people like or hate Shaft. Outside of that stuff though the animation is really good. My goodness the comedic timing is amazing. I read both the manga and anime and this adaptation did its job. It used animation as an advantage to make jokes funnier.

mh01-11Classic timing and dramatization to make everything funnier. Cute inner-thoughts chibi Kanako is a plus too…and necessary since Kanako has such crazy thoughts that cannot be shared with anyone.

One scene especially…the should-soon-be-famous (if it isn’t already) grope scene. In the manga that was just barely one frame and you didn’t see anything (Kanako’s hand went out of the frame). In the anime it was epic. Come on girl. You find out another girl is a boy and you can’t be around boys so you grab for that? lolz all around.

Also that first peek at Maria’s sadistic side around 6 minutes and 20 seconds in was awesome. Her His (dammit I’ll never get used to it!) polite and wonderful smile turned into a devious smirk from a different angle with a little refocusing (muahaha~ Sorry, but I can’t get enough of sadistic traps it seems).mh01-39

One thing I would like to complain about is the backgrounds with trees. Those trees look very much…not really like trees if you know what I mean and it’s distracting.

But let’s see what else? Wind in the hair is used for a nice effect at least once. There’s the backgrounds (as mentioned) and a few other noticeable things. Basically we have very nice animation here (pretty much as expected) almost to the point of being distracting (also expected).

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Music

Um…well the background music is all really nice and fitting. One moment stood out (as it was probably supposed to). The music during the scene where Maria kissed Kanako on the cheek was really something.

Outside of that it’s more stuff that’s fitting the all-girl’s catholic school setting. Plus a few piano pieces that I noticed (when I was looking for them) that just fit the mood nicely during their times. I really love all the organ music used for both the comedic drama and catholic school mood. Also I think I heard a choir in there somewhere at one point.

I really don’t have a lot to say though, so let’s move onto the ending.

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Kimi ni, Mune Kyun by Yuu Kobayashi, Asami Sanada, and Marina Inoue

Which is…awesome. I only say that because I saw this video before I saw the three seiyuu’s cover of the song (yeah the three main seiyuu sing it). I love the video game spin given to the song which goes along with the very amusing animation. It’s such a fun ending song that I think I may have already discovered my favorite ending for 2009. I’ll have to go through and watch it again because every ten seconds or so I start watching something different. The background, Kanako in her video game world. It’s hard to see everything at once. It’s also something I have to see without the credits.

I’ll have to wait until next week for the opening, though you do get to hear it in the background of the trailers and I like it from what I hear. I’ll have to wait to talk about it in my Weekly Anime.

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Voice Acting

We have three seiyuu all doing very well here I think.

mh01-231Marina Inoue is a great careless and…well, rather emotionless, but still quiet wicked maid. I think Marina-san is wildly talented and she’s become one of my favorites recently. I’m glad to see that she doesn’t let me down here playing Matsurika.

Asami Sanada did very well with all of Kanako’s craziness (almost to the extent that one could say “multiple personalities”) and made her a lot more interesting to me in a shallow way. Like Matsurika basically says, Kanako isn’t very appealing physically. I think if her hair was long she’d look better, but I suppose she has to look plain to make all the other girls be so wonderful. But Asami-san makes at least Kanako’s voice positively cute with the way she’s always pouting and stuff. Such a cute little whine that girl has now~mh01-25

And of course, the one who shines brighter than anyone is Yu Kobayashi voicing Maria. Both sides of Maria sound absolutely perfect to me. Never has a cute innocent girl sounded so polite and wonderful and never has a trap sounded so wonderfully evil (and sadistic). The fact that Maria’s two sides are so very opposite really makes you have to admire Yu-san. Girl/Boy, Polite/Rude, Modest/Arrogant, and so on, and so on.

I…still can’t believe that for a boy entering high school in Japan that he is able to do such a loud high-pitched scream like this though. That makes him admirable somehow.

Of course Miyuki Sawashiro gets a special mention for being the Dorm Leader. Such a cute cat girl voice. As expected of Miyuki-san! *thumbs up* She’s the most versatile seiyuu in anime!

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Comedy

And our last category will be comedy because everything else falls here. The characters, the story, and in fact everything I mentioned above all lends itself to the most important thing thus far in this anime: Comedy.

mh01-21It’s an anime that’s supposed to make you laugh and at least for me it’s doing one hell of a job.

As I believe I’ve stated many times before I’m a girl who mostly picks my anime (at least my favorites) based on characters rather than plot. Here we have three (plus at least one girl I saw in the manga) characters that are going to be interesting for our comedy. Also, you know, it would be kind of nice to know more about them I suppose. Maria and Matsurika especially.

The two…characters (almost said girls lol) that are going to be responsible for Kanako’s woes. Of course, Matsurika does it more when she’s just ordered to (because she’s a maid), but she doesn’t care one way or the other which seems to be its own wonderful form of torture.mh01-31

But um yeah. Would really like to know why Maria has to dress like a girl. I got that her family owns the school or something so I assume it has something to do with that, but still. Would like clarification because something like that should really have someone curious.

What draws everyone to this anime is really just the one line summary though, I suppose: a girl that’s into yuri falls in love with a girl, finds out said girl is a guy who then proceeds to torture her mericlessly. The situation is awesome. The situations is very entertaining (especially when Maria moves into Kanako’s dorm room).

Wait…situation…then that would make this a sitcom! An anime sitcom involves sadistic traps!? Well hell. That’s ten times better than the same old tired crap they keep on recycling on American TV (divorced single parent, blah, blah, blah).

To wrap up what all of my rambling is trying to get at…I can’t explain why you should (or rather possibly would) like this anime. You just have to watch. Go. Now.

As for me, I love this anime. Mostly because of Maria.

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Maria is just fucking awesome. I want to meet a sadistic trap that is so pretty someday. (Also why can’t we all just call her Maria instead of Mariya since you know…obvious. I mean we all know who we’re talking about but that stuff is still annoying.)

I still have a whole pile of screencaps of Maria that I didn’t get the chance to use. Like I said before…best trap evar.

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Wow. Unorganized mess. First Impressions made me ramble all I wanted to. No one is going to read all of this. Nor should they (rambling). But it is quite useful for me. It helps me decide how easy an anime is to blog. It really is quite foolish for me to try to decide how to blog an anime before I start. This is going to make things easier.

Now I’m thinking I might want to do episodic blogging for Maria†Holic, because I just now that it’s easy to say stuff about it so far. I had to stop myself from talking. I ended up with a ton of screencaps too so my regular episodic blogging would be quite easy I think (basic screencap-comment way).

Hmm…well we’ll see after I watch the next episode. How much I have to say then will decide things. I haven’t really done regular blogging on a series besides Shugo Chara! since Nogizaka Haruka (i’m not blogging Skip Beat! regularly). Somehow…I think Maria and all the other girls could actually give me enough to say (but the overload in the blogosphere with Maria is definitely something on my mind too.) Like I said I’ll see how it goes.

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However one thing is for sure, don’t expect this much effort being put into my other first impression posts. This was tiring (especially adding in all the screencaps afterwards. I had too many and it was a pain to decide what to use and such.).

19 Comments

  1. Oh noes…not another excessively colorful anime that has a potential of causing seizures!

    Not sure if I will see this anime. I’ve been disappointed with Shaft lately.

  2. There’s those famous Shaft mixed reviews I always see.

    But…I’m hoping that Shaft isn’t disappointing for this anime. Apparently the manga is really, really great (and I agree from what I’ve read) so it’s pretty safe to say that if things go downhill Shaft is screwing up.

  3. ahhahahahaa. I read it all. xD

    I wasn’t really sure I was going to watch this, but I decided to put it on my “to-watch” list after seeing you talk about it a little bit earlier. I am sooooo glad someone subbed the early broadcast! It was awesome! I can’t wait to watch more! :D

  4. Maria is the best trap ever hands down. (Sorry Maora and Nagihiko).

    The voice acting is awesome.

    The first episode made me laugh so much. Defintley the best anime of winter 2009 (probably). I have to write my post on this to… (probably later this afternoon).

  5. I like Shaft and their pretty backgrounds and filters and weird effects. Screw seizures!

    I already saw the first episode and loved it as much as you did. I read like … one volume of the manga months ago so, I was definitely going to watch this. How can I not watch something featuring a sadistic trap? Not that I remember watching or reading anything with a “sadistic trap”. Shaft … never actually disappointed me before. I kinda like the way they do things and their seizure-causing effects don’t seem to work on me. I’m immuned! Plus, I like it because it’s pretty. Haha.

    And no matter what, I’m watching this for Maria. Kobayashi Yu is doing a great job at voicing both sides. I was actually panicking about this before but now I’m happy. She’s convincing and that scream was absolutely priceless. Think about it; it’s a guy whose voiced by a girl trying to sound like a guy screaming like a girl. Whoa. @_@ I lost myself.

    Kanako, well. I don’t particularly care about her … but she’s great too. With this, we can see where my interests lie. Hur. I love her inner self mode though. Absolutely priceless. And Matsuriko awesome. Meidos make everything better. Even moreso when they’ve got a sharp tongue.

    I loved the ED too. It’s a mess with pretty effects and colors. How can I love that? Dunno. I just do. XD

  6. For once, I think I actually like the maid character the best :p I expected Matsurika to be this boring and obedient maid, but she talks back a lot and takes some nice jabs at Mariya, kinda like keeping him in line. I love her already :3 I can’t wait to see where this anime goes

  7. 0.o I might just blog it.What day does it come out~?

  8. One word: amazing! From seeing this early releases, I can say that both Maria†Holic and Akikan are going to be great! I was planning to read the manga before the anime aired, but I just couldn’t find it D:
    Who doesn’t love Maria? She’s/He’s that epic of a character. The comedy is also great, and the strange animation effects are really funny (like seeing Kanako’s thoughts flying around xP). The ED song was catchy and overall it was good. Now I really want to watch the OP :3

    @Dia: The airing begins on Jan 4th on Chiba TV if that’s what you’re asking o_O It’s the first episode again tho, I guess @_@’

  9. It should be the first episode again on the 4th. Corona-Yuurisan Subs, SubDeSu, gg, Sukisubs, and maybe Saikyo Subs are going to sub it (according to http://fansubwiki.com/Who_Subs_What:_WINTER_2008 ) if that helps. :]

  10. yay I read all of it! Do I get a cookie? I’m glad you liked it, I haven’t seen any Shaft work except I heard SZSensei, which I loved the quirky animation for, so I was estatic at the animation in MariaHolic, I had high expectations, and they were blown away! When I heard it was going to be an anime, I was curious so I looked it up and read the manga, and yeah there isn’t a lot of the chapters available so I’m looking forward to how this turns out!

  11. Oh my, such a fantastic review about Maria†Holic . *claps* Actually, when I scanned the Winter Anime List, the only one that’s approved in my watchlist is Maria†Holic. Not a fanatic but I like Yuri too but I hate Yaoi. XD The plot seems really… complicated at first glance of the excerpt but I kind off understood it when I watched the first episode.

    Oh? Where were you able to read the manga? Crazy me; I never knew there was one. :P But then again, I’m really disapppointed with the Winter Animes. *sigh* At least, Maria†Holic made me happy.

  12. This is definitely one of my favorite so far. I didn’t enjoy CLANNAD After Story Much, and the others were emo. It’s great to see a nice a Trap Anime again, though.

  13. I read all of it. :3

    Wow, so long. Can tell you really love MariaHolic. xD

    I think this is my first Shaft anime, too, but I thought I had watched one of their series before since they’re so well-known. Guess not. Hmm. :/

    Anyways, still haven’t watched the early stream but should I? I already did so with Akikan! but that was because I was bored and am kinda meh to it so far. I know MariaHolic will be much more rewarding but I’m still undecided. *so indecisive* ^^;

    *gasp* Did I hear you say good animation?! 8D Oh, if I was having any doubts about this show, I’m in now! xDDD

    Music I’ll have to decide when I hear it for myself but it’s already in my good books if there are wonderful piano pieces. Hehe~! X3

    Argh! I’m so tempted to watch this now cuz of your compliments to the seiyuu. I’m a sucker for a good voice acting.

    Lol Sitcoms. xD
    And sadistic traps…sadistic traps…ok, where can I watch this? xDD I have to start my first impressions post anyway so might as well not cram everything all into one day.

    Thanks for the awesome post and for all the work you put into it. Cuz it convinced me but I’m not that hard to convince if I think about it, lol. xD;

    Oh, yay! Found it! And it’s already subbed! Awesome! *watching it now* x3

  14. Never been big on trap anime before but this episode was good, and I have a good feeling about this anime being one of the best upcoming shows. I’m looking forward to the next ep.

  15. kelakagandy: Then you get a free internet cookie!

    Wasn’t it awesome? GAh! I don’t think there can possibly be an awesomer anime coming out in Winter.

    warriorhope: Yes. I think it goes something like this now: Maria > Nagihiko > Maroa (aww poor Maora at the end, but since he’s actually gay…)

    I will look forward to that post then!

    saimaisama: There’s the Shaft love I wanted to see more of. Right before watching Maria I saw an overwhelming amount of hate misdirected at the series that made me feel a little discouraged.

    Well, traps are almost always mischeivious. It’s awesome that it’s upped to sadistic in this case though. I love watching Kanako suffer!

    The ending is so awesome that I’m…tempted to try and find the actual game. But it doesn’t exist…yet (I hope fans better than me will soon take care of that).

    nazarielle: You just don’t like Maria best because she’s a dude.

    But yeah, Matsurika is pretty awesome too. I love how she’ll say whatever she wants about Maria.

    Dia: Um, it airs officially on Sunday I think.

    Meball: I still need to watch Akikan…but I know! Isn’t it awesome?

    Oh god I know! I kind of hope they’ll have the opening in with the first airing of the show, but somehow I doubt it. It’s too bad. I want to see (and hear) it since I know I like Shaft’s opening and ending animation anyway.

    Karen: No! Because you asked for a cookie, you don’t get it. …But yeah you can have a cookie.

    I hope the manga gets more people scanlating it too now that the anime is going to be so popular (I swear that unless things screw up it will be the best of Winter).

    kirapika: I’m not alone then? I like yuri but dislike yaoi too. Not sure why though (I think I just always like female characters over guys).

    There’s almost always a manga, novel, or VN somewhere for an anime. Unless it’s done by Sunrise. Then I usually assume the opposite.

    Thanh Nguyen: *gasp* You didn’t enjoy Clannad’s After Story? How rude! Ah, but of course I’m kidding. The After Story got off to a really lousy start. Not interesting at all.

    Xiao Jie: Oh my~ Well I kind of knew you would. But you get a cookie anyway (I’m giving away so many more than I thought I would).

    I thought I might have seen something from Shaft before too, but I was wrong. Just because they’re popular, but their series all happen to be popular things I somehow missed.

    So, you are going to watch the early stream? Good because you have to because it’s so good. MUCH more worthy than Akikan (I say this despite not seeing it).

    You are a sucker for good voice acting aren’t you? I can tell because that actually caused you to say something good about AkaSaka (*gasp* No one says anything good about AkaSaka though!).

    No, no, no, do not cram everything into one day. I tried to do that too often with Weekly Anime and it almost killed the feature.

    Persocom: Since there’s so few and most of them suck by the description alone it’s a safe thing to think it’ll be one of the best. I’m already assuming it will be among my favorites from now on.

  16. […] as Fuyumaiden mentioned in her post, is the best trap ever. He plays a very convincing girl that would full […]

  17. OK… so I was just listening to “What is this feeling?” from the Wicked soundtrack…and after the “She’s blonde” remark in the lyrics I was like. OH MY GOD. THIS SONG IS PERFECT FOR MARIAHOLIC. Please tell me I’m not just crazy? ^^

  18. After finally watching the first episode of KuroKami, I thought that the manga was better than it. So that makes Maria Holic my favorite show this season so far :)

  19. […] why do none of the characters have noses? They don’t really in Maria+Holic either sometimes, but at least that makes the characters all look pretty rather than deformed. […]


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