Maria-sama ga Miteru, Volume 6, Valentine’s Gift, Last Part, is simply chock-full of Yuri love-love, as it covers the second half of the Valentine’s Day arc. This includes all three of the half day dates with the bouton, and the creepy, yet pity-worthy Sachiko stalker, Mafuyu’s, story. The manga much more closely follows the novels which means, thankfully, no stupid fake cliffhanger as Yumi loses sight of Sachiko for a millisecond, and much more lovey-dovey ends to all the dates.
The manga begin with a replay of the “Surprise Chocolate” scene from the end of the first half of the arc, at the end of which Yumi and Sachiko agree to go on a half day date. Having agreed to that, Yumi is now completely at loose ends on where to go and what to do. Once that’s settled, we turn to the trials and tribulations of ace cameraman Tsutako and newspaper club president Minako, as they try to snag a good story and photo.
Yumi and Sachiko have a painfully cute date. We get to watch them wooja-wooja at each other as Sachiko talks about not ever fitting in, and enjoy Yumi raging at how unfair it is that Onee-sama is richer, taller, skinnier and more beautiful than she is. Most enjoyably, we can watch Yumi overheat at the thought of Sachiko undressing on the other side of that changing room curtain. ^_^ Yumi hangs on Sachiko romantically as Yoshino shouts “go go!” from behind, as she did in the novel. (Big grin from me on that.)
Next up, we follow Yoshino, as she stalks Rei and Chisato on their date. I am rapidly coming to find Yoshino so adorable that I’m in danger of exploding when she pouts. ^_^ When Chisato pays her a visit and admits that she’s insanely jealous of Yoshino and acknowledges that Rei called her “Yoshino” 5 times, Yoshino really shows how decent a person she is.
Shimako’s date begins at the end of Valentine’s Day, as she and Sei walk out of Lillian together, and Sei thanks her for the cake. Shimako is unaccountably shy about it; Sei takes her hand. Shizuka, at the beginning of the date seems a little cool and far off, but when she gazes at Shimako intimately and says she wants to get to know more about her, Shimako, and this reader’s, heart pounds just a bit. ^_^ Their date is, of all of them, I think the most interesting. But that could be because I find Shizuka a fascinating character. The day ends as Shimako breaks down, for the last time, in Sei’s arms and we get to see her be “big sister like.” Because of the way the characters were portrayed in the anime, this relationship is the hardest to get a bead on, but looking back now, its easy to see that of all the soeur relationships we see in the Rose Mansion, Sei and Shimako are very much like real sisters.
The last story covers Mafuyu, the girl who has admired Sachiko since kindergarten and follows her as she hides the red card for the Valentine’s Day treasure hunt. Mafuyu is much less a creepy stalker in the manga than she is in the anime and WAY less creepy than in the novel, where she was downright creepy. ^_^ The whole story reads more like a tragic love from afar than anything else.
I just started reading the 17th novel of the series last night, so stepping this far back to the 6th novel was well…novel. Watching how unsure Yumi is “back then,” knowing how much more confident she is “now,” is interesting. And kind of charming. Yoshino is da bomb, and Shimako remains the most mysterious character – and a fitting companion for both Sei and Shizuka, in this volume.
Of the Maria-sama ga Miteru manga volumes, this one has most closely followed the novels. And, as a result, I’ve liked it best. ^_^
Art – 6 (Everyone is drawn cute in a downward aged way and I honestly don’t like Sachiko’s character design at all)
Story – 8
Character – 8
Yuri – 5
Service – 1
Overall – 7