Maria-sama ga Miteru Manga, Volume 8 (マリア様がみてる)

April 8th, 2008

If you’re a serious (read: obsessed) fan of Maria-sama ga Miteru, you know what the biggest question torturing fans right now is – will the series end with Sachiko’s graduation…or with Yumi’s? I think it’s safe to say that there’s not a single rabid fan on this planet who would rather the series ended sooner than later. (Perhaps one or two, but clearly they aren’t *true* fans. ^_^)

Sachiko’s graduation is so traumatic and problematic, that there have been about a dozen novels between “New Year” and March – and still the third-years haven’t graduated. Time is slowing down, lots of short stories are being written. The newest novel, Margaret ni Ribon, even goes so far as to tell stories from the past of the former Rosas; Eriko, Youko and Sei. Anything to keep Sachiko from graduating!

And so, what better time is there to take a look at the latest – and I believe, last – of the manga volumes, Maria-sama ga Miteru: Itsushika Toshimo (マリア様がみてる), in which Eriko, Sei and Youko graduate and retire from the field at Lillian High School.

In the first story, “Will,” Youko ambushes a confused Yumi to ask her to please take of her uncute, hysterical, little sister that she loves very much. Yumi wonders if Rosa Gigantea has asked Shimako for a last favor, but as always, their relationship is not the same as other soeurs. Shimako takes advantage of the moment to thank Yumi for being willing to put up with Sei’s abuse, and Yumi, in turn begs Shimako to not leave the school – because suddenly, she’s overcome with fear that Shimako might. Yoshino relates her final meeting with Eriko as if it were Musashi’s epic duel at Ganryu Island. ^_^

Yumi’s moving farewell with Sei is handled beautifully, although I thought that the slow-motion imagery of the anime, and the internal dialogue of the novel, both lent themselves to making the scene richer than here in the manga. Nonetheless, it’s still a lovely scene, ruined beautifully by Sei’s joke on Yumi. Also, in the manga, Yumi kisses Sei firmly in the middle of the cheek – not just at the very corner of the mouth, as she does in the novel. This echoed the kiss Sei gave Shizuka, and I think it’s done very consciously to be the closest possible kiss to a kiss on the lips without actually being one. I’m sorry that was lost.

The following chapter covers the three Rosa’s’ memories of their meeting one another, and looking back at their past dealings before they became friends: Youko’s impact on Eriko’s drive for excellence, Sei and Eriko’s fight in kindergarten, Sei trying to freeze out Youko, only to find her standing right there when the cold wind finishes blowing.

Last, the graduation itself, with Sachiko’s unexpected breakdown, its unintended consequences, and Rei’s superb save. A fabulous scene, which I have to admit, I like best on the Drama CD of the same name.

Yuri here is slight: Sei x Yumi ‘shippers might be satisfied with the kiss scene. Otherwise, it’s mostly a long, overdue look into the women who were the stars of the school for the series to date – the graduating Rosas. Frankly, I can’t get enough of them. Obviously, neither can Konno-sensei – after all, she keeps bringing them back again and again into the series. She said flat out that Sei’s her favorite character. Well, duh. That’s ’cause the sky is blue. ^_^

The one downside is that the manga appears to have come to an end. Never a comfortable fit in the sex-riddled Margaret and The Margaret magazines, the end of this volume very much reads like the *end.* Imagine if the series *had* ended here. We’d have no Noriko x Shimako, no Yumi x Touko, no Sei x Kei, not Tsutako x Shouko…good heavens, three of those four are in my personal “favorite couples” list. Horrible to contemplate.

Speaking as a rabid fan – Konno-sensei, please let the series end when *Yumi* graduates! Even if you’re sick to death of the series, we don’t care…keep writing! ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 1
Service – 1

Overall – 8

Oh, and total fanboy Sean tells me that next month marks the 10th anniversary of Maria-sama ga Miteru. Happy 10th, Yumi.

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12 Responses

  1. neo_hrtgdv says:

    Erica, do you think this series will be so legendary that the novels get reprinted in the future? I don’t know enough Japanese (why some call it “moon”?) to read the novels yet but I really hope by the time I’m good at reading novels I can still buy all the novels in Japan, I want reprints of Marimite, I want them to become “classical” so we can always get to read them ;_;

  2. I don’t know about “classics” but the early volumes have already been reprinted at least once. My copy of Novel 1 is a second printing, and I bought that a few years ago.

  3. Rich says:

    I never had problems getting copies of the books. It’s not an issue, really.

    But I need to put forward my theory that Lillian Jogakuen is rapidly approaching the event horizon of a black hole… that’s the only way to explain the extreme time dilation. Perhaps just as they cross over, Sachiko will be reaching for her diploma… :D

    Personally, I hope the series doesn’t end with Sachiko’s graduation. I like Sachiko, but Yumi is the reason I read it. I especially want to see what sort of Rosa Chinensis she becomes, and how she deals with being a 3rd-year. To me, everything else is just a prelude to that.

  4. Shiny says:

    So, the Marimite manga has really ended? That… Doesn’t make much sense. The Rosas’ graduation is a good moment to end it, yes, but provides no resolution to the series’ central problem – Yumi and Sachiko’s relationship. Although many may not like it, *they* are the central characters, not Eriko, Youko or Sei. Has Konno-sensei approved of it, or was it Nagasawa Satoru’s independent decision?

  5. shiny – As I said in the review – it feels as if it is the last. I can’t say for sure.

    Why did they end it early – same as anything else does – no one was buying it. That’s pretty much the reason any series gets cancelled.

  6. Tomoyo says:

    I can’t believe Sachiko’s year still hasn’t graduated yet! I haven’t been keeping up with your awesome novel summaries because I want to watch the anime adaptations first, but I sort of assumed that Yumi was a third year by now. (Yes, I know what they say about people who assume -_-). Ah well, I love the old Rosas too so a lot of good filler never hurt anybody. :)

    Randomly, I’m starting to learn Japanese and I’ve gotten good at reading hiragana but I’m hopeless at kanji. Any suggestions on light novels/manga that are light on kanji (or at least heavy on furigana) and are interesting to read?

  7. JazzCat says:

    Why did they end it early – same as anything else does – no one was buying it.

    That seems a bit weird to me, since I get the idea that the series is pretty popular in Japan. Or does that only apply to the manga?

    I also wonder if there will be a spin-off of this series, with Yumi attending college and meeting new people. Of course you’d miss all the Yumi-Sachiko dynamic, which is a pretty important part of Marimite. Those back-stories and interludes do have sort of a spin-off feel to them already though.

  8. jazzcat – I was referring to the manga only. The novel serializations have not yet stopped. As I said in the review, the manga has never found a comfortable home in the manga magazines Shueisha has.

  9. You’re right, it’s in a decent class of its own, and it’ll never fit into the steamy stuff. XD

    If that Volume 8 is really the end of the manga, that’s sad (and already I’m still missing the Tagalog version of the anime series and longing for its rightful return), because asides from making the story much more accessible and digestible for some people (who have difficulty reading college-level kanji), it gives the whole story, as you’ve said, a “multi-layered”, multimedia knockout experience.

  10. Anonymous says:

    apparently the manga series is over with this volume, according to japanese wikipedia.

    マリア様がみてる 8(2008/01/25, ISBN 978-4-08-846253-0)
    原作『マリア様がみてる いとしき歳月(後編)』より「Will」「いつしか年も」を収録。雑誌『ザ・マーガレット』2007年8月〜12月号初出。長沢智版は、本巻で完結。

  11. Eva says:

    Dear readers, please there might be or not be a continuation of the anime, but I think that the relationship between Sachiko and Yumi will last.
    There is no “Loving” relationship between Touka and Yumi, this is what I get when I see the anime makers translation of it. If one watches closely one will see that there is something else bringing them together, but not love.

  12. Megan says:

    i just finished reading volume 5, (online…) but nowhere on the internet has volume 6, and i have no idea where i could buy it! suggestions, pleaseee? im desperateee, hereeeeeee.

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