Maria Watches Over Us Anime, Volume 1 (English)

August 5th, 2008

If you’ve been reading this blog since anytime after 2004, you’ll notice that I have completely, hopelessly, irrevocably fallen in love with the series Maria-sama ga Miteru. Like many fans, I had never heard of it prior to the anime being released, but almost immediately was captivated by the characters. Propelled by a desire to know more, I followed the manga, the Drama CDs and, eventually, the novels.

Like many hardcore Marimite fans, I never truly believed the anime would be licensed – and feared that it might be and then eviscerated by a company that didn’t understand shoujo, or who only saw it through fanboy eyes.

When RightStuf licensed it, I was ambiguous – hopeful, yet cautious. When they added in the subtitle track with honorifics, I let my guard down just a very little bit because, after all, they could still …well, we’ve all been burned before by changed names, rewritten scripts, etc.

Then RightStuf opened a dialogue up with me, and we had a nice conversation about Marimite fandom and our obsessive need to spend time in the company of these characters – and our love of *stuff* related to them. At that point, I was convinced that, even if their release was not perfect by my definition, they were trying harder than any other company I had ever seen. As a result I was inclined to be generous. ^_^

After some little delay, resolved by the RightStuf representative with humor and grace – thank you very much, Alison – I received my box set of Maria Watches Over Us Season 1, slapped the phone charm on my cel phone and a DVD into the player to sit back and see what Nozomi/RightStuf had wrought.

It is not perfect. Even if *I* thought it was, no doubt other people would have different nits to pick! ^_^ It is however, a very good, very enjoyable English-language edition of what I never expected we would ever see legally licensed.

I am glad that they have the honorifics track. There’s still a few things that jar, but overall, there are fewer moments than I expected where I went “Huh? Oh.” And I do really find it less intrusive to have the honorifics than the always slightly awkward attempts at translating them. When watching the extras, “Maria-sama ni ha Naisho” shorts, the versions are the original subtitle track and even knowing that, I still find it a little odd to read “Mother Maria” and “Lady Sachiko.”

The plot is still hours of the most delightful nothing I have ever enjoyed. The non-adventures of average girl Yumi, as she is drawn into the rarified air of the school student council, is still by turns touching, funny, sad, funny, snarky and funny.

I just finished reading the 24th novel, and taking this huge step back was a chance for me to see just how much both Sachiko and Yumi have matured into the women they have become a year later. It makes me want the fourth season of the anime so much more, so everyone can get to know Touko the way I now know her. (She’s not the same girl as in Rainy Blue, I can tell you that. Neither is Kashiwagi what he seems to be.)

The *only* thing I really want to complain about is this – attached to the box itself was a sheet of paper with a synopsis for Season One that, when I attemtped to remove it, got stuck and pulled a bit of the cover picture off, thus ruinng the look of the box. Now I have to keep the stupid paper on. I really was annoyed by this – there was no reason to glue it to the box cover! I don’t even like boxes, but come on – if you’re going to ship me a paper box, please don’t glue stuff to it.

In every other way, I was delighted beyond measure to step back and once again be introduced to and fall in love with the lovely ladies of Lillian.

Ratings:

Art – 6
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 3 (with an extra point for Sei’s “birds of a feather” comment in regards to why she was sure that Kashiwagi wouldn’t make a pass at Sachiko.)
Service – 0

Obsessive Marimite Fan – 100

Overall – 8

I think this box set would make a really good gift idea for a young lady in your life that is just getting into anime. A nice change of pace from the Death Note kind of thing. ^_^

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10 Responses

  1. Sleepy says:

    Thanks for the review!! I can’t wait! I’ve ordered mine but still waiting for it to arrive in the mail!! Next time I’m definitely ordering from RightStuf website so that I can pick up on the extras (phone strap)!! I’ve also started reading the novels. Thanks again!

  2. Filo says:

    Did you tear off the paper quickly, because I tore it off slowly and it didn’t rip anything. I’d suggest pulling the torn piece off the glue and using clear tape; that’s what I do when it happens

  3. Burnouts3s3 says:

    I just watched it…
    and fell in love with it.
    It has to be one of the most funniest series I’ve ever seen.
    I love Sei, she’s so full of win.
    Thank you for the review!

  4. DezoPenguin says:

    You know, I had my doubts that this series could live up to the giant frenzy of squeeing that accompanied the release announcement.

    Having watched the first season…I’m quite happy to pronounce myself very wrong. This is an excellent series, the kind I already know I’m going to pull out and rewatch a year or so from now (and probably times afterwards). One thing I love about the characters is that so few of them can be so neatly dovetailed into stereotypical patterns; everybody has some depth to them that drives the drama and makes one care about them all the more.

    I still, however, want them to release a Rosa Gigantea cell phone with the second set so that I can have something to hang the charm from.

  5. Inis ipis says:

    Yeepee!

    I just got my copy of the first season volume. Got to import here to the Philippines and all that.

    Though i wish that they include an English voice track since it’s the Animax’s English dub version that i got to know the series and fell in love with (even with it’s sometimes loopy translations)

    Still, I’m very much happy with the Right Stuff DVD that i got. The funny 7 extras are enough for the price.

    As Mami Yamaguchi once said ” the newspaper club thanks it’s lucky star…. and Mary too, of course.”

  6. Bea says:

    OMG your final “Loser Marimite Fan” comment made my day!
    Guess I really am one!
    I ordered the set today but it will take ages to ship to Italy, gah.

    Anyway, this is the first time I leave a comment but am a long-time lurker, I take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work (just so you know, even if I couldn’t manage to answer your poll, I am a 23-year-old girl, so I guess it matches the trend…)
    Sorry for having gone off-topic!
    Keep it up!

  7. Mandy says:

    I usually order from Amazon since I get free shipping… but it was out of stock! I hope that can be taken as a good sign for the popularity of the series if the demand exceeded expectations like that. ^^

    Or maybe Amazon just fails >< I should be good and order directly from RightStuf anyway, I suppose.

  8. Obviously, I can’t say with absolute surity, but given that pre-orders were higher than expected, I would assume that the distributor didn’t order enough to meet the demand. Happens all the time.

  9. Anonymous says:

    is there realy difrence in that box set then the anime

  10. Anonymous – I’m not quite sure what you mean by your question. The box set *is* the anime. There’s no other way to get the anime, except as a season box set.

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