Maria Watches Over Us Anime: Season 3, Volume 1

April 2nd, 2009

The day my Season 3 Box Set of Maria Watches Over Us arrived I, like many of you, immediately opened box the looking for the third of the three phone straps. Once the Yellow Rose was safely attached to my phone, I was able to turn my attention to the DVDs themselves.

Volume 1 consists of “Vacation of the Lambs” and “Operation OK (Temp) For Short.”

Let me set the scene for you. “Rainy Blue” is over. Yumi has learned the truth of Sachiko’s distance from her, that she was in denial and grieving over her dying grandmother. Yumi has ceased her wide-eyed adoration of her Onee-sama as something perfect and “over there” and is starting to see her as a human being.

In this third season, Yumi’s begun to relate to Sachiko as an equal. The two of them are slowly rebuilding their relationship which had been strained to near-breaking. Yumi is beginning to assert herself, Sachiko is beginning to take herself less seriously, and to rely on Yumi more. It’s slow going for both of them.

In “Vacation” Sachiko invites Yumi to her summer house. It’s not the smoothest vacation ever. Yumi’s still bruised from “Rainy Blue,” and isn’t really sure of herself. She’s never really thought Sachiko’s life through – about the politics involved with her status, or the people around her. Sachiko has never really had a companion, she’s used to being the sole child in the company of adults. She’s also still a little idealistic about the nature of the soeur relationship and forgets, from time to time, that it comes with no magic powers of comprehension.

However. Yumi and Sachiko awkwardly get past all this and at the end of “Vacation” are indubitably closer that ever before. This story is the last one that will ever feature a low-self-esteem Yumi. This story is *the* turning point in the entire series. This story is the beginning of Yumi becoming Rosa Chinensis. “Vacation” is a beautiful story, with some lovely romantic moments.

“Operation OK” is the first time we really see the Yumi and Sachiko we’ve always wanted to see. Yumi is made responsible for the plan to acquaint Sachiko with their decidely male counterparts of Hanadera Academy. I found this particular story gut-bustingly funny, for any number of reasons. When Yumi caves and tells Sachiko what is planned, it is not weakness, as it appears to be, but Yumi’s unerring ability to manage Sachiko, that has finally borne fruit.

The scene where the Yamayurikai finally meets the Hanadera Student Council never fails to make me laugh out loud. The look on the Rosa’s faces as they gaze up…and up…at the Yakushiji twins, the memory of Noriko’s “ham” notation for Takada (left out of the anime, but it still makes me laugh when Takada flexes) and the Yumi/Yuuki comedy duo and Yoshino’s zinger.

This volume is quite possibly the most “important” in the series. If you are (and I am) watching this series to see how the characters mature and develop, then you really should take a second and just lovingly watch this volume. Take time to enjoy the details, the higher-quality art and the wonderfulness that is Fukuzawa Yumi.

Ratings:

Art – 8
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 3
Service – 1

Overall – 8

Now, while I applaud Right Stuf in their efforts to fill my house with even more crap, this box set sadly fell very short of the good crap I got from the Collector’s edition from Japan for these two episodes. I wonder if it will ever *be* possible to throw $90 away just to get pressed leaf bookmarks, White Rose Family themed faux-leather book covers, Yumi’s hair ribbons, embossed paper coasters and limited edition postcards. I dream of that day.

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5 Responses

  1. Motormind says:

    I actually think those episodes are the most boring of the lot; especially the part with the vacation at Sachiko’s home is mostly wasted. I hoped that Yumi and Sachiko would make up properly after the catastrophic events of “Rainy Blue” (which could already have been largely avoided if Sachiko would just have told what was going on), but all they do is read, quarrel wich some local rich brats and go shopping. Yay.

    I also think that the Hanadera Student Council doesn’t bring anything of real importance to the story. Its members are tear-inducingly boring and a total mismatch for the YamaYurikai–with the possible exception of Alice, who only gets used for one weird joke.

    It got a little better after that, but not by much. The real saving grace of the third season is Kanako (whom I realy like as a character), but her story eventually goes out with a whimper as well.

    For me, the first two seasons are the seasons of Marimite, even though I find “Rainy Blue” excruciating in its unwarranted angst. I see anything that comes after that as more of an extended epilogue.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I have a total different opinion about the ‘third season’ than Motormind. To me, the third season was probably the reason why I fell in love with the series so much. In the OVA’s we finally get to see Yumi and Sachiko, and the other members of the YamaYurikai, interact with each other as soeurs and real friends. That’s why I love MariMite so much: the interaction between the different characters is so splendid and so much fun.

    Also, The Lambs’ vacation is my favourite OVA, *because* of the fact that Sachiko and Yumi don’t do a lot (but a whole lot *happens*). It was so lovely to see them interact with each other. It was so lovely how the other members of the YamaYurikai went to visit them. Everything was simply so lovely! (Hmmmm, I’m sensing a loser fangirl to the extreme, here…)

    Yes, the first two seasons were good. But if it hadn’t been for the third season, where the drama is far lesser and the characters’ interaction is more prominent, I doubt I had fallen so much for this series.

    /end ramble! XD

  3. Anonymous says:

    umm, is there a review of marimite 4th season?? not the first one, more like..marimite 4th season: end of season review, something like that u.u

  4. yuuki says:

    I actually enjoyed those 2 episodes. As I’ve been plowing through the previous seasons like a shrimp buffet. I owe that thanks to many of the GL stories that I’ve been reading lately. It kind of helped me get past “aesthetics”. Because I’ve never been too keen on the stylization of “shoujo” manga. Not to mention the discovery of Nobuko Yoshiya, a Japanese (lesbian) novelist who was a pioneer of “such” works and the “Class S” genre that ‘MariMite” is modeled after. I’ve never enjoyed a series such as this. I must own it eventually.

    I had such a laugh at ep. 1. “In your face you elite b*tches!”

    I’m still puzzled about ‘Sachiko’s dislike of men. Never had I seen someone that was so uncomfortable that you almost pass out. That whole meeting pretty much summed up a exaggeration of what you don’t know about women and men. That women are from Venus and men are from Mars. Well, except for ‘Alice’. Which introduces another topic. Which again I was surprised.

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