I’m taking a risk here in calling Volume 2 of Maria Watches Over Us a “Yuri” anime, I know. Bear with me. (No pun intended.)
Once upon a time, I was at an event. We had a number of imaginary beasts at the event – there was a dragon carried by a half dozen people, and a hobby horse and a rag man. (Not to be confused with the comic hero The Ragman.) Rag men are ambiguous human figures, covered in rags, and, although historically they are some neighbor, the ancient tradition of guising means that once the costume is on, you have no idea who it is. Nor did I, as the costume was passed around to any number of people.
Then I looked across the field and I noticed that the ragman was my wife. I recognized her knees. From a distance. Despite the fact that she, like almost everyone there was wearing jeans, it was an immediate recognition.
And that, in a nutshell, is why I think that Episode 3, “A Cool, Refreshing Breeze” is the *most romantic* episode in the whole of the Maria Watches Over Us series. Because Sachiko did not lie when she said that she would recognize Yumi, even if she were wrapped up in bandages like a mummy.
It also happens to be a very, very funny episode – and extremely well-adapted from the novel. The looks on the girls’ faces as they enter the bizarro boy’s world of Hanadera, the reaction of the guys to the appearance of beautiful rich girls…and the shock as Yumi falls prey to a misguided and misbegotten plan.
Meanwhile, in Episode 4, I am moved not once, but twice, to tears by Yoshino, (who RULES this book, btw) and smile like a loon at Sachiko’s gakuran-wearing self.
Things that happen during the sports festival will be prime movers of later events, but for now, we are in ignorant bliss and able to just enjoy the story as it goes by – another important moment in Yumi’s time with Sachiko.
For my money, these two are probably the best episodes of the series. The funniest, the most touching, the cutest, the most meaningful. The first glimpse of Yumi’s ability to manage Sachiko, the very very first inkling of the Yamayurikai to come.
Rainy Blue happened just so we could see these two episodes. And thank the gods of anime that we did.
Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 4
Marimite Fan Service – 10000
Overall – 9
Did I mention ***squeee!!!*** Sachiko in a gakuran?