Anti-Yuri Manga: Maria Holic, Volume 1 (English)

October 27th, 2009

I want you all to know that I REALLY tried. I took a deep breath, smiled and prepared to do my very very best to approach Maria Holic Volume 1, with an open and cheerful mind. It is absolutely obvious that Maria Holic is meant to be read as broad parody of Yuri tropes. (Yes, yes, pun intended.) What it is, however, is broad and crude.

Kanako is attending a very elite all-girl’s school where she hopes to become closer to the memory of her late mother who was a student there, and to find a soulmate, because she is attracted to women. Kanako is portrayed as a typical “onnazuki,” a person who likes women, but is too hapless and hopeless to get a girlfriend. Kanako falls for practically every girl she sees, which is both cute and sad at the same time.

Because this is not a romance, but a “comedy,” Kanako immediately falls into the clutches of physically cute, but emotionally sadistic Mariya, who is really a boy cross-dressing for reasons not yet mentioned. (I know they will be. I’m reviewing *Volume 1*.)

Kanako blunders around the school both befriending and be-enemying various characters, and generally making a fool of herself for our “entertainment.” The people around her act in ways that make no sense, except that they are meant to be exceedingly broad parodies of typical Yuri tropes, and so act like those tropes unrestrained by sense or sensibility.

I want you to know that I did my best to not read more into this manga than was warranted. I will *not* rant about how Maria Holic is not only anti-Yuri but anti-woman. I squelched that pretty hard as I sat there gritting my teeth, feeling more and more cranky as I read.

I will not talk about how a feminist reading of this volume made me want to grab up my friends Mr. Knife and Mr, Hot Tar and take them trick-or-treating with me, because that would be me being ridiculous and you’d all take me seriously.

What I will say is this – I found the anti-lesbian “humor” painful. At one point, Mariya calls Kanako “lesbo girl” and it really, really upset me. It was meant to be hurtful to Kanako. We’re supposed to find humor in her reaction to this. But, when in a single panel she pleaded with her dead mother (or the Virgin Mary, it’s really moot which,) “why is everyone picking on me?” I lost it and started to cry. If you found that line funny, I hate you. It’s as simple as that. It wasn’t funny, it was cruel. Bullying is not amusing.

When I reviewed the Mariaholic anime, I said that the anime was, at it’s core, about the emotional torture of a young lesbian. I can see that the manga is not quite that – it’s colder, more dispassionate. Where Sasamekikoto plays with typical Yuri tropes in a goofy way, drawing on their faces, if you will, Maria Holic is more mean about it – flipping up skirts and then saying *we* overreacted.

Ratings:

Overall – For me, it’s in negative numbers. Too many tears, too many nosebleeds, too much pain.

The very worst thing about this series is knowing that, instead of finding love in a healthy relationship, Kanako will be fall prey to Stockholm Syndrome, and Mariya – who is loathesome – will become progressively more sympathetic until we can justify what will clearly be an unhealthy, unequal, unreasonable relationship. Once again, it is Mariya on the cover, not Kanako. And that says everything there is to say about this series.

Thanks to Okazu Superhero Dan P. for sponsoring today’s review!

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90 Responses

  1. “But, when in a single panel she pleaded with her dead mother, “why is everyone picking on me?” I lost it and started to cry.”

    I just used to get angry with Maria Holic, now I downright hate it for THIS.

    And you’re not the only one who’d cry over that.

    I once said it my own review of Maria Holic, that if you stripped away the icing of the “comedy” what you’re left with is:

    A lonely, awkward girl transfers to a school where she is repeatedly picked on physically and psychologically by a boy. She can’t tell a soul since he uses his affluent position in the school as leverage over her. Meanwhile, he threatens her with rape and expulsion on a daily basis.

    Regardless of whether Kanako was a girl or even a lesbian, I’d hate Maria Holic, because were she a boy and this was happening to her, I’d want to cry over it as well.

    People are cruel, horrible things. And the ones who find this amusing are worse.

  2. @Denominator – very well put.

  3. ClockworkGirl says:

    I watched a couple episodes of this series. Initially, I thought that it would be another schoolgirl romance story, which, though very overused, I still enjoy.

    To my dislike, I was surprised with Maria being a guy, as well as some psychotic power-drunk maniac. His high position and constant threatening of Kanako pisses me off. Kanako, while being cute, develops a “like” for everyone. This annoys me, because nobody I’ve ever met, straight or not, as ever done this. I don’t see how anybody could really enjoy something like this. I stopped watching the anime and won’t even bother reading.

  4. BruceMcF says:

    Ah, so “Maria-Holic” means like being Alcoholic, but for Mariya, so its a psyche being destroyed instead of a liver. Oh, and plus that’s funny, laugh along or you are a spoilsport.

    Blech.

  5. Anonymous says:

    That single panel sums up why I loathe Maria Holic. That and “lesbian” as an insult.

    The coldness the manga treats her abuse is grating.

    I can stomach a lot, but something like this is just…no go.

    And people wonder why this manga generates hostile reactions so much…

  6. Cryssoberyl says:

    Thank you for warning people about this. I am one of the fortunate – two episodes of the anime is all I have been or ever will be exposed to.

    This skeleton in the closet of the Yuri genre is best left there forever, to be forgotten as thoroughly as possible.

  7. George R says:

    Here I thought the anime was bad enough, but it sounds like the manga fails at comedy but comes close to succeeding at hate speach. I wonder if a manga about torturing puppies and kittens would be as popular?

    To clean my the taste from my mouth, I’ll watch the first R2 DVDs of Aoi Hana and Taisho Yakyuu Musume which arrived today. Much better.

    Thanks for taking one for the team, Erica. This has to have hurt.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “…I once said it my own review of Maria Holic, that if you stripped away the icing of the ‘comedy’ what you’re left with is:

    “A lonely, awkward girl transfers to a school where she is repeatedly picked on physically and psychologically by a boy. She can’t tell a soul since he uses his affluent position in the school as leverage over her. Meanwhile, he threatens her with rape and expulsion on a daily basis.

    “Regardless of whether Kanako was a girl or even a lesbian, I’d hate Maria Holic, because were she a boy and this was happening to her, I’d want to cry over it as well.

    “People are cruel, horrible things. And the ones who find this amusing are worse…”

    Now I wonder about the ones at Tokyopop who find this good for English translation but not for German translation *and* who find more Erica Sakurazawa books good for German translation than good for English translation.

    Does English-speaking manga fandom really look that much more anti-social than German-speaking manga fandom to Tokyopop accountants and editors tracking purchases, fandom brouhahas and lack thereof*, etc.?

    * see the comment http://www.colonydrop.com/index.php/2009/07/07/michiko-e-hatchin-the-great-off-white-ho?blog=1#c396 on the blog post “Michiko e Hatchin: The Great Off-White Hope”

    “I totally recall John’s epic post detailing his interest in Loli related stuff in his column. I paitiently waited for an epic shockwave of condemnation from the anime community at large which sadly, never came. At least I now know that I am not alone.”

    I can’t speak or read German (I only found out Mariaholic isn’t available in English by searching for “Mariaholic” at amazon.de then scrolling down and seeing “Englisch” in what seemed to be each description) so I dunno which stuff generates shockwaves of condemnation and which stuff doesn’t over in that manga/anime community.

  9. michiru42 says:

    Ah. Stories exploring people with problems: potentially interesting. Stories making fun of people with problems: potentially funny.

    Stories with undisguised hostility towards people with problems, that insults them openly: I don’t know, I refuse to read it.

    To heck with this, Erica. We all come here because we’re interested in your reviews. I love reading your reviews. But no one expects you to hurt yourself doing it. :(

  10. @michiru42 – Thank you, that’s very kind of you. I’m not a masochist, that’s for sure. I just want to give everything a try and give you all my best pass at it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    With all the “comedic” torture, it’s as if the primary audience of this series is the Yuri-hating crowd itself. Torture is satisfying if inflicted on a bastard who deserves it, but Kanako only has to suffer because she is a girl and a lesbian. It’s like saying “Heh heh, serves you right, that’s what you get for liking women, you lesbo girl!”

    So, incensed by the burgeoning Yuri market? Pissed at all the lesbians being depicted as happy and satisfied human beings? Have some Maria Holic and alleviate your frustration by watching the fun torture of a lesbian by a male sadist. A perfect treat after a hard day’s work!

  12. Sheentaku says:

    Well I really enjoy Maria Holic, I thought the Anime and the manga is all in good fun. Kanako really is a hopeless pervert and is no saint either, I mean later on she becomes worse than Mariya.

    It just makes the whole thing funny that two horrible people in the end are meant to be together.
    As a male the character of Mariya is a way for me to relate this all school girl environment and while she is a bit mean, it just adds to the whole comedic effect.

    The interactions between Kanako’s perverse fantasy and Mariya’s trickery makes the whole thing funny.
    Maybe it is because alot of Yuri is very serious and dramatic that I found this series just really refreshing as a different take on the whole genre.

    (Just want to say, please do not call me a horrible person because i enjoyed this..)

  13. @Sheentaku I don’t know if you’re a horrible person, but the fact that you see Kanako as a pervert is problematic for me. She comes into the school wanting to find love. I can’t see that (or wanting be loved by or have sex with another woman) as “perverted.”

  14. Erica, thanks for offering a such an eloquent perspective on what’s wrong with Maria Holic. I found it mean-spirited and stupid, aimed primarily at boys who wanted a sneak peek at girls in their underwear. In my review, I didn’t reflect as much on the nasty way in which Kananko’s lesbianism was mocked, but after reading yours, I wish I had said more about the problem.

  15. @Katherine Dacey – Kate, thanks so much for commenting. The truth is, the sole reason I undertook this review was because my perspective *is* unique. I felt that I needed to address this manga, because I see it in ways that were not something I’d expect other people to see, or comment on the way I would.

  16. Pat says:

    Thank you for this, Erica. It makes me feel completely justified in my own reaction. An old friend of mine talked the manga up and sent me some scanlations some time ago insisting that I would love it. After reading the first chapter, I felt mildly violated. As it went on (I think I only read 4 or 5 chapters), I felt more disgusted and offended than I could recall feeling in years.

    The worst part was how offended I felt by the idea that my friend thought I would enjoy such garbage. When I confronted him about it, he admitted that he thought I might react that way but showed it to me for the “Yuri”. I haven’t really spoken to him since.

  17. Dorota says:

    Oh god,I watched the first episode of anime because some internet-only acquaintances were all about how it is such a great comedy.
    What I saw was a woman just a few years younger than me, who was a bit socialy retarded, maybe, with tendencies to burst into speeches about how women are amazing (which I too have tendency to do; when slightly drunk and among friends, admitedly) and the reaction she got was disgust and insults.
    . . .
    What the fuck.
    How is that even remotely funny.

    I have to wonder – is it that people are so dull and unempathic that they can extract joy out of undeserved suffering of a person?
    Do they harbour genuine hate towards somebody they saw on a screen for a minute, already?
    Just . . . why?

    Anyway – that there exists so much people who genuilny enjoy this makes me scared of human race.

  18. Sheentaku says:

    Actually, now that I re read your post and the comments, I do see another perspective. I feel really bad for Kanako, I mean i never really thought of the implications of the story. I just saw this as a troubled comedy of two people who hate each over but may like each over.

    still think Kanako is a pervert though. When I am saying am saying Kanako is a pervert, I am not talking about wanting to have sex with another women. It is the fact she has perverted fantasy,constant nosebleeds and that later on she acts like a old man who wants to take advantage of any situation.

    It is interesting that the non Yuri crowed finds this quite funny and now that i have read the implications and a different perspective; Maria Holic has left a bad taste in my mouth

  19. @Sheentaku – Okay, fair enough. I can see where you’re coming from, although I clearly see it in a completely different way. We can both say we learned something today. :-)

  20. Rinu says:

    Oh noes, Erica, you indirectly supported a single purchase of this series :o ;__;.

  21. @Rinu – I just ran my copy through the shredder. It was wasteful and infantile, but it felt *good.* ;-) I sure as heck wasn’t donating it to the library. If that was my reaction, can you imagine what a young, unsure lesbian might feel reading that? I shudder to think.

  22. Rinu says:

    Phew, thank Goddess for your infantility. :)

    PS. My breakdown was at the moment when he threatened her by raping her (and it was meant to be a joke!). I despised myself for watching it until the moment and I just wasn’t able to do so even one more second.
    The most horrible thing about the show is that a lot of people like it. Even some of these I thought they had healthy opinions :(.

  23. darksyx says:

    Thanks a lot for this review. Now I’m sure they’re an anime and manga to avoid like a plague.

  24. Jarlath says:

    Um… this is supposed Yuri? I wasn’t even sure if Kanako was a lesbian, or just someone who’s been harassed for years and whose symptoms are more psychosomatic than anything else. The series is something of a parody of the whole ‘schoolgirl lesbian’ concept as Kanako is less a schoolgirl lesbian and more a standard harem lead who had a genderswitch… and now is getting tormented by the guy who is dressing up for his own reasons.

    I don’t know why people are taking this so seriously, like it was the next coming of Maria-sama ga Miteru gone horribly wrong… as it’s about as much a ‘Yuri comedy’ as Strawberry Panic is a serious love story… and personally I found it a little disturbing how a character who practically raped another girl gets a happy ending anyways.

    I think the whole point of the series (manga and anime) is less focusing on the Yuri aspects than the fact that Kanako is basically playing the role of a typical loser harem male (horny, bad with the girls, has odd fantasies of girls which are completely unrealistic), but transposed onto a female character. Somehow, borderline sexual harassment is acceptable when a Horny Teenage MALE is doing them (and is seen as funny when a female character bashes his head in or threatens him with death).. but when a girl does them (and the girl’s role is filled by a guy), it’s now completely unacceptable because the situation’s reversed? Yet it’s okay for the guy to drool over the women and to nosebleed all over them, only to get his ass kicked by a girl?

    You know what the sad part is? Mariya’s not even that bad a guy… since he does have some compassion, and isn’t a complete monster, whereas Kanako’s one-track mind pretty much thinks only of getting into the pants of her female friends, and she immediately assumes that anyone being nice is automatically wanting to get into bed with her, and acts that way until someone either forcibly restrains her (or in one case, she gets slapped by a friend when asking another friend to do something said friend is completely unaware of, being pretty naive and uninterested in sexual matters).

    Kanako SAYS she wants to find love… but pretty much all I see out of her is lust. She states she wants to find her soul mate, but then she only ogles the pretty girls (like the generic loser harem lead male she is, albeit swapped in gendre) and then tries to drag them in bed, or stare at their breasts, or fantasize about fondling them… with not a thought towards the other girl’s feelings.

    It’s pretty much a transposition of the usual harem manga/anime, but with a girls’ school as the setting, and the male lead’s brain in a female’s body. If she’s so about wanting love, then why does she constantly try to peek on girls, or go ballistic at the thought of seeing girls either naked, in various costumes, if they’re exercising… all of the typical traits of the male pervert character in other series.

    The pathetic part of the series isn’t that she’s a lesbian because she just is, but because she’s always been harassed by the boys for being tall.. which is why she’s thinking she’s a lesbian. It’s not a love story, much less a Yuri series. It’s a parody of another genre of popular manga, which also satirizes some of the more typical shounen ‘Yuri’ manga (which themselves are little more than fanservice for guys who find the idea of two girls making out hot, because they imagine that those girls could make it a threesome with said male getting involved)…

  25. J says:

    Interesting. I don’t think of myself as anti-Yuri, male, or a particularly cruel person… and while I started Maria Holic fully expecting to violently hate it, I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. I can’t say I’ve gotten very far in the manga, as it lacks the draw of Akiyuki Shinbo’s direction, but neither do I find it offensive. The bullying in Mahou no Juumon bothers me, the bullying in Maria Holic does not. I find the bullying in Kiduki Akira’s works gritty and ugly (which it is intended to be), but I do not find the bullying in Maria Holic so.

    I think it would be awfully generous to describe Kanako as lonely and awkward; you could also describe her as mindlessly craving companionship and wildly inappropriate. While that doesn’t mean that one should wish ill on her (and I do not) I certainly don’t feel any protective urges stirring.

    I felt that Maria’s tendency to refer to Kanako’s lesbianism in vulgar ways was not so much intended to injure Kanako (or lesbian readers), but more to counter her propensity for flowery euphemisms and saccharine fantasies.

    Kanako reaps what she sows – not because she’s a lesbian, but because she’s a selfish imbecile who spends an inordinate amount of time appreciating girls’ bodies. If the story depicted her truly suffering then I would probably feel bad for her, but despite her dramatic laments she neither learns from nor seems to dwell overmuch on her misfortunes.

  26. Gustavo says:

    Just wanted to clarify a point. The whole “dear Mother in Heaven” is a common catholic phrase. The mother in question is virgin Mary, not Kanako’s.

    I agree with you that psychological torture is not funny, even in a farfetched story like this. There are much better ways to do a gender-bender plot.

    • Mbkitty888 says:

      Be that saying true, her mother did die in the story so it could go either way. Kanako could be praying to the Virgin Mary or to her mother. But the story never really officially says which one, it’s really just the viewers perspective that makes the prayer just a prayer or a letter to her mother.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “…I think the whole point of the series (manga and anime) is less focusing on the Yuri aspects than the fact that Kanako is basically playing the role of a typical loser harem male (horny, bad with the girls, has odd fantasies of girls which are completely unrealistic), but transposed onto a female character. Somehow, borderline sexual harassment is acceptable when a Horny Teenage MALE is doing them (and is seen as funny when a female character bashes his head in or threatens him with death).. but when a girl does them (and the girl’s role is filled by a guy)…”

    “…Kanako SAYS she wants to find love… but pretty much all I see out of her is lust. She states she wants to find her soul mate, but then she only ogles the pretty girls (like the generic loser harem lead male she is, albeit swapped in gendre) and then tries to drag them in bed, or stare at their breasts, or fantasize about fondling them… with not a thought towards the other girl’s feelings…”

    Yeah, that shit’s not good behavior no matter who it comes from, no matter what that person’s or character’s gender is, and no matter what gender/s that person or character targets.

    Moreover, I’ve seen many whines a la “Don’t care what anyone else thinks!!! How dare she not care what you think when you lurch at her!!! Can’t she understand when that you’re just shy instead of creepy when you talk and act just like guys who are creeps?!?!” about the plight of anti-social straight guys IRL. So it’s not just an anime and manga thing.

    Meanwhile, now that you remind me there’s more of this type of pulp than just Mariaholic, I wonder how much of it gets licensed for English translation compared to how much of it gets licensed for translation into other languages (a la Tokyopop publishing more Mariaholic in English and more Erica Sakurazawa in German).

    Does English-speaking manga fandom really look that much more anti-social than its counterparts speaking German, French, Korean, etc.?

  28. Anonymous says:

    And now that sensible commentary from people who don’t actively dislike/hate this series has shown up, suddenly there is no longer a flood of comments along the lines of “oh hay I think dis sux too”…what does this say about the readership of this entry, huh.

    Don’t take it so seriously, people. Mileages vary. Live with it. And stop acting like sheep, by the way.

  29. @Anonymous – My take on it is different (of course.) Those of us who are targeted as the brunt of the jokes feel that it’s not funny, and our reaction is negative. When people who are not the brunt of the joke weigh in, the reaction isn’t less subjective, just less negative. It’s always easy to be “objective” about someone else’s pain.

  30. BruceMcF says:

    Anonymous said…
    And now that sensible commentary from people who don’t actively dislike/hate this series has shown up, suddenly there is no longer a flood of comments along the lines of “oh hay I think dis sux too”…what does this say about the readership of this entry, huh.

    Likely that the perspective of regular readers of Okazu and the perspective of people who see Mariaholic mentioned in social media and go check it out are different, and since there has been another entry in Okazu, the eyeballs of many regular readers have moved on.

    As to why starting with a standard trope of setting up a situation where an underdog is on solid ground to bash an overdog, …

    … and flipping it around so that you have set up a series of situations where its OK for the overdog to bash the underdog, …

    … and wondering why that is not equally funny …

    … one reason is that in flipping the role of basher and bashee between underdog and overdog, it becomes an entirely redundant plot device. Getting bashed happens to the underdog all the time, anyway – there is no need to set up an outrageous situation to pave the way for it.

    And of course, for those who sympathize with the underdog, setting it up so its supposed to be OK to bash the underdog does not make it funnier. For those who empathize with the underdog, that only gets worse.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Erica is entirely right, this series is awful. It’s unempathic, celebrates bullying, is borderline homophobic in parts, and its characterisation is awful. And since it’s a comedy, it also fails: It’s not even funny.

    And I’m amused that some people are actually pretending that Mariya isn’t bad.

    He threatens to rape Kanako, and to set her on fire.

    Yeah, sorry, reasonable people consider that as bad :)

  32. @Bruce McF I think you pretty much nailed it. But I would like to remind folks that 1) no opinion is objective, *not even yours* and 2) It is never a cool thing to take the position. “you’re overreacting.”

    You can like Maria Holic, but you don’t get to decide if I’m overreacting or not, Anonymous. I’m very out, very comfortable with myself, my sexuality and gender and reasonably mature. This book brought me to tears. Do NOT tell me I’m overreacting. I dread the thought of someone young, unsure about themselves reading this and thinking it’s okay to be treated like trash.

    On another note – I’m aware that “mother in heaven” is a common Catholic phrase. I never implied it wasn’t, Gustavo. It absolutely doesn’t matter to me whether Kanako was imploring Mary or her mother (or both, conflated slightly in her head.) It was not the invocation, but the plea that made me cry.

  33. Anonymous says:

    “As to why starting with a standard trope of setting up a situation where an underdog is on solid ground to bash an overdog, …

    “… and flipping it around so that you have set up a series of situations where its OK for the overdog to bash the underdog, …

    “… and wondering why that is not equally funny …”

    I got the impression from the review and comments that it’s not exactly flipping over and under but more like a matter of roles that are underdog relative to some characters and overdog relative to some other characters at the same time. Like Revenge of the Nerds’s “heroes” being underdog relative to the more popular fratboy characters and overdogs relative to the female characters they harass. Also like Kanako being a gender-reversed counterpart of those Nerds, overdog relative to the girls she harasses and underdog relative to Mariya who abuses her.

    “And I’m amused that some people are actually pretending that Mariya isn’t bad.

    “He threatens to rape Kanako, and to set her on fire.

    “Yeah, sorry, reasonable people consider that as bad :)”

    Exactly!

    Sexual harassment is bad, *and* A sexually harassing B still doesn’t justify C threatening to rape A.

    “Do NOT tell me I’m overreacting. I dread the thought of someone young, unsure about themselves reading this and thinking it’s okay to be treated like trash.”

    You’re totally *not* overreacting!

    Seems like this series is bad for younger, less sure about themselves, and more impressionable readers since the author’s tone takes Mariya’s side and implies “it’s okay to be treated like trash the way Mariya treats Kanako, if you don’t like it you have no sense of humor.”…

    …*and* seems like this series would still be bad for those readers if the author wrote the same events but the author’s tone instead took Kanako’s side and implied “it’s okay to be treated like trash the way Kanako treats other girls, if you don’t like it you’re picking on lonely people.”

    Either way, not funny and not cool.

  34. devildyke says:

    As someone who has been threatened with rape, being set on fire (though it was more of being burned at the stake), and other lovely bits of violence and verbal abuse just because I like other girls, I find Maria+Holic to be insanely not cool, and this review says exactly why it isn’t a good series. The fact Tokyopop thinks this is a good thing to license where little kids and young teens can get a hold of it (because let’s face it that’s a very huge chunk of American manga buyers) and the fact they change vague terms in the Japanese ones into outfight screaming “lesbo” is not only poor translation but a poor thing to teach readers to think is okay to spout constantly.

    Lesbo itself is not a bad word, but in these examples, it is used as one, and that’s how anyone stupid enough to be impressioned by this garbage will use it. I already thought Tokyopop was a pretty bad company, but this all ensures I’ll never buy from them again if I can help it.

    The fact anyone could find it funny (besides ironically/sarcastically) and support this or even blame the problems on the girl characters is beyond me, and frankly anyone who supports this manga and likes it disgusts me. You’re supporting bullying, misogyny, and homophobia, something America, let alone the world, needs far less of.

    And people will do it because a comic said so so it must be okay! It’s just silly and harmless because it’s not real!

    Reality check: doing any of the shit Mariya does in this manga will get you beaten and/or arrested in real life, and rightfully so. Rape is not funny. Setting people on fire is not funny. Making people cry is not funny. There is no defense for this series, and the fact some people are trying to defend it here makes me want to vomit.

    Am I overreacting? No, because this manga reflects a lot of real world abuse people have used against gays, let alone women. I’ve experienced it. So have countless others. To put this under the label comedy should be labeled as a hate crime.

    Though two things about this series interest me more than the outright hate seen in it.

    1.) I wonder what the mangaka went through as a kid/teen to be so mentally scarred by women and/or lesbians that he feels that this is divine retribution against us, because there is no other way to explain why he’d make something like this. What is his mental problem?

    2.) Strip away all the offensive content and it’s an extremely boring/cliched series otherwise. Hell, it is already, but without the primary evils, it’s the most mediocre garbage possible. The mangaka is obviously not a good one. Period. And that makes me laugh the most because it just shows he’s an angry little brat and nothing more.

    -Atma

  35. Anonymous says:

    “As someone who has been threatened with rape, being set on fire (though it was more of being burned at the stake), and other lovely bits of violence and verbal abuse just because I like other girls…”

    That’s terrible! I’m disgusted by that, and sad that it’s not even rare enough to shock me. :(

    “…Reality check: doing any of the shit Mariya does in this manga will get you beaten and/or arrested in real life, and rightfully so…”

    Now that you’ve added *this*, I’m hoping that the people who did that shit to you *did* get beaten and/or arrested IRL, instead of let off the hook by homophobes in power.

    Meanwhile, this time the word verification thing I had to type to comment was “cringe”. How apt…

  36. Entropic says:

    The majority of the above comments pretty much cover what I wanted to say. In addition, I feel sorry for all the trees that were killed in the making and printing of this manga.

  37. devildyke says:

    D’aww, thanks, Anon! I’m pretty good at shrugging crap off, and can defend myself quite well if they ever try to pull things like that off, but seeing it elsewhere, even if it’s fictional, and especially if it’s being passed as entertainment, makes me cringe and realize that while we are progressing, we still have a long road to go.

    I actually have a friend (a guy) who read MH the other day and agreed with me about how painfully boring it is and how old hat some of the characters get really fast. It’s nice to know there are men who find this stuff craptacular, too. A dying breed. I hope he gets a chance to pass those smart genes on someday.

    Other fun uses for MH include a drink coaster and lining for your cat’s litter box. Makes great target practice, too!

    -Atma

  38. Jarlath says:

    I will say this: hate it for what it is, not what it isn’t. If this is supposed to be Yuri… well, I’m definitely not seeing it here. Heck, reading ahead we find them going away from a lot of what you’re railing against in terms of the story, much less the humor, and focusing less on the sadistic crossdresser and more on how things aren’t quite the way Kanako’s expecting them to be as time goes on.

    By Volume 2 they’re already moving away from a lot of the elements you’re all taking up pitchforks and torches for. By Volume 3, they’ve moved on from the Yuri jokes and more onto Kanako’s perceptions of the events around her getting blown seriously to hell… especially since she seems to think she’s in a harem manga combined with shoujo, only to find people aren’t acting the way she’d expect from harem games or series.

    BruceMcF brings up a valid point about comedy, and one which I was hesitant to drag out sooner for fear of being burned in effigy; comedy stems from either understanding a situation and laughing at the irregularity of it… or out of laughing at something somewhat uncomfortable, but which you’re glad you’re not in the middle of. Either something’s completely against one’s perceptions (such as Tweety Bird managing to severely injure Sylvester the Cat in a reversal of the predator/prey roles)… or else the violence inflicted on someone else is seen as humorous because of the ‘ouch, I’m glad that’s not me’ factor which underlies some slapstick routines or cartoons such as the old Looney Tunes ones which depicted rather violent (and at times, very abhorrent) behavior in a comedic way because it was overplayed so much as to be unrealistic.

    What I’m seeing a lot of here of seems to fall into two categories: one which sees the manga as something which is obscene because of the fact that it even looks like it might be taking something seriously… and the other party which doesn’t see it being taken seriously, and thus sees the first party as overreacting.

    Of course, I’m the guy who finds Gravitation rather upsetting in how a guy who gets raped by another guy ends up falling for said guy anyways in what I’d consider ‘beaten wife’ syndrome, but it’s a series which is lauded and praised… or that Strawberry Panic’s other main character gets a ‘pass’ and is sympathetic despite the fact she was basically a sexual predator. Was it because she was a girl that it was okay? Is it somehow more acceptable if it’s a guy raping another guy, or a girl trying to rape another girl, whereas someone who even mentions it deserves to be burned at the stake?

    For heaven’s sake, the worst part of this whole thing is that the manga veers away from this territory very quickly, probably because someone realized how dangerous it was to stay in these waters… and here I see ‘me too’ posts which seem to say that reverse discrimination’s okay.

    It’s NEVER okay, no matter who’s doing what.

  39. J says:

    I would just like to point out that I am both a regular reader of Okazu and an awkward lesbian (it appears I’m an outlier).

    Speaking as an awkward person, I think that the ability to feel shame is an important component of awkwardness – one that Kanako happens to lack.

    I will also choose to point out the obvious and say that those who have experienced bullying and homophobic attacks (either directly or by proxy) are going to be more sensitive to such things, and those who have not will not. Erica is correct in pointing out that this sensitivity is not ‘overreacting’, but that does not mean a failure to ghost such experiences onto the character of Kanako indicates that one is a cruel and inhuman creature who finds hate crime hilarious.

    Yet another thing I would like to point out – not because I believe this necessarily makes a difference, but because there are those who do – that unless an elaborate ruse is afoot, the author of the Maria Holic manga is female.

  40. warpshadow says:

    This review has left me with the impression that both the reviewer and most of the commentators are woefully ignorant of the target audience. The main reason why I am many others enjoy this show and are not bothered by it is because being the target of comic abuse is something that is common for male characters, especially ones that are supposed to be the audience stand-ins. Thus the main audience is kind of dull to this sort of pain and is unlikely to care if such abuse is heaped upon another group of people. Thus they see Kanako’s treatment as neither uncomforable or any sort of author tract for Homophobia (particularly since I and many others see Mariya’s selling point as a character to be the fact that he is completely without redeeming qualities. Rather they see someone who suffers in a manner similar to many other male protagonists who suffer at the hands of a Tsundere woman.

    One thought in conclusion, you should consider your statements about men in the future. The complaints of how insensitive something or other is comes off a little disingenuous when it comes from a blog that has “Loser Fan Boy” in it’s reviews.

  41. Anonymous says:

    “Is it somehow more acceptable if it’s a guy raping another guy, or a girl trying to rape another girl, whereas someone who even mentions it deserves to be burned at the stake?”

    Aw hell no!

    “…The main reason why I am many others enjoy this show and are not bothered by it is because being the target of comic abuse is something that is common for male characters, especially ones that are supposed to be the audience stand-ins. Thus the main audience is kind of dull to this sort of pain and is unlikely to care if such abuse is heaped upon another group of people…”

    Just curious, how many of these guys got into manga and anime because they actually like manga and anime, and how many got into manga and anime because they’re anti-social and believed the hype about how anti-social people should have hobbies like watching anime and reading manga instead of playing soccer and listening to punk rock?

  42. warpshadow says:

    Actually none, this is a result of reading or watching several series of the nature I described.

    Also two things about the series
    1.Kanako’s perverted nature is something that becomes far more apparent around episode six or volume 2 of the manga.

    2.Also Mariya never becomes more sympathetic, as far as the anime goes which extends into volume 3. In fact most of the people who like this series hope Kanako ends up with his twin sister Shizu.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Im male and I never liked this series.
    The “heroine” is too abused to make this story “funny”.

    Maybe thats my female brain talking there :-/

  44. Anonymous says:

    I picked this book up a while ago thinking it was that Maria-sama series Erica is always gushing about…eh heh..he…

    Should sexual harassment never be featured in a story? Should every story feature glbt characters enjoying a completely care-free life far from the ravages of discrimination? No, of course not. The specific problem with this series is the -context-; these despicable things are supposed to be humourous.

    It doesn’t specifically matter what words are used or exactly which events take place or to what level of extremity they go. The fact that it’s all played as a silly little joke to make you chuckle is what is offensive about it. If the book really was about a young lesbian facing abuse from all sides, it could be a powerful story, but instead it’s about how hilarious it is to see a young lesbian be abused. That’s what makes it disgusting, Erica pointed that fact out several times, I’d like people to try to keep that in mind before posting comments justifying the book through levels of sympathy or severity between characters and actions; or even in the case of demonizing the book, look for the context over the specifics.

  45. Anonymous says:

    10/10 anime, would watch again.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I think people takes this way too serious since it’ not real. Even if its as bad as you all say it’s just another anime to me, since i’m used to see violence, abuse etc. in games and movies. Actually i think it’s funny in an awkward kind of way.

    PS: I’m not moved by this kind of things because i learned to lock away my feelings and emotions.

  47. Anonymous says:

    “Even if its as bad as you all say it’s just another anime to me, since i’m used to see violence, abuse etc. in games and movies. Actually i think it’s funny in an awkward kind of way.

    “PS: I’m not moved by this kind of things because i learned to lock away my feelings and emotions.”

    So…you spend your time on games and movies that you need to lock away your feelings and emotions in order to put up with? Why waste your time that way?

    As one of my professors said, “There are nine billion books in the world! If you decided to read one for fun and find out it’s not fun, you don’t have to finish it. Put it down and read something else!”

  48. Valence says:

    Damn, the only 2 things I liked were the OP music, and Kanako’s fantasies.

  49. _Maria_ says:

    i actually landed here when i was searching online for some lesbian anime a while back. i read some of the comments and got disturbed, so i decided to forget about maria holic – too bad, the cover looked nice.

    well, long story short, i found it by accident and decided to watch it – the cover looked nice? i mean, you have to admit, the cross-dresser looks hot. then next thing i knew, i was hooked. i do agree with warpshadow on this one. i watched it right down to the last second, where the author said she was at the forefront when it came to “nosebleeders.”

    maria holic is not for everyone. if you are offended by it, i understand, but if some people enjoyed it, as i did, please try to understand as well.

    i’m a lesbian and a feminist, but honestly, i found most of the episodes hilarious. i think i can say it was MOSTLY because i was comforted by the fact that the author was a female.

    now, i do consider kanako a pervert. in some episodes, she even appears to have a dirty-old-man’s face. she nosebleeds and fantasizes about girls almost ALL THE TIME. and it seemed to me that the author identified with that – which to me was pretty funny.

    mariya’s a sadistic, cross-dressing brat (twisted son of a… gun), matsurika’s a… umm, very, very rude. the priest is a pedophile, the dorm mistress is blasphemous.. what else? well, it’s a pretty sinful crew, all living within a strong catholic environment. cheers!

    i’d say the author’s pretty perverted herself. and i honestly think she wouldn’t mind being called that. heck she pretty much declared it in the end.

    like i said, it’s not for everyone. people have different tastes. so i’m horrible because i found myself laughing at some of the scenes? that’s ridiculous.

    and kanako’s NOT a pervert? what about the seven mysteries then? she bled all over the place ogling girls.

    kanako is not persecuted because she’s a lesbian. it’s because she’s a d*mn pervert!

    btw, i was rooting for shizu too =). and the last scene…. well, i guess that’s up to our imaginations *nosebleeds*

    peace! XD

  50. SkyTurtle says:

    Are you kidding me? I can’t believe how many people are pissed off at this anime. Do you know what that makes you all? Hypocrites. For instance. I could present to you an anime where a boy goes to an all girls school and is wholesomely not a pervert. But would be put in difficult and misunderstood situations. Everyone would label him as a pervert in thier reviews of the anime. Oh did i mention that Konoka is the exact opposite of a male pervert? Hmmmmm lets see now. The fact that all she thinks about are breast and she has nosebleeds like a dude. Exhibit A and B. Yet for some reason that i can’t possibly fathom, you defend the nosebleeds and the constant perverted thoughts she has. Why? I bet the answer is very simple. She’s a girl. And because she’s a girl, you all feel the need to defend and get pissed off an every joke this anime makes. Don’t get me wrong, this anime was horribly terrible and had no point since there wasn’t a resolution. But the way your going at it is wrong.

  51. Vivek says:

    If i ever read, watch or hear a story it’s typically either as a disconnected third person observer (most casual comedies) or viewing the events from within (typically empathy with part of the cast).

    What exactly made you go about empathizing with a fictional, over-the-top, raving parody of a cast of characters???

    Ever heard of a “farce”?
    From the perspective of people who found it funny (and i know i did), this is a case where you stand BACK and laugh at the author’s stupidity, the cliched references and the general inanity of it all!
    NOT jump in the middle and say “Oh! how can this horrible treatment of a character be funny?”.

    If there is a scene parodying a girl seeking spiritual support from her dead mother, NO ONE is asking you to laugh at that itself! What is funny is if you instead see it as a misplaced scene drawn from a “generic” Yuri title where this might have been an emotionally charged set-piece. Here it’s just – “hey isn’t this the generic emotional scene for a motherless girl to gather courage to overcome obstacles”.

    If you can’t do the same, tough luck for you! So if anyone else with a capacity for objectivity is “hated” by you….. well then i’m just glad i’m a passing reader of this blog.

  52. Anonymous says:

    When you describe Kanako’s behavior, I do not hear ‘lonely girl looking for love.’ I hear ‘creepy perverted stalker who happens to be a lesbian.’

    So, do you mean it’s OK for her to do that because she happens to be a lesbian? Or is it because she’s female, and you’d be alright if she was acting the same way towards men or to both genders?

    Or maybe it’s because she doesn’t get the typical follow-through of the fantasy that her straight male counterpart gets — which is, when you get down to it, just as bad?

    I’m not going to read Maria Holic, but that’s because I’m in agreement with quite a few others on such behavior never being okay.

    However, I find myself rather doubtful that the reviewer feels the same, which does bother me just as much.

  53. No, I do not condone stalking behavior, when done by anyone, for any reason.

    I still don’t see how lusting after a person, whichever sex appeals, is perverted. Nosebleeds aside (because nosebleeds are a visual cue for “lusty thoughts,”) it’s really totally normal for teens to have sexual fantasies about every damn thing that walks by.

    I saw Kanako’s behaviour as that of a lonely, dorky young lesbian, surrounded by girls and filled with a fantasy of finding her perfect lover at this school.

    All that aside, Anonymous, you say you see Kanako in a totally different way than I do, then ask me if because I see her differently I’m somehow approving of what you see as bad behavior. At best that’s ingenuous, at worst that’s delusional.

  54. Denmi-Sama says:

    Part II:

    On that note – there’s also an issue of bad translation. Perhaps “lesbo” wasn’t a proper word to describe what was originally said in the manga.

    All I’m saying is – do not take every line to heart. Just take the anime as it is – a mediocre anime that tried to give a female spinoff to the harem genre. And I was greatly disappointed with the lack of any romantic development. >:(

    BY THE WAY #1: Someone mentioned how this anime series is homophobic… Okay, re-analyze the situation Kanako is in: She’s looking to find a female partner in an all girls CATHOLIC SCHOOL. I am not saying that there are no lesbians in Catholic Schools – but the situation is already against Kanako. This a school that banned boys (possibly to avoid the girls from being “distracted/lustful/sinners”) and any objects that promote other sinful feelings (such as jealousy/envy/hate for girls that have better/higher-quality goods). And also the idea that the religion is believed to be only accepting to heterosexuals. So of course Kanako’s situation may appear to be anti-gay but she’s kind of asking for that but enrolling in that school.

    NOW – If you were to tell me that the setting was in a public forum/area such as a park or a restaurant (or whatever) and Kanako was beaten/physically-emotionally-verbally abused for her sexuality – then that’s completely different!

    BY THE WAY #2 – Someone mentioned Gravitation!!! ** Spoiler alert ** I had to point out that Yuki liked the guy BEFORE he was raped!! I mean, okay he still has feelings for him but I mean – Yuki killed him. :/ How is that the ‘beaten wife syndrome’? It’s not like he was forgiving the guy – he’s just still confused about why he would permit such an act against him.

    I’m open for responses!! :D

  55. Anonymous says:

    It’s amusing in the same way that South Park is. It doesn’t have a storyline, and that’s what makes it so unbelievably silly.

  56. Eric Latham says:

    Wow! That was the biggest load of crap I’ve ever read. I find underneath your review an often too common hatred of the transgendered community that is often part of types of feminism and hetero/homophobia. Gender roles are bent in this. It’s like a double twist here though. (your reaction is much the same as a homophobe who would hate a series about a transvestite who a man becomes attracted to, n this case the crying game is for the Yuri)I find how the series plays with attraction and blurs sexuality. Granted the series is not a mouth piece for any political power label group… Which is why you find it disgusting. What this does however, is promote true fluid sexual freedom by blurring sexuality lines and deconstructing labels.

    All the while it is quite hilarious. The so called terrible things are done in a comedic way and merely added to show more reason for kanako to hate the very person she is oddly attracted to. It’s merely another layer. Not only is mariya a guy n drag but is quite mean as well. I don’t personally find this funny, the sadistic things, but I understand where it is coming from. Mariya is all this and yet it appears as if there is an attraction there. I just love the identity blurring.

    Overall I enjoy the sexual line blurring in the series. There is no way I interpret this as sexually repressive. This I find is actually promoting a truer sexual freedom based on fluidity rather than static labels. Granted I am not concerned with “lesbo girl” being used as a slur. Because I truly do not feel it is meant as anti-Yuri commentary. Rather, I think it, as well as the series, is taking a shot at sexual labels and our rigid adherance to them. When studies have shown that only about 1% of the population is completely “straight” or completely “gay”… Meaning 99% of people are not exclusively attracted to 1 sex. Yet ppl tend to identify with those labels. Yuri is not unnatural…It is the labels and our strict adherance to these labels that is unnatural. Sometimes to the point of homophobia and heterophobia.

    I enjoy the series because it takes the freedom and grants itself the right to play around with sexual identities. Plus it is humorous n it’s absurdity. While I understand And respect your concern, I disagree with your diagnosis. I feel your review proves a point the series is making… That we ALL take our various sexualities, homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, asexual, and omnisexual alike a bit too seriously.

  57. Eric Latham says:

    Furthermore, the character of kanako is masochistic. Many people are into S & M. I would hope a young masochist would look at this and see it is okay. Often Kanako is turned on by the sadistic behavior of Mariya. Gender roles aside, sexualty has many outlets and this series taps into that (showing that it is even normal for priests to have sexual urges though very in a nuerotic fashion lol.) Saying Mariyas behavior is wrong is also saying Kanako’s masochism is wrong. This series doesn’t judge that. I honestly feel this series is about complete sexual freedom and not about bashing lesbians and women.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I kinda liked this anime. Even though kanoko goes through some torture by a young sadistic boy, it’s kinda funny. But it is kinda offensive some of the jokes. But I think it was made as a rag on the genre of Yuri itself, not to gay girls. And kanoko is a pervert, c’mon guys, the way she looks and thinks about the other girls in the school. She just not a mega pervert, just a minor one.

  59. Anonymous says:

    “Just curious, how many of these guys got into manga and anime because they actually like manga and anime, and how many got into manga and anime because they’re anti-social and believed the hype about how anti-social people should have hobbies like watching anime and reading manga instead of playing soccer and listening to punk rock?”

    *slap*

    There’s the only response this comment needs.

    But seriously, for me, this prejudice/phobia against anime/manga fans is far more disgusting than anything in Mariaholic. Because this person is actually serious.

    Anon: Take the most classic joke ever. Someone steps on a banana peel, slips and falls over. And the audience are expected to laugh. Schadenfreude ring a bell? Laughing at people’s misfortunes is common human nature. Anyone who’s not a complete saint does it at some point, which means basically everyone does it. More specifically, in the case of manga, the idea of the male teenage protagonist being abused by tsundere romantic interests is a common trop in romantic comedy. I personally don’t find it particularly amusing, but it is often played as such – getting knocked over the head with hammerspace mallets etc. that could be interpreted as serious physical abuse is presented as lighthearted comedy. It’s a convention that people are supposed to find funny. It does not say anything about the nature of the people who do find it funny. Your comment is just plain meanspirited, hateful, elitist, and sexist, shows just how shallow your mind is, and makes me want to slap you again. In fact, I’ll do it right now.

    *slap*

  60. Oliver says:

    Yay! Comment #62, that’s me! Way to get peoples’ attention…

    The review and comments here seem to paint the picture that this manga is over-the-top hateful towards lesbians. In context, all the homophobic remarks amount to about 2 forgettable panels in the entire book. This doesn’t excuse homophobic content from appearing in our culture, though.

    What people need to know is that Kanako is not this martyr that is being ripped to pieces by her male oppressor. While out-and-about around the school, she’s not agonizing over Mariya blackmailing her, she’s more concerned with normal elements of school life like friendship, and finding love.

    I think I see Kanako the way Erica sees her, as a genuine lesbian looking for love, not a pervert. Her fantasies of other girls are girls fully dressed, not out-and-out panty-fests.

    The parts where Kanako is blackmailed by Mariya get old fast, and Kanako even laughs them off later on thereby diminishing Mariya’s effectiveness. We all know Mariya must have problems of his own. Why else would he be dressing up as a female night-and-day?

    Much of what attracts me to this series is the rude, in-your-face humour, particularly that delivered by Matsurika. Watching Matsurika be unabashedly upfront can be refreshing.

    In volume 3, a train rider gives awkward Kiri-san his resume as a reason to consider him for a date. Matsurika’s solution? “DENIED” stamp! Matsurika can usually be counted on for “lol” moments.

    Now Hot Gimmick and Peach Girl were unreadable for their over-the-top antagonism, but Maria Holic? Nah..

    PS. You want sadism? Oh my God, look no further than Gakuen Prince. It`s so bad it`s stupid.

  61. Anonymous says:

    no affence but maria holic is agood manga and show if you whach the show later on in the final show she reseaves mouth to mouth when she passes out in the pool so she got what she wanted

  62. Anonymous says:

    Pt. 1

    Personally, I respect people and their opinions; however, this… this is just ludicrous. Do you even think before you write your thoughts down? Do you even do your research before you say a comment? You’re coming off as ignorant and spiteful, which causes people with actual intelligence not to take you seriously.

    Okay, now I understand that if you don’t like this type of humor or manga, no one is forcing you to read it and you may put it down–it’s not for you, that’s fine. Nevertheless, if you are going to critique something, you should at least try to read more than just the first volume before you make extreme commentary. Like many regular books–even though manga explores lots of more forbidden territories that books don’t tread to–manga explores character development and both external and internal conflict as the series goes along. The first volume is just the exposition–the intro before the gradual flow of characterization and the process of the character becoming a better person.

    My friend and I have discussed what you have written in your blog. We honestly think that your opinion is just silly prattle. You really just look at one side of the fence instead of exploring both sides equally. It’s just like an algebraic equation, in most equations you have to work with both sides to achieve the answer that you aim to obtain.

    Also, in your opinion, where is your evidence to back your argument up? You say that Kanako is not a pervert when clearly she is. AND the people that think this as well have presented valid evidence to you. On the other hand, you just restate your opinion without the evidence to back it up. You say Kanako is completely innocent of all wrong-doings when in fact her perverse nature is practically broadcasted to the readers throughout the series so far. Yes, her intention when she arrives at Ame no Kisaki is to find her soul mate, but saying something and doing something are two different things. Furthermore, Kanako’s pledge to find a soul mate was BEFORE she found out just how many beautiful girls attended Ame no Kisaki so of course she’s going to put the love conquest on the back burner in order to ogle said bishoujous.

    Next we have Mariya. Yes, he’s sadistic–that fact is quite obvious and even the summary says he is–HOWEVER, he isn’t completely evil. If you had continued the series, you would see glimpses of another side of him. Did you know he has a sister who he actually cares about? Did you know that he wishes he could make up with his cousin Ayari for the Panda Chang incident? Do you even know the reason WHY he’s cross dressing in the first place? These are questions out of curiosity, mind you, not spiteful pokes at your IQ. Please don’t find our inquiries offensive just because, to us, you come off as someone narrow-minded in your verdict of this series.

    Technically, when you think about it, Kanako started the spiral down to her misery. Remember, she actually tried to peek at him before she discovered he was male. Even if you don’t believe that, later on she confronted him about his situation of cross dressing and SAID IT CLEARLY that she would expose him. So, as a result, he retaliated and took action to ensure that his secret would be safe. The fact that he was observant enough to discover her weakness and use it against her to ensure his place at the academy doesn’t mean he’s a villain. It’s survival instinct. He even said, if you recall, when he pulled the stunt on to keep her quiet was “I guess I have no choice.” so that demonstrates that he did try other tactics before threatening her to keep her quiet.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Pt. 2

    As for the whole rape thing, he’s just bluffing, but she doesn’t know that. He’s using Kanako’s gullibility to play on her worst fear. It may not be the right situation, but he desperately needed to keep her silent because it’s quite apparent that Kanako wants to expose/destroy him. This fact shows up again in volume four–the reason I won’t elaborate on this specific incident is because I don’t want to be a spoiler for the MH fans that read this. That’s not a nice thing, you know–actually that she still wants to find a way to annihilate him and banish him from her life.

    Secondly, the person who commented that Mariya’s cross dressing is wrong is the one who has a problem. First of all, you are defending some aspects that are considered sinful. For example, homosexuality and perverseness are seen in this manga and you seem to be okay that while on the other hand you have a problem with someone who is cross dressing which is also viewed as being inappropriate in the eyes of some individuals. In our opinion, you seemed to be a very biased person. Personality, we are very open-minded individuals and even if we are not into certain themes/trends, we still respect that person or thing. Additionally, if you have reviewed certain time periods, you would realize that women were forbidden from wearing pants. That rule still applies today in certain countries. So technically, women are cross-dressing all the time. Also, please keep in mind that in Scotland, men wear kilts at certain times or events. Does that mean they have a problem? No, because it is apart of their culture. So smarty pants, that means theoretically in this day and age, skirts and pants are UNISEX!!!

    Whereas your title, Erica: “Anti-Yuri Manga: Maria Holic, Volume 1(English)” It’s not classified as Yuri genre to be precise. It’s actually classified as genderbender/Romance/Comedy. Shoujo-ai is only on the side and that is for Kanako’s gender preference. It’s a small theme basically. So, this manga isn’t for hardcore Yuri-only fans. If you are one of those, this manga is not for you. Plain and simple.

  64. @Anonymous – My definition of “ludicrous” is a little different. Commenting angrily on a review over a year old and saying someone “didn’t do their research” because you don’t agree with it, is pretty much my definition of the word. ^_^

    Since I don’t know you (and you weren’t brave or honest enough to use a real name,) I don’t much CARE that you found my quite genuine tears “ludicrous.”

  65. Karin and The Evil One says:

    Dear Erica,
    I would like to ask you a question before I place my reply: Did you get pt 3 of our post? Or did you choose not to post it? Just curious, no ill-intent.

    As for the matter of cowardice–first off, I would like to say that my friend and I have never posted anything on a blog or went near blogs before this so we didn’t really know how to list names beside anonymous. I am not that great with technology at times. Plus, a lot of people on your blog said they were anonymous. Not just us. Also, I would like to point out that in this day and age, it’s not safe to even display your name on the internet. As a child, I grew up in an area where sexual predators were common so it was drilled into my mind from both my parents and the cops who visited our school once a month about internet safety. So, I respect my parents wishes to this day of not giving out my name on the internet. That’s not cowardice, that’s caution. However, I will supply that you may call me Karin. That’s usually what I go by on the internet.

    Additionally, I sympathize with Kanako–it’s not like we cheer on bullying. We were bullied a lot as a childern too, but you know things got better for us later in life and I think that will happen to Kanako one day too, even if she is a fictional character :D However, people are ridiculed regardless, there’s nothing we can do about it sadly.

    It’s true though that you didn’t do your research. You only read vol. one and watched the anime–which we remind you that was made right at the beginning of when the manga came out. And who cares that you posted it a year ago? We found it now so we decided to give our thoughts. Nothing wrong with that. We wanted to post because the way you were coming off in your writing was ignorant in your argument. You didn’t give the series a chance from what you wrote so we just wanted to point that out–we weren’t angry.

    Since you ignored everything in our argument–which I might add you didn’t provide one of your own–and only addressed my choice of wording in my opening paragraph, we still refuse to take you seriously. In fact, my friend and I find this quite amusing.

    Once again, have a nice day Erica.

    PS- If you don’t like Maria Holic, then what kind of animes do you like? What’s your ideal genre then since you said that MH wasn’t in your genre?

  66. @Karin and The Evil One – No, I did not recieve Part 3 of your comment.

    I’ve reviewed hundreds of series here that I did like. I’m sure if you look around you find some.

    I probably should point out that writing extendedly long comments to reviews that are old also fits into me idea of ludicrous.

    I’ll be glad to post your comments, but I won’t be responding to them. This conversation is long over and I have moved on many months ago.

  67. Karin says:

    Dear Erica,

    *Sigh* Yes, I did see your next comment, but I still want to give you my next words: An apology–it’s just me and I want to get this off my chest because I feel bad and need to explain myself.

    Apparently in my post I came off as snubbing your opinion, which I’m sorry if you got that vibe. If you don’t like what I like, that’s fine. I’m okay with that. I’m normally not a vengenful or angry person, and like I said I don’t usually blog so that shows that it usually takes a lot to make me blink an eye so to speak, but I don’t know why, but your writing style in your review just… rubbed me the wrong way? Gave me a crawl up my spine? I don’t know how to describe it. You know how when your reading something and you just get this vibe, but it’s not trying to come off like that? Like in my posts you thought I was angry and petty, but I was trying to give you evidence to my argument. If you want to prove something, you need evidence to back it–or at least that’s the way I was taught, and I am a wordy person at times so that’s why it was kinda long–blame my english teachers for stressing the “don’t be vague” rule XD. Also, my friend is wordy, which made it even longer.

    Point is, I feel as if we are running around in circles, missing each other each time. It’s not the thoughts or opinions of yours that I found ludicrous–why do we even keep using that word? This is what? The fifth time we used it? lol Sorry, bad attempt to make you crack a smile. Humor’s hard to do in writing sometimes–it was just the way you came off in your writing. A misread vibe if you will, and I’m sorry if you thought I was being mean about your thoughts on the matter.

    Anyway, I know we will never agree, but I just wanted to clear things up so that at least we will leave on a better parting.

    Have a nice day again, Erica. If I ever come across one of your other reviews, I’ll be sure to clear up my intentions if I decide to post to avoid this… misunderstood conflict if you will.

    -Karin

    PS-I’m going to ignore the insults you’ve given me and push down any urge to make a comeback because I don’t think it’s worth it after I wrote all that because I am sorry for coming off as snubbing your opinion and I hope you understand that.

  68. @Anonymous – Let me make myself clear. I really do not care what your opinion of my opinion is. Really. ^_^

    I’ve long ago ceased to read posts that tell me how wrong I am. Why would I? I do not care that you disagree with me. You’re welcome to do so.

  69. Karin says:

    @Erica

    Wait… are you talking to me still? Because you’re addressing an anonymous, but I see no post after mine so…

    But anyway if you are, I didn’t say your opinion was wrong–I apologize for not clearing that up. No opinion is wrong per say. Oh well, at least we have met half-way in something: we are both free to disagree. It kinda feels like a break-through a bit to me ^_^

    -Karin

  70. Unashamed says:

    P.S – Some people compare the anime to Sayonara Zetsubou and they are right in the aspect of the execution. I think SZS deals a much better blow in comedy. Why? Because that is a real satire of Japanese society. M-H is just a gender bender story that you either get used to its understating everything and ignore it or you just decide it is not that deep to continue. Think of it as books and movies. Some stories are worth rereading. Others, you are just for the thrill of it [enjoyment is not guaranteed].

  71. Unashamed says:

    Maria Holic is a series that doesn’t incite any real humor in me. I started with the manga first but… I do not know why, but the humor presented in it is really cold. After the fifth volume of trying it, I resigned and chose the anime. I think the anime deals better with the humor that we are supposed to find in it. Its execution is much better (despite that some humor elements are still tasteless). In all, Maria Holic is a messed up conundrum of the general definitions of Yuri shoujo ai and gender bender.

    I can see why some people would like it or hate it. The series is not something AMAZING or MEMORABLE. It lacks. For those bored with the overly-sexualized premises of these genres, this is not way to go because it represents all of those stereotypes. Unfortunately, not many series can execute these genres, and well, what can we do? Just keep trying to find a series that touches artistically these subjects, or provides some real comedy on the issues a lesbian or confused girl/boy will go through.

    In the issues some people address with Maria-Holic it really depends in taste.

    Kanoko “looking for love.” Many mangas/animes start with that goal and you must wonder what is their definition of that word. I think in this case, Kanoko’s ideas of love are never the focus of the story. She fantasizes softly about the girls she meet and quite innocent date ideas (beach, watch the sakura, etc). Even then, you have to wonder if she even knows her sexuality. Sigh…

  72. Unashamed says:

    (PT.2)

    On the issue of the bullying and name calling using pervert, lesbo… As seen, the real issues someone may have are extremely understated. Threatening with rape Kanoko? Not cool or funny. And here, I just have to blame the execution. It just does not work. The anime does mediocre here too but much better than the manga.

    Pervert because she fantasizes? This is a cultural thing and it’ll depend on the person. Being Japanese, the term ecchi and hentai are used either seriously or really light mannered. You see porn? Ecchi. You think of those breasts? Ecchi. You fantasize any of the role-play scenarios (teacher-student, nurse/doctor/patient, police-criminal): ecchi. These types of sexuality are considered normal in Japan, but not blatantly discussed and are JOKED as being a pervert. So see, Maria-Holic tries to do that, but we know how that result goes… Anyway, the pervert topic is really cultural. Having been in the United States, I learned that “perverted” can be called anything.

    I love recognizing beauty and I am easily labeled a pervert for staring at a woman or man. I AM a highly sexual woman and like to fantasize a lot and needless to say it, pervert is just what I have learned to expect. Sadly, society has the penchant to try to shun sexuality despite how free we have become.

    Anyway, Maria-Holic is not for everyone. If you want some real Yuri/shoujo ai/yaoi/shounen-ai that does not have the same boring sex stereotypes, you might want to keep looking since unoriginality in execution can be found anywhere. If you are fine with it and just see it as cheap humor, go for it. Maria-Holic can not be considered serious at all or an amazing-amazing read. If you feel pity for Kanako in the first volume, then quickly stop reading and find a better read. Having no opinion of the characters or the series in general is your best bet to not completely hate it. Because, most of the characters are flat, instead of dynamic. They won’t make you feel any true connection and all of them are an exaggeration of satire even.

  73. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think there’s anything offensive in the manga or anime. It just isn’t the best thing out there in humor. If you want a more serious story or much better humor, pass this one. Manga and anime for the most part never go that deep (only a few). So, it is not worth it getting offended at it. It’s just an author’s fantasy and there. Fantasy: usually cheap and senseless. And no, this is not for the genre; it’s about humans’ fantasies. (Which most manga/anime are about).

  74. Nicky92 says:

    I, for some reason, want to defend something on Maria Holic, for it HAS some points to defend (I can’t even believe that myself)

    Maria Holic, above all, is a manga published in Monthly Comic Alive (MCA for shorting), that IS KNOWN as a deep SEINEN magazine. You can note that from the topics it takes, like excesive bullying. So if you can’t stand that, don’t read seinen demographics.

    About the “comedy” part, I’ll introduce to all of you people who “hate” Maria Holic for that something called black humour (mostly used in MCA). It’s simple, crude, hard to understand, and not for children, but if you have a mature vision (self-ensurance of no psycologycal troubles like pedophile, bondage, raping, killing, etc., previous knowlege of the term sarcasm, and taste for heart-breaking stories) you CAN enjoy it. So, if you don’t like black humour, or are not mature enough to even understand it, don’t read Maria Holic.

    But now, the odds:

    Maria Holic does have a bad plot, in my point of view, destroying the black humour comedy. But even if I think the story is redundant, dumb, and over-used, Maria Holic is one of the first manga published in that magazine, so it’s almost immposible to terminate just like that, specially with the great outcome they take from it. I have to add that I HATE WITH MY GUTS stories that cling to demography, like in Maria Holic, and most seinen manga.

    Oh, and I advise, as many seinen manga turned into tv shows, Maria Holic DOES get a lot of changes in the anime production, like more jokes to soften the bullying or less lingerie/partial nudity.

    And I see pervertion on this manga, from some dull writing aiming to sell, the search of Kanako for “beauty = love”, and the playette thoughts of her too, like in porn and clipboard movies.

    And I think you should overview that part of the raping and insulting… It’s not like Kanako’s bleeding to death every time Mariya treats her bad, or that she looses her will to live and tries to suicide, or wears a bag on her head, she just gets insecure (serious “american psycologycal trauma” that everyone has in the world, even the bullies) and says (like everyone says) “why is everyone picking on me?” to god or everyone she loves/loved (again, like everyone).

    note: I’m not an native english speaker, so if I got something wrong, I’m sorry :)

  75. Anonymous says:

    Maria Holic is like a setting in reality in a way. Lesbian people are often badly criticized, mistreated, and when it comes to people they like are often ignored. Much like what happens in the manga.

    That is the reason I like this manga. It’s an eye opener, maybe many hate it because of the fact that it portrays a part of our reality that we do not see. Or maybe, some see themselves as one of the characters.

    In terms of Kanako, many complain about how Maria treats her. Call me a sadist or whatever but I do find it both amusing and sad. Amusing because I am one of those people who has a schadenfreude mentality I do not deny it. And sad because of Kanako’s personality. It is okay for me that she is a lesbian but it just so happens that I have the tendency to despise people who tries to find love but focus to lust instead. People who look into outer appearances rather than the insides…. that is not love..Another thing is that she is too shameless.. if a person is ridiculed that way like in the manga then a normal person will learn from it and at least try to be more discreet that way the ‘bullying’ will lessen… You might try to say that why I am opting Kanako to adjust to her surroundings even if it is just the way of expressing herself.. because the world does not revolve around her… Maria and the others will not change their opinion of her if Kanako herself is not doing an effort to adjust…

    On Maria he’s a sure tyrant and a sadist. But for me that makes him unique, his personality veering away from a typical shounen character. Based on the manga, it is said that he has compassion albeit in his own way. A tsundere type character.

    I do hope Maria and Kanako will be together in the end though. People of polar opposites came to an understanding of each other is wonderful.

    Well, this is just my opinion though..

  76. Anonymous says:

    well..you guys are thinking about these things way to serious…I just kinda wanted Maria and Kanako to start dating or something its nothing to really take serious if you guys were so offended then you guys shouldn’t have watched it and should’ve moved on to something else..it was OK for more but just ended to quick..there could have been more drama or something.

  77. Anonymous says:

    Thank god i wasnt the only one who got upset about this manga..

    I’ve read all that has been translated so far, and even watched the 2 seasons of the anime..

    It was funny, to a point, but the same jokes keep repeating, and in the end its just the endless bullying of the main chara, and her misery.
    How is the reader supposed to enjoy that?
    I started feeling so bad for the poor girl, that it wasnt funny anymore – at all.
    Watching season 2 of the anime, was such a pain, i nearly cried.

    I would understand this manga, if her situation actually went somewhere..

    It probably will go somewhere, in the arms of mariya, in the final chapters of the whole series..

    I just feel sick, because the bullying keeps goin on, her life is basicly hell, and it’s supposed to be funny?

    Not.

  78. Anonymous says:

    “…So of course Kanako’s situation may appear to be anti-gay but she’s kind of asking for that but enrolling in that school…”

    Do you realize how much power *parents* have over whether or not a high schooler enrolls in a school?

    “‘Just curious, how many of these guys got into manga and anime because they actually like manga and anime, and how many got into manga and anime because they’re anti-social and believed the hype about how anti-social people should have hobbies like watching anime and reading manga instead of playing soccer and listening to punk rock?’

    “*slap*

    “There’s the only response this comment needs.

    “But seriously, for me, this prejudice/phobia against anime/manga fans…”

    The hype about how anti-social people should have hobbies like watching anime and reading manga instead of playing soccer and listening to punk rock exists.

    It’s not prejudice/phobia against anime/manga fans to be aware that this hype exists.

    It *is* prejudice/phobia against anime/manga fans to *believe* that this hype exists, instead of acknowledging that some *other* people (including guys!) *do* get into manga and anime because they actually like manga and anime.

    “…It was funny, to a point, but the same jokes keep repeating, and in the end its just the endless bullying of the main chara, and her misery.
    “How is the reader supposed to enjoy that?…”

    By already being a jerk?

    BTW, your whole comment made a lot of good points so I’ll just say so now instead of quoting all of them and praising them individually.

  79. Anonymous says:

    I really wish people would stop reading this blog. I’ve read all six volumes of manga and it’s really different from what many think. Yes, Kanako is mocked, but not b/c she’s a ‘so-called’ (I use this word b/c at one point in the anime/manga it’s revealled she used to like men) lesbian, but b/c she’s a pervert not trying to find love rather just lust. Maria Holic isn’t actually even Yuri, either and Kanako may be the focal character, but she isn’t the true main character (Mariya is.) In a way, Maria Holic deconstructs some Yuri elements as in how it’d be played out in real life. Japan sort of still have an old-fashioned view on homosexuality, and the fact that the setting is a Catholic school, Kanako can’t be open about her ‘affection.’

  80. Anonymous says:

    Anti Yuri? Suck a friggin’ dick.
    Yuri ) the source of life.

  81. Anonymous says:

    Karin pretty much summed up my thoughts on this “review”.

  82. Anonymous says:

    This whole blog is a joke.
    Take anything E.F says with a grain of salt – a typical butthurt Yuri fangirl. (btw I’m a Yuri fangirl too, but I thought Maria Holic was hilarious)
    And honestly if Maria and Kanako switched genders (Maria really being a girl and Kanako being a cross dressing guy) I’m sure you’d all be okay with it. What a joke.

  83. Gumball God says:

    You DO know Mariya was supposed to be a super evil masochistic guy, right? The anime isn’t “anti-Yuri” at all. Just because the main character is a lesbian doesn’t mean its Yuri, that’s just silly. Although this does have Yuri themes, its mostly a comedy manga that revolves around “Mariya”. The joke is, is that “cross-dressers” are stereotyped to be delicate and nice, and Mariya is CERTAINLY not any of those things! While I agree with you that Mariya is certainly an evil person, he doesn’t actually mean anything that he says (like when he said he was going to rape the lead character… ugh). Its a comedy, but I can understand your viewpoint, going into it knowing NOTHING about the source material at all. Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it, it’s honesty quite funny if you know what you’re getting into. To everyone out there: Make no mistake, this is NOT Maria-Sama or Strawberry Panic – the fact the reviewer thought this was “just another Yuri title” because the lead character is a lesbian just shows the reviewer’s ignorance on this title, and the concept of Yuri in general. If you are on the edge about reading/watching this, don’t go into it thinking its a fluffy happy Yuri title, but go into it KNOWING its mostly a comedy about a cute, (mostly) likable main character looking for a girlfriend in a school – and finding ANYTHING but that. Just know this: Mariya is evil. Not a nice guy (literally).

  84. Anonymous says:

    This aint a Yuri so dont get ur panties all up in a bunch.

  85. Anonymous says:

    It’s only lines drawn on paper!

    You are equating an artistic expression of anti-lesbianism with the anti-lesbianism itself. They are not the same thing, in any free society.

    FREEEEEEDOM! :D :D :D

  86. john says:

    You all really miss the messages amd values behind this anime. You probably have read and watched like 2 other series. If you actually looked further into it. You see it develop into so much more. You appreciate it and it’s great. People think that gay people get offended by saying the word and mixing it with another word, or by not calling someone by their name and instead lesbian girl. People don’t get upset by it, because all the people who have actually continued and seen the end of the series completly disagree. I think everyone’s to scared of being judged for liking something that is seen as weird and obscure in our society. If you dont like this anime, stick to the chap mainstream stuff like dragon ball and one piece, have some more 4kidz and add beyblade to your list as you too want to remove anything that you do not feel belongs to your culture!

    • Hi John, welcome to Okazu. You may notice the date on this post is 2009. If you cared, you’d also notice that I’ve been posting here about Yuri since 2002. You can like Maria-Holic, I did not. Are lameass insults 5 years later going to make me like it? Think about it for a bit. You could have used this opportunity to explain what you did like about it, but you chose utterly nonsensical insults. Do you feel better? I hope you do and I hope you’ll think about better ways to get your point across, because this one just makes you look bad.

  87. aninombus says:

    I find romance potential in this manga, expecting kanako turn to be the ordinary girl who like guy because maria (his real name is shizu (?) by the way).

    • Sure, why not. Erase Kanako’s lesbianism, have her ignore Maria’s sadism and manipulation and imagine a happy little romance. You might as well, since all of that is imaginary.

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