Many, many thanks to the efforts and sacrifice of Bruce for making it possible for me to buy this movie in Tokyo. As several people have noted, this was not easy to find on shelves, as it had pretty much sold out in pre-orders. The good news for overseas fans is that Amazon JP still has both the DVD and the DVD/Blu-Ray combo in stock. Being the bad otaku I am, I only bought the DVD, so missed out on some of the extras in the Blu-Ray combo set.
Maria-sama ga Miteru is a story about average high school girl Yumi, as she’s suddenly, unexpectedly drawn into the doings of the Yamayurikai, the Student Council of the school. This is no small matter as the Yamayurikai are known for being beautiful, smart and somewhat remote from the rest of the students. They even have a separate building on the campus in which they hold their meetings.
A chance meeting, an opportunistic photograph and a set of silly circumstances around the school play contrive to change Yumi’s life forever.
As I commented on my original viewing of this movie in Osaka, the actresses were each picked for a specific quality, so it was very easy to see “Youko” or “Sei” in them. Sachiko and Yumi are almost instantly lovable, IMHO. I liked that Sachiko starts to touch Yumi without realizing that she’s doing it.
Set in an old, wooden building, with creaky floors and small rooms, there’s a festive air of not-too-much-but-just-enough verisimilitude about the recreation of Lillian Jogakuen. Early on, there is an unexpected time lapse of Musashino City, so we are forced to imagine that this school is real, not just some fantasy space, like Astrea Hill.
The DVD includes the “Making Of” special, the trailer for the movie and the pre-movie in-theater “do not take pictures, eat loudly, make phone calls or give your soeur a rosary” warning animations, which were so amusing when I saw this in the theater. There are no subtitles for this movie, and as much as I hope that someone will license this, I would not bank on it.
The Maria-sama ga Miteru live action movie is a delightful rendering of this story which has captured so many hearts. It has certainly captured mine. Now I pray daily for the live action Kibara Kakumei sequel, as nothing would make me so happy as the chance to see Yoshino rage in live action. ^_^
Overall – 9 (+1 because squee! It’s a live action Maria-sama ga Miteru!)
If you consider yourself a Maria-sama ga Miteru fan, this is money well spent.