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Dated 30 September 2007: My-Otome Zwei episode three is Marimite with MATERIALISE instead of lesbianism

Nao and Nina
Nao and Nina.

The third chapter of the My-Otome Zwei OAV mini-series features Nao and Nina re-establishing their mentor/student relationship. Tweaking the character a bit, Nao in the My-Otome universe is an older, more emotionally stable version of her My-HiME counterpart. The original Nao is an extremely precocious middle school call girl with some severe emotional problems. The older Otome version keeps her street smarts, but benefits from a mature coolness absent in the HiME Nao. These changes work better for Nao's character, and enhance her role as Nina's Marimite-esque onee-sama substantially.

Nao and Nina
Would you believe, Marimite and the Last Crusade?

The onee-sama role suits Nao so well, in fact, that My-Otome Zwei part three makes me wonder why they didn't do more with Big Sister roles in the My-Otome series. The show establishes that younger characters are assigned older Otome to teach them the ropes and whatnot, but the influence and bond they have are far below that of Maria-sama ga Miteru levels.

Nina
Nina is having a bad day.

Ignoring those ties was a big mistake. The Nina/Nao chemistry works so well in the OAV's third episode that I wish we could have seen more of it during the series. Nao's friendly teasing and earnest mentoring coupled with Nina's respectful deference and sheepish lamentations invoke some of the best parts of Maria-sama ga Miteru and successfully integrate them into the My-Otome universe, where they should have existed all along.

Nina
A really bad day.

In fact, in some moments, Nao and Nina's affection for each other surpass the Marimite relationships because, as we all know, Nina is definitely not a lesbian. For that reason, Nina's understated admiration seems more genuine. Maybe I'm just saying that because, even after three season of Marimite, I still suspect Yumi is setting herself up for multiple phallus-driven epiphanies. Nevertheless, I'll go so far as to say that the Nina/Nao moments in My-Otome Zwei channel what Sunrise should have used for the Athrun/Shinn bits in Gundam SEED Destiny.

Dated 16 December 2008: Gokigenyou, Reki

I finally figured out what to do with my Lillian Academy cell phone charms that RightStuf gave me with my Maria-sama ga Miteru pre-orders. (My phone doesn't have a charm hole.) Behold! Marimite USB flash drive charms.

Marimite DVDs, Lillian Academy cell phone charms, and my Austrian Imco lighter
Marimite DVDs, Lillian Academy cell phone charms, and my Reki-type lighter.

Yeah, they do look fruity as all Hell.

Also pictured for no reason is my Austrian Imco lighter, which is sure to be the envy of all true Haibane Renmei fans, even if they don't smoke. Unfortunately, contrary to true Haibane fashion, I was not able to acquire it secondhand.

Dated 25 January 2009: It's Not Easy Picking a Soeur

Nana and Yoshino
Yumi and Yoshino

Dated 27 January 2009: No Means No

Yumi and Yoshino
Kotori
Mitsuki

Dated 5 March 2009: Yumi, Yoshino, and Shimako behaving out of character in the Marimite IV OP

Yoshino, Yumi, and Shimako
Yoshino, Yumi, and Shimako from the season four OP.

I have been trying to muster up a solid Maria-sama ga Miteru review for years now and all I have to show for it are a number of discarded drafts. I find Marimite surprisingly difficult to write about in a way accessible to viewers unfamiliar with the series. So consider this an introductory entry to the real post, should I ever manage to finish writing it. I am going to start with the wrong end—the OP for season four—in order to tell you what Marimite is not.

Yumi, Yoshino, and Shimako in the greenhouse
Lesbian Fire Drill.

The OP for season four of Maria-sama ga Miteru features Yumi, Yoshino, and Shimako cavorting around Lillian Academy. Apparently Yumi has a magic mechanical pencil that permits her to draw doorways in the ground and thin air through which the happy trio gallivant to the shock or bemusement of their friends. There are a few things inconsistent about this OP. (Not counting the magic. There's not actually any magic in Marimite aside from Sei's Top Fuel Lesbianism, if you're into that sort of thing.)

Rei
Rei is the girliest girl-girl in the cast. True story.

First off, that whole "walking slowly" bit is apparently out the window. Technically, that is really just a guideline, but nobody gallivants through Lillian Academy. Second, Yumi and Yoshino rarely hang out with Shimako. Shimako is pretty much too beautiful and too perfect and too difficult to approach to have a lot of friends, I guess. Everyone likes Shimako a lot, but Yumi and Yoshino don't invite her to play reindeer games, and she sure as Hell wouldn't be teleporting through the school with Yumi and Yoshino. They could squish ginkgo nuts underfoot if they aren't careful, you know. I guess the three of them are together for the sake of this OP because they are in the same class.

Yumi, Yoshino, and Shimako not walking slowly
Yumi, Yoshino, and Shimako not walking slowly.

As for Yumi and Yoshino having a grand ol' time racing through the school, Yoshino I can accept, as it is after her surgery and I think she would be inclined to live it up a little, but the segment does reveal a heretofore hidden side of Yumi that Marimite viewers are not accustomed to seeing.

Yumi, Yoshino, and Shimako teleport
Yumi, Yoshino, and Shimako teleporting, also not slowly.

This is a very different Yumi from the first three seasons. But she is a year older now, and three seasons wiser and more confident. During season four, Yumi does display a lot of her characteristic uncertainly and hesitation, but her anxieties are not as base as those of first-year Yumi's. The first-year Yumi could never have had the nerve to tear through Lillian Academy laughing it up with her friends, but I can accept second-year Yumi as being self-assured enough to enjoy herself in front of other people.

Noriko and Touko
Noriko and Touko are actually taking this relatively well.

And I guess that is the crux of this post: Maria-sama ga Miteru is a journey in the life of a young girl and how the people around her shape her growth and guide her towards adulthood. As much as season one is about Sei fucking with Yumi followed by Yumi making faces, it is also about Sei mentoring her and preparing her to be on her own in season two so that in seasons three and four she will grow ready to take control of her own life and begin to mentor younger girls herself.

Sachiko
Despite reports to the contrary, not actually a Turbo Lesbian.

Turbo lesbianism? That is what most people will claim Maria-sama ga Miteru is about if pressed to offer a two-word Marimite synopsis, but I disagree. To me, it is about Growing Up.

Dated 15 March 2009: I am REALLY glad Maria-sama ga Miteru was licensed by RightStuf instead of ADV

Yoshino, Eriko, and Rei

What is Marimite?

Shimako and Sei

Marimite is...

Yumi and Sachiko

ACTION!

Eriko, Sei, and Yumi

SCI-FI!

Yoshino and Minako

COMEDY!

Rei

MARTIAL ARTS!

Yumi and Sei

Marimite is...

Yumi's thighs

STRAIGHT FROM JAPAN!

Yumi's is surprised

TOTALLY UNEXPECTED!

Sei molests Yumi

NOT KID'S STUFF!

Youko, Eriko, Shimako, Sachiko, Yumi, Sei, Rei, and Yoshino

Marimite is...

Yumi, Yoshino, and Shimako

ON RIGHT NOW!

Yumi and Sachiko

24 HOURS A DAY!

Dated 23 March 2009: What is Marimite? No, really

Yumi and Sachiko
Yumi and Sachiko.

Maria-sama ga Miteru is the story about Yumi, a freshman at an all-girl Catholic school who stands a little in awe of her upperclassmen. Through the course of the first season, seeds of self confidence are planted, although they don't germinate for some time.

Yumi and Sei
Yumi and Sei.

Leading her to adulthood is Sei, a charismatic, ebullient senior who takes young Yumi under her wing—somewhat forcefully, I might add. One of the big constants during Marimite year one is Sei fucking with Yumi.

Yumi and Sei
Yumi and Sei.

As a goof, during my most recent re-watching of the first season, I decided to screencap every instance of Sei fucking with Yumi. I think I've got hundreds now. Sei fucks with Yumi a lot.

Sei
Sei.

Most Marimite introductions probably focus on Yumi's relationship with Sachiko, the other putative main character, but the first season really belongs to Sei. In fact, the first season is more Sei's show than even Yumi's. Maria-sama ga Miteru is told from Yumi's point of view—she outright narrates part of every episode—but Sei is really the star of the first season, and the real reason to watch it. There will be more on this later.


< Evirus> Is there anyone more tsundere than Ayame from Asu no Yoichi?
< Evirus> Textbook Tsundere.
< c0rtana> she's more than textbook
< Evirus> Doctrinal Tsundere.
< rabidkimba> ur-tsundere

Dated 21 April 2009: End of season review, Winter 2009

Makina
Gainax Kick detected.

The biggest surprise of the Winter 2009 season was the rise of Shikabane Hime: Kuro and the fall of Toradora! in the final rankings during the last weeks of the season. As expected, it was a rather weak season overall, but it had its moments.

Makina
Makina has a bad day.

I had fully expected to drop Shikabane Hime after four episodes during the Autumn 2008 season, but I was hooked by the characters (except for Ouri) and the mystery. It helped I was spared the loathsome shounen jive conventions I despise so much.

Goro and Kaoru
I hereby nominate Shimizu for Best Girl of the Year.

The second-best series from Winter 2009 was the first half of the fifth season of Major. Besides being a solid sports anime, it's also starting to delve into relationship drama, although with its own flair, and thankfully without the typical animeisms that plague relationship stories. Maybe it's because the characters in question are no longer in high school, so they aren't expected to act like twits. Whatever the reason, it's refreshing.

Nobue
Nobue calls these days "weekdays."

Taking the third spot is the first Ichigo Mashimaro Encore OVA. I should probably not include OVAs in these rankings for numerous reasons, but I'm making these rules up as I go along. As for the first Ichigo Mashimaro Encore OVA itself, it was another solid block of entertainment and charm that make the series so enjoyable. Pity the title unfairly carries with it all that baggage it can't seem to escape. You know what I'm talking about.

Suguru and Sachiko
This is the weirdest bathroom. Is it at the end of a hallway?

In fourth is the latest offering of Maria-sama ga Miteru. I didn't care for these episodes as much as the previous seasons, but that's probably because of their Touko-centric nature. On the other hand, these episodes also elevated Touko three positions in the Marimite rankings. Congratulations, Touko. I no longer like you least.

Ami and Minori
Ami is stunned to discover she's the Toradora! Best Girl after all.
And how odd. Minori is usually much more genki.

Everyone else's favorite, Toradora!, only managed to take the fifth spot, despite leading most of the season. As astute readers surely realize, this sudden drop is largely due to the dramatic turn towards the end of the season. Most people who really like Toradora! seem to really like the relationship drama aspects of the final episodes, but I felt they were ham-handed at best. Maybe it's because these are high school relationships in question, but I couldn't help thinking the principals were utter twits. As others have pointed out, this isn't really drama; it's melodrama. And it tastes like high school.

Shion
How odd. Shion is usually much more genki.

I'm not a huge fan of Tetsuwan Birdy Decode, but it is pretty good at what it does. Were these rankings based solely on my interest, it would probably place lower in the standings, although at no fault of its own. Then again, if these rankings were driven by my appreciation of Chiba Saeko, it would place higher. So let's just call it a wash, eh.

Kotori
How odd. Kotori is usually much more genki.

Da Capo If is another OVA ranked entirely on the strength of a single episode. Like with the Ichigo Mashimaro OVA, that's probably not fair, and I should probably exclude it entirely, but I waited a long time for a Kotori route, so I'm going to include it, God damn it. Also, Da Capo If reminds us Horie Yui can really act when she wants to.

Kyon
Kyon, you know this can't possibly end well.

The Melancholy of Haruhi-chan shorts are genuinely amusing. They pulled away from their Nyoron Churuya-san counterparts with that episode where Asahina Mikuru just starts crying from confusion and never looked back.

Torigaya? and Washizu
Washizu Vision?

Oh God. Asu no Yoichi!. Hey, some of the middle-laterish episodes are all right, and that running gag with Washizu's crony had a great payoff that came completely out of left field. The best part is everyone else dropped this show after episode two, so they have no idea what I'm talking about.

Love is all right for a rookie Cure
How odd. Love is usually much more genki.

Fresh Pretty Cure is fresh. Love is love. Tart is the least annoying Precure mascot thus far. Kaoru-chan probably wants to get into the girls' pants. Easy is the best Precure villain except for that that one movie where Cure White is tempted by the dark side and beats Hell out of Cure Black. Aside from Buki being a sort of useless religious fanatic, this show is all right.

Churuya
Quit while you're ahead, Tsuruya.

Nyoron Churuya-san needs more variety in its jokes, nyoron.

Marisa
I've decided Marisa is my favorite Touhou character. Entirely arbitrarily.

Rounding out the final spot among shows I watched during the Winter 2009 season is the unofficial Touhou doujin anime. Despite all the hype, it was merely adequate, which I guess is pretty good all things considered. I wanted to like it more, but I can't claim it's even as good as the classic Yakumo/Chen bit with the KCY and all.

Hokuto
How odd. Hokuto is usually much more...wait, no she's not.

I also dropped a bunch of shows, but there aren't any additions or changes from the earlier list