Warning! The following review contains spoilers.


The Puppet Masters and The Puppet

Overview of Maria Holic

Ame no Kisaki is an all girl high school and the perfect place for Kanako Miyamae. Kanako transfers here with her eyes set on pretty girls, and she gets a massive case of hives whenever a boy touches her. When she meets Mariya Shidō, Kanako thought it was a dream come true, but it quickly turns into a living nightmare. Mariya is actually a cross-dressing boy who rooms with Kanako in order to prevent his secret from coming out. Mariya decides to torment his new roommate every chance he gets, but Kanako as a delusional pervert, finds a way to live with all the torment. Kanako can live with Mariya’s torture, because the chance to enjoy sexy girls makes it all worthwhile.

What happens when a lesbian pervert meets a sadistic, yet beautiful cross-dresser? Simple, two seasons and twenty four episodes of comedic insanity with nose-bleeds that can fill the Nile River twice.

Fun and Crazy

Every Anime cannot be an instant classic or an emotional roller coaster. However, sometimes when you stay true to delivering quality entertainment the results speaks for itself. Fun and Crazy entertainment that never gets old best describes Maria Holic. This Anime breaks out, but not with hives. Instead laugh-out-loud characters break out and present gut-busting comedy, what the hell moments, and even a few OMG’s, because yes, they go that far. I’m happy to say Maria Holic has unforgettable characters throughout the insane, but marvelous misadventures.

Mariya vs. Kanako


I think we can see who wears the pants here.

You cannot begin to appreciate Maria Holic without going into the contrasting and dynamic relationship between Kanako and Mariya. Believe it or not, these two need each other.

Kanako strongly lusts for women, and her antics made me laugh, because there is no limit to her perverted fantasies. Mariya dresses as a girl in order to win control over Ame No Kisaki from his sister Shizu. Shizu dresses as a boy at an all boys academy and, the two siblings must make sure not to be discovered. If one sibling is discovered then control over Ame No Kisaki will go to the other sibling.

Mariya has to make sure Kanako does not spill the beans about him being a boy and while he may appear to be cruel, he actually wants what’s best for Kanako. Sure, Mariya is a narcissist and a little too comfortable with dressing as a girl, but maybe I should praise Mariya. He has been able to effortlessly manipulate the entire campus while virtually keeping Kanako in his back pocket, and even though he is a trap, he really captures what it means to be a girl.

When Mariya messes with Kanako most of the time there is a good reason behind it. He teaches her lessons about how her selfish perverted antics affects her friends. Mariya can be abusive to Kanako, but Kanako comes back for more in order to one day achieve her dreams of finding true love. Kanako can get lost in delusional fantasies, but it is always Mariya bringing Kanako back to reality.

Mariya realizes that Kanako is anything, but perfect, and of course, Kanako presents a clear danger to all the women of Ame No Kisaki. It is ironic, that in an all girls school Kanako as a lesbian pervert, is more dangerous than Mariya, a cross-dressing boy. Mariya proves to be a valuable friend because without Mariya to keep Kanako in check, Kanako might be tempted to make one of her fantasies a reality. Mariya is Kanako’s moral compass and because we all have a cross to bear Kanako is Mariya’s cross. Deep down Mariya actually likes Kanako and feels sorry for her.

Without Kanako, Mariya probably will be bored out of his mind. In addition, with Kanako around he can share who he really is to someone not named Matsurika. Mariya comes off as liking the challenge of dealing with Kanako, despite hating how much of a pervert Kanako really is.

When you think about it, Mariya has been able to get away with being a girl with literally no threats, until Kanako shows up. Now, with Kanako he has someone else, besides his maid Matsurika to challenge him.

Mariya taps into his feminine side whenever he is on campus, but Kanako fully embraces her masculinity whenever a pretty girl is in sight. These two cannot live without each other, because Mariya cannot always be in character, and the perfect punching bag to let out some steam is Kanako. Kanako’s thinking has no logic and she lives in her own perverted world which is hilarious. However, Mariya is the one person willing to shake up Kanako’s world in order to help her become a better person.

Good Comedy is Good Comedy

I understand this show does not want to be taken seriously. Comedic moments are truly unusual and perverted. The many references to popular culture, other anime, and even some historical knowledge becomes an instant comedy routine. There are jokes that come off as flat, but ultimately it depends on a person’s tastes. The jokes on religion might be funny to me, but someone else might not like it at all.

God has taken the form of a female dorm leader with neko ears, and a pet dog name Yonakuni. What does that mean? I don’t know, but who cares, it’s funny. If you just go with it, you will not regret it. God will never be understood and this show makes sure to reflect that. I have no idea what those creepy songs mean, but they are funny. Lyrics sound like: Mop up the blood and hide the body, and on cue Yonakuni barks. The God character brings out many funny moments in the show and you will question God’s methods from time to time.

Another moment you will not regret is when Kanako said, “I love me some Jesus Hallelujah!” The context behind what she said and the timing of when she said it makes the line hilarious and memorable.

I want people who watch Maria Holic to remember, this is a Catholic School so expect all the usual jokes on the Catholic Religion, especially when you meet Father Kanae. (One of my favorite characters)

The animation can change in an instant and become Revolutionary Girl Utena or Fist of The North Star, which can really through off some viewers, but when Maria Holic makes fun of the classics they go all in, which I appreciate very much.

Like when Kanako in order to study better went into a special space. In this special space time slows down and one year actually is one week. (Anyone else see the Dragon Ball Z Hyperbolic Time Chamber reference and how ridiculous it would be if applied to anything else besides DBZ?) The parodies of other anime are constantly happening because its Maria Holic’s way of paying homage to the classics.

I like the chibi versions of every character and the internal commentaries that often comes off as rants. These chibi moments or internal commentaries show you that not only Kanae or Kanako get lost in their own worlds. Every character has their own way of thinking and they complement each other very well. Matsurika’s sarcasm is charming and her diary is a good aside for fans to enjoy. I like how Sachi is really nice and adorable all the time. Maria Holic whenever the action is steered away from Kanako or Mariya does not stop being funny, because the other characters have their own way of bringing humor.

Setbacks

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Always have Matsurika as your Helper In A Pinch Character.

What sets this Anime back to a degree is how things can get out of control real quick and the audience might be asking themselves what is going on and where is this Anime going? The trick is this show will do anything it wants and you have to be willing to accept that. Maria Holic as illogical as it becomes the gags always find a way to become comedic gold. I have faith the show knows what it is doing, but I do encourage viewers to focus on the comedy.

But, what really got me thinking is: The Anime is called Maria Holic, but Kanako is the protagonist. Does the title imply that Mariya is the main character? Does it imply that Kanako is a Maria Holic? I cannot assume the Anime will answer these questions for me, and in the end I have decided Kanako is the undisputed protagonist.

Nevertheless, this confusion of who is the main character actually gets discussed in the anime and poked fun at. This may make the show at times feel too cheeky for its own good. Deciding between a pervert lesbian or a cross-dressing dude as the main character sounds funny, but it maybe one joke that not all fans will appreciate.

A Golden Opportunity Overlooked?


Yes Kanako you can have all the girls you want.

I find myself faulting this anime when it comes to Kanako’s involvement in determining the fate of Ame No Kisaki. If she reveals that Mariya is a boy she gets rid of Mariya. Ideally with Shizu in control and Mariya gone, it will be a win-win for Kanako. However, there is the threat of getting expelled, because in response Mariya might reveal Kanako is a raging pervert.

But, that risk is worth taking.

I understand that comedy outshines anything remotely close to an overarching plot. But, in this case, I want to know does Kanako want Mariya or Shizu to gain control over Ame No Kisaki? She does have a major opportunity to swing control either way because she knows both of their secrets. To not address this question more often throughout twenty-four episodes makes the anime feel incomplete.

In other words, because Kanako does not do enough to reveal the truth about Mariya the anime loses out on more potential humor involving Kanako’s attempts to finally get rid of Mariya, and have all the pretty girls to herself, including Shizu.

I understand a lot of the episodes are about Kanako’s misadventures, but I feel Kanako has some unfinished business.

Final Verdict


No Hot Dogs… Gotta Improvise

Both Maria Holic and Maria Holic Alive provided entertainment and made me laugh a lot of times. I found that the characters are totally funny in their own way and they make you come back for more. I could not ask for a better comedy that has extreme moments like this one. Everyone from Sachi to Ryūken play their roles to the fullest, and become irreplaceable friends for Kanako. The large cast of characters all get enough screen time with Kanako having her pretty girl radar in overdrive most of the time.

I do feel Kanako needed to fight for her rights to see a pretty girl naked more often. Mariya’s secret was not threaten enough by Kanako and Kanako never realized her opportunity to determine the fate of Ame No Kisaki. I do love their dynamic and complex relationship, but it has that other layer that needed to be explored. Will Kanako ever let the secret out of the bag for the sake of her perverted fantasies? Or does Kanako realize that Mariya really is trying to help her and she will stay silent, because he is her friend. Ultimately, the show is all about the comedy, but having these questions lingering still makes me hope for more.

I find the music on this show is funny with its dramatic soap opera piano themes or high intense themes. I love how the animation can change at any moment to make a scene even funnier.

The deeper moments shown in both seasons are relaxing breaks from comedic insanity, but the show has broken every sense of logic in the process. That might make an audience wonder what exactly is happening. The show does what it wants and, feels original, but it might be a little too wacky and unstable for some people. There are still unanswered questions that hold the show back. The debate between who is the main character can become tedious for some audiences, but at least there is a chance for Matsurika Holic, right?

In the end, Maria Holic & Maria Holic Alive breaks new grounds in comedy. A lesbian pervert and a cross-dressing dude proves to be a combination that works like Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour. You watch this show for laugh out loud moments and despite missed opportunities that leave lingering questions, I still say Maria Holic is a solid anime.

Score: 8/10

Positives
Great Characters
Mariya Vs. Kanako
Fun and Crazy Comedy
Animation and Music complements the Comedy

Negatives
Might be too out of control for some audiences.
Unanswered questions/Missed Opportunities.
Confusion about who is the main character can be a joke that fans might not appreciate.

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