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Review: Maria Holic

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A one trick pony

Released by Sentai Filmworks, Maria Holic is a Shaft series from way back in 2008. The series takes place at the all girls Ame no Kisaki academy where Kanoko has just transferred in hopes of finding her one true love. Yes, she is a lesbian. A very perverted one at that, but we'll get to that later. 

Upon entering the school grounds, Kanako meets a variety of other students including a beautiful new first-year named Maria. At first the two get along great and Kanako believes that she may have found her true love right away... until she finds out Maria's big secret: she is actually a guy crossdressing as a female and Maria will do anything to make sure that this secret doesn't get out, including moving into the same dorm room as Kanako to keep a close eye on her.

Maria Holic Complete Collection Blu-ray
Studio: Shaft
Licensed By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: 3/4/14
MSRP:  $69.98

The first time I encountered this series was back when it first premiered and-- before I started it this time around-- I really did look back on the series fondly. From what I remembered, it was a fun series filled with laughs. Upon re-visiting it however I quickly realized that while entertaining, Maria Holic is mostly made up of three or four jokes which are endlessly repeated until they are buried deep into the ground. 

It's certainly not all bad. The background music and theme songs are both beautiful and catchy. Give the theme songs a listen a couple of times and you'll find yourself whistling them to yourself for the rest of the day. They are infectious earworms like that for sure. The background music is equally wonderful and really manages to catch the mood of each scene without fail. 

The animation and character designs are also quite well done. This was before the patented Shaft head tilt really started to take hold, so don't worry too much about that if you're tired of seeing that occur within Shaft series (which I know some of you are). Maria, Kanako and the supporting cast are all uniquely designed with no two characters looking really anything alike which is always nice to see. 

The problem with this series lies in its sense of humor which, as I said before, is limited. For the most part, the jokes center on Maria insulting Kanako and Kanako having perverted, nosebleed- inducing fantasies about her classmates (which is one of the reasons why Maria and her maid are always insulting her). These jokes are worn out by the time the series hits the halfway mark and its really quite frustrating and sad. Had these jokes not been used so much, viewers could get so much more mileage from this series. Yet, the constant mach-speed speech of Kanako, perverted fantasy sequences and insults from Maria just do not hold up well. After awhile they even start to become nothing more than background noise as you watch and try to hold out for the scene to shift to something that isn't one of these tired jokes. 

At the very least you can praise the dub cast for being strong and having fun with their roles. Monica Rial in particular is wonderful as Maria and really does a great job of capturing the duality of the role.

In terms of extras, Sentai Filmworks did not skimp on this series. Included within the two discs are clean animations, promotional videos, commercials, a special bonus feature and an interview, none of which should be skipped if you want the full Maria Holic experience. 

While this isn't a fantastic series and the jokes do get old after awhile, its still good enough to warrant a recommendation. It's a dark, fun comedy that didn't get nearly enough love when it was first released but still deserves a nice warm hug from fans. Don't be afraid to pick this one up if you're looking for some dark fun. 

Score: 7.0 - Good. Films or shows that get this score are good, but not great. These could have been destined for greatness, but were held back by their flaws. While some may not enjoy them, fans of the genre will definitely love them.

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Maria Holic Complete Collection reviewed by LB Bryant

7

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Japanator reviews guide

 
 
 

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LB Bryant
LB BryantAssociate Editor   gamer profile

I've been writing about anime and manga either professionally or semi-professionally since August 31st 2005 starting on before graduating up to ICv2 and other sites more + disclosures


 


 


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