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Maria-sama ga Miteru (マリア様がみてる?, lit. The Virgin Mary is Watching or Maria Watches Over Us), often shortened to Marimite (マリみて?),[3] is a series of Japanese light novels written by Oyuki Konno and illustrated by Reine Hibiki. The series focuses on a group of teenage girls attending Lillian Catholic school for girls in Tokyo, Japan.[4] Its storyline largely revolves around the lives and close relationships of the school's student council known as the Yamayuri Council.[4] Maria-sama ga Miteru is considered representative of yuri novels.[2]

The series began as a short story in the February 1997 issue of Cobalt, a shōjo fiction magazine published by Shueisha.[5] The first light novel was published by Shueisha on April 24, 1998, and as of October 2010 the series has grown to 37 volumes.[6] Shueisha has also produced manga and drama CD adaptations; as of 2009 the latter is still ongoing.[7][8] Between January 2004 and March 2009 the series was adapted into a four-season anime produced by Studio Deen. The Right Stuf International has licensed all four seasons through its production arm Nozomi Entertainment, and is releasing them in North America under the title Maria Watches Over Us.[9][10] It has also been adapted into a live-action film that was released in Japan on November 6, 2010.[11]

Plot

Story

Maria-sama ga Miteru's story revolves around the students of the Lillian Girls' Academy (a Catholic school),[4] and can be considered character-driven, focusing on interactions between the characters rather than any sort of ongoing plot or goal to attain.[3] At Lillian Girls' School, there is a tradition known as the sœur system (sœur being French for "sister"), in which a second, or third-year student, the grande sœur ("big sister"), will give her rosary to a first-year student, the petite sœur ("little sister"), and promise to look after them and guide them.

When the story begins, Yumi Fukuzawa, a first-year student at Lillian, is praying in front of the Virgin Mary statue near the school entrance when she is suddenly approached by a cold second-year student named Sachiko Ogasawara who straightens Yumi's uniform neckerchief. This seemingly simple act of kindness stays with Yumi the rest of the day, and she speaks of her meeting with Sachiko to her friends during class and lunch. After school is over, Yumi's classmate Tsutako Takeshima meets with Yumi to show her that she took a photograph of Yumi's meeting with Sachiko earlier that morning. Yumi asks if she can have the photo, but Tsutako says she will give her the snapshot under two conditions: one being that Tsutako can display it at the upcoming school festival, and two being that Yumi get Sachiko's permission to do so as well. Yumi agrees to this, which sets in motion a series of events involving the entire Yamayuri Council — the student council of the school. A few weeks after first meeting Sachiko, Yumi accepts Sachiko's rosary and therefore agrees to become her petite sœur.

This officially inducts Yumi into the Yamayuri Council where she assists them in school matters alongside Yoshino Shimazu, and Shimako Tōdō — the petite sœurs of Rei Hasekura, and Sei Satō respectively. Through her activities in the Yamayuri Council, Yumi becomes closer to the other members and generally finds her experiences with the group to be enjoyable.

Setting and themes

Lillian Girls' Academy (私立リリアン女学園 Shiritsu Ririan Jogakuen?) was founded in 1902 in Musashino, Tokyo, Japan; the school is depicted as an elegant, clean, pure, and very prestigious institution. Among the facilities of Lillian, aside from the classrooms, there is a church, a greenhouse, a kendo dojo, an auditorium, a park, and the Rose Mansion, where the Yamayuri Council meet. The students are very respectable and in good standing. The uniform at the school is a long, dark green Japanese school uniform with a white collar.

One notable aspect is the occasional use of French, although one need not be fluent in French to understand the story. In fact, the series is given the French subtitle La Vierge Marie vous regarde, which means "The Virgin Mary is watching you". In keeping with the tone of the series, formal language is used[12] — gokigen'yō (ごきげんよう?) is a strictly formal and respectful greeting in Japanese, and is used both to greet and to bid farewell. By custom, this greeting is used often in the Lillian School; this has been one of the distinguishable and popular phrases of the series, and it is used to begin or to finish each volume. The Animax English language version translates the word as "Good day to you". The Lillian Girls' Academy uses the lily symbolism as the white lily is the flower of the Virgin Mary.[3] The white lily is a Christian symbol of virginity and purity.

This lily imagery is also used as a reference to yuri:[13] the story has some elements of romance between female characters;[3] the use of lilies reinforces this in subtext, as do the names of the student council and of the school itself.[13] The series is only explicit about a romantic relationship once in a flashback,[14] but many of the sisters have romantic friendships.[3]

The musical choices of Maria-sama ga Miteru are generally classical music-inspired.[13][15] A song that is often referred to in the anime is "Maria-sama no Kokoro", or "The Virgin Mary's Heart". In the context of the series, "Maria-sama no Kokoro" is a children's song taught to the students at Lillian.

Characters

Chinensis family

Yumi Fukuzawa (福沢 祐巳 Fukuzawa Yumi?)
Voiced by: Kana Ueda
She is the main character of the series. In the beginning of the series, Yumi is bashful beyond words, very timid and unsure of herself.[16] She first met Sachiko, the star of Lillian School, and had her tie fixed by Sachiko, which mortified Yumi. Yumi's friend, Tsutako Takeshima, took a cute picture of this and wanted to display it in the school festival. Tsutako gets Yumi to ask permission from Sachiko. Other characters often comment on how her emotions 'show on her face'.
File:Yumi&Sachiko.jpg
Sachiko Ogasawara (小笠原 祥子 Ogasawara Sachiko?)
Voiced by: Miki Itō
Prim and elegant, Sachiko has a rough side and a very sweet side. She is very protective over Yumi and cares deeply about her. However, Sachiko often has the same problem as Yumi does—she does not share most of her problems with her sœur, causing many misunderstandings. Sachiko was intended to marry her cousin Suguru after she graduated, this has caused her some distress because she initially cared deeply for him but he did not reciprocate. In the manga and novels, it is revealed that he is only romantically interested in men; they now have a complicated relationship. Sachiko comes from a wealthy family and she is somewhat sheltered.[17] Yumi teaches Sachiko how to live informally, like helping her select her first pair of jeans and dining at a fast food joint. Despite her sometimes stern appearance, Sachiko has her own share of insecurities regarding her relationship with Yumi. She also has emotional insecurities arising from her home life. Both her father and grandfather openly have mistresses, unabashedly dividing their time between home and the mistresses, apparently leading to her general disdain for men. This was illustrated during a meeting with the student council members of Hanadera, an all-boys high school.[18]
Yōko Mizuno (水野 蓉子 Mizuno Yōko?)
Voiced by: Emi Shinohara
Calm and reserved, but usually with a smirk on her face, Yōko is Sachiko's grande sœur. As the nearly indisputable leader of the Yamayuri Council during her time as Rosa Chinensis, she played a major role in maintaining stability in its sometimes unstable environment. Though usually cool and refined, she is also known to have a fun side. Additionally, it has been implied that she has feelings for Sei Satō.[19] Her dream is to see the Rose Mansion filled with ordinary students before she graduates.
Tōko Matsudaira (松平 瞳子 Matsudaira Tōko?)
Voiced by: Rie Kugimiya
A distant relative and fan of Sachiko. She arrives at Lillian during Yumi's second year. Tōko is a member of the Drama club, and nicknamed Mechanical Drill by Sei Satō for her corkscrew pigtails. In the beginning of her first year, Tōko causes some strain in the relationship between Yumi and Sachiko. However, it is apparent later on in the year that she may become Yumi's petite sœur. By the fourth anime season, Tōko's personality starts to unravel—she may be proud and headstrong, but she is still a fickle, fragile girl with a mysterious secret. This leads to events in volume thirty-one of the novels, and in the fourth season of the anime, where Tōko, after one rejection, receives Yumi's rosary and becomes the future Rosa Chinensis en bouton petite sœur.

Gigantea family

Noriko Nijō (二条 乃梨子 Nijō Noriko?)
Voiced by: Kaori Shimizu
A young girl with a fascination with Buddhist statues and art. She enters Lillian Girls' Academy (a strictly Catholic institution) due to an unexpected turn of events. She has a fierce temper that contradicts her calm exterior and becomes Shimako's petite sœur after Shimako enters her second year.
Shimako Tōdō (藤堂 志摩子 Tōdō Shimako?)
Voiced by: Mamiko Noto
Prim, proper and very beautiful, Shimako is the most admired of the first-years. She is the petite sœur of Sei at the beginning of the story and later is her successor. Underneath Shimako's quiet, mannerly exterior lies a surprisingly strong resolve. However, Shimako is perhaps the most gentle and fragile of the three girls of her year in the Yamayuri Council. She is even unable to decide whether she should run for the next Rosa Gigantea at first, since she is not the type to lead people, and also because she just wants to work, not so much for the council, but for Sei herself. Reminiscent of Sei in her third year, Shimako is unsure of how to find a petite sœur in her second year after Sei leaves. She meets Noriko under the cherry blossoms, like how she first met Sei and later asks her to become her petite sœur.
Sei Satō (佐藤 聖 Satō Sei?)
Voiced by: Megumi Toyoguchi
The exact opposite of most of the characters in the series: loud, rough-around-the-edges, she loves doing what she can to push other peoples' buttons. However, Sei is one of the wisest and most caring characters in the series. Though seeming to have a playful and laid-back attitude, Sei has experienced many tragedies in her life, especially in her second year. Sei's personality was very different in her first two years — she was uninterested in everything, and never joked around like she did in her third year. Sei believes that Shimako should learn to solve her problems on her own, only then will she become strong.

Foetida family

Yoshino Shimazu (島津 由乃 Shimazu Yoshino?)
Voiced by: Haruna Ikezawa
In the beginning of the series, Yoshino is a girl who is very ill and cared for constantly by her grande sœur, Rei. Yoshino is voted as the best petite sœur near the beginning of the series, as everyone considers her to be soft and sweet; however, this is only her reputation. Yoshino is very independent and in some ways tomboyish, despite her sickly status and feminine appearance. After her heart surgery, she becomes more energetic throughout the series. In addition to being Rei's petite sœur, Yoshino is also her cousin and next-door neighbor. Their relationship is somewhat rocky, since Yoshino is eager to spread her wings, while Rei would like to protect her from the world's hardships.
Rei Hasekura (支倉 令 Hasekura Rei?)
Voiced by: Shizuka Itō
Rei, Yoshino's grande sœur, appears very tomboyish and 'bishōnen' on the outside but is in fact quite gentle despite her appearances. She enjoys reading shōjo novels, her favorite word is 'sincerity', and her hobby is sightseeing. She is involved in kendo, but obsessively cares about Yoshino and prefers the domestic arts, like cooking.
Eriko Torii (鳥居 江利子 Torii Eriko?)
Voiced by: Hitomi Nabatame
Rei's grande sœur; one of the most well-respected of the Yamayuri Council. She is very gifted and good at almost everything, although she is also enigmatic and eccentric. She has a large forehead, which Sei made fun of when they were young, and began their rivalry. She said once that she chose Rei as her sœur to see if anything interesting would happen. She often has friction with Yoshino, as the younger girl is jealous of her bond with Rei. Eriko has three older brothers. After leaving Lillian, she studies the Arts. She hates the dentist above all else. She is in love with a man who is interested in dinosaurs.

Yamayuri Council

Much of the story of Marimite revolves around the Yamayuri Council (山百合会 Yamayurikai?, lit. "Mountain Lily Council"), which acts as the student council. The Yamayuri Council meet in a building called the Rose Mansion (薔薇の館 Bara no Yakata?). Located within the school, it consists of two stories, including a meeting room on the second story. The Yamayuri Council itself consists of three offices, named after roses: Rosa Foetida (ロサ・フェティダ Rosa Fetida?), Rosa Gigantea (ロサ・ギガンティア Rosa Gigantia?), and Rosa Chinensis (ロサ・キネンシス Rosa Kinenshisu?).[3][20] These are also referred to by their colors; the Yellow Rose (黄薔薇 Kibara?) is Rosa Foetida, the White Rose (白薔薇 Shirobara?) is Rosa Gigantea, and the Red Rose (紅薔薇 Benibara?) is Rosa Chinensis.

A Rose (薔薇 Bara?), or Rosa (ロサ?), is one of three senior members of the Yamayuri Council, although it is also possible to generally speak of all the members of the Yamayuri Council as roses. A Rose makes the important decisions within this group, since she has control over the student council. Candidates for the position, which lasts through the school year, are chosen through an election. Any student can run to become a Rose, although the position is usually given to the en boutons, the Roses' petite sœurs.

The petite sœur of a Rosa is called an en bouton (アン・ブゥトン an būton?),[21] otherwise known as bara no tsubomi (薔薇のつぼみ?). En bouton is French for "in bud" — as used in the example Rosa Chinensis en bouton — and is unofficially considered part of the Yamayuri Council, as is the petite sœur of the en bouton, if she has one. The en boutons must be in a lower year than their oneesama, and generally the en boutons execute the plans discussed by the Roses, like assistants. Although the Rosa positions of the Yamayuri Council are traditionally passed to the en bouton on the graduation of the current holder, they are nonetheless elected offices which anyone may run for.

The petite sœur of the en bouton is called en bouton petite sœur (アン・ブゥトン・プティ・スール an būton puti sūru?) — as used in the example Rosa Chinensis en bouton petite sœur — and is otherwise known as bara no tsubomi no imōto (薔薇のつぼみの妹?). She must be in a lower year than her oneesama and performs small duties, such as attending to the Roses' en boutons, cleaning the Rose Mansion, and making tea and snacks for the Yamayuri Council. This lasts a school year, and the following year, when their oneesama is elected, the petite sœurs become en boutons automatically.

Most of the main characters are members of the Yamayuri Council. The following table shows their titles and sœur relationships: each character is the grande sœur of the character below them, if any.

Yumi's first year
Foetida Chinensis Gigantea
Rosa ~ Eriko Torii (Third year) Yōko Mizuno (Third year) Sei Satō (Third year)
Rosa ~ en bouton Rei Hasekura (Second year) Sachiko Ogasawara (Second year) Shimako Tōdō (First year)
Rosa ~ en bouton petite sœur Yoshino Shimazu (First year) Yumi Fukuzawa (First year) None
Yumi's second year
Foetida Chinensis Gigantea
Rosa ~ Rei Hasekura (Third year) Sachiko Ogasawara (Third year) Shimako Tōdō (Second year)
Rosa ~ en bouton Yoshino Shimazu (Second year) Yumi Fukuzawa (Second year) Noriko Nijō (First year)
Rosa ~ en bouton petite sœur Nana Arima (Middle school third year) Tōko Matsudaira (First year)[22] None

Sœur system

The sœur system is a fictional system incorporated in the series and is a central concept. In the graphic novel, any second or third year student might pick a younger girl who will become her "sœur" (sister in French). The basic etiquette demands the "petite sœur" (young sister) to call her guide back "oneesama" (older sister in Japanese). Aside from being used in prayer, the rosary is the instrument that certifies the sœur union and relationship between two students.[3]

Even though the relationships are basically related to friendship, some prove to develop into further feelings. There is an implicit code of behavior between sœurs, especially in the student council, Yamayuri Council: quietness, measure and respect towards each other; values deeply attached into Japanese traditional education. Due to the high importance the three Rose families (Rosa Gigantea, Rosa Chinensis and Rosa Foetida) have in the development of the student activities within school, those who become petites sœurs of any of the mentioned families receive a functional "inheritance" through the grandes sœurs teachings, to adopt a position given certain circumstances. In this way, there are patrons recognized through the generations of the members of the Rose families.

Still, after graduating, the grandes sœurs of the Yamayuri Council may continue with a fair participation in the events concerning their families, as shown in the novels[23] which follows the story after the second animated season.

Media

Light novels

In February 1997 Oyuki Konno published a short story called Maria-sama ga Miteru in the shōjo magazine Cobalt.[5] Konno was already an established author when she wrote the story: in the first half of 1993 she had won both Cobalt's Novel Award and Readers' Award for her debut work Yume no Miya (夢の宮?, Palace's Dream).[24] Shueisha published the first Yume no Miya novel in March 1994, and by the beginning of 1997 nine volumes had been released.[25]

The success of the Maria-sama ga Miteru short story inspired Konno to turn it into a series of novels as well.[citation needed] The first volume was published on April 24, 1998, with illustrations by Reine Hibiki (the original short story was illustrated by Yuma Aoi). In terms of the storyline this first novel marks the beginning of the series; the short story of 1997 was reworked and republished in the ninth volume, Cherry Blossom, in 2001. As of October 2010 Shueisha have published 37 light novels in the series, plus a new edition of the first novel in June 2010 to tie in with the movie adaptation.[6] In February 2003, with twelve volumes released, Konno began to publish more short stories in Cobalt. Counting the 1997 debut, 24 short stories have been published as of October 2010; so far 21 of these have been included in later novels. Like the novels, all the short stories except the first are illustrated by Reine Hibiki. The light novel series is being translated into German under the name Rosen unter Marias Obhut ("Roses under Mary's care").[26]

In August 2008, Konno began a spin-off series of light novels called Buddha Watches Too (お釈迦様もみてる Oshaka-sama mo Miteru?), also illustrated by Hibiki. These focus on Yumi's younger brother Yūki and his schoolmates at Hanadera. As of October 2010, six novels in the series have been published.[27]

Manga

File:Maria-sama ga Miteru manga volume 1.jpg

A manga adaptation, drawn by Satoru Nagasawa, was serialized in the Japanese shōjo manga magazine The Margaret between October 2003 and December 2007. It has been collected into eight bound volumes released by Shueisha.[7] The story in each volume follows the corresponding volume of the novels. In 2010, the manga began serialization again by adapting the "Cherry Blossom" story.[28] The manga has been licensed and officially translated in Germany, under the name Rosen unter Marias Obhut.[29] The Latin names for the Roses are removed, in favor of using the color of the rose.

Original manga-only stories were published in the shōjo magazine Cobalt by Shueisha, with drawings by Reine Hibiki; these stories were based on some scenes from the novels. Publication details for these stories are as follows:

  1. Yumi's Valentine Eve (祐巳のヴァレンタイン・イブ Yumi no Varentain Ibu?), February 2003, pp. 204–218
  2. Before the Festival (祭りの前 Matsuri no Mae?), October 2003, pp. 257–267
  3. Christmas Present (クリスマス・プレゼント Kurisumasu Purezento?), December 2003, pp. 43–47
  4. By Graduation... (卒業までに… Sotsugyō Made ni...?), February 2004, pp. 36–41
  5. All Alone on Sunday (ひとりの日曜日 Hitori no Nichiyōbi?), April 2004, pp. 33–37
  6. The Beginning of the Year (年の始めの Toshi no Hajime No?), December 2004, pp. 26–31

Anime

Towards the end of 2003, an anime adaptation was announced — a season of thirteen episodes to run from January to March 2004, produced by Studio Deen. Afterwards, given the success of the first season of the series, and the fact that this season only covered the first six volumes of the novels, it was decided to launch the second season of anime. Haru, with thirteen episodes and with the same personnel that worked in the first season, aired from July and September 2004 and would cover volumes seven to eleven of the novels.

Near the end of 2005, "Project Maria 2006" was announced, and a publicity campaign was run to publicize the new animated series to come in 2006. In August 2006, the third anime series was announced to be presented in Original Video Animation format. It took place just after the second season, and with the same voice actors. The OVA series aired in Japan between November 2006 and July 2007. Plans for a fourth season were announced in the August 2007 issue of Cobalt magazine,[30] and the final scenes of the fifth OVA.[31] The fourth season, like the first two, was televised,[32] and aired in Japan between January and March 2009.

In addition to the main anime series, a parody series, called Maria-sama ni wa Naisho (マリア様にはないしょ Keep it secret from the Virgin Mary?), is included as an omake on the DVD releases of both TV seasons and the OVA. Maria-sama ni wa Naisho consists of minute-and-a-half collections of fake outtakes and parody skits drawn in a super deformed style and starring the cast of the anime.[33]

The first official foreign-language broadcast of the series outside Japan was attempted by the Philippine television network ABS-CBN, translated and dubbed into Tagalog. Episodes one through eight of season one were aired from January 28, 2006 to March 25, 2006, every Saturday morning at 10:30. However, without any official explanation from the station, the anime series was taken off the air after episode eight. In May 2006, it was officially announced that both the first and second seasons of the anime series had been licensed in Spain by Jonu Media. Shortly after that, the license of the OVAs was also confirmed. The complete anime series, including each season, has been translated and dubbed into English for broadcast across the English language networks in Southeast Asia by the anime satellite TV network Animax from March 2007, being the series' first English language television premiere.[34] Animax have also aired the series across its networks in Hong Kong and other regions. In April 2007, a subtitled DVD release was announced by Diamond Comic Distributors, but this was an error.[35]

On March 6, 2008, Nozomi Entertainment, the licensing branch of The Right Stuf International, announced that they would be releasing both TV seasons and the five OVA episodes in box sets. The sets are in the original Japanese with English subtitles. The first set was released on July 29, 2008.[9] A sampler DVD with the first episode was released for review.[36] The release has two subtitle tracks, one with regular dialogue subtitles and a second subtitle track that retains the Japanese honorifics.[37] Maria-sama ga Miteru: Haru has been renamed Maria Watches Over Us: Printemps and is due for release in November 2008.[38] Right Stuf announced it had licensed the fourth season a month after it began airing in Japan.[39]

Audio CDs

In 2004, the media franchise was expanded with the publication of the first of a set of drama CDs, using the same voice actors from the anime series. The drama CDs have special stories that are based on the stories in the novels, and are published by Shueisha. There have been twelve drama CDs so far, the latest of which was released on December 14, 2007; volumes five and ten were also released in limited edition versions each with a slipcase and a pair of character mini-figures.[8] Original soundtracks of the first two anime seasons were published with the aid of musical duo Ali Project in 2004. The first soundtrack contains thirty-five tracks, and the second contained thirty-six. In 2005, three image albums were released, each one with seven tracks consisting of one opening with vocals, three instrumental intervals, one dedicated to each person, one ending with vocals, and the opening and ending themes of the anime series in karaoke format. Each image album was assigned to one of the three families of roses; the songs were sung by the voice actors of the anime series.

Internet radio show

An Internet radio show, starring the voice actors of the anime series, was produced by Animate on their web radio channel.[40] These broadcasts, which run for half an hour, are unrelated to the original story of the novels or the anime. They are more a kind of omake of the series with conversations and publicity, often commenting with news of the third anime series and other funny situations from the plot of the novels. Initially, a special for Christmas was done on December 22, 2005, but the radio show's true beginning was on March 9, 2006. The show ran until November 24, 2006, with nineteen broadcasts; an additional New Year's Day special was done on January 25, 2007, and the next broadcast was a Hinamatsuri special on March 1, 2007. Further broadcasts are expected starting from December 21, 2007 as part of the Pizza Hut tie-in campaign.[41] The program was mainly hosted by Kana Ueda, who voiced Yumi, although occasionally the specials were presented by other voice actors from the anime. Some of the programs have been collected on radio drama CDs.[42]

Live-action film

File:Maria-sama ga Miteru film poster.jpg

A live-action film adaptation began screening in Japanese theaters on November 6, 2010.[11][43] The film is directed by Kōtarō Terauchi, whose previous work includes Boys Love and the live-action Tonari no 801-chan.[44] Terauchi co-wrote the script with Yoshitsugu Sagami, who had worked with him in 2007 as editor of the second Boys Love movie, Schoolboy Crush.[45] The film's music is composed by Chika Fujino, who also worked on Schoolboy Crush.

To tie in with the film, a new edition of the first light novel was published in June 2010 with a cover featuring stars Honoka Miki and Haru.[46]

Cast list

Most of the main cast are fashion models: for example, Honoka Miki models for Love Berry magazine and Haru for Seventeen.[44][47][48]

  • Honoka Miki (未来 穂香 Miki Honoka?) as Yumi Fukuzawa
  • Haru (波瑠?) as Sachiko Ogasawara
  • Kaoru Hirata (平田 薫 Hirata Kaoru?) as Yōko Mizuno
  • Karen Takizawa (滝沢 カレン Takizawa Karen?) as Sei Satō
  • Nana Akiyama (秋山 奈々 Akiyama Nana?) as Eriko Torii
  • Riho Takada (高田 里穂 Takada Riho?) as Shimako Tōdō
  • Rikako Sakata (坂田 梨香子 Sakata Rikako?) as Rei Hasekura
  • Hitomi Miyake (三宅 ひとみ Miyake Hitomi?) as Yoshino Shimazu
  • Alice Hirose (広瀬 アリス Hirose Arisu?) as Tsutako Takeshima
  • Masahiro Usui (碓井 将大 Usui Masahiro?) as Suguru Kashiwagi

Reception

The English-language reception to the Maria-sama ga Miteru anime series has been generally positive,[13][15] although Anime News Network (ANN) noted that the series leaves itself "wide open to cynical sniggering."[12] Carlos Ross from Them Anime regarded it as "one of the most beautiful and graceful anime" series,[13] adding that the animation is sometimes of questionable quality but overall "very appealing".[13] Andrew Shelton from AMR found the series to be "fairly unique" compared to other shōjo works, explaining that although the story is "a little basic" and "overly dramatic", what it is most important is the "response and actions of the character on who the story is focused."[15] Stig Høgset, also from Them Anime, commented that the third season was criticized for being too short, but he personally did not feel "like it was lacking something."[16] Jason Thompson credits Maria-sama ga Miteru with starting "the modern yuri trend".[49] Newer anime titles that Maria-sama ga Miteru is compared to include Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru,[50] Strawberry Panic!,[51] Best Student Council,[12] and Aria.[52] Carlos Ross, writing about the first novel in the series, felt the story was a "classic rags-to-riches tale," but that it was "also sweet, touching and witty when it needs to be." He criticized the lack of teachers and schoolwork in the series, which lead to the plot being filled with extracurricular activities, which are common to high school series. He also criticized Yumi's low self-esteem.[53]

A characteristic element of the series is the extensive use of French titles, which Carlos Ross has criticized as "distracting".[13] Mania.com criticized the early episodes as being "difficult",[17] and saying that the first episode "throws a lot of terms and names at you".[54] On the other hand, Ross compared the "atmosphere" presented by the series' artwork with those from other anime titles of similar setting, including the bright and vivid Revolutionary Girl Utena.[13] Another reviewer from Them Anime also compared Maria-sama ga Miteru with Oniisama e..., but noted that the former is much less dramatic.[55] Marc Hairston commented on the unusual character designs compared to other series, and said they are "ordinary students".[3] ANN also noted the "clear, expressive eyes and character designs that are gifted with an understated mobility", praising the casting choices, and noting that even "peripheral" characters are "well-realized".[12] Active Anime described the relationships between the characters as "intensely platonic" and "pseudo-gay" for the most part.[56] ANN noted that the second season tends to overdramatize, especially in the last three episodes. ANN also describes the second season as "more embarrassing and shoujo-ai oriented" than the first season, but that the solid characterization is still a strength of the series.[57] Active Anime appreciated the focus on characters other than Yumi and Sachiko for the second season, regarding Shimako's loss of Sei and befriending Noriko as being "one of the more moving" arcs of Printemps.[58] ANN regards the OVA season as the best so far, citing the improved production standards and the less melodramatic storylines.[59] ANN notes that the fourth season is "a return to dramatic form" after the relaxation of the OVA series, but is relieved that it is not as melodramatic as the second season, due to the increased maturity of the cast.[60] Chris Beveridge, writing for Mania.com, noted the focus on Toko in the fourth season, and felt that the series seemed odd due to Yumi and Sachiko not spending so much time together, and felt that the series needed an epilogue, but enjoyed seeing Yumi taking on some "adult responsibilities".[61]

Andrew Shelton has suggested that Maria-sama ga Miteru's "reduced capacity for epic drama" is due to the lack of malicious characters;[15] he considers the series "pure shōjo", mostly due to its character-driven storyline.[15] Japanese reviewers for their part regard the story as a revival of the Class S genre, and specifically a modern-day equivalent of Nobuko Yoshiya's Hana monogatari.[1] Hairston notes that Maria-sama ga Miteru emphasizes romance and emotion over sexuality, and it has a respectful treatment of its homoerotic themes.[3] He describes the series as "one of the most interesting and touching anime series of the last two years",[3] adding that it is "about self-discovery and self-acceptance".[3]

A Pizza Hut tie-in campaign for the fourth anime series started on January 7, 2008.[32][41] The Rose Mansion from the story was recreated in the Second Life virtual world and opened on February 8, 2008.[32][62]

Notes and references

Template:EsTrans

  1. 1.0 1.1 Script error
  2. 2.0 2.1 Script error
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Hairston, Marc (2006). "The Yin and Yang of Schoolgirl Experiences: Maria-sama ga miteru and Azumanga Daioh". Mechademia: An Annual Forum for Anime, Manga, and the Fan Arts 1: 177–180. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Green, Jason (July 2008). "Ave Maria! Maria Watches Over Us". Protoculture Addicts (97). pp. 18–20. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Script error
  6. 6.0 6.1 Script error
  7. 7.0 7.1 Script error
  8. 8.0 8.1 Script error
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Maria Watches Over Us". The Right Stuf International. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  10. "Right Stuf's Nozomi Entertainment to Release Season 4 of Maria Watches Over Us (Maria-sama ga Miteru)". Anime News Network. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Gantz, Maria-sama, Mori no Asagao Promos Streamed". Anime News Network. October 2, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2010. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Kimlinger, Carl (2008-08-23). "Maria Watches Over Us Season 1 DVD Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 Ross, Carlos (2004). "THEM Anime Reviews 4.0 - Maria-sama ga Miteru". Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  14. Maria-sama ga Miteru: Forest of Thorns, series one, episodes 10 and 11 - Forest of Thorns/White Petals
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Shelton, Andrew (2004). "Anime Meta-Review Maria-sama ga miteru". Archived from the original on 2007-03-07. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 "Maria Watches Over Us season 3". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Maria Watches Over Us Season 1 Collection". Mania.com. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  18. Maria-sama ga Miteru: One Page of Midsummer, also OVA episode 2 "Codename Operation OK (Tentative)"
  19. "A Guide to the Marimite Characters and their Relationships". Archived from the original on 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  20. Miller, Ian. "Dē Rosīs Puellārum Lilliānēnsium - "Concerning the Roses of the Lillian Girls"". Archived from the original on 2007-06-17. Retrieved 2007-09-10.  More than one of |author= and |last= specified (help)
  21. In the anime episodes, Japanese casts clearly pronounce the word "būtun", although the katakana ブゥトン indicates the sound "būton", which is closer to the correct French pronunciation.
  22. In volume thirty-one of the novels, Bara no Hana Kanmuri, Tōko asks Yumi for her rosary and becomes Yumi's petite soeur.
  23. Konno, Oyuki. Maria-sama ga Miteru volume 21 "Sœur audition". 
  24. Script error
  25. Script error
  26. Script error
  27. Script error
  28. "Yuri Network News". May 29, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  29. Script error
  30. "Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th Season Anime Announced". Anime News Network. July 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  31. "Maria-sama ga Miteru OAV 5, Ciao Sorella". Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 "Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th Season Confirmed for TV". Anime News Network. 2008-01-18. Retrieved 2008-01-18. 
  33. "Maria-sama ni wa naisho (special)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  34. "Animax East Asia". Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  35. "Anime On DVD News Archive". April 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  36. "Maria Watches Over Us Episode 1 Sampler". Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  37. "Maria Watches Over Us Trailer Premieres, Plus More Season 1 Release Info". Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  38. "Right Stuf's Nozomi Entertainment Announces the Maria Watches Over Us – Season 2 DVD Collection: Printemps". Anime News Network. 2008-09-04. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  39. "Right Stuf Licenses Maria Watches Over Us Season 4". Anime News Network. 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  40. "Maria-sama ga Miteru radio show". Animate. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  41. 41.0 41.1 "MariMite Pizza Hut Japan Campaign, Fan Disk Announced". Anime News Network. 
  42. Friedman, Erica. "Okazu:Maria-sama ga Miteru DJCD 1 and 2". Okazu. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  43. Script error
  44. 44.0 44.1 Script error
  45. "Schoolboy Crush". Answers.com. Retrieved October 13, 2010. 
  46. "Letter Bee, D.Gray-man Artists Do Classic Novel Covers". Anime News Network. June 27, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  47. "Maria-sama ga Miteru's Live-Action Film Casted". Anime News Network. April 1, 2010. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  48. "Live-Action Maria-Sama ga Miteru Main Cast Presented". Anime News Network. April 26, 2010. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  49. Thompson, Jason (February 22, 2010). "365 Days of Manga, Day 160: Strawberry Panic!". Suvudu. Retrieved February 24, 2010. 
  50. Høgset, Stig (2007). "THEM Anime Reviews 4.0 - Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru". Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  51. Friedman, Erica (2006). "Okazu: Yuri Anime: Strawberry Panic". Retrieved 2007-02-09. 
  52. Smith, D.F. (2008-11-24). "Aria - Season One DVD Review". IGN. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  53. Santos, Carlo (November 14, 2006). "Delinquent Schoolboys, Blossoming Schoolgirls - Right Turn Only!!". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  54. "Maria Watches Over Us Episode 1 Sampler". Mania.com. Retrieved 2008-07-29. 
  55. Berman, Jennifer (2004). "THEM Anime Reviews 4.0 - Maria-sama ga Miteru ~Haru~". Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  56. "Maria Watches Over Us Season 1". Active Anime. 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  57. Kimlinger, Carl (2009-01-14). "Maria Watches Over Us DVD - Season 2 Collection: Printemps (S) (TV)". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  58. "Maria Watches Over Us Season 2 Printemps DVD Box Set". Active Anime. 2009-04-26. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  59. Kimlinger, Carl (2009-03-24). "Maria Watches Over Us Sub.DVD - Season 3 DVD Collection". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-03-28. 
  60. Kimlinger, Carl (June 29, 2010). "Maria Watches Over Us: Season 4 DVD - Review". Anime News Network. Retrieved July 4, 2010. 
  61. Beveridge, Chris (July 3, 2010). "Maria Watches Over Us Season 4 Collection". Mania.com. Retrieved 5 July 2010. 
  62. "Second Life Rose Mansion". Second Life. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 

External links

ar:ماريا ساما غا ميترو cs:Maria-sama ga Miteruko:마리아님이 보고계셔 it:Maria-sama ga miteru nl:Maria-sama ga Miterupl:Maria sama ga miteruru:Maria-sama ga Miteru fi:Maria-sama ga miteru sv:Maria-sama ga miteru tl:Maria-sama ga miteru th:Maria-sama ga Miteru zh:瑪莉亞的凝望

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