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Maria†Holic episode 2

January 13, 2009

This episode focused on Kanako’s first day at Amenokisaki school for girls. In the morning she is faced with a dilemma as she’s unable to change into her uniform in front of Mariya, with whom she now shares a room. After teasing Kanako quite a bit, Mariya does leave so Kanako can change, but not before touching her so she breaks out in hives.

Later Kanako is taken to the teacher’s lounge where’s she’s introduced to her homeroom teacher, Humi Kumagai, who apparently knew Kanako’s mother. As they walk to class Humi reveals she also met Kanako when she was little, though Kanako doesn’t recall it.

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Once in class, Kanako’s rather nervous but soon reverts to her usual self of going into her own world of yuri fantasy and explosive blood noses when she meets some of her cute classmates like the quiet megane girl Nanami Kiri, the graceful archery club member Yuzulu Inamori and the energetic Sachi Momoi.

The students then gather in the assembly hall for the introductory speeches, and much to Kanako’s surprise the one elected to speak for the first year students is none other than Mariya.
While at first it may seem Mariya bullies Kanako out of sadistic pleasure and concern of being exposed as a male, it looks like Mariya may not be all that evil as she does save Kanako from embarrassment during her speech when everyone looks up at hearing Kanako’s empty stomach growl. Then again, Kanako having had to skip breakfast was mostly Mariya’s fault anyway.

At the end of the day Kanako’s original roommate, Ryuuken shows up to talk to Kanako about the sudden room change, wondering if something is amiss. But before Kanako may inadvertently speak the truth, Mariya intervenes.
However, some students that saw Ryuuken come to Kanako’s class are already plotting in jealousy as it seems not only Mariya but Ryuuken herself is also quite famous in the school.

What troubles will befall Kanako in the next episode?

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This time round watched “Maria†Holic” in HD size, so the visual quality is remarkably better than that of the streamed version of the first episode. Reminds me I have to catch the first episode again in its non-streamed version.

Undoubtedly, this episode was a real hit for me, and if this keeps up, “Maria†Holic” may be one of the best series for me this season. Of course with the yuri and trap themes mixed with comedy, it does appeal to my viewing interests more than some other series, but this episode is a prime example of how a perfectly balanced marriage of elements can create sublime anime moments.
Shaft is known for its unique and alternative visual style and when mixed with an atypical comedy like “Maria†Holic” that takes well known elements such as yuri, traps and brings them just to an extreme or different extent, the result of the visuals blending together with the dialogue and plot creates something truly excellent.

There was a lot of dialogue and verbal banter between Kanako, Mariya and Matsurika. From lines delivered with breakneck speed and dry retorts between Mariya and Matsurika, to Kanako’s inner thoughts running off at every turn, there’s a lot of witty dialogue which raises the level of comedy.

Add to this the absurd extremes or traits the series couples to the generic base of its characters, such as Kanako not merely being interested in girls but rapidly blushing or having an explosive blood nose when faced with any cute girl around, and let’s not forget Mariya’s mind-boggling split second switch between the cutest and most innocent young maiden possible to a sadistic cross-dresser with a huge chip on his shoulder.
Here “Maria†Holic” really hits the mark so I hope they keep this level up.

Furthermore, despite all the comedy, “Maria†Holic” already hints at some deeper character development and underlying plots. Witnessing the rivalry between Mariya and the student council president Ayari, there’s more to Mariya than what one may assume so far, I wonder how that will play out.

The opening was rather interesting too, blending 3D CGI environment and dolls of Kanako that are toyed with by Mariya who uses them as paint brushes, alternated by colorful splashes and slogans like “No more war”, “Paint it red”,…

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