It’s a trap!
The subs finally came out! So yeah, wow. Maria Holic Alive is finally done airing (minus the OVA) and did the time ever fly. I can’t say that this was the best ending ever, but it was alright and it wrapped up the series rather nicely.
Summer is almost over and Kanako finally finishes all the schoolwork that has plagued her for more than half the season. With most of her summer spent wasted on extra classes and her having to study in a room right beside the bathhouse she’s been banned from due to a previous nosebleed incident, one would think that Kanako would be depressed, right? However, to Kanako, the end of summer means one thing: her birthday.
Of course, Kanako is really excited for it, but when she talks to Mariya and Matsurika, neither of them seem to remember. Even when Kanako hints at it being a birthday, both of them only recall it being some ancient Roman emperor’s birthday. Kanako finally snaps and yells that its her birthday and leaves the room. She then emos a bit that no one seems to remember despite her mentioning it obnoxiously to her friends at every opportunity (and even in her sleep).
She then resolves to make them remember, but doesn’t want to say it directly. She then uses several roundabout ways like talking about the cafeteria menu to make the word ‘birthday’ (it doesn’t really translate that well to English, but it was actually pretty clever) or talking about a pretty girl who looks like a baseball player named ‘Bass’ from class ‘D’ to get the message through. Of course, none of her friends can figure out what she’s trying to say until they look in a notebook that was confiscated from her in class and see her birthday written clearly on a page. They then decide to hold a surprise party for her.
How a pretty girl could ever look like a baseball player, I will never know
However, after Sachie asks her if she has any plans on the 31st, Kanako catches on right away and gets excited. Around the same time, Ryuken tells the Dorm Mistress that after seeing the numbers 831 written in blood on the sidewalk (left over from Kanako’s earlier attempts) she realized that it was Kanako’s birthday. The Dorm Mistress then says that the dorm should hold a surprise party for her. Kanako catches on to that plan immediately as well. Shizu also remembers about her birthday… you can probably guess what kind of party they want to hold for her by now.
In the end, it seems the only one who doesn’t want to throw her a surprise party is Mariya, because even Kanae thinks he should celebrate her birthday in place of her (nonexistent) dead brother. He gives her a note asking her to meet him at the church on the 31st, but unlike the other people asking if she had plans, Kanako isn’t too thrilled about this one.
Her birthday finally arrives, but aside from asking if she was free, nobody has said anything else to Kanako. The entire day goes by and no one even mentions anything to her about a party. Refusing to go answer Kanae’s letter, Kanako then decides that if they won’t surprise her, she will surprise them and then sneaks into the bathhouse to wait. Her nose bleeds soon after from imagining her jumping out and as she lays on the floor, Mariya and Matsurika find her.
As Kanako stands up, her rosary falls. Noticing a rosary shaped hole in a nearby pedestal tap thing, she places it in there before Mariya can tell her not to. Suddenly, all three of them are sucked into an underground chamber hidden underneath the dorm. Kanako gets upset that she has to spend her birthday with Mariya, but Mariya says that its her own fault for telling absolutely everyone that she was free and refusing to go to the one place she was invited to. Kanako then realizes that despite being annoying occasionally, Father Kanae is actually trying to help her (okay, she doesn’t really realize this fully, but Mariya points it out and she feels guilty) and says that after she replies to the invitation, she’ll go check out some yuri convention or something that she got in the mail.
I’ll admit, I had the same reaction as Kanako after seeing Kanae
Suddenly, the three are attacked by Kanako’s former nemesis, expanding seaweed. Apparently there was a bunch buried underground and with the water coming through, it caused it to expand. Mariya pulls them into a different tunnel to buy time and they reach a dead end with a slot machine. Kanako inserts a coin and summons Rindou as a helper. He launches off on a metal strip thing like the ones they use in Gundam to distract the seaweed while Kanako and the others escape.
Just as Kanako vows to leave the underground alive to apologize to Kanae They then encounter Kanako’s bag with the mysterious creature inside. Mariya and Matsurika attempt to take it on and before you can say ‘tentacle porn’ both of them are captured. Thank god this is a kid friendly show (kind of). They tell Kanako to run and Kanako says she’ll be back with help. Finally, Kanako reaches the end and when she climbs up the tunnel, she surprised to find herself in the church with her friends singing happy birthday to her.
Mariya (who somehow got there before Kanako) and Shizu help her up and Shizu explains that Mariya knew that everyone was throwing her a surprise party and that she helped combine them all to make a mass one. Mariya admits that this is spoiling her, but her birthday is special and as a present, Mariya kisses Kanako on the cheek, causing her to break out in hives. The season ends with Kanako narrating to her mother in heaven that she probably won’t find her true love anytime soon but it’s okay because she has a lot of other important people around her. D’awwww~ Oh yeah and there’s a special ending sung by Mariya’s seiyuu.
Lololol, what a roundabout way to surprise someone. This was a pretty low key ending, but considering this show has next to no plot, there wasn’t much they could have built up on to make it climactic. I could relate to Kanako here because (speaking from experience), having your friends forget your birthday is horrible. I was expecting the parties to merge and was expecting Mariya to do something for Kanako in the end, but I totally did not expect the whole underground escape thing. Really, how far ahead did Mariya have to plan in order to know that Kanako would go to the bathhouse and notice the rosary shaped hole?
The jokes were about average for most of the episode, but I found the underground part pretty funny and it was a good switch from Kanako’s “Waaaah, why isn’t anyone celebrating my birthday?” to a crazy survival type scenario. It changed the mood completely. Despite being kind of dull, this episode ending was really sweet. It showed that no matter how yuri driven and shameless Kanako acts, she really does care about her friends. Yeah, I’d say for an anime ending, it was pretty average but at least it was entertaining and provided insight for Kanako’s character.
The season as a whole relied a lot on assuming that the viewer watched the original Maria Holic and didn’t really go back and explain what had happened before. This was kind of problematic for me and I found myself having to rewatch the first season because it aired so long ago and I had forgotten what had happened. At the same time, it kept the season moving forward instead of wasting time on flashbacks. A bunch of new characters were introduced and the old ones were expanded on, so at least it was something new from the original run.
I really liked the developments they did with Shizu (holy crap shes adorable) and the contests between her and Mariya were awesome (same with the random interactions between Matsurika and Rindou)! I liked a lot of the new characters too (ie Miki and Rindou) and I wish they could have spent more time on them. The lack of Mariya was pretty disappointing too but there was an episode every so often that reminded us what a sadistic trap Mariya is so at least they didn’t neglect him completely. Ah well, next season (assuming there is one). They left Maria Holic pretty open ended so I don’t think there would be any problems story wise if they made another season. Oh, I almost forgot the OVA! Maybe that will tie up some of the lose ends as well. Or maybe they’ll have more Mariya. I’d be fine with either or.