First Impressions – Junketsu no Maria – METANORN

First Impression – Junketsu no Maria

winter15-junketsu

 Are you squidding ready for some Maria!?

Of course you are! I just had to pull out the Ika reference as our titular Maria is voiced by none other than Hisako Kanemoto. This is the show that was on the top of my list for this season to both watch and write about. So let’s get crackin’…

Sorciére de gré, pucelle de force

Junketsu no Maria 01-lead

Maria isn’t a fan of war, or off her ruse being discovered 

I was going to go into a bit of a history lesson with this one, but decided to hold back. The Hundred Years War is one of those academic things that does what most history ends up doing and that is focusing on the people in the shiny hats, and the people that want to go to war over who deserves to wear the shiny hat. This story, and by it’s greatest extension, Maria herself, are not all that interested in the shiny hats.  This is smaller history, of the people that didn’t even know academics would look back and call it a Long Ass War, nor would they care much if they categorized it the third phase of such war, The Lancastrian War. But we can pretty much put the events of Maria after 1431, when Joan of Arc was put to death.

Junketsu no Maria 01-manyfaces

…but that doesn’t mean the character isn’t complex…

From it’s opening scene you can tell why Maria herself is so opposed to war. She is the “wise woman” and her authority rests in keeping people alive. It’s enough for survival to have to compete with natural disaster, disease and famine (to name but a few awful things) without having soldiers constantly foraging your fields and having your men, young and old, called to banners. Her dedication is to life, and keeping it preserved. It’s a very innocent look at the world, so it would stand that it’s primary holder of that view would be innocent herself…

Junketsu no Maria 01-joeseph

…it’s just that the booty call usually goes to her voicemail, which is not yet set up…

But when sabres are rattling, no one likes a dove. For Maria’s efforts she is scorned by both the French and English, the Holy Church, and the mercenaries just trying to make a buck or two off of taking nobles hostage. But for all that, you have to admire how she works. If Artemis is rocking the house, the next morning (and for some days after) no one wants to head of the the battle lines. And who can blame them?

Junketsu no Maria 01-owl

…looks like it would take some effort to make that jaw tired….

The Cost of War

Junketsu no Maria 01-002

…of course she had faith her papa would come back…

I like how they do go beyond the shiny hat wearers and the vassals that fight under the banners. It’s men like Anne’s father and young nobles (you ain’t fooling anyone dude) like Joseph that pay the largest price. Anne probably paying a larger one had the outcome of this battle not been interrupted by Maria. You have to protect that smile, and moreso. But why did Maria hesitate this time? Was it because she knew the people involved a bit more than normal, with Anne praying to keep her father alive, and Joseph leaving her feeling “cute”? I’m guessing that has quite a bit to do with it, but I know there are larger forces at work that she is aware of.

Junketsu no Maria 01-fight

…but they still always manage to make war look pretty cool

Puella Magi

Junketsu no Maria 01-004

Maria has some issues with saints and martyrs

…namely, she isn’t especially interested in becoming either one of them. She very much underlines what happened to Jeanne d’arc, La Pucelle, and predicted the rise from burning to Sainthood, which served to underscore the scorn she has for the church and it’s “use” for women. This is an interesting contrast to the other witches, both French and English, watching from the sidelines, seeing how indirect actions through their succubi worked out. They are reaping as much from the war as the mercenaries. But Maria wants no part in it. And indeed no part of what the church holds most precious for young ladies, their virginity. I did like that bit with Artemis calling her out not to press her values on others, it’s interesting to have a familiar that keeps you on your toes.

Junketsu no Maria 01-003

…summons dragon not to win the fight but to stop it…no wonder the other witches get pissed…

Junketsu no Maria 01-England

Oo, La La Lancaster

Sniff Sniff

Show ▼

I’ve been anticipating this show since it was announced last year. As many might know, I loves me some history, and while I’ve said this is less about names and dates and shiny hats, I’m happy it’s about the meaner, more basic parts that make history feel much more alive; the actual lives and what they mean. Even fantasy can tell us things about history that we might have only guessed at; how hope survived when, basically, your country has seen little but the ravages of war for generations. I’ve read most of the available manga, and I know the story will get deeper, in the personal nature this episode starts us with, and with some of the politics of the nations engaged, and of the Church itself. Of course we are in story for some ecchi moments as well, and some crazy hijinks with familiars and succubi…

Production I.G. has done a bang up job with this program. The character designs have jumped from the manga to dazzling life, and the colors pop in just the right way. The action scenes are brutal, and all the character animation is beautiful.  I’ve already mentioned our leading VA, so I have to give some props to Youko Hikasa as Artemis, she is carrying that role very well, almost like it was made for her. I’m very happy to be covering this, and look forward to seeing your comments…

About

All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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32 Responses to “First Impression – Junketsu no Maria”

  1. zztop says:

    Looks like Artemis has been visiting Ser Too-big again!

  2. Di Gi Kazune says:

    By right… Maria should have been burnt at the stake already… especially with the obvious evidence that she is a witch/heretic.

    In the meantime, in the words of one Gilles de Rais: Watashi no Jeanne!

    • skylion says:

      She’s not stupid enough to be weighed against a duck…

      I mentioned history, at this point in our story, he’s toast as well…::huge grin::

  3. Highway says:

    I liked the show, but as with other things that play on history, I’m probably going to miss out on that, and I hope it doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the show too much (I am just not interested very much in pre-20th Century European History).

    I was also distracted too much in this show by what I believe the “catch” to be as far as the magic. That made it a lot harder to enjoy Maria and Joseph’s little flirty dance.

    • skylion says:

      Well, I could go down the lessony path and say that this really isn’t France vs. England, but the regions that would eventually form the ideas behind those nations. So, it’s almost like a World Cup match.

      I’m not sure of this “catch” you mention…

      • Highway says:

        I’ll put it in a spoiler to give the option (I know everyone clicks on it anyway, tho).

        Show ▼

  4. zztop says:

    Maria’s mangaka is Masayuki Ishikawa, author of Moyashimon. Expect ecchi and historical trivia to coexist together in this one.

    • skylion says:

      Oh, I’m counting on it. History is made by ecchi after all…

    • JPNIgor says:

      You don’t need to expect anything, it’s all there already. Maria describing the church’s check on Jeanne’s virginity was plenty enough.

      Ah, and the jaw.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I’m ready to receive both.

  5. BlackBriar says:

    Well this was a pleasant surprise and good opening. The story is more serious than I imagined. Apparently a trend is going on with all these recent animes delving into historical periods. I’ve taken a liking to Maria already. She’s got her head on her shoulders and can be assertive when the occasion calls for it and she’s funny to watch when weak under peer pressure.

    • skylion says:

      Maria is a delight. Perhaps one of the best female leads this season. I very much enjoy the blend of fantasy and history, that is right in my respective wheelhouses…

  6. Sumairii says:

    A good start.

  7. Overcooled says:

    I was totally going to write this off, but episode 1 just goes to show that sometimes anime with crappy LN-type names actually aren’t crappy LN adaptations. Sometimes.

    Maria is adorably innocent…but she’s trying to learn what the heck her succubus is talking about when she says her jaw aches so she’s definitely curious!

    • skylion says:

      Well, it’s crappy manga-type name not a crappy LN-type name, and HEY it isn’t crappy at all, the manga is quite fun! I hope the show is able to do just as well if not better.

      • Overcooled says:

        True, it would have to be something like “She Fell Right Into My Lap: The Ballad of Sexy Virgin Witch Maria” if it were a LN title.

        I agree it’s not crappy! Despite the really off-putting name, I liked it a lot!

    • BlackBriar says:

      Looking at illustration, I thought it would be campy and cliché but it has a serious enough tone.

    • Highway says:

      I dunno, I wouldn’t say “The Purity of Maria” is much of a LN-type name. Seems like a normal name to me.

  8. Rathje says:

    Considering the premise of the show, there was remarkably little juvenile fanservice. Could we actually be getting a show with a sexy premise that IS NOT boob bouncing and panty-peeking every 5 minutes?

    That could be nice. It’s an interesting show so far, and none of the characters annoyed me too much. I’ll probably stick around with this one a while.

  9. Namaewoinai says:

    Ah Yes…The Middle Ages, Where the Religious Powers are sworn to hunt witches and burn them…Sounds kinda familiar!
    Right?!

    Anyways, Another Manga Adaptation by P.I.G…I mean Production I.G….Well, I could care less on this one but…we shall see!

    • skylion says:

      I think Production I.G. has done a great job tackling the adaptation. They’ve changed things up a bit, and I think for the better. The character design is much cleaned up, and it flows terrifically.

  10. AllenAndArth says:

    this show is so charming, i love the characters and Maria herself is a very good character, it’s a funny, cute and heartwarming show…(cute things make me sick…i like evil!) all in all, it’s a show that makes you want to watch it, the visual helps a lot too, i do have a question however…is Maria going to lose her virginity one day? and, the saint Maria and Maria the witch, seems to have a connection…so mysterious
    Strangely enough…i liked

    • skylion says:

      Moe the AllenAndArth kryptonite story….

      I’ve yet to see anything that would indicate her losing her virginity….like many teases in ecchi….close but no “cigar”…

      • AllenAndArth says:

        i went to see the manga, and i could say a lot…but for now…Michael is a jerk

        • skylion says:

          I’ve held off giving away the plot points from the manga, preferring to take the show as it is.

          But yeah, Micheal never stops being Micheal….

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