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[R1 DVD box art]
AKA: Maria-sama ga Miteru ~Spring~, The Virgin Mary Is Watching You ~Spring~, MariMite ~Haru~
Genre: Girls' School Drama
Length: Television series, 13 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: R1 DVD box from Right Stuf International.
Content Rating: PG-13 (emotional intensity, adult themes)
Related Series: Maria-sama ga Miteru
Also Recommended: Brother, Dear Brother, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Rose of Versailles, the original MariMite
Notes: Based on a series of novels by Konno Oyuki (and illustrated by Hibiki Reine), which are published by Shueisha under their Cobalt paperback novel line, aimed at girls. The novel also sporadically runs in the Cobalt novel magazine.

This series has also been adapted into a manga by Nagasawa Satoru, which is currently running in Margaret. Although two of the latest chapters cover the events of ~Haru~ episode 1, the manga has not gotten to the main storyline of ~Haru~ yet.

For an explanation of the 'soeur' system which plays a vital role in this series and in the original series, refer to Carlos' review of the original Maria-sama ga Miteru series.
Rating: Four StarsFour StarsFour StarsFour Stars

Maria Watches Over Us season 2

Synopsis

A new semester will begin at the Lillian Girls' Academy. The three leaders of the Yamayurikai, Rosa Chinensis (Youko), Rosa Foetida (Eriko), and Rosa Gigantea (Sei), will be graduating soon, to be replaced by their petite soeurs (Sachiko, Rei, and Shimako, respectively). Amidst all this, there's still the same atmosphere and drama from the original series, as Yumi and the other characters further their relationships, and make new ones. How will this new semester turn out? Will Yumi end up with Sachiko? Will Sei continue her endless glomping of Yumi even after she graduates?
Find out in this series.


Review

When a second season of Maria-sama ga Miteru was announced, I burst with joy. I had been told about MariMite by Carlos, and I liked the first season as much as he did. I was really looking forward to more, but I also feared that it would be doinky. This fear intensified when I found out that the producers were going to put the new season on a Sunday morning time slot, unlike the original series, which aired at midnight. I feared that they would try to tone it down for any potential little kids watching the series.

Fortunately, when I began watching it, it turned out to be just as good as the original.

A note: Don't try watching Maria-sama ga Miteru ~Haru~ if you have not seen the original series. Although Yumi gives an explanation of the previous events in the first episode, it is far too brief and will probably be quite confusing. Go and watch the original series, and watch ~Haru~ only when you're finished with that series.

The series keeps much of its familiar tone from the original. Just about all the old characters return, and some new ones are introduced too - like Nijou Noriko, who becomes Shimako's new petite soeur. The series continues to reveal more about the characters and their pasts, which I quite welcomed. Like the original series, there is much tension and drama set against a very elegant and refined atmosphere. It never reaches the heights of, say, Brother, Dear Brother, but the drama is still there. However, the somewhat slow pace of this series, combined with the lovely classical music that fits this series to a T, will probably make a lot of people snore. Although the yuri moments and lesbian imagery are toned down a little in this series, they are still there and they still add to the feeling of this series.

The relationships between the characters continue to be quite interesting, at least to me and to other fans of the original, although near the end, the series takes a detour to "Angstville". To say why would probably be a big spoiler, but suffice it to say that Yumi and Sachiko have a big misunderstanding and this leads to a lot of angst from Yumi. There is also a bit of angst from some other characters, notably Shimako. Fortunately everything is patched up in the ending, which made me squee. Some people think that the ending is a bit doinky and rushed, but I think that they stopped in a good place and everything was pretty much wrapped up nicely, as nicely as any show of such a short length would be. It was certainly better than the ending of the first season.

As for the art and animation, it continues to be of a good quality. I think Studio Deen animated this series, and their animation is just as pleasant to look at as with the other anime that they have done. As for the music, as I said above, it is still the same nice classical music which really fits the mood of this series. The opening song, "Pastel Pure", which was also the opening of the first season, now has lyrics which were written by the original author herself, Konno Oyuki, and sung by ALI Project. I found the vocal version as nice to listen to as the instrumental was.

In short, I really enjoyed this season of MariMite, although Shimako's angsting in the second half was rather annoying and unlike her. The rest of the series was still good though, and I hope that they will make a third season, since there are still many novels that continue from where they stopped. I'd really like to see more of these characters. I recommend Maria-sama ga Miteru ~Haru~ to anyone who enjoyed the first series.

A very good sequel to MariMite. Add a star if you could tolerate Shimako acting OOC. Jennifer Berman

Recommended Audience: Like the original series, this series uses a Catholic school as the setting for much romance between the same sex, which will probably offend the more conservative types and devout Catholics although they probably shouldn't be watching this kind of series in the first place. However, there is virtually no nudity, violence or graphic sex - like the original series there are some same-sex kissing scenes, and let's not forget Sei's many glompings of Yumi in the early episodes. However, I think this series is probably suitable for the 13 and over crowd.



Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease Fansub
Review Status: Full (13/13)
Maria Watches Over Us season 2 © 2004 Konno Oyuki / Shueisha / Yamayurikai
 
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