Junketsu no Maria | #Anime Review
The Anime takes place in a fictional world set in France during the era of the Hundred Years’ War. Maria is known throughout the story as a witch with magical abilities. Her desire to stop the war and maintain a balance of peace has put her on the wrong side of some factions, in particular the Church. That’s not the main problem though. It seems that she has also attracted the eyeful attention of the powerful Archangel Michael, who takes an interesting in Maria.
To be honest, the show indulges on fan service but without actually explicating it as a source of shock value. What does that mean? It means that the series has fan service in the form of dialogues (the endless sex jokes), actions (succubus seduction), and character designs. But taking at a closer look, the series actually portrays this in a more solemn way. For Maria, we can see that she is a lonely young witch. The thought of losing her virginity often gets her embarrassed as others teases her for it. And despite being a witch, she holds a pacifist nature and wishes to establish peace between humans.
Unfortunately, the show also makes the point that witches are deemed “evil” by certain members of society. If we trace back to origins, there was once a period known as ‘Great Witch Craze’. And although the series doesn’t focuses primarily on that, Maria becomes a target for witch hunt. To think though, this is all because some people believe that witches operate in a defiled manner to society and a threat to their beliefs. Maria isn’t an exception either. The show goes far enough to portray the Church as an antagonist force, bound on making Maria suffer and judging her for just being a witch.
As Maria is the primary focus on the show, many characters she gets involved in plays an influence in the story. Early on, we also have the Archangel Michael who instead of punishing her decides to offer Maria a chance to retain her magical abilities except if she loses her virginity. This really builds on a foundation of an almost ludicrous plot device as Maria becomes an object for tease. She doesn’t seem to mind it although deep down, there’s no doubt she feels lonely. Luckily, she has friends such as her witch friend Artemis, her familiar Priapos, and perhaps even a love interest, Joseph. The show makes it clear that although she can’t have sex with Joseph, there’s a romantic tension between the two. It can be genuinely interesting to see how far Maria can resist her urges despite knowing full well the consequences of being deflowered.
A good amount of the story also concentrates on the war. The war itself looks realistic with the soldiers on the battlefield. France itself also gives off that nostalgic vibe back during the old days when crude weapons were used as instruments of war. Speaking of which, the show also a decent amount of supernatural tropes whether it’d be the powers of witches, angels, or other divine entities. As foremost, there’s also the sense of tragedy with war with people dying and others losing hope.
Despite this, the show is able to maintain a good comedy composure with adequate timings of the character interactions. Just be aware that the jokes of the series are not only repetitive but often alludes to sexual undertones; you can thank Maria’s friends for that. On a more serious side, there’s also some mature themes including the implication of rape and torture. How you take these ideas to heart is up to you but I think the show’s necessity to craft these themes is to show how cruel a world can be as a witch.
Production I.G has made a reputation with their high production quality. This show is no exception as the artwork is not just refreshing but has a realistic way of portraying war. It also presents supernatural elements in the forms of angels with their divine-like design. But for character designs in general, most of the witches are categorized by their unique outfits. Maria, despite being a virgin, doesn’t dress like one. In fact, she shows plenty of skin alongside some of her fellow witches. This shouldn’t be a big issue though as the fan service isn’t directed with diehard attempts to distract the viewers. Instead, it’s more like an appeal to articulate our characters.
Soundtrack on most parts knows what it’s doing. The OP and ED songs has a serene-like composure and plenty of decorative tones in the backgrounds. I also give some credit to the OST because of its ability to convey the many expressive scenarios of the series. It’s not always easy to adapt scenes that transits from butt jokes to mental breakdowns. A good set of soundtrack has to go with the flow to get the job done.