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Maria-Holic: Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 3, 2014 by  



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Stylishly fun, unusual and quirky, “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” is definitely one of those unique anime series that you don’t often see released on Blu-ray, let alone, being released in the United States.  For those wanting something different, fun and absolutely quirky, “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2014 Sentai Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Maria-Holic: Complete Collection

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2009

DURATION: (Episodes 1-12) 300 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:33:1), English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATING: TV 14 D

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Originally created by Minari Endo

Series Director: Yukihiro Miyamoto

Directed by Akiyuki Shinbo

Series Composition by Masahiro Yokotani

Character Designs by Hideyuki Morioka

Art Director: Toshiharu Iijima

Music by Tatsuya Nishiwaki

Anime Production by SHAFT

Featuring the following voice talent:

Asami Sanada/Jessica Calvello as Kanako Miyamae

Marina Inoue/Caitlynn French as Matsurika Shinouji

Yu Kobayashi/Monica Rial as Mariya Shidō

Akemi Kanda/Carli Mosier as Nanami Kiri

Aya Hirano/Monica Rial as Shizu Shidō

Hatsumi Takada/Allison Sumrall as Honoka Tsutsui

Megumi Toyoguchi/Molly Searcy as Fumi Kumagai

Miyu Matsuki/Nancy Novotny as Ayari Shiki/Yonakuni-san

Miyuki Sawashiro/Brittney Karbowski as Dorm Leader-sensei (Dorm Supervisor “God”)

Ryoko Shintani/Margaret McDonald as Sachi Momoi

Saori Goto/Shannon Emerick as Yuzuru Inamori

Youji Ueda/George Maney as Narration

Yuko Kaida/Beth Lazarou as Ryuuken Ishima

It’s not easy to find the perfect girl, even when you’re the same sex! Kanako thought attending an all-girls school would be the perfect way to meet the girl of her dreams, but after her hot new roommate turns out to be a guy in drag and catching the eye of the most popular girl in school only brings down the wrath of all the other similarly obsessed girls, she’s not so sure!

Complicate things with a cat-eared dorm leader, her roommate’s rude-mannered maid and identical twin sister (who attends an all-boys school, of course,) and way too many attractive girls of questionable persuasions and the question becomes whether Kanako can die from frustrated nosebleeds! (Life would be SO much easier if guys didn’t literally give her the hives!) Will Kanako ever find a non-polar opposite of a compatible non-opposing polarity?

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In Jan. 2009, the 12-episode anime television series “Maria-Holic” began airing in AT-X in Japan.

Adapted from the manga series by Minari Endo (“Dazzle”, “Hatenko Yugi”) for the Japanese seinen manga magazine, “Monthly Comic Alive” back in 2006,  the anime series was produced by SHAFT (“Hidamari Sketch”, “Mahou Sensei Negima!”, “He is My Master”) and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo (“Hidamari Sketch”, “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha”, “Bakemonogatari”) and series composition by Masahiro Yokotani (“PoPoLoCrois”, “Himawari!”, “Sgt. Frog”). Character designs are by Hideyuki Morioka (“Arcade Gamer Fubuki”, “Sakura Wars”, “Ultimate Girls”), art direction by Toshiharu Iijima (“Uta~Kata”, “Gad Guard”, “Hidamari Sketch”) and music by Tatsuya Nishiwaki (“UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie”).

“Mario-Holic” is about main character Kanako Miyamae.  Kanako has transferred to Ame-no Kisaki Girls Academy Dormitory Junior and Senior High School, the school where her mother met her father and hopes one day to find her true love at the school.  The thing is, Ame-no Kisaki Girls Academy is an all girl’s school and Kanako is a lesbian who hasn’t come out of the closet and she also has a problem.  She’s a horny teenage girl who can’t stop thinking about thinking of hot girls nude, in their underwear and each time she does think about them, she unfortunately gets a massive nose bleed.

But how long can she hide her wild thoughts?  She surely can’t pretend that she likes guys because just a touch from a guy gives her hives.

Her first day of school started well as she meets the beautiful Mariya Shidou and her rude maid Matsurika Shinouji. Mariya’s grandmother is the former chairperson of the school and her family owns part of the grounds of the school.  But Mariya’s beauty captivates Kanako’s attention.  But it’s just the first day of school and already she sees a lot of beautiful girl’s that she’s interested in.  As Mariya tells Kanako that she will show her around the school, for some reason, when she touches her…Kanako gets the hives?

As Kanako follows up with Mariya’s promise of showing her around the school, Mariya goes to her archery class and when she walks into the dressing room, Kanako finds out that Mariya is not a she but a he.

So, upset and devastated that Mariya is a guy dressing up as a girl, she vows to make her secret known.  Until Mariya shows Kanako his bad side and reminds her that her family is powerful and that her grandmother was the former chairperson.  And also, knows that Kanako is in fact a lesbian.  Immediately, Mariya goes into blackmail mode and has Kanako around his little finger.  If she says anything, she’ll have more to lose than gain.

As for why Mariya is dressed up as a girl, we later learn that he and his twin sister Shizu are fulfilling their grandmother’s wish of switching genres (she being a guy at an all-boys school and thus developing a hatred towards guys).

But with Mariya using Kanako and toiling with her emotions and the fact that Mariya is her roommate, how much will Kanako be able to stand?  Especially with beautiful women are all around her, can Kanako survive this school year?

“Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” features all 12 episodes on two Blu-ray Discs.

Here is an episode listing featuring spoiler-less summaries of each episode:

  • EPISODE 1 – Choose a Wife By Your Ear, Rather Than By Your Eye – Kanako Miyamae transfers to Ame no Kisaki and meets Maria for the first time.
  • EPISODE 2 – Ill Weeds Grow Apace –  Kanako attends her first day of school and encounters more problems from Mariya.
  • EPISODE 3 – Ask, and it shall be given to you. – Maria lets Kanako borrow her rosary but Kanako accidentally loses it.
  • EPISODE 4 – Save the Children – Ryuuken promises to protect Kanako from jealous students.
  • EPISODE 5 – Love is Real Love is Love – In this episode, there are two stories.  In the first story, Kanako wants to become friends with Kiri. In the second, the dorm mistress inspects Kanako’s bag and finds tentacles coming out of it.
  • EPISODE 6 – We are the World. – It’s physical examination day but the thought of seeing the other women in their underwear and no clothes gives Kanako a continuous nose bleed.  Also, it is learned why Maria dresses like a girl.
  • EPISODE 7 – The Suspicious Black Underwear – Continuing the storyline of the missing underwear and a story about Yuzuru noticing that Kiri and Sachi are becoming good friends and Kiri getting a little jealous.
  • EPISODE 8 – Change the World – It’s time for the Virgin Mary Festival and Kanako is selected to become part of the planning committee.
  • EPISODE 9 – A two story episode.  We learn the reason why the student council president Ayari and Maria do not get along.  Kanako learns about the mysteries of Ame no Kisaki.
  • EPISODE 10 – I Want You, I Want You So Bad – A two story episode in which Kanako needs help passing her exams and a story about Kiri receiving a love letter.
  • EPISODE 11 – An Offering to God – Father Kanae shows up and has a crush on Maria and Matsurika.
  • EPISODE 12 – A Dreamy Pool Opening – Kanako has had enough of Maria and now wants to expose her as a fraud during a swim competition.

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VIDEO:

“Maria-Holic:The Complete Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition.

What I enjoy about “Maria Holic” is its visual presentation.  Instead of going with the traditional anime art backgrounds or character design, for the series, there are so many variations of presentation for the series.  You get the standard presentation of the character design but the trees and surroundings are painted differently, you get visuals that look like oil paintings, visuals that look like ’70s to ’80s style of manga artwork, 8-bit video game style of artwork, 3-D artwork, hilarious super-deformed artwork and more.  Needless to say, this is a different style of anime series that instead of focusing on the typical frames around a certain scene, each scene has a different style of background at times.  So, “Maria-Holic” is pretty creative in presentation.  Each scene is not consistent, so you get something different in short bursts in each episode.

 

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

As for lossless audio, “Maria-Holic” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 with English subtitles.  The series is front channel driven but dialogue and music is clear.  For those who want a more immersive soundtrack can easily switch their receiver for stereo on all channels.

The Blu-ray release unlike the previous DVD release now contains an English dub featuring Jessica Calvello, Caitlynn French and Monica Rial.  For those who previously owned the DVD release, the English dub definitely makes the series definitely a lot of fun and the voice acting is well-done in both Japanese and English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” features the following special features:

  • Club AT-X Interview – (19:19) A featurette featuring the interview with “Maria Holic” Japanese voice actresses Asami Sanada (Kanako Miyamae), Yu Kobayashi (Mariya Shidou) and Marina Inoue (Matsurika).  An entertaining interview as the ladies talk about the series (they haven’t yet seen the final cut of the first episode yet) but overall, a lively and fun interview.
  • Special X’Mas Night – Amenokisaki Holy Night Festival – (22:02) A special screening of “Maria Holic” on Christmas Day 2008 at Ivy Hall Aogaku Kaikan Glory Chapel, the voice actresses talking to their fans, a contest giveaway and the voice actress performing a short live concert performance.
  • Japanese Commercial Collection – (2:39) The Japanese television commercials
  • Japanese Promotional Video – (2:08) The promotional video in Japan for “Maria Holic”.
  • Clean Closing Animation Episodes 1-12 – (18:34) The ending animation themes for each episode of “Maria Holic”.

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I really enjoyed “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection”!  Although not a deep or serious anime series, it’s one of those anime series that is so quirky and strange but yet presented in the most creative way as possible.

After watching “Maria Holic”, although not shown on a major television network in Japan, I hope the series receives some continuation because the characters are fun to watch and you wonder how this series will end.

As for the series, “Maria Holic” is neither demanding nor serious.  It’s not for the serious-minded and truthfully, you can skip around from episode-to-episode because only a few are somewhat connected but its presentation is probably mostly driven by its quirkiness of its characters and its visual presentation.

As for the Blu-ray, for those who owned the previous DVD release, may want to upgrade for the better picture quality but most importantly, the new English dub.  The voice acting is well-done on both lossless soundtracks but for those who have waited for the English dub, will no doubt enjoy this latest release as voice acting by Jessica Cavello, Monica Rial and Caitlynn French.

And as for special features, you get the Club At-X Interview, Special X’Mas Night – Amenokisaki Holy Night Festival and Japanese Commercial Collection as well!

Overall, “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” is an anime series for anime fans who wants something different but at the same time fun, humorous, visually creative when it comes to artistic presentation.

If you are looking for a series that isn’t too demanding or too serious, then definitely give “Maria-Holic: Complete Collection” a try!






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