Maria the Virgin Witch Ep. 1: No wars allowed

Junketsu no Maria - 0101

You know, I don’t dislike this. Not yet, anyway. It has its ups and downs, though. I’m not keen on the character designs, and by that, I primarily mean the witches and Artemis. The peasants themselves are not worth mentioning. They’re just minor characters. But the witches look like a bunch of scantily-clad teenagers. Scantily-clad witches? Yeah, I wouldn’t mind that so much. But why do they all have to look so juvenile. In Maria’s case, she’s just hit puberty, so my only beef there is that she’s constantly naked for whatever reason. But what am I supposed to think? That the rest of the witches are the same age? Or that they’re not the same age as Maria, but they’ve all decided on the witch’s code of presentation, and the number one rule is that you must look at best 16? Meh. Then don’t even get me started on Artemis. Yeah, yeah, yeah, she’s a succubus. And gosh, succubi are seductresses, right? I know! How ’bout nothing but belts!

What do I think of the fanservice, namely Maria being naked for a lot of the second half of the episode? Well, I’m of two minds about it. First, at least some bland hero isn’t constantly tripping and falling all over her. Fanservice is especially problematic when there’s an extra rapey layer on top of it. In other words, the girl’s not just naked in her very own home. She is naked because maybe the hero “accidentally” ripped her clothes off. She’s naked so that the hero can “accidentally” peep on her while she’s showering. She’s naked for any ridiculous reason that feels like her privacy is being violated. Here, Maria is naked a few times, but she’s naked in her own home. It’s gratuitous in a sense, but… eh… there’s worse to gripe about, I guess. Still, I can’t deny that the premise leaves me a bit apprehensive. The first episode hasn’t quite gotten around to setting everything up, but if you’ve read the synopsis for the show, then you know what I’m referring to.

Junketsu no Maria - 0104

Speaking of the first episode, it spends most of its time introducing us to Maria and what she does. She’s a witch, but she’s a good witch. She will often help the nearby villagers out whenever they are in need of medicine. But more importantly, she hates wars. Our story is set around medieval times, and as a result, France and England are constantly warring something. Land, religious reasons, blah blah blah. I’m not a history buff, so I won’t get into the show’s historical accuracy. I hear it’s good for an anime, but from an absolute point of view, the story still has its errors and misconceptions. But like I’ve said, history is not my strong point, especially anything that occurs before the 20th century, so I’ll just leave it at that. The point is, Maria hates wars, so she constantly uses her powers to prevent these battles from ever becoming too tragic. Our heroine doesn’t manage to save everyone, though. It took her some time to actually get to the battlefield. So until then, the peasants were kind of shit out of luck.

I’m a bit surprised by the lack of gore. I don’t know much about medieval warfare, but like most conflicts, I’m sure it was deadly and brutal. In this show, it never gets bloody. So right there and then, I can’t expect much from Maria the Virgin Witch but a light-hearted atmosphere. So even though Maria ends up ranting about the Roman Catholic Church at the end of the episode, I wonder if the show can offer any sort of serious commentary. No, it’s not that serious commentary requires peasants to be hacked up in the midst of warfare. It’s just that… if you’re afraid of a little gore, won’t you also pull your punches when you need to address the weightier subjects? After all, it seems like the show has the Roman Catholic Church in its cross hairs, but between all the puerile sex jokes, especially about Maria’s complete lack of knowledge about what a succubus might do with her jaws, does the anime even have the time to make a salient point?

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In the end, the first episode manages to introduce Maria, but it doesn’t quite get around to introducing her problem. Like I’ve said, if you’ve read the show’s synopsis before checking it out, you know that the angels will eventually get fed up with our witch for interfering with human affairs. So the angels thus decide that the witch will lose her powers if she loses her virginity. And oh yeah, she’s forbidden from using her powers in public. They then send Ezekiel to watch over her. Either way, it sounds like the plot to some cheap hentai. Combined with the witches’ rather juvenile character designs, I guess I’m just a little wary that we’re going to be inundated with a bunch of creepy sex plots when there’s a lot that the story could do with its premise. To be fair, however, the likeliest outcome is probably also the most boring one: we just get some light-hearted show that won’t really say much.

For now, Maria the Virgin Witch is okayish. It could be better, but it could have also been a lot worse. The animation seems okay for what the show is trying to be, but like I’ve said, I’m no big on the character designs. Maria might be an interesting character; she really piqued my interest when she went on that rant about La Pucelle, a.k.a. Joan of Arc, and how the church would eventually canonize the girl. But the rest of the cast, from the groanworthy Artemis to the sleep-inducing Joseph, isn’t really all that compelling either. I wouldn’t mind seeing a strong female character go against the establishment and everything. Still, there’s a danger here of the show being a little too on the nose with its commentary, because it’s also a light-hearted fare. Most of all, I wonder about the the show’s balance. Will it lean too heavily on the sexual jokes? Or will we get something meaty out of Maria’s story? I’ll stick around a little longer to see how it all plays out.

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11 thoughts on “Maria the Virgin Witch Ep. 1: No wars allowed”

  1. I think giving this the three episode test would be fair for those who are reasonably interested but not quite sold on it.

    At that point it should become clear how the actual premise is going to work and the way in which the anime is adapting the manga for that matter. So far it’s been about 80-90% faithful, with the changes being a moderate re-arranging of scenes and adding a handful of human characters into the battlefield side of things. The sexual jokes are all from the source though, and they’ll probably stick around even if the plot isn’t really about them at heart.

    In any case, this is the sort of manga that can have characters engage in a moderately thought-provoking conversation about heavy subjects only to then end the relevant chapter on a joke, so I’d say it’ll continue to have a mostly light-hearted atmosphere, at least during its first half. I’ve heard things do get more dramatic on occasion beyond that point, but that’s not been translated so I don’t know all the specifics yet.

  2. Even if I didn’t like the episode (I did), I would give it the time of day because for once the mass battles aren’t terrible CGI like Vanadis, and it actually makes an attempt at historical accuracy (dragons aside).

    Also, there’s not much gore because during that time more people were killed by blunt weapons like maces than swords (which were considered side arms).

  3. I saw some webm’s about this show; it had pretty realistic medieval style combat scenes and I got pretty pumped. Then imagine my surprise when I learned it’s about scantily-clad witches and stuff. The one time where I actually got hyped about anime-fight scenes that mirrors realism. *sigh* A day in the life of…

    Yeah, can we somehow remove all the “witch”-stuff and just have this show with kick-ass battles?

    1. Even if you took away the witches, I didn’t find anything all that impressive about the battle scenes. They just lacked a certain weight to them.

  4. Yes. The battle lacked any weight. But I think it’s pretty decent and closer to reality than most fictions. So I like it.
    First, the number of soldiers is much fewer compared to the others, which is really how it should be, considering the population of medieval world is pretty sparse and only consists of villages.
    Second, how they put farmers and amateurs and mercenaries on the front line, some are very clumsy, unable to lift himself up due to the armor’s weight, and closing his eyes in battle, lol. While the real soldiers sit on their horses and charge much later. In other shows, they would be faceless or identical faces CGI soldiers.
    Third, the fight is total ruckus and riot, which is how it should be too. In other shows, we saw the protagonist slashing up hundreds of opponents by himself, while the CGI soldiers clash swords repeatedly, without any casualties.

    1. Can go on and on all day about whether or not it’s realistic, but the only thing that really matters is if it was entertaining. I thought the battle was boring.

  5. This time it’s likely due to the popularity of Bayonetta considering the themes at play, but I find it interesting how so many anime paint angels or any church/branch of Judeo-Christian inspiration in a stuck-up or negative light. It’s become much more popular in recent decades everywhere, but I recall anime even from the 80’s that did this. I wonder why.

    By contrast whenever we see an anime using Shintoism, the gods are either placed into a cute, relatable or reverent light. Considering we’re more likely to see anime characters (and real people in Japan) wear crosses simply as a fashion accessory rather than anything from Shinto theology, maybe it’s just a cultural thing. Still wonder, though.

    On that note, I agree that if a story doesn’t have a certain grit to it then it likely won’t be able to follow through with any kind of statement, and even if it was it’d just be jarring.

    What’s more likely is that, in an effort to make a statement, there’s going to be a sudden and severe tonal shift at some point.

    1. I wonder why.

      It’s not as though those religions don’t give people plenty of ammo to work with. Combined with the fact that it’s considered fairly foreign, it makes an easy target.

    2. “This time it’s likely due to the popularity of Bayonetta considering the themes at play, but I find it interesting how so many anime paint angels or any church/branch of Judeo-Christian inspiration in a stuck-up or negative light. It’s become much more popular in recent decades everywhere, but I recall anime even from the 80’s that did this. I wonder why.”

      Well, there’s Bahamut last season and the angels were pretty decent.

      Ironically, the only normal portrayal of Christianity in anime came from the World Masterpiece Theater series, which were kid/family anime, just because some of the western novels they’re based on has Christianity in it.

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