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.
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?
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.