Genres: Slice-of-Life, Drama
Aired: Jul 2004 to Sep 2004
Also Known As: MariMite: Haru, The Virgin Mary is Watching You: Spring, Maria Watches Over Us: Printemps, La Vierge Marie Vous Regarde, マリア様がみてる～春～
Summary: The spring term is beginning for the students at Lillian Girls’ Academy. Friends are reunited, but for the Yamayuri Council, it’s a bittersweet time. Yoko, Eriko, and Sei are busy preparing to depart Lillian while Sachiko, Rei, and Shimako are doing their best to ensure that their dear sisters receive a memorable commencement.
Sei’s departure will leave a sizable hole in the White Roses, and filling it won’t be easy. But is there anyone who could appeal to Shimako enough to become the next Rosa Gigantea en bouton?
Review: I found it surprising that the second season of MariMite was so quick to follow the first season. Perhaps part of the reason this was able to happen is because many things remained the same. The animation remains barely acceptable, for one thing. As for the OP and ED, they have also been reused, but “Pastel Pure” has now changed from a piano piece to a song with vocals.
Be that as it may, things within the series itself do change. “Haru” and “printemps,” words that make up the possible titles for the second season of MariMite, both mean spring. And spring means that snow thaws, flowers bloom, and high school students graduate. Consquently, the first half of this season has the Yamayuri Council coming to terms with how the third-years are departing from Lillian Girls’ Academy. Don’t worry; Sei and Yoko (primarily Sei) do pop back into the story every so often. However, Eriko, in comparison, just disappears (until the fourth season).
The second half of the show happens in the next semester, with new first-years entering the school. As a result, two new girls are introduced and both are interesting characters in their own way. I actually like both of them more than some of the original MariMite characters, to be honest.
There are two major arcs in the second half and both are rife with drama. So that, along with the slow pacing, hasn’t changed, either. But I’ve come to appreciate the drama. The characters react realistically to situations that could happen to anyone. Viewers could definitely end up emphasizing with the cast; perhaps they could even get emotional as they watch the heartwrenching misunderstandings develop.
In my review for the first season, I ended up mentioning the light yuri that occurs within the series as a considerable incentive to watch the show. As I watched MariMite: Haru, however, I realized that I approached this franchise from the wrong direction.
I now think the intended audience consists of people who enjoy watching slow yet steady character development. Yes, all the Yamayuri Council members and their associates truly grow and change for the better (excluding the Photography Club girl and the Newspaper Club members since they largely stay the same). Yumi just gets the spotlight more often than not since she’s usually the viewpoint character. Essentially, the subtle yuri is just icing on the cake (that happens to be very, very sweet and suits the cake very well, but I digress).
At first glance, Maria-sama ga Miteru: Haru sticks with the tried and true formula seen in the first season. The animation remains rather poor; the OP and ED are essentially reused; drama is what drives and defines the arcs within the show. However, the characters are changing for the better as they overcome each and every misunderstanding. If you’re in the mood to watch a slow-paced story where characters are gradually fleshed out, then you should give MariMite: Haru a shot. Doubly so if you’re in the mood for light yuri.