Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th – Anime Series Review

Episodes: 13

Genres: Drama, Slice-of-Life

Aired: Jan 2009 to Mar 2009

Also Known As: MariMite 4, La Vierge Marie Vous Regarde, The Virgin Mary is Watching Over You, Maria Watches Over Us Season 4, マリア様がみてる〜4th〜

Summary: Yumi and the Yamayuri Council have found two new helpers in Kanako and Toko. Unfortunately, their assistance comes with tension, as neither girl is particularly fond of the other and both seem likely candidates to be Yumi’s petite soeur. Will either be a good fit for Yumi? As the school year marches on, the work for the Yamayuri Council piles up, and pressure begins to mount for Yumi to make her final decision.

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Review: I’m going to be frank with you all here and just flat out state that Kanako will not become Yumi’s petite soeur. The summary tries to pretend that it’s a close decision. Alas, the only actual candidate is Toko, to my relief.

I’m personally not a fan of Kanako, so I was rather glad that she remained insistent on never becoming Yumi’s petite soeur. However, Toko rather reminds me of the Sachiko of season one and two, who also rubbed me the wrong way. And yet I find Toko much more endearing than pre-character development Sachiko. Maybe it’s because she’s acting more her age whereas the Sachiko of old was haughty and lacking in communication skills despite already being a second-year in high school.

At any rate, the bulk of this season will revolve around the relationship between Yumi and Toko as well as Toko’s personal problems and issues (Sachiko and Yumi moments have decreased compared to the amount they received in season 3, but they’re there). Of course, since Yoshino is already a second-year, an episode or two revolves around her trying to find a petite soeur which minimalizes the amount of moments she gets with Rei.

Shimako and Noriko also receive relatively few moments. However, Noriko as a solo character receives a great deal of focus as she’s Toko’s good friend. As such, Noriko serves as the third-party viewpoint character at times since Toko refuses to open up whereas Yumi has become more adept at handling dramatic situations. Yumi sure has gone a long way compared to how she was in the first season!

What I found a bit peculiar, however, is how much characters idealize Yumi. Even Sachiko seems to think she’s a pure girl who indirectly reveals your own shortcomings by acting as a perfect person. To be fair, though, Yumi has consistently been potrayed as kind throughout all four seasons. Even in season 3, where Kanako becomes disillusioned with Yumi, Yumi isn’t really at fault since she was being her usual polite self to the boys from Lilian’s brother school. In other words, Yumi is probably one of the kindest female protagonist I’ve ever seen and Kanako was a silly girl who hates men and who grabs at extremes with no sense of scale or compromise. Kanako does get better, but then she just disappears from the show.

The rest of the Yamayuri do slightly develop compared to how they were in season 3. However, the sides we see of Kashiwagi Suguru, Sachiko’s cousin, during this season really made me appreciate him as a character. Yes, he was a jerk when he was first introduced, but he slowly became more likable as he showed that he’s a multifacted character. But there’s one particular scene towards the end of the season where he really grabs my attention by showing that he really cares about Toko. Explaining the context of the scene may consititue as spoilers, so I’ll just leave it at that.

The animation style follows season 3’s example, which is a marked improvement compared to the one used for season 1 and two. However, I felt there were a few off-model moments, which tended to happen whenever Toko was feeling distraught.

In regards to music, MariMite finally receive both a new OP and ED. Both are great songs. One could argue that the imagery accompanying the ED is more yuri than the actual show! The ED also remains very relevant to the story, which I always consider to be a nice touch. It makes me think they wrote the song to fit the show, which may or may not be true. Don’t take my word for it, folks.

One small complaint is the viewers are kind of left hanging. I understand that the original source materials continued on and then ended in 2012, but there were some unresolved plot points I would have loved to seen resolved. I guess what I mean to say is that I wish I could see more MariMite, but the major disputes were essentially resolved in this season and it’s been 7 years since this show aired. As such, it’s hard to disagree that this is the end (and satisfactory conclusion) to an animated adapation of an amazing series.

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2 thoughts on “Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th – Anime Series Review

  1. Loved the reviews you did on MariMite, very well written and straight to the point. My write up will probably be very long so apologies in advance.

    I’m one of those fan’s of the show that doesnt see this as a Yuri Anime, more as a slice of life. The closet this show get’s to anything Yuri is probably Sei long lost love episode from Season 1, aside from that it’s pretty tame. If anyone needs a more heavy Yuri take on the same subject, go for Strawberry Panic as you get plenty there. Although Marimite is the stronger show.

    But that’s not to say Marimite isn’t worth watching cause it is. It’s a fantastic anime, from storyline to music to characters. Sure it’s overly melodramtic in places, but it’s heart is always in the right place.

    For me Season 1 and 3 are must watch Seasons. Both are Sachiko/Yumi heavy. Season 1 for me is probably the strongest overall, as it didn’t have a bad episode throughout it’s run. Also a big plus is Sei is in it throughout it’s run, she’s by far the best character in the show. Her episode about her long lost love is still my favourite ever episode from Marimite. Also loved her friendship with Yumi. Season 3 probably gets a easy 2nd, I’m not a fan of the last episode of that season when the Yumi and her friends go to Italy. It was a bit boring. But the other 4 episodes are Sachiko/Yumi heavy, and you definitely see Sachiko change thanks to Yumi’s influence. Also the Summer holiday to Sachiko’s Home and Sport’s day episodes are top 5 Marimite episodes.

    Season 2 and 4 are a bit more hit and miss, although well worth watching. I always felt Season 2 doesnt kick in for me until the Original Roses leave, the first 6 episodes of the Second season feel like a carry over from Season 1, although they do have Sei in them but it has one of the worse episodes with Eriko falling in love. But once it kicks in with Yumi/Sachiko/Touko plot and Rei/Shimazu stuff, thats when it finds it feet in the second half of Season 2 then it’s pretty good.

    Season 4 is probably the weakest, although the last two episodes of that season are two of the most emotional. I did like Kanako’s story arc especially with her father and why he left, it’s a bit strange that she did disappear from the show after 4th episode considering how important a role she had in Season 3. I would have thought she be friends with Touko and Noirko and she pop up here and there but nope. But I did like they bought up the fact that been a Soeur and Rose isn’t everyone’s dream. I did feel like Touko/Yumi stuff did drag out for far too long but they did win me back with the final two episodes. The Weaknesses are that Sachiko is pretty much a side character for the whole of Season 4, you get a odd moment with Yumi but it’s definitely the weakest for that central relationship. The other characters are pretty much sidelined the worse. Although i did like the friendship between Noirko and Touko. Some episodes just felt like filler too, amazingly the most heavy Sachiko/Yumi episode at New Years Female party been one of them which is strange.

    I do agree that the show feels incomplete, it definitely needed a Season 5 to tie things up, and finish on a high after the slightly disappointing 4th Season. Sachiko and Rei’s graduation, get it over by the 1st episode and have Sachiko appear in the odd scene here or there in future episodes. It would gave been nice to see Touko and Yumi Soeur relationship, as they always had a love/hate relationship in other seasons. Also seen Touko and Noirko pick their Soeurs, also Shimazu/Nana relationship as Soeurs. Yumi been a rose and the difficulties of that, then end it with Yumi Graduation with Shimazu and Shimako. Then you would have to end it with Yumi and Sachiko in the last scene. It would have been nice but alas not to be it seems.

    But overall a must see show, even with the hit and miss Season 2 and 4. But the highlights outweigh the negatives.

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    1. No worries about the length of your thoughtful comment. Really, I should be the one apologizing for getting to this so late.

      Hmmm I can see where you’re coming from there. Sei is essentially the only confirmed on-screen lesbian due to her backstory. But that really depends on how you interepret the subtext between characters, particularly between petite sœur and grande sœur. Much like how some believe Madoka isn’t yuri, you can choose to believe that Marimite is also not yuri. To me, I feel like Marimite bridges the gap between Class S and more modern yuri works, which explains why it’s so relatively tame. But of course I have no proof of that.

      I was slightly frustrated by Sachiko’s snootiness during the early seasons, but I cannot really disagree with the other statements you’ve provided regarding the first and third season. Sei is a great character and her dynamic with Yumi was defintiely helped Yumi grow quite a bit considering how Sachiko could be so cold and distant at times.

      Mmm I am always profoundly affected by emotional arcs so the fact that the last two episodes of S4 were so powerful surely skewed my perception of the season and series as a whole. I personally couldn’t stand Kanako so I was happy to see she was unceremoniously whisked away. She did her part and caused plenty of drama! Now off she goes and good riddance, I’d say!

      Sachiko seemed to have been intentionally slowly stepping away from Yumi’s life considering how Rei went up to her and questioned Sachiko’s intentions. Then again, Rei also had decided to pursue a path that would inevitably create some distance between her and Yoshino. And then there was that part where Suguru asked if Yumi was ready. Those were the sort of loose ends I had in mind when I wrote this up. It does suck that Sachiko was a bit of a minor character, but I suppose the season’s focus was on Yumi finding her petite soeur so other characters who were not as related to this particular overarching arc were sidelined.

      Ah, S5 would have been nice, but I don’t think I could have stood the actual ending in the light novels.

      Either way, I’m glad you still enjoyed Marimite despite your misgivings towards S2 and S4!

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