What They Say:
Episode 4 – Imprisoned Maiden
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Maria Holic Alive definitely takes a lot of the usual kinds of gags from Shaft and works them well into a series that does try to avoid going so completely strange and over the top. Case in point early on here in the midst of a class, we have Kanako shot in the head through the window with an arrow. Of course, it’s a trick arrow that you wear on top of your head, and you can’t imagine how it actually flew through the air, but it works well in highlighting the strange and unusual and puts Kanako into more pain when she ends up with her neck twisted instead by a fellow classmate. With the class learning about the law, things move quickly into a legal realm as the students decide to find out what’s happened themselves as Mariya gets far more serious than you usually see her.
Of course, Kanako is put on trial pretty quickly since she did all of this to herself, claiming it was just because she was hungry, and the show goes through a variety of accusations and defenses that let various characters take their turn in the spotlight as they work over the case. Naturally, a lot of it is wordplay that’s used for decent comedic effect, especially as some of the characters aren’t exactly clear on which side of the case they’re on, but a lot of the fun come sin watching how Mariya is so in control of the situation, and so serious, that she makes a strong case just for that along. Of course, it goes off in bizarre tangents at times, such as the bit about seaweed that was apparently in Kanako’s bag.
Where it goes even more into the realm of the strange is when Shinjo reveals a mysterious life form that exists in a bag in the back of Kanako’s closet that deals in the seaweed connection which is definitely attached to Kanako. That she puts it on the stand is amusing since it’s like watching just a tentacle defend itself while being cross examined. The whole thing starts to take on more of a witch trial than anything else, especially with the music used for it, and the way some of them seem out for blood with it. It’s certainly cute at times, and I definitely liked how well they handled making the majority of the episode take place in a single room where they went through all the motions. Having Kanako voiceless for most of it is an interesting take as well, and not surprising after she dominated the last episode with her ways.
Sometimes I really don’t know what to make of this show and I wonder if my memories of the first season were altered somehow as I suspect this is just more of the same, yet it feels like it isn’t hitting quite the same marks. It does have some really great moments, especially when Kanako imagines what her prison life will be like as it’s something of a Sapphic paradise to her, but a lot of the time is spent with the cast doing their case presentations in brief where they go on strange and wild tangents. There are segments that have their moments, I loved the mysterious life form, but a lot of it kind of fell flat as well. This episode felt like a bit of a mixed bag but I realized again that when Kanako is allowed to express herself is when I find the show a lot more interesting.
Simulcast By: The Anime Network
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.