One might often hear that one should never judge based on appearances and Maria + Holic is a prime example of that. If you were to visit AniDB and look up the show, you would see a plain mediocre image and a description that sounds like a million other series. Based on those two things you might skip the show all together thinking it to be an average show that is not worth your time. However, once you start watching Maria Holic you immediately figure out that this is an off the wall comedy that fits into the ranks of Bakemonogatari, Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei, and Arakawa Under the Bridge.
This show’s main protagonist is Miyamae Kanako, which can be described as an ultra perverted lesbian idiot. She was teased a lot when she was younger, about being very tall, thus she has developed a phobia when it comes to men. If she comes in contact with one, she starts to get hives and becomes an incoherent babbling nonsense until she passes out. She decided to go to a all girls catholic school, where her parents met, her father being a teacher there, so she can find her “fated” one. That is where she meets Shidou Mariya, a very beautiful girl that immediately captures her heart. However, she discovers that she actually is a he and has a sadistic personality that must dominate Kanako so she never reveals his secret. Thus starts her new life in the worst way possible.
Maria Holic utilizes a lot of strange artwork and bizarre characters to push the series on. This creates a very funny and unique show. The best part has to be Kanako, whose gags rarely get old and always stay amusing. For instance, one gag that might get old is her constant nose bleeds, but they even keep that fresh by having her become anemic later in the series from the constant blood loss. Probably my second favorite character is their dorm mistress, who prefers to be called “God.” She often doesn’t even have a roll that interacts with Kanako, but instead offers a second back story to the show doing random things that just aren’t explainable. Mariya’s character really only shines when he is interacting with Kanako, punishing her in very odd ways. Kanako really is the star in the show because all of the other characters support her oddities and misadventures.
There is no plot to this series, which is fine because of its nonsensical nature. In fact every time there is something serious or an ongoing mystery it solves it in a matter of minutes making it very entertaining. Every thing in this show builds on each other. The story often continues gags and references things that have happened in past episodes creating a very cohesive story. One thing I must stress if you decide to watch this show is watch what happens after the credits. Often times there is a lot of extra story to be had and can be even more amusing than the episode itself. Also, the previews aren’t previews. They are omakes that have almost nothing to do with the show and parodies manga, anime, and various Japanese things which adds to how entertaining the show is. Plus, every ending is slightly different in terms of animation, which shows how much effort was put into making the series.
So I would recommend this series to anyone looking to laugh and not wanting to be weighed down by a heavy plot or a large amount of episodes. I knocked this series out in 2 days and enjoyed it very much. This isn’t going to be the best comedy you will find, but it will go on your list as one of the more memorable ones. It’s odd sense of comedy and perverted nature, combined with its warped art style and clever sense of direction will make it stand out from a lot of the other anime series you’ve seen.