Saturday, 9 April 2011

Maria†Holic Alive - Episode 1

It doesn't feel like long as I only marathoned its first series a little while ago, but Maria†Holic is back for the spring of 2011, and I think it's fair to say that little has changed within the walls of the all-girl Ame-no-Kisaki school - thanks of course go to SHAFT for creating a first episode set of opening credits that remind us what it's all about for those who have forgotten.

Anyhow, this episode sees Kanako stumble across the first girls dormitory - a building which she assumed had been demolished, leaving her both surprised and pleased to learn of its continued existence.  The reason for this happiness is that her own parents had met and confessed to one another within the dorm courtyard, and of course Kanako is hoping for a similarly romantic experience... or (to use her own words) an "all you can eat buffet" harem of her friends.

However, it looks like reaching said courtyard won't be easy, as Matsurika relates how its close proximity to a nearby all-boys school dorm led the girls living there to laden the halls with traps to the point where it's now uninhabitable, meaning that Kanako and friends will have to face a series of challenges before they can hope to reach their goal.  This being Maria†Holic of course, these "traps" are more like a game show, helped along by "deus ex machina Matsurika" in the employ of dorm mistress-cum-God in the name of entertainment.  Cue the inevitable twist at the end of the episode which renders all of their efforts effectively worthless... aside from as a source of our own entertainment, of course.

While Maria†Holic isn't exactly an outstanding or ground-breaking anime comedy, it's simple entertainment and a whole bunch of fun to watch, and this first episode of Alive follows in those footsteps precisely.  Ostensibly, the entire series is about playfully slinging out tropes from various anime genres and subverting them - the first gag of this episode surrounding Kanako trying to net herself a partner by running around school with bread in her mouth pretty much sets the tone for what the series tries to do.  Sure, this makes it entirely predictable (who didn't see the ending to this instalment coming a mile off?), but who cares as long as it makes you laugh?  And oh, how Matsurika's appearance as game show host / deus ex machina made me laugh this time around - in fact, my main criticism of Maria†Holic is probably that it needs more focus on Matsurika in the name of comedy.

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