Maria the Virgin Witch – Anime Review
Synopsis: During the Hundred Year’s War, the virgin witch Maria uses magic to end the fighting. She assists people of all walks of life with the help of her two familiars: a succubus and an incubus with great powers of seduction. Though she seeks peace, the archangel Michael despises her interference in human affairs and vows that her powers will vanish if she ever loses her virginity! (Official Funimation Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Maria the Virgin Witch is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand it’s got a strong female lead, Maria herself. She’s tough, determined, but not overly butch or manly about it, maintaining a sense of femininity. She’s maybe not the most progressive character you’ll see in anime today, but does stand out from a medium notorious for female characters who’re one note damsels.
Linny: Conversely, Maria the Virgin Witch features lots of scantily clad female characters. To its credit, the show portrays them as strong and independent women, not one dimensional fan service providers as can sometimes happen. This isn’t to excuse the clearly fan service-natured content, like our titular witch sleeping in the nude or several, periodic sexually focused scenarios. One could easily argue that this show is near as exploitative as any other anime, but it doesn’t negate that the show does succeed in spinning a sound tale with plenty of drama and substance. The girls are in rather revealing outfits and by no means is this series a chaste show but Maria the Virgin Witch’s main focus is the fictionalized role of witches in the Holy Wars and how this society interacted with and treated the witches rather than seeing just how many times the girls can be flaunted for the male gaze. The fan service peppers the series, but isn’t the focus.
Tom: Moving past Maria herself and the ever present sexuality as garnish, the series offers a top notch supporting cast: Artemis, Maria’s succubus familiar that, despite her extremely skimpy outfit, actually doesn’t provide most of the in your face fan service. The show does a great job of recognizing, but never flaunting, her role as a succubus meant to seduce men. She’s also a much deeper and more complex character than simply being present with her assets. Priapos is an incubus, the male version of a succubus, and has another well crafted personality that works really well with the story. Ezekiel, an angel sent to look in on Maria and Joseph, the kindly love interest, each round out the cast, helping to give the audience a slew of characters to get invested in over the course of twelve-episodes. Balancing out our heroes are some really detestable villains that help sell the dark turns the series takes as it moves on, though some might find the show’s descent into darker territory, particularly after the light-hearted episodes, frustrating, unwarranted, and awkwardly transitioned to.
Linny: If the sound of a comedic story turning into a heavy handed and dark drama intrigues you, there is so much more to praise and enjoy about the show’s darker nature. While it is heavy handed, it remains ‘realistic’ for an anime, avoiding succumbing to laughable levels of corny and contrived. The characters are not only visually engaging but their personalities are endearing as well, with believable convictions behind their actions and mannerisms. Once again, all this praise isn’t to deny or hide the fact that the show does have very sexual designs for its female characters and I’ll be the first to agree that this isn’t a show you can just put on the TV in front of company. But it’s got enough chops to avoid being dismissed as just another cheap show meant solely for titillation.
Tom: Unfortunately pervasive and unnecessary fan service/sexuality isn’t Maria the Virgin Witch’s only failing. Audiences may find that the show starts to drag in the middle, with the pacing taking a dive half way through the story. Other elements never really get properly dealt with, a number of side plots or concepts left up in the air, perhaps dealt with more so in the original manga (although there’s only 3 volumes, so I suspect not.) Unfortunately as of this writing I haven’t been able to check out the manga, so I’m unsure if the loose plot threads stem from the show remaining too faithful to the manga or because it’s a bit sloppy as an adaptation. Maria might also not be for you if you’re tired of the “angels are bad guys” trope. Maria doesn’t harp on it as much as some anime, but they certainly aren’t the good guys here either.
Linny: The comedy in Maria could be called generic, often taking the most obvious gag and running with it. It does manage to bring in the laughs despite its humor often coming from tried and true comedy cliches. The sillier characters add to the comedy and give the series more pizzazz simply through their presence and aura. But returning to our criticisms, one of my biggest complaints is something that you see coming the second you read the title and synopsis; the attempted sexual assault of the virgin witch in order to remove her powers. While the molestation incident is something that was bound to happen in context of the show’s plot, it’s still an uncomfortable topic and one that the show could have handled in a more classy manner. It’s also something that I feel could ultimately ruin the show and make it off-putting for so many viewers.
Tom: Despite its flaws I still think Maria has a lot to love, even if it isn’t perfect. The comedy may be generic, the sexuality a tad pervasive, but the characters continue to win me over. If frequent sexual gags and a focus on Maria’s virginity as the source of her powers aren’t a total turn off, then give Maria the Virgin Witch a try for the characters themselves.
Linny: Maria the Virgin Witch isn’t genre breaking or mind blowing. In fact, a lot of its sexual content is likely to offend or turn off a fair number of viewers. But for those of you willing to look past (and those looking forward to) the more sexually charged content, Maria the Virgin Witch might surprise you with the heart and emotion it manages to draw out whilst telling the tale of this virtuous and innocent young witch who only wants peace and happiness for all.
Maria the Virgin Witch is available for streaming via Funimation.com