Maria 4-5, Yurikuma 5, Koufuku 5


Maria the Virgin Witch 4-5 continues to stir morality around, not to mention the plot, though it looks like Maria hasn’t changed her mind one bit. Okay, not quite true, she now accepts that reasonable people might think she’s wrong. However, I still think she’s in the right. Everyone has tried to come up with counter-arguments for her stopping the fighting, each more inane than the next. Most often, they argue “What next? If you stop the war, the soldiers will just plunder innocent people.” Viv, the British witch, pops in to argue much the same before she gets on that “Let’s find Maria a hot guy!” bandwagon. That pagan god pops in again and says it more obscurely, but it’s the same message. Often it’s the familiars and Ezekiel who do the arguing on both sides. Maria, to her credit, gives a serious listen to each of these arguments before she rejects them. Meanwhile, Bernard and others make plans for more wars.


Not that Maria’s a saint. Why didn’t she intervene when that village had the plague? The show hints that she was getting revenge for the way the church treated her. Or maybe she tried but was roughly pushed out? It’s unclear whether she was trying to save the village or her old friend. And she admits that she has plenty of doubts. She almost intervenes in the duel between Garfa and that knight, a petty, sordid business made deadly because of lust, jealous rage, and perverse views of honor. … Maybe there are some fights that aren’t worth interfering with. Everyone involved shared some of the blame. Story-wise, we see that Garfa is on his way up, and Joseph with him. Garfa should not be in charge of anything, and Joseph is a good man who is Maria’s friend and possible future magic-remover, if you know what I mean. Yeah, the show’s coming along nicely, but it feels a little busy with all these philosophical debates mixed in with the story.

In Yuri Kuma Arashi 6, Kaoru and her classmates spring their trap on poor Kureha, and Ginko does something heroic … and that’s it for plot, really, in terms of people doing something. Everything else is backstory.

... and more fairy tales.
… and fairy tales.

As for that backstory, it has more invisible storming, more not backing down on love, more talk of promise kisses (has anyone actually delivered one in this series yet?) more saying her love is true, and a shabba-da-do–the usual. The big surprise is Sumika conspiring with Kaoru to break up with Kureha, though she’s doing it for love. If they break up Kaoru can protect Kureha from the invisible storm. You might ask why Kaoru can’t just protect her without Kureha and Sumika breaking up, and it must be that their love is forbidden, or rather, Kureha won’t forget love, so she hasn’t become invisible, and therefore she must be declared Evil by the rest of the class. Yeah, I suppose, but that sounds too simple for Kunihiko Ikuhara, a man who seems to take pleasure in confounding his audience.


Besides, we have those red and black desk drawers to contend with, oh, AND that dark lily that opened just before the betrayal and got burned up. And many other bits of symbolism I’m sure I’ve forgotten, so let’s move on to the plot. Kureha is finally allied with Ginko and Lulu. Took them long enough. They’ve withstood the invisible storm together, and all that needs to happen now is to give the star pendant back to Kureha. Then what? Well, there’s the whole bear problem, with Kaoru and that mystery lover of hers (remember girls: keep it invisible!) to defeat. And, um, oh, Kureha’s refusal to accept other friends, something they’ll have to deal with right now, unless they just forget about it. None of that will take long. So, where is this show going?

Damn, why isn't this show an actual cooking anime?
Damn, why isn’t this show an actual cooking anime?

The last couple of days here have been cold and snowing, so I appreciate Koufuku Graffiti’s summery episode 5. I also appreciate how the show has such a simple, sentimental theme but Shaft manages to make it fresh every week. Kirin managed to do everything on her summer wish list, but it happens so matter-of-factly that I wasn’t even paying attention to that; I was too busy just watching the girls be happy in their own way. Things are livened up considerably by Shiina’s doting mom. I don’t know if the production asked Miyu Matsuki to toss in a little Yoshinoya in her portrayal or not, but it’s effective. Tsuyuko the maid is equally effective even though part of her shtick is silence because of her super-maid abilities. Another good, simple, happy episode.

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