Maria Watches Over Us Season 4

Maria Watches Over UsType: TV Series
Episode Count: 13
Genre: Drama
Vintage: 2009

Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 17 Aug 2010

Grade: A+

The original Japanese title of this series is Maria-sama ga Miteru, often abbreviated to Mari-mite by its fans.

Time marches on at Lillian Academy.

Plot Summary
Yumi, now well into her second year at Lillian, is finally settling into her role as the Rosa Chinensis en bouton, serving in the Yamayurikai (Lillian’s Student Council) as Sachiko’s petite sœur. With Sachiko’s graduation approaching, pressure begins to mount for Yumi  to find her own petite sœur (as well as Yoshino – the Rosa Foetida en bouton – with Rei’s impending graduation) to bring some much needed extra hands to the Yamayurikai, to help carry out their responsibilities. Between the upcoming elections for next year’s Lady Roses and the need to find a petite sœur, Yumi has a lot on her plate this term.

The Review
Picking up right where the OVA left off – or rather, during it – we join Yumi’s second year at Lillian already in progress.

As to be expected from Marimite, character interaction and development is the order of the day. With the addition of Kanako, a character introduced in the OVA which precedes this fourth season, she is given the chance to tell her story as the series begins. This allows her to become fully integrated into the cast and find her place among the primary characters.

To this point, Marimite has been a series whose calling card has been its overtly dramatic tone. That certainly remains in this fourth installment, but in some ways the series has also let down its hair a bit, figuratively speaking. Rather than the gentle “Pastel Pure” opening theme song with its serene imagery which opened each episode of the previous three seasons, the fourth season episodes of Marimite open with a fun fantastical romp around Lillian with Yumi, Yoshino, and Shimako, accompanied by a bright j-pop song. This certainly lightens the mood at the outset. The episodes themselves are also sprinkled with perhaps the most humor by percentage since the series began, with plenty of lighthearted moments. Fear not, though; the pronounced drama which characterizes the series is still here, and in full force. In fact, the most dramatic story arc of this fourth season is easily the most intense of the entire franchise. Considering how impactful the drama has been to this point, that’s not an assertion made lightly.

The fourth season of Maria Watches Over Us is sure to live up to and exceed the expectations of fans of the series. The only disappointment is that when it ends, there still remain stories to be told. One can only hope that further stories about the Yamayurikai from Lillian Academy will be animated someday. Unlike some franchises which grow tired and begin to repeat themselves, Marimite remains as engaging as it has been from the start thanks to the progression of time in the series and the resultant shifting cast of characters.

Fans of the series, by all means watch this fourth installment. If you’re new to Marimite, start at the beginning, for every season up to and including this one is well worth the investment in time. Character drama doesn’t get much better than this.

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