Monday, June 18, 2007

MariMite's Dream

I'm watching the third season of Maria-sama ga Miteru, consisting of 5 OVA-length episodes, without having watched the first two seasons. I thought I ought to reduce any semblance of credibility before anyone takes me seriously.

As of this entry, I've finished the first three episodes. After a long gap, I watched the latter two consecutively. It may have had something to do with an inkling I had, but it was KOTOKO's second ED for the series, Kirei na Senritsu, that sealed it. A higher quality Stage6 version of the sequence may be found by Googling the the song title.

All episodes are self-contained with persistent characters, but with no continuity in the story, releasing the viewer from the duty of having to rewatch previous episodes in order to regain context. As I understand it, each episode corresponds to one novel, which is convenient.

This OVA offers something for the classicist and the control freak. Not much separates either of the two, and I have been known to exhibit signs of both extremes depending on the situation and how much sleep I've gotten in the past week. I thought that perhaps there was some element of romanticism as well, but the setting and the characters don't have romanticism so much as they romanticize the school and school themes, specifically private school.

I'm more jaded now, but as a kid, this is what I'd have liked at least my high school years to have been. In this self-contained environment, there are rules and procedures. Even outside the school, that same formality dominates the thinking and actions of the characters. The world, not just the school, is thus neat and ordered, and all actions are initiated by a plan. Watching the second and third episodes back to back, I was acutely aware of the feeling that I was watching the unfolding of process, and even though most stories are about progression in a general sense, a story based around meetings and the organization of events drives home a point otherwise taken for granted.

In the back of my mind I'm thinking, this is a classicist's dream, going beyond, say, the proper organization of events and human interaction. That's just how business proceeds on a good day. More than professionalism, there is also a sense of reservation. Discretion does play a role in being formal, but one does not need to be subtle in order to have discipline and good time management skills.

Dialog is not gratuitous; few characters speak for the sake of speaking. Just as muted is the art, eschewing bold colours. Some scenes feel like memories: visible but too ethereal to be tangible.

Against the Real World, this setting comes up short like all self-contained environments have a tendency to do. The activities the characters organize and take part in, the kinds of social circles they partake in, the necessary mannerisms, all have little correlation to what I've seen. Everything that I identify with aligns with the ideals in my head. To me then, MariMite is a beautiful dream, an acceptable substitute for those nights where there won't be any sleep.


omo said...

Well put. That really nails Marimite's main attraction.

That said I'm also enjoying the OAVs. Unlike you I actually don't have any sort of personal fantasies revolving around anything that has transpired throughout both the OAVs and the two TV series, but it's really different compared to your typical anime. The well-ordered universe Marimite presents is both humane and yet oddly amusing at the same time.

I'd just say if you enjoyed the OAVs, you'll totally dig the TV show.