Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pre-OVA Maria-sama ga Miteru: People watching

Marimite Haru episode 13: In front of Sachiko's door
September approaches, so it's as good a time as any other to get through some older series, and what better way to face the prospect of school with a series about school? Granted, there is little in common between Lillian and wherever I'm off to, but they are both almost self-sustaining environments, more or less closed off to the rest of the world, and fed by a never-ending supply of new students and relationships.

If the OVA is about the unfolding of process, then its predecessors are about the unfolding of people. I realize now that the OVA's seemingly goal-oriented structure [1] is a partial result of a normalizing of relationships, as well as the cast coming into their own as administrators. Prior, such tasks were left to their seniors, out of view.

While not dealing with weighty or even relevant issues, the unfolding stories and character interactions are compelling to watch, particularly the story of Shimako. She comes across as having a lot of baggage, and just how much isn't revealed until halfway into Maria-sama ga Miteru ~Haru~. It's also then that parallels and and the perceptiveness of past observations come to light, and despite the claim that only Sei knew Shimako's story among her peers, one has to wonder at just how much the other Roses knew.

Mis-communication runs rife in many of the drawn out conflicts in the series. As per her hair style, it allows Touko to turn the screws on Yumi and to a lesser extent, Noriko. Most misunderstandings are actually pretty straightforward situations, with the exception of Shimako's, stretching into the second season the way it did.

Back to people watching. Witness some conflict, develop some insight into a character or two, push the reset button after the resolution, next please! I don't mean to imply that either season was devoid of commitment, not at all. The focus on the characters is clear, the interactions flow well, and an excuse (like WAR) isn't necessary to have interactions in the first place.

Maria-sama ga Miteru's setting is like a casual (but not too casual) sidewalk: comfortable, moderated spontaneity, mostly non-threatening. A fine place for observing the ordinary aspects of life.

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[1] At least for the first three episodes. Many thanks to Otenba / Lililicious for their progress thus far.