The MariMite review train just keeps on going, as this time, we take a look at Maria-sama ga Miteru: Haru~
Synopsis: The spring term is beginning for the students at Lillian Girls’ Academy. Friends are reunited, but for the Yamayuri Council, it’s a bittersweet time. Yoko, Eriko, and Sei are busy preparing to depart Lillian while Sachiko, Rei, and Shimako are doing their best to ensure that their dear sisters receive a memorable commencement.
Sei’s departure will leave a sizable hole in the White Roses, and filling it won’t be easy. But is there anyone who could appeal to Shimako enough to become the next Rosa Gigantea en bouton?
With Youko, Eriko, and Sei having graduated this season, the roles of Rosa Chinensis, Rosa Foetida, and Rosa Gigantea have been passed to Sachiko, Rei, and Shimako, respectively. However, I’m not really a fan of how things turned out, in this regard. Most of that is due to Sei’s absence, as she was the exception to the rule amongst the students of Lillian, and I didn’t feel like that role was adequately filled. I think it’s pretty telling that Sei is specifically mentioned in the synopsis, while Youko and Eriko aren’t. Sei still plays a minor role this season (complete with a stylish new ‘do), as does Youko—and to a lesser extent—Eriko, but I still prefer them over the new Roses.
One of my biggest gripes is that, for most of the season, absolutely nothing happens between Yumi and Sachiko. Season one saw the two of them as the main focus, but MariMite: Haru spreads the love around, and it isn’t until the very end that they get the spotlight and make up for lost time. Just to be clear, I feel like the final episode definitely made up for some of the neglect, yet I can’t help but feel disappointed that they spent so much time apart. At times, Sachiko has a personality that kind of makes her a difficult person to like, but there’s more going on with her than you see on the surface, so I don’t want to talk too badly of her. Still, I don’t recall her being as distant and apathetic as she was this season, and as a result, her and Yumi’s relationship predictably suffered, however, there were some other yuri bright spots.
During season one, Shimako never struck me as that compelling a character, and even though my opinion hasn’t changed, she gets her own arc that sees her become very close with another student, Noriko. This—along with the Yumi x Sachiko drama—felt like it was this season’s answer to Sei’s excellent arc from the first season, but to me, it paled in comparison. I like that we got another significant plot point, and one heavy in yuri subtext at that, but I’m just not really a fan of either Shimako nor Noriko. That said, I have a feeling that they’ll bring out the best in each other, so I’m still hopeful that that can change next season.
Rei and Shimazu see their relationship get its own episode, and these two I definitely like. The overall mood of the show seemed to be a little more serious this season, and their episode was probably one of my favorites. Out of all the “couples” this season, these two are the closest thing to an actual romantic relationship, but with the way they argue, it’s probably more like a marriage. I would have liked to have seen more of them, but their episode was pretty good, so I won’t complain too much.
And the less we say about Eriko’s episode, the better. I think that episode felt pretty out of place in an anime like this, and even though I think it was strangely entertaining, an entire episode devoted to Eriko’s love for a dinosaur-loving male teacher couldn’t be further from the reason I started watching this series. Out of all of the characters in the first season, she was probably my least favorite, and absolutely nothing happened that changed that.
In addition to Shimako’s new friend, Noriko, Sachiko also has a new admirer. Well, actually, it’s one of her relatives that she’s known for the longest time, but Touko gives this season a much-needed shot in the arm, and the love triangle of sorts that emerges between her, Sachiko, and Yumi was one of the highlights of the season for me. It’ll be interesting to see what her role will be in future seasons, but I’m kinda hoping for more drama. 😀
Oh, and there still isn’t anywhere near enough Tsutako. Feels bad, man. All in all, each of the new Roses encounter some sort of drama that threatens to derail their relationships with their soeurs, but while the pacing continues to be an issue with this series, there were plenty of things to like about the story and characters. The general lack of scenes involving Sei definitely affected how much I enjoyed this season, though, if I were to look past that, I have to say that Haru was still a nice next step in the story.
Despite the disappointment that was Yumi x Sachiko (and despite the lack of an official romantic couple, unlike season one’s Sei x Shiori), the other girls picked up the slack and kept the level of yuri subtext to a fairly high level. After two seasons, I doubt MariMite will actually live up to the lofty yuri expectations I had coming into the series, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t continue to be a pretty enjoyable time for yuri fans~
While the first season of MariMite premiered in the winter of 2004, Haru saw its debut in the summer, so this might as well have been a split-cour. As such, there isn’t much of a difference on the visual front. And you can say the exact same thing about the music. Both were fine enough as it is, so it’s not like it’s a bad thing. The most noticeable change for me was the return of the instantly recognizable OP—Pastel Pure—but this time, gone is the instrumental version, and a new vocal version takes it’s place. Take a listen~
Ehhh… I’ll stick to the instrumental version. They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and since season one wasn’t exactly lacking in production values, it’s probably for the best that Haru was more of the same.
Like the first season, Maria-sama ga Miteru: Haru doesn’t do itself any favors with some sluggish pacing that continues to be somewhat of an issue, and while it’s disheartening to see a beloved character like Sei be reduced to a minor role, there’s still a solid dose of drama and adoration among the closely-knit group of girls at Lillian Girls’ Academy, so if you enjoyed the first season, I think you’ll enjoy what this season season has to offer~
Hey now Mister RTV, this is not exactly my wording you put up there 😀
Freedom of speech!! Okay, I’m kidding, my sentence really wasn’t that original, so well done 😀
LikeLiked by 2 people
This conversation sounds familiar… 😀
At least I use this power for good instead of evil, right? Just think of all the things I could make you say… 😛
LikeLiked by 2 people
On the one hand, Haru’s graduation scene was pretty great. On the other, the best character got served a supporting role, and the others didn’t get the best stories…
The production being a boring, albeit highly stylised, affair doesn’t help bring these stories to life, either.
Season 3 manages to improve both these issues, though Sei is still on the sidelines… The sports episode in Season 3 was probably my favourite of all the MariMites I’ve gone through so far.
Exactly! We’re on the same wavelength! 😀
There are a lot of posts we’re working on right now, so I’m probably gonna have to put off the third season for another week or two, but I’m cautiously looking forward to it. 😛
LikeLiked by 3 people
MariMite isn’t the kind of series that should be binged anyway ^^
I have been wondering why the post-count has decreased. Looking forward to some big posts incoming!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yeah! More posts!
Season 2 of Marimite is a weird one for me, maybe I’m the only one but i always see the first 5 or 6 episodes of Season 2 as a extension of Season 1. Once the likes of Sei and the other two Roses leave, that’s when Season 2 kicks in for me.
I’m given this season a rewatch, and for me it still has a lot of greatness there but it still has a lot of flaws. I enjoyed that triangle of Touko, Sachiko and Yumi far more then the Touko and Yumi arc in Season 4, which dragged on far too long. I liked the little episode with Noriko and Shimako. The last episode when Sachiko and Yumi get a episode to themselves is the series highlight.
Once again the lack of real yuri always lets this show down from been truly awesome. Especially during my second run through of the show, Sachiko and Yumi go beyond a sisterly bond at points. The fact that Sachiko only ever shows her true feelings towards Yumi and are clearly besotted in places with one another. It does make it a shame that the creators don’t go that next step with these two. I also liked that Sei clearly has feelings for Yumi too.
Overall i agree with the reviewer with the 7.5 review, i had it at 8 but it moved down a little with repeated reviewing. Although Yumi is a great likeable character, the lack of real yuri and the fact season 2 doesn’t really kick in for me until the original roses leave. The lack of Yumi and Sachiko relationship building is also a issue. But although not a patch on the fantastic Season 1 but still a very good season.
It kind of felt like that, even if I didn’t like it nearly as much after Sei left. And that last episode with Sachiko and Yumi was really sweet~
I have to agree with you on that. It’s nice, but it probably could’ve been a lot more impactful if they went that extra mile and confirmed all of those relationships, especially Yumi x Sachiko~
As a Anime it’s a very strong show, although never quite recapturing the heights of season 1. Even from Season 2 onwards, it’s greatness overshadows it’s weaknesses. But as a Yuri anime it’s pretty weak, even though it’s tipping the line when it comes to it’s characters relationships. Yumi and Sachiko stuff especially in Season 3, really borders on more then friendship.
Losing Sei was a massive blow, you definitely feel it on repeated viewings of the show. Her cameo returns in other seasons don’t use her too well sadly. But she’s by far the best character on the show. I actually preferred her relationship with Yumi in places then Yumi’s with Sachiko (i know i get hate for that one lol)
But overall, once the original Roses leave, Season 2 really picks up. I probably give it the nod over Season 4 just cause at least it had more Yumi/Sachiko stuff in there. Season 4 after a repeated viewing really plods along in places sadly. Shame we didn’t get a 5th season to finish things off on a high.
Agreed. I think MariMite is mostly known as a yuri anime, even though it doesn’t always have a lot of yuri. Kinda weird.
Yeah, Sei was definitely my favorite, but I can see why you get that hate… 😀
I liked the melodrama more than I probably should have, so I really preferred the fourth season over the second. And I was probably still disappointed about Sei leaving, so that may have affected my judgment as well. 😛
LikeLiked by 1 person
After rewatching MariMite, I definitely question the Yuri tag it’s gotten. I only think the Yuri tag should be given to anime when you actually get a legit love story, something like Strawberry Panic for example. For me MariMite is a slice of life with some sisterly bonding (although it’s borderline in places which is why it’s probably got the Yuri tag). Sei’s Lost Love episode from Season 1 is the closet we get to Yuri in my eyes anyway. But without the Yuri tag it’s been given, would MariMite have gotten the loyal fanbase it did. It be a interesting article to write, if Marimite is truly a Yuri anime, with two sides for the Yes and No discussion. It be a Interesting debate.
Rewatching Season 2 and 4, what i found interesting is how much of a backseat Sachiko takes in Season 4, it’s probably the first time the Sachiko/Yumi bond isn’t at it’s strongest. Compared to Season 1 and 3 for example, even 2 has a bit more then 4. I thought the last two episodes to Season 4 were a lot more heartbreaking the second time around, and Touko wins you back around and her story is probably the most Tear Jerky for sure. Definitely agree the Melodrama is pushed to 10 in season 4, what i love about MariMite that a little thing is made out to be ten times worse then it would be in real life. I still personally give the nod with Season 2 over 4, just cause it had more of Sachiko/Yumi and it had Sei in it.
It’s a shame we never got a 5th season, cause the show feels incomplete for me. It would have been nice to see Yumi/Touko sisterly bond and been on good terms without the drama, and to see Touko love towards Yumi. Also to see the Graduation of Sachiko and Rei, stranger we didn’t get it at the end of Season 4. Also to see the pressure’s for Yumi been a Rose. Negatives might have been that Sachiko might only be used fleetingly. But it definitely would have needed to end with Yumi/Sachiko for me. You could have done the season 3 way and done 5 long episodes and would have finished it off on a high.
Looking at the list of anime with the shoujo ai/yuri tag on MyAnimeList, there are definitely some shows that I don’t think should have it, so those tags should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
Since you put it that way, I can understand why you’d go with season two over season four. And I wasn’t always the biggest fan of Touko, but even I had to change my tune during the last season.
For me, having already seen Sei go, I’m not sure how much I would have liked to have seen another season. Even if they weren’t super close, Yumi x Sachiko was still a big part of why I liked the series, and with Sachiko graduating, I don’t know if the others could pick up the slack enough for me to really enjoy it…