Yuri Anime Review: Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th

marimite 4th yuri anime

At long last, this review FINALLY marks the end of our MariMite review fest. It’s been fun, but it’s time to bid adieu to the girls of Lillian, however, at least they’re going out on a high note.

Synopsis: Yumi and the Yamayuri Council have found two new helpers in Kanako and Toko. Unfortunately, their assistance comes with tension, as neither girl is particularly fond of the other and both seem likely candidates to be Yumi’s petite soeur. Will either be a good fit for Yumi? As the school year marches on, the work for the Yamayuri Council piles up, and pressure begins to mount for Yumi to make her final decision.

Year: 2009
Length: 13 Episodes
Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Yuri
Studio: Studio Deen

It’s safe to say that if Maria-sama ga Miteru 3rd was a break from the usual MariMite drama, then season four is a return to the series’ classic form, with perhaps more drama than ever before. You could call it melodramatic—and it certainly is—but I think that’s part of the appeal of the series. In a seemingly idyllic all-girls Catholic school, all this interpersonal drama resides just below the surface, but seeing as how it’s the final season, one by one, these situations find a way to sort themselves out.

Pretty much all of the important characters have their stories wrapped up nicely, and you don’t get the sense that anyone is left hanging as to what their immediate future looks like. Unlike Sei and the other Roses in Haru, we never get to see Sachiko and Rei graduate, and that’s one of the only things that immediately comes to mind that I would have liked to have seen (besides more explicit yuri, of course). 😛

If you felt like the third season was a little too uneventful for you, 4th has you covered. There’s a lot more going on in the story, and for the most part, I think the storytelling (and especially the character development) is handled surprisingly well.

Kanako and Touko have their issues come to light, and we get to understand their situations far better than before. Both feature a lot of (melo)drama, though, Kanako’s story is more or less complete by the end of the third episode, and she doesn’t factor in very much beyond that. On the flip side, Touko’s situation is a lengthy affair that takes up most of the second half of the season. To me at least, her arc didn’t really seem drawn-out, as there’s always something going on that keeps the story moving forward, even if it is at a leisurely pace. Touko’s plight brought back memories for me of Sei and her unfortunate past, not necessarily because they were similar situations, but just because I think those two were the emotional climaxes of the series.

If you felt like the third season was a little too uneventful for you, 4th has you covered. There’s a lot more going on in the story, and for the most part, I think the storytelling (and especially the character development) is handled surprisingly well. For anime with the slice of life tag, your narrative expectations probably shouldn’t be set too high, yet this season defied those meager expectations and delivered a bit more than what I was anticipating, so that’s pretty sweet~

Undoubtedly, the season four spotlight shone most strongly on Touko, who we never really got a bead on in previous seasons. Beneath the snobby facade lies a sweet—yet troubled—girl that you can’t help but feel for. Thanks to her attitude, I never quite took a liking to her, and even though it takes a while for her walls to be broken down this season, she eventually comes across as fairly likable. While it initially looked like she’d be a rival for Yumi, that didn’t turn out to be the case at all, and it was Sachiko that Touko ended up rivaling.

marimite 4th shimazu yoshino nana

Thanks to the story emphasis being skewed towards Touko, Yumi and Sachiko weren’t quite as prevalent this season as I would have hoped, but they still had their cute moments, even if Yumi spent a lot of her time trying to connect with Touko. A somewhat similar situation arose between Rei, Shimazu, and Nana—the girl that Shimazu eventually befriends and sees as her potential petite soeur—but those three just aren’t as cordial as Yumi, Sachiko, and Touko. You get the sense that even though Touko becomes Yumi’s petite soeur, Yumi and Sachiko will maintain a strong relationship, even after Sachiko graduates. I don’t think the same can be said of Shimazu and Rei, as Rei herself even thought she was being pushed aside.

In the end, the relationships for these longtime partners never amounted to anything more than romantic two-girl friendship, yet it feels a little weird to see someone else steal Yumi and Shimazu’s affection. If anything, I would have thought that it would’ve been Kanako that Yumi gets closer to, but that ended just as suddenly as it began. Just how I was with Touko, I wasn’t a fan of Kanako’s either, and even though she never quite recovered from that initial first impression, I guess she isn’t so bad after all. After seeing what transpired in her family life, her actions seem a lot more understandable, and it’s nice that she was able to come to grips with everything.

Shimako and Noriko remained as close as ever, and unlike the others, they mostly avoided any real drama. Those two may not have been as prominent as the other pairings, though, at least someone made it through relatively unscathed. No matter how you look at it, this was an all-around excellent send-off to these characters that we’ve come to know over the last four seasons. It’s nice that pretty much everyone had a more or less “happy” ending, and even though I wouldn’t go as far as to call this a great cast of characters, this season did nothing but help their cause~

Similar to 3rd, some time has passed between the third and fourth seasons, and the art continues to look as good as ever. Even now, in 2018, every anime out there may be more visually impressive (from a technical standpoint), but for my money, many still lack the simple beauty of MariMite. The keyword there being “simple”, as there isn’t much else to look at beyond the gorgeous character designs, but those are nice enough that I don’t even mind at all. With an elegant and graceful look, you can’t ask for much more from a basic slice of life than what MariMite offers.

Moving on to the music, it seems wrong that after three seasons of pastel pure being the OP, there’s been a change. It was such a fitting song, so it’s disappointing that this swap to the much more cheery and upbeat Chizu Sanpo was made. It’s not that I dislike it, but I think it would have been nice, for continuity’s sake, that things end in a similar way to how they began (athough pastel pure does make an appearance as background music). Other than the OP, there isn’t much else to be said about the music that hasn’t already been said. Familiar, as well as not-so-familiar, tracks keep the series’ musical quality at least up to par with past seasons, and with the increased drama this season, I think you notice the music a bit more.

Oh, and that ED is perfectly fine, but the real treat there is how unapologetically gay it is. During the actual show, the pairings (unfortunately) aren’t quite that close, though, the one thing I didn’t like about it was how it foreshadowed what was yet to come, effectively playing spoiler. Despite that indiscretion, from the very beginning, this series was very consistent on the audio front, and of all the things you could find issue with in this series, I certainly don’t think the sound is one of them.

If you were to imagine the yuri anime equivalent of Mount Rushmore, it’s hard not to imagine a scenario in which MariMite isn’t among the four chosen. It’s easily one of the most influential, iconic, and important series that we’ve ever been graced with. This series should at least be on every yuri fan’s “plan to watch” list, and melodramatic as it may be, you can make a strong case for Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th being the high point of the entire series.

Story: 8
Characters: 8
Animation: 8
Sound: 8
Yuri: 6
Total Enjoyment: 8

marimite 4th yuri anime


9 thoughts on “Yuri Anime Review: Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th

  1. It breaks my heart that this series ends without Yumi or Sachiko explicitly dating — it’s just how Class S influenced the series, unfortunately — but I always cling to the line that Sachiko is staying in Lilian for Yumi. That means Sachiko, Yumi, and Sei would be hanging out together in college for a few years! Where’s that spin-off, huh?


    • Very true. If ever a series needed another season or some sort of follow-up, this seems like the perfect candidate… 😛


  2. Just finished watching all 4 seasons of the show, over 3 days. Such a beautiful and touching anime, it’s near perfect (it does have the odd dud episode here and there) and it helps that writing is perfect and Yuki is such a likeable lead character. It’s definitely slow in places, and I think the show is more about friendship then anything else, anyone looking for a lot of girl on girl stuff better move on.

    If I do have any problems with it, I do feel after season 1 that Yuki and Sachiko love/friendship storyline is badly misused especially during season 2 and 4. I know ever season does take a few years in between each other, so I’m hoping we get a season 5, but I haven’t read the manga so I don’t know if they go down that route and shows us that Yuki/Sachiko get together, I have a feeling they probably don’t. But they really need to give the show a lesbian couple, instead of all the teasing.

    My two favourite characters were probably Sei and Shimazu, another sad thing is the loss of Sei after midway through season 2 as a main character. She really was the life and soul of the series up to then. I still think her flashback episode to her long lost first love from season 1 is still the best episode. Shimazu anytime she’s on screen she steals the show.

    Overall I’d go Season 1, 3, 2, 4 for me in that order. Season 1 gets my love for the fact it has Sei in it. I think she’s badly missed once she is gone from the school. I wasn’t too crazy on Tomoko/Yuki stuff from season 4, sorry I wanted more time with Sachiko and Yuki. But they did give it a gut punching ending. As much as she cares for Tomoko, she’s always going to play second to Sachiko. I liked the story arc for Katsura, with her dad and the former student. I didn’t like that she was written out of the show after episode 4 of season 4. Would have liked to see more of the newspaper club team of Mami and Tsutako, I really enjoyed them when they were on screen. Tsutako disappeared for most of season 4.

    It’s a excellent must watch show, it’s a little over dramatic in places but it’s heart is in the right place. Even it’s weakness season is still better most anime. 9/10

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t say that they don’t get together! In my perfect imaginary world, they’re already engaged. 😀

      Yes! Sei was the best, and it wasn’t the same for me when she graduated. I still liked it, but I definitely would have liked it even more if she had been there. And that flashback episode is still the one I remember most~

      It’s been a while since I’ve seen them, but I think I’d go 3, 1, 4, 2. But those first three are really close for me, so it’s a toss-up, really.

      And I agree. Everyone who has visited this site should at least watch the first season, if not all of the other ones as well~

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, I think if their is a fault with the show that they don’t really go all in with the romantic side of the relationships, still pretty chaste friendship’s which gets tiring after a while. Which is a shame.

        Sei is the star of the show without a doubt, it just lacks the engine of her personality that lit a fire under the show. I do think the quality of the show isn’t quite at the level of Season 1, Season 3 comes close but she was definitely missed. And her small cameos in other seasons don’t use her to well sadly. A shame.

        I think 1 totally towers over 3, and I probably still take 2 over 4. I got a little bored in the end of season 4 as it was far too much Tomoko and Yuki. But Season 3 had some gems the sports day and Yuki visiting Sachiko summer home, were some of the best episodes they’ve done.

        Season 1 is the one I would recommend for anyone, Season 3 after that. But Season 2 and 4 are well worth a watch, but aren’t as strong.

        By the way did you see the live action film of Maria-sama ga Miteru, it’s basically the first three episodes of season 1 condensed into a hour and a half. I thought it was a rather sweet, the two actresses who played Sachiko and Yuki were very good.


        • Yup. They give people a small sample of these relationships and refuse to advance things. Pretty frustrating…

          At least we agree about Sei. But even the worst season of MariMite is still probably better than some anime/yuri anime out there. 😛

          I hadn’t even heard about it. But I have a really hard time with live-action shows/movies of anime I’ve seen. It just never seems to live up to the image I already have in my head. The image that the anime helped create. If I had never seen the anime, I could probably watch it and enjoy it, but I’m always going to end up comparing it to the anime and nitpicking every little thing and finding reasons to prefer the anime version instead. 😀


          • Yep, it’s my biggest pet peeve about the show. At least have one of the relationships take that step forward, we don’t need Strawberry Panic types of Yuri. But a kiss on the lips isn’t that big of a deal is it lol. But I suppose they are sticking by the manga.

            Oh I agree no season of Marimite is awful, 2 and 4 I would highly recommend to watch to anyone. But I wasn’t a big fan of Yumi and Sachiko story arc been pushed aside, for me that’s the heart and soul of the show. For me I’d still give 2 and 4 both 8/10. 3 a 8.5/10 and 1 a 10/10. It’s best Yuri Anime I’ve watched so far.

            I watched it before the anime, as I was going through a Japanese film marathon. Someone recommended it, and I watched it. Then it lead me straight onto the anime. My personal opinion on the live action version, it looks like a TV Movie and was clearly done on the cheap. But they stick loyally to the story arc of the whole Cinderella play and Yumi becoming Sachiko’s Soeur. I thought they cast the actress playing Sachiko very well, also actress playing Yumi got her mannerism’s down to a tee. It got very good reviews from Marimite fanbase, but I can see why some would nitpick these things though.


  3. I was left with the strong impression that Yumi’s love for Sachiko and Yoshino’s for Rei were entirely unabated. At the very least, I feel Sachiko will stay connected with Yumi even more than Youko was with Sachiko (“No matter how long we live, I think I’ll always be her older sister”). I followed all the books, and I think Yoshino and Yumi are mainly motivated by the good of the girls around them and, especially in Yoshino’s case, a desire to make their grandes soeurs proud of them. In the books, Kashiwagi Suguru even suggests that he and Sachiko should marry, but Sachiko should have Yuki’s child, so that Yumi and Sachiko can raise a child together that’s related to both of them. I think the disaster with Chisato, where Yoshino was behaving very badly, simply taught her to let Rei have a long leash, and that’s why she ended up being okay with Rei going to sports medicine college, instead of picking a university Yoshino would be able to join her at. If you want to be technical, it’s not Yoshino pushing Rei aside for Nana, it’s the opposite, Rei is “abandoning” Yoshino, but with her blessing. It would have changed the tone of the series to have all of them be as openly gay as Satou Sei or Kanina Shizuka, but Sachiko+Yumi is *still* THE romantic pairing of the entire series. In fact, from the books it seems Sachiko’s plan is to be like Yoshiya Nobuko and have Yumi eventually live with her as an assistant, if not be adopted by her. Suguru’s plan is much better. Anyway, I can see how you got the “Yumi learns to love again when Sachiko graduates vibe, but I think Oyuki Konno is just subtle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful reaction to a 3 year old review! Always great to hear a Marimite fan reaction to this classic. Such a shame that we did not get a season 5 with Yumi Fukuzawa in her Senior year as Rosa Chinensis with Tōko Matsudaira in tow as her en bouton. The relationship would have been entirely different than the Sachiko x Yumi pairing. Tōko would never allow Yumi to get away with anything, and the opportunities for comedy would have been great! And Ms Oyuki Konno could have explored a serious love affair between (Sei Satō x Shizuka Kanina) which by itself could have become a classic. It is hinted at during the Italian trip. Ah well, what we have is still great. Over the years I constantly go back and rewatch the series, and always draw new understandings and inspirations from the story. That’s a great work of art which satisfies over and over again.


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