Sorry for the delay- But now it’s time for the season finale of what became one of my favourite anime comedies.
I’ve been enjoying this series immensely, so there was a certain sadness on realizing I was watching the last episode. Perhaps to commemorate it or make up for this fact to fans, this is the Swimsuit Episode, but instead of just being a boobs/ass fest like alot of other Swimsuit Episodes in anime tend to be, this managed to be incredibly amusing and a worthwhile closure to what I hope is only the first series of Maria+Holic.
We open with Kanako addressing her mother in heaven as she is wont to do about the many trials and tribulations she has faced since episode one, and how it will now be all worth it because the day she (and many otaku viewers) has waited for has arrived; the opening of the pool. Everyone is wearing all manner of outrageous swimwear, because this is allowed at this school, and there is even a new character, the swim-instructer:
Kanako eventually gets faint from having nosebleeded herself dry and falls in the pool…she is rescued by the swim instructer who gives her mouth to mouth…all the other girls and teachers start to fight over who should give Kanako move to mouth…Kanako is dying in happiness…and it becomes increasingly clear that none of this actually happened and the whole thing was a dream. Including the ‘new character’, who doesnt actually exist. Apparently, although the pool opening part was real, Kanako became sick and bedridden from eating too much raw liver (to try and stop her nosebleeds) that she missed it. Naturally, I think this was an incredibly amusing way to start an episode.
Somehow or other Father Kanae learns about Kanako’s sickness and decides he should visit her with a melon as a gift. I’m glad he got to appear again in the last episode; I was actually worried that they’d try to focus on something else (ie, swimsuits) in this episode to the extent that he’d end up excluded.
But he gets a pretty amusing part in this episode as well, as we shall see. Naturally, the visit doesnt go well, and he ends up giving her a horrific outbreak of hives. As a result of which…she ends up bedridden again, and thus misses the swimming class. Again.
Once she finaly is well enough to attend classes, however, she finds herself under ‘sabotage’ by the Father Kanae-lovers (AKA the Touchirou Fanclub) of the school who are jealous that he keeps going to her room. Similar to how the Ryuuken-fanclub filled her bag and desk with marine products, these girls used mountain products (that resemble marine products).
Kanako eats all their mountain products, apparently they end up being good for her body and she’ll be well enough to attend the swimming class the next day. Except apparently these particular products end up poisonous if you eat too much of them, which she does, and ends up being bedridden and thus missing the swimming classes. Again. I know the same thing keeps happening again and again, but I was cracking up laughing every time it did. It takes a certain skill to make a repetitive joke funny.
After Kanako finaly recovers from that near-death experience, Dorm-mistress ‘God’ is doing a little bit of cleaning when she comes across a swimsuit of her own. This causes her to reminisce a little, so that she doesnt notice Kanako knocking on the door who came to ask her if she’d make something easily digestible for dinner, and so Kanako comes right in. Cut to Kanako’s friends remarking that she seems to have gone missing since yesterday…. (meaning, yes, she missed the swimming lessons. Again.) I’m really fond of this kind of humour; without having to show whatever just happened and only implying it through a sudden cut to another scene. ‘God’ sure is terrifying.
After Kanako finaly reappears at the school (whatever ordeal she suffered will remain a mystery), she lets us know that tomorrow will be the final swimming lesson, and she has all intentions of attending it, going to extreme lengths to avoid anything that could result in her getting sick or disappearing. All goes well, and she continues to make her preparations into the night, and even manages a good nights sleep. Nothing ends up going wrong this time.
Except, of course, it rains, and the swimming lessons were called off. Of course, I was waiting for one little thing to go wrong, but I burst out laughing at this. Kanako looked so anguished. However, she cheers up immediantly when the teachers announce a special event for the summer holidays; a Swimming Meet for the entire school. Looks like Kanako will get to see some swimsuits yet!
Of course, this wouldnt be Maria+Holic if everything went perfectly for her. Mariya (who has been getting annoyingly less screen-time lately), finds her happy, excited anticipation of possible waldrobe malfunctions incredibly irritating, so gets Matsurika to use the sleep hypnosis on her again to ‘reprogram’ her. In the morning, the disturbingly hilarious result is this:
Poor, poor Kanako, in the midst of all the beautiful girls at the pool clad in school swimsuits, can only think of loinclothes, because the hypnosis still hasnt worn off. Naturally, she’s in a bit of despair because she realizes she is not reacting to the swimsuits at all. Her despair and random cries about men wearing loinclothes attracts the attention of Father Kanae again. Cue his deep-thinking on the reason for her desire to see a man with a loincloth; he believes it has something to do with her imaginary brother. He has the incredible idea that Kanako wants to see him in a red loincloth, because that would surely calm her nerves, and so he runs off to find one. Again, I absolutely love this guy. For the millionth time, second season please.
Kanako is, naturally, incredibly pissed at Mariya for doing this to her brain, because she’s still not feeling a thing looking at swimsuits and her nose wont bleed at all. How awful. She spies Mariya in the pool, looking in disdain at his ‘fake breasts’ and decides that she ought to rip his swimsuit off so that all the school can see that he’s a trap, thus causing him incredibly embarassment as revenge, thus freeing her from his clutches.
However, after seeing Shizu’s bare boobs, something clicks inside that bizarre brain of hers and Kanako is cured, which she then demonstrates by turning the whole pool red. As the Ultimate Nosebleed Finale, however, she doesnt stop at the pool, or the planet earth, nay, her nosebleed ends up turning the whole cosmos red, just as Father Kanae returns in his loin-cloth that we (sadly) dont get to see.
The end of the episode, however, comes in the form of Kanako waking up in the sick-bay with Shizu at her side, who has forgiven her. She sees Kanako’s pendant and seem’s shocked by it. The end. Yes, Shaft chose to be asses by putting a silly cliff-hanger at the very end that may or may not ever be resolved. It’s either a joke or an indication of an eventual second season, and I’m hoping for the latter.
As I said, a worthwhile episode to end this season. As annoying as the ‘cliff-hanger’ was, it did make me crack up at its stupidness. I’m thrilled that Father Kanae got some decent screen-time as well, as well as Shizu; the only real issue I have is that Mariya himself isnt doing a great deal. Out of 5:
Series Overview: It was silly, ridiculous, perverted, deranged, and brilliant. Shaft are very good at school comedies, and I’m in love with their animation style. Kanako makes a ridiculously likeable main character, Mariya and Matsurika are also awesome, and despite all being archetypes, I quite liked Kanako’s friends too. Father Kanae wins the award for best character, followed closely by Dorm-Mistress ‘God’. My main issue with the series was how Mariya seemed to take a back-seat towards the end of the series, though; as well as Ryuuken, who seemed to disappear after the first few episodes.
So many crappy shows are getting second seasons greenlit, and as a show that truly deserves it, I can only keep hoping. The series as a whole gets: