As the final episode looms near, I thought it best to talk about Maria for a bit because something about its latest episode bugged me. And whilst I’m sure most people are still going to vote for it on APR, or even see my problems with it as a positive, if I was worried about that, I wouldn’t write at all.
Obviously, I’m not a fan of the anti-war stuff that characterizes most of this show, nor is the religious stuff the most exciting thing for me to watch. We all know that. But even by those standards there’s something off about the way Maria the Virgin Witch conveys that sort of stuff to me, mostly due to the fact that a lot of the philosophical execution is reminiscent of Trigun. Throughout most of the show, Maria has been irritating me with her one-sided “I hate war” bullshit that the show has yet to give me a good reason for (something Vash actually had) and how she sics demons on people in order to scare them without actually killing them, but it wasn’t completely insufferable because the Heavens were punishing her for interfering with human behavior. And whilst the reasons for why war benefits people were cliche, at least they existed. It’s a pity that this show doesn’t have a Wolfwood, instead settling for an Ezekiel that’s not only a little girl, but ends up siding with Maria. But whilst he’s not exactly Knives and the way he talks about Maria’s virginity is a little creepy, Galfa stands as a good villanious foil to her way of thinking.
Where Trigun ultimately blundered in the end was how Vash’s philosophy won out over everything else without him ever really questioning it. Sure the show tried to do so close to the finale, but in the end, he never really grew as a person nor did he really pay a hefty price for his actions. Compare that to say, Nausicaa, who we actually see kill people before realizing how horrible said action is, along with the suffering she goes through in order to stick to her beliefs. Yeah, she’s revived in the end when the movie was probably better off leaving her dead, but said revival was made tolerable by the fact that it happened after everything was resolved by her struggles. Not to mention, despite playing her up as a goddess or whatever, Nausicaa is ultimately just a small part of the film’s story. In other words, despite appearances to the contrary, Vash is much more of a Mary Sue (or Gary Stu…no, I mean Mary Sue) than Nausicaa ever was, and Maria is doing herself no favors by leaning towards his side of things.
Whilst she is also a small part of her anime’s story as well, Maria has been getting way more involved into the Hundred Years’ War Stuff than she should be. Worst yet, her “revival” was the final climactic solution to the (or one of, but considering Galfa is
dead pretty much useless now and there’s only one episode, it’s most likely “the”) major problem that had been plaguing most of this series. For the past few weeks, she had been stripped of her magic powers and given the third degree by the common folk because of her interference, even questioning why she hated war to begin with. I was hoping that maybe the show would take that in all kinds of interesting directions that I’m not going to clarify, because what’s the point? The latest episode copped out by having her regain her magic through her love for Joseph, having her use it to stop the “final” fighting with the same methods she used last time (except with a giant tree thrown in for good measure) with no change in her mindset whatsoever, and now she’s confronting Lord Michael again with the possibility of punishment looking pretty low given Ezekiel’s presence and all. Why, after all the buildup regarding the complexities of war and religion through this setting, do you take the most sappy Disney-esque solution imaginable? Even Mulan wasn’t that stupid!
And what makes me even more worried/irritated is that people like this turn. Look at this ANN review. It’s supporting this show’s message that love conquers war, and some of the forum-goers are even supporting Maria’s attitude that anyone who opposes her can shove it. Really?! You’re seriously expecting me to support a show that has such childish notions/execution on something like this? Imagine if this show was set during the Vietnam War and said conflict was averted by the final climax from Aquarion EVOL. It would be ironic enjoyment at best and hugely disrespectful to the actual event at worst.
I was giving Maria a pass up to this point despite my complaints for its content because it was leaning more towards the Nausicaa side of things with its latest episodes, granted not enough to make me really like it. However, the one episode that resembled Ghibli the most ended up tossing that and all the other complexities aside in favor of stupid fucking deus-ex anime bullshit solutions, and unless the final episode introduces a new wrench into the works (highly unlikely), this show has all but lost me. There’s even joking that Maria will apply the same childish notions to Lord Michael, and whilst I doubt he’ll get a beating, I am very worried that her love for Joseph will actually win out on his judgement, thereby supporting her anti-violent views 100% and doing it lamer than Trigun did. At least Vash didn’t get a literal magical power-up from Meryl’s love for him before he went off on his final mission.
Seriously, love sucks.