Maria the Virgin Witch’s Ending Is Simply Offensive

I don’t think Maria is the worst anime of the season, but it definitely had the worst ending to an anime I have seen in a while.

Within the first minute, Maria declared that she was never going to change her ways to Michael and it all went downhill from there.

Even the title of this episode was a slap in the face.

Seriously, this episode was worse than I expected. Not only did the show go the direction I feared it would, but the amount of overly-long “Maria is right” dialogue with only one brief action scene thrown into the mix was just dull to watch. After everything Maria went through, after all the trouble she caused, and even after a bunch of people (although they were the bad guys, and Bernard ended up changing his ways, so they don’t count) claimed that Maria had created more harm than good, not only did the show cop-out on all its complex issues with, well, the message displayed in the ending’s f*cking title, but every single “good-natured” character supported her 100% and that Michael’s judgment on her can suck it? Are you high, Goro Taniguchi? What made you think that sort of Mary Sue fanfiction finale was a good idea?

Some people have claimed to me in my previous post that this sort of ending is fine because it worked well for Disney when they did it, both critically and commercially. To which I say that’s fine, but that’s not going to stop me from declaring it to be shit. You wouldn’t defend After Story’s ending to the haters by saying “it was the best way to please the Key/VN fans”. Yeah that’s true, but that’s not going to stop said ending from being a lame deus-ex that the elitist crowd are going to declare borderline-offensive. Also, most of those Disney endings are executed well enough so that they don’t ruin the journey to my knowledge. Maria’s ending was about as much a ruination as The Little Mermaid’s.

Why? Because it ruined Maria’s character journey and put her on a holy grail that Vash can only dream of sitting on. Aside from getting stripped of her powers due to the new love she found – which isn’t a punishment at all. That’s just what happens to witches who lose their virginity – she never grew up. She never changed! And worst of all, her philosophy is a load of BS. You can’t just go “I will always try to stop wars no matter the consequences, because when I’m happy, the world is a little happier” after everything she’s been through. It does not work like that! Hell, that sort of philosophy wouldn’t even fly in real gritty anti-war stories. It’s an ugly message that insults real pacifists unable to do the things that Maria can do, and if their is a real-life God who would lose out to that sort of shit being blasted in their face, then even by his evil standards, that’s just low.

And the biggest (well, second-biggest) crime of all is how this conclusion ultimately wastes the good direction and painstaking research regarding the real-life war/setting, let alone the reasonable counterpoints that were occasionally brought up throughout the anime but never manifested into anything worthwhile. It’s the same sort of bullshit that Your Lie In April pulled, and at least that show ended naturally with the way everything was set up, even if said setup was not to my taste (huge understatement). Maria, on the other hand, just shot everything it built up right in the foot before they could manifest into anything worthwhile. All that effort into making the show aesthetically-pleasing and we end up with twelve episodes where the ultimate message is that “pacifism is always the solution to war, and if you don’t agree, we’ll force that philosophy on you”. And they didn’t even bother to justify why Maria hates war so much in the first place, despite having her question the reason once in the second half.

Great, I’m glad I spent all that time on this anime just to arrive to that awful conclusion. I don’t need to watch twelve episodes for that!

6 responses to “Maria the Virgin Witch’s Ending Is Simply Offensive

  1. To be quite honest, I was moderately disappointed that certain topics weren’t brought up during the final extended conversation. It could have made for a more complex exchange of ideas rather than mostly -though not entirely- focusing on directly or indirectly proving why Maria’s basic approach was right. There were a few nuances, in my opinion, but the picture remained mostly static in that regard.

    The ending of the anime didn’t really change too much from the manga (there was an epilogue in the printed version but it didn’t add any real complications to the grand scheme of things). In other words, this story was always aiming for the narrative territory inhabited by Disney and that is ultimately what we received.

    I have to imagine that Goro Taniguchi, despite wisely adding more regular human characters and their concerns to the earlier parts of the story, probably didn’t think he had the unilateral right to drastically alter Maria’s fate and threaten to contradict the message of the original manga by turning its “happy end” conclusion into something completely different yet more intellectually fulfilling. To be fair, it would also be rather hard to accomplish that without more episodes and it’s worth considering that all of his other shows have been longer than this one.

    I won’t go into all that detail about the big issues this time around, but…when it comes to my own thoughts on the heart of the matter, I still remain mostly satisfied with the conclusion. The message is certainly simple in nature and only parts of it are relatively applicable to the real world, but I don’t really agree with your entirely negative characterization of it.

    Why? Some of the same reasons from my last reply continue to apply, including the logic behind why Disney-style storytelling is perfectly valid as an artistic choice and acceptable from a psychological perspective. I believe it works for the main purposes of this specific tale, which isn’t to tell a gritty war story, and doesn’t personally annoy me. Of course, you’ve already explained why that doesn’t work for you and I can respect that difference of opinion.

    Maria’s character journey was odd. Indeed, I would have also preferred to see more in terms of direct growth. Remaining stubbornly true to her idealistic purity is technically valid as it is the result of already overcoming various challenges, but the way she has chosen to learn from her dealings with the realities of the world was perhaps too subtle. You may even call it non-existent, but I’d beg to differ.

    I think there is a compromise at work. Maria is, one way or another, accepting the implied loss of her powers by apparently marrying Joseph and changing her role in the world. Even if it is ultimately on her own terms, that means she will in fact become a part of the natural order without threatening the authority of the Church of Heaven. All her posturing and joking around in front of Michael this episode doesn’t change that, for all practical purposes, she is now a regular human rather than a witch. Even if she hasn’t explicitly abandoned her simplistic yet ideologically pure beliefs, Maria’s methods will presumably need to be very different as a result of no longer being a witch. There is no way around that. Moreover, the Hundred Years Wars continued and only ended after some time had passed, going by an older Ann’s epilogue narration, suggesting that Maria couldn’t keep doing the same thing over and over. In short, Maria might well have become a “real pacifist” in the meanwhile. We don’t know if that had any impact on shortening the war or not. It’s a pity the series didn’t spell that out in detail, which would mean going into the sort of more meaty content you and I tend enjoy in our fiction, but I think the implication is there. For that matter, embracing her feelings towards Joseph and, surprisingly enough, Ezekiel is also something that Maria probably wouldn’t have done at the start of the story.

    All in all, these can also be judged to be insufficient from a certain critical lens, but I find more than enough value in them. Just like you think the title is a slap I the face, I believe it’s a sign of sincerity. A transparent yet natural progression of where the story was already heading lately. Like I expected, it was almost impossible for love to not conquer all, so to speak, in the end.

    • Even if she hasn’t explicitly abandoned her simplistic yet ideologically pure beliefs, Maria’s methods will presumably need to be very different as a result of no longer being a witch.

      Yeah, I’m aware there are other possibilities you can take Maria’s stance, but I feel that they’re explored at too elementary a level to be fulfilling.

      Moreover, the Hundred Years Wars continued and only ended after some time had passed, going by an older Ann’s epilogue narration, suggesting that Maria couldn’t keep doing the same thing over and over.

      I never explicitly said that she stopped the war. But if the show wanted to sell to me the idea that “Maria is ultimately a small cog in a giant mess”, they didn’t pull it off very well. Not to mention, “finding happiness amongst tragedy” isn’t really that interesting a story to me to begin with. Maybe if it was pulled off like The Secret of Nimh, but we both know that didn’t happen.

  2. I can understand some of your gripes about the ending, and as much as I loved the rest of the show, I’ll admit it could have been better. But I just took the show for what it had to offer, which was some sincerely thought-provoking themes about war, the role of religion in justifying it, and whether using magic to try and stop war is the right thing to do. True, the show could have delivered better with some of the ideas it brought up, but I was still satisfied with what it did deliver. I also found Maria’s ability to hold firm in her beliefs despite being persecuted for it, to be an admirable trait, if it’s for something good of course, and I think not wanting people to die and suffer, whether it’s from war or sickness, is a good thing. That’s why I didn’t feel the need to know exactly whey Maria felt the way she did about war. Does someone really need a reason to want to stop something as horrible as war and the human suffering it causes, other than just the fact that they’re an empathetic person?

    And yeah, the “love conquers all” message is used a lot in all forms of media, but I personally don’t have a problem with it as long as I feel it makes sense and doesn’t come way out of nowhere. Like I said in my review of this show, when you’re dealing with magic, which already requires us to suspend our beliefs, it isn’t too far-fetched to believe that emotions like love can affect how magic works (since there’s no way to prove otherwise, since magic is a fictional element to begin with). So going by that, I didn’t think the ending was too outrageous.

    Anyway, sorry the show ended up disappointing you. Even though I feel differently about it, I enjoyed reading your thoughts and seeing it from a different perspective.

    • Does someone really need a reason to want to stop something as horrible as war and the human suffering it causes, other than just the fact that they’re an empathetic person?

      To me, there’s a certain smugness in regards to how the show treats Maria’s anti-war stance. It “thinks” it’s the correct answer rather than just being a reasonable method – which of course is a ludicrous thought since humans can’t use magic the same way Maria can. It’s a fundamentally flawed logical stance and Maria needed to compromise with it a lot more than this show actually made her do in order to click with me.

      Like I said in my review of this show, when you’re dealing with magic, which already requires us to suspend our beliefs

      It’s not that the ending didn’t make sense. It’s that the direction it took was not interesting. The first season of Legend of Korra (I didn’t see the other seasons) had revelations that made sense, but that didn’t stop people from hating how it ended up.

  3. I liked the ending but I get what you’re saying here. One thing I want to speak about is the ‘finding happiness’ lesson she mentioned. Sure, that’s a nice thing to say but not everyone finds it. That phrase could be twisted as well since some people could find happiness in the suffering of others, which kinda invalidates the ‘everyone being happy’ part. Therefore, that was quite a weak message she took away from all the things she experienced throughout the anime, I think.

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