Junketsu no Maria Review

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By: Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)

History is one of those things of which we cannot grasp the true realities that people endured, no matter how many books we read. From events like the explosion of Mount Vesuvius, which left the city of Pompeii buried in ash for many years, to living among dinosaurs, or the tragedy that befell the Titanic, for us they are but words on a page. So when a story brings about events, whether real or fictional, taking place during known historical events, we are able to take some new insight into a world so foreign to us. Such is the case with the latest anime Junketsu no Maria (Chastity of Maria).

During the Hundred Years War in Europe, England and France fight over several disputes, including the legitimate successor to the French crown. Standing on the outside looking in is the most powerful witch of her time, Maria. Maria is opposed to war, and uses her magic to stop senseless battles before lives are lost. With the help of her succubus Artemis and her incubus Priapos, Maria has intervened and saved countless lives. She’s also a local healer, providing medical care to those who seek it. Soon, the Heavens get involved, tired of Maria’s interventions, and the archangel Michael warns Maria that if she keeps meddling in the affairs of humans, there will be consequences. He also opposes on her an edict: should she lose her virginity, she will lose all her powers and no longer be a witch. He then places the angel Ezekiel to watch Maria day and night. Will Maria be able to avoid the wrath of Michael and continue to save human lives from war or will the heavens render Maria powerless?

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Junketsu no Maria isn’t necessarily a new story, but it is presented in a way that feels fresh and lively. Few times, if any, have we see a story with a witch with what one could say is a heart of gold, as witches are usually portrayed on the evil side. But here, the sides are reversed as we root for Maria, who has good intentions, and boo the heavens, as Michael wants her all but rendered useless. As the story evolves, we get a deeper sense of the tensions in England and France at the time, the power and pressure the church had on its people, and how even the most devote would be forced to fold under such pressures, often recanting on their true beliefs in fear of reprisal. Junketsu no Maria brings us into this world, often times putting the fantasy aspects to the side so we can understand the political climate of this period. We also see the true definitions of cowardice and heroism, of sacrifice and friendship.

While Maria is the main protagonist, there are others, like Priapos and Artemis, to Ezekiel as the story progresses, and to the human Joseph. At some point, the stories sway and revolve around each character with the greater story looming in the background. All of this is brought forth from a well-designed drawing style and clean animation. The art doesn’t come off as very cartoonish and you often forget you are watching an anime and not a series that may be found on a channel like Starz. The story has depth and really takes off from the eighth episode on, but there still plenty to love in the early episodes of this 12 episode series.

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Junketsu no Maria offers a little something for everyone. Action, romance, drama, and comedy all abound within this series with a well-told story. Some episodes may seem to drag, especially in the first eight of the series, but they each have relevant plot points which continue to build to the mighty crescendo at the end. We are reminded about the horrors of war and once again question what it is we go to war for. And it is nice to see a story focused on someone trying to prevent war and death opposed to just the standard warfare we become so used to in films. Junketsu no Maria is available to stream on both Crunchyroll and Hulu

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


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