Second Impressions – Junketsu no Maria

Junketsu no Maria - 02 -11 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -12 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -18

As Midousuji-kun might say, this is not a mass-produced model.

I haven’t quite figured out if I like Junketsu no Maria yet, but I certainly find it a curious and unusual series.  My creeping hunch going in was that there was something deeper here than the fairly absurd and exploitative premise, and I still more or less feel that way after two episodes.  But if the waters do run deeper, it’s not clear to me just how much – and whether mangaka Ishikawa Masayuki has a larger point he’s trying to get across here.  He’s certainly not obligated to, but it would go a long way towards making me feel compelled to keep following the adaptation.

This week finds Artemis the Succubus doing most of the heavy lifting (more or less literally), sucking the life out of a gang of English invaders enough to “set them back ten years” (as an aside, while Maria is theoretically neutral it does seem as if most of her interventions favor the French).  But there’s one in the group who’s “beyond her reach” – his tastes run in a different direction.  So Artemis urges Maria to use her powers to create an incubus for such eventualities, and even provides another owl to use for the purposes.

Enter Priapos (Komatsu Mikako), though he comes something less than fully-formed.  This subplot – the witch creates a dickless incubus because she has no idea what the part looks like, offering opportunities to mock her for her innocence – sounds offensively stupid and sophomoric.  And maybe it is, but it does represent a kind of fearlessness in the storytelling here – and it’s kind of funny too, in the event.  Priapos’ entry into the story, including his first stab at field work, reflects that there are pretty much no boundaries here (of taste or otherwise).  That’s not a bad thing, but I do hope we don’t see things descend into an endless string of mean-spirited humor at the expense of homosexuals (which certainly wouldn’t be a first for anime).

Again, I’m not sure just what we have here.  Obviously Junketsu no Maria is primarily a comedy, but it’s only modestly funny so far for me.  But I think I’m inclined to stick around long enough to find out just what the point of all this is – historical satire, or commentary on religion?  On Christianity specifically?  Straight-up sex romp?  In any event we get about 10 Sengoku shows a season lately, seems like, so it’s at least a novelty to have one set in roughly the same period (give or take a couple of centuries) but in Europe instead of Japan.

Junketsu no Maria - 02 -5 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -6 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -7
Junketsu no Maria - 02 -8 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -9 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -10
Junketsu no Maria - 02 -13 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -14 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -15
Junketsu no Maria - 02 -16 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -17 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -19
Junketsu no Maria - 02 -20 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -21 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -22
Junketsu no Maria - 02 -23 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -24 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -25
Junketsu no Maria - 02 -26 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -27 Junketsu no Maria - 02 -28
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

9 comments

  1. R

    Well the logic behind it all is a bit off a incubus is to be used to tempt women not men and priapos seems to be interested in some ladies not that big man .
    And Enzo you didnt say a thing about the angel part at the end it does bring up some interesting moral filosifical questions and points of view .

  2. E

    Yup. Because if God really exists, He must have abandoned us, just like how it is in this story. Hahaha.

  3. k

    why does so many anime show heaven in a bad light??? is Michele a bad god (i am not christian).

  4. G

    Michael is one of the leaders of Angels in Christianity known as an Archangel (in simple terms a boss over other angels).

  5. R

    well it depends on your point of view michael is under orders by god to not let any supernatural(divine or demonic) powers interfere with man´s natural path does that make him a "bad" guy well not to me .

  6. A

    To be fair, you didn't really focus on the single most interesting and important part of the episode, which is everything related to the Archangel Michael's intervention…I would say there is enough evidence that the story does have a larger point. In fact, it would be a lot harder to argue the opposite, considering everything that has been set up in both episodes so far.

    Personally, I found the sexual comedy scene that bothered you a bit tasteless…but I didn't think the humor was really mean-spirited since the show was not presenting homosexuality as being evil at all (in fact, that's probably what the historical medieval Church would state in public, declaring them as heretics and sinners, as long as we're on the subject, and the show is not in favor of that kind of self-righteous religious attitude based on condemnation).

    Let alone when you consider what an incubus is actually supposed to do (seduce/have sex) and the fact that the guy involved was a bisexual pedophile, not just gay. That said, this particular kind of situation is basically a one-off thing in the manga. You'd be wrong to assume otherwise, so there shouldn't be any more such jokes (beyond the incubus not having an instrument, so to speak).

  7. I'm not assuming there's no larger point. I'm saying it's not yet clear to me what it is.

  8. Z

    The season's dark horse.

  9. H

    I like how this show is playing with contrasts. Maria's innocent naivety, where witches are generally condemned as depraved heathens. Then there's Christianity/Religion holding up a blanket over the corruption, war and sodomy, etc. The rejection of Maria's simplistic view is a promising sign of growth.

    The nihilistic angel was kinda amusing.

Leave a Comment