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.