I finally was able to catch up big time on this little series. Maybe it’s better to explain why I had to do that. (At least, aside from being on Funimation.)
The issue is pretty much summed up, albeit regarding a different facet, as to why anyone who is familiar with modern late-night anime might find concerning. I quote:
I hope it also doesn’t suddenly turn into a morality play about the Otaku Virtues.
What first drew me to the series was actually the exact opposite: more toilet jokes are okay. The whole Shakespearean feel to the story was refreshing, and also appropriately gutter-level fanservice trash. It turned out to be different, which I was okay with given that the focus was on a lot of plot-related stuff, building character motivations, what have you.
The one thing that I cannot stand in this context is obvious moral soapboxing that is actually the point of the story, and unfortunately Maria is chock full of it. It really comes down to the main character, being who she is, had to say the things she say and do the things she does, because otherwise she lives in a caricature world of moral ambiguity and corruption. I get all this regarding the heretic and the traditionally democratically-ordained religious norms she had to deal with. Unfortunately that just makes it worse. In fact the more they try to do the “oh some people are good/bad” the more I retch, not because of the veracity of its value judgment but rather it’s all too eager to make them for you. Maybe if there is a better way to pass the pill, so to speak. The famed English playwright was a master of this.
Maybe the problem really was that Maria was French?
Actually, the problem is more like the French has no sense of humor. The most powerful tool in this story is criminally underplayed in Maria: stuff needs to make people laugh. It goes back to kind of why fanservice heavy shows are often comedic, because it helps to make viewing it tolerable. Same here, except it’s not for fanservice’s sake. We have the owls having a jolly o’ time but they are even rarely funny. It’s like most of the laughs comes from either bullying Hanazawa’s owl or some big-breasted voice joke from Pikasha. Maria has got to do better on that front: both the show and the character.
Otherwise, though, Maria the Virgin Witch is pretty solid so far, and refreshingly different. It is just sad that these important, but unfortunate issues will hold it back from being actually good.