Philosophy of Dear World by ZAQ
It’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’re discussing Maria the Virgin Witch (Japanese title: Junketsu no Maria, or “Maria the Virgin”), subtitled in both languages as Sorcière de gré, pucelle de force or “Witch by Will, Maiden by Force”. It is a manga series by Masayuki Ishikawa that received an anime adaptation recently. I’ll be discussing the anime here, which is licensed by Funimation, but the manga has been picked up by Kodansha USA.
This story takes place during the Hundred Years’ War. A witch named Maria has been breaking up all major fights between England and France, siding with neither because she just wants the fighting to stop. This has caused both sides to hate her. Eventually, this causes anger from the heavens, as archangel Michael descends and places a restriction on Maria’s powers. She may only use her powers in private, and they will vanish completely whenever she loses her virginity.
The anime is apparently a fairly loose adaptation, covering the main points while adding several new characters. This is because the manga’s storytelling is focused on Maria and her personal struggles, which wouldn’t work as well in anime format as it does in manga.
One thing that I have to compliment right off the bat is how accurate things were made to the time period. Maria also makes quite an excellent point as to why she has to go to such extremes as using summoned monsters to break apart fights instead of siding with anyone, up to and including mentioning what happened to Joan of Arc.
With everyone hating her outside the village near her home, and her powers’ usage being restricted, the setup is basically Maria versus the world, yet Maria holds her own despite these limitations, even though it’s mostly due to the angel sent to supervise her being incompetent. For the part of her opponents, they’re no slouches either. They actually quite nearly defeat Maria.
The rest of the non-Maria characters are also interesting. Viv defies what you’d assume her role would be, Edwina is a wimp who really steps up when it matters, and Ezekiel’s character growth is also a nice watch. For being added solely for the adaptation, Garfa manages to be quite a compelling bastard, and Joseph does just fine in his expanded role from the manga (in which he has far fewer appearances).
One major gripe of mine, however, is that the ending is too ambiguous as to what happened to Maria’s penalty from the start of the series. If I’m understanding right, God’s kind of a jerk to Maria there.
The writing here is quite good. I was keeping up solely because I wanted to see what would happen next, which isn’t something I do much for anime (with even series I like having times where I’m episodes behind).
Definitely worth watching, though all the added characters not being in the manga means I’m 50/50 on whether or not I’ll read it.