Maria Holic

Genre: Comedy
Score: OK

Kanako is a lesbian, and a pervert. She transferred to a Catholic girl’s school hoping to meet cute girls (and avoid men). The first girl she runs into is Maria, a beautiful blonde – who turns out to be a guy, and a pretty evil one at that. To make sure she keeps his own secret, he threatens to get her expelled, keeps her under 24-hour watch, moves into her room, sabotages her school life and generally makes her life a misery.

Studio Shaft have a distinct style, whether it’s the baffling non-sequiturs of Pani Poni Dash, the stark weirdness of Moon Phase, or the colour-blind emotions of ef. In this case though, it’s sadly more style than substance. It takes a few core jokes – the crossdressing, the lesbian lust (accompanied by near-fatal nosebleeds), the abusive maid, the school bag with nameless creatures inside – and keeps pushing them. Comedy is a very subjective thing, of course, but to me this wasn’t really more than amusing. I’d have given it more credit if it was willing to be semi-serious with the set up, to let Kanako’s character develop, but Kanako just doesn’t have what it takes to break free of Maria’s abuse or her own lust, and keeps going round in the same circles.

It does have quite a catchy end song though.