Junketsu No Maria

October 4, 2015

Everyone who has read old fairytales would have been told countless times that witches are evil and ugly creatures who use their magic to create chaos. But do you know that there was a witch who loved peace instead and tried to put an end to the feuding humans? I don’t blame you. History and stories of the old has never recognized nor recorded this fact. Hah… At least that is what I think when I watched Junketsu No Maria. As ironic as it can get, our titular character is not only a witch that loves peace, she is also named after the holy mother and also share a similar trait: A virgin. Something that most devout of Christians would find an insult to. At least for those living at such dark ancient times. Although this anime does not intend to test, challenge or even ripple the waters of the Christian faith, there may be some elements that question about God’s role and the likes so it is best if you decide to check this series out (whether you are Christian or not), please have an open mind at all times. You know how religion is such a touchy subject these days.

Episode 1
France and England are at war during the Middle Ages. Anne and her mother trek through the woods to find the hut of Maria the witch to fetch medicine for her sick grandma, Martha. Anne is an innocent young girl and she speaks with honesty as she converses with the old witch. She is worried about her father who is selected to participate in the upcoming war. Maria could only promise to watch over him. Maria’s owl familiar, Artemis (now transformed into her sexy human female version) stumbles in to ruin the mood, revealing Maria as a young sexy witch instead. Maria is not amused since this ruins the cool first impression she wants to give. After Anne leaves, a young lad, Joseph now visits her. He is here to tell her that he is joining in the war, much to Maria’s dismay because she hates all that fighting. She calls him an idiot but you can’t blame that kid for never living in a time when peace reigns. Maybe Maria can make that happen. Maria knows that his superior knows he came to visit her and if questioned, tell the Church she manipulated him to gain their forgiveness. Touched by her kindness, he kisses her hand. Hope nothing smells funny. As dawn breaks, all the drafted French men (a motley crew of them – I wonder if they are even properly trained) start trekking to the designated war destination. Joseph and Anne’s father meet war veteran, Galfa. As the monk rallies to the men about God being on their side, blah, blah, blah, he gets hit by an arrow! So much of God’s divine protection. The war begins as the English rains down arrows on the French troops. Casualties are mounting and it gets worse for the French’s side as the English’s reinforcements arrive. Now how the hell are they going to win against knights in shining armour armed with lances on horses? No wonder Anne’s dad is already resigned to his fate, apologizing that he can’t keep his promise to Anne he will come back. Joseph then makes a plea of wanting to see Maria just once. A pot falls from the sky. Maria warns them to cease fighting and summons a dragon to send both sides scattering. Artemis noting Joseph happy, lectures Maria about being a virgin and this doesn’t give her the right to impose her ideals on others. It is ironic that all this chaos is caused by a witch who is the embodiment of Christian teachings: A pure, untainted virgin. I don’t know what Maria is ranting about some historical figure, a girl who was betrayed and burnt at the stake. She believes they’ll treat her as a maiden of patriotism or something. Because Maria won’t lose to the Church, she would gladly give up her virginity to anyone. Even a dog. Really? I wonder if she knows what she is saying because it sounded like she doesn’t know that ‘s’ word.

Episode 2
Artemis’ true form is a succubus so she starts seducing the English captain and probably he had a very good time so the next morning he orders his troops to withdraw from the battlefield. Some of the monks are not pleased that Maria is behind this doing but they have to admit they have been saved from the English’s attack. Anne goes to see Maria to thank her for bringing back her father. Maria isn’t happy that Joseph has got the guts to show his face but he is here to thank her for saving them. After they leave, Artemis complains her ‘painful ass’. Must be one hell of a night, eh? However she got every guy except one. Yup, that guy was gay! She thinks homosexuality is the in-thing now. She suggests Maria make a male familiar but she won’t. Is it because she has never seen a male anatomy? She takes up the challenge and turns another stray owl into a young boy, Priapos. However he lacks that male anatomy. Artemis cannot believe this and tries to force Maria to go see what a guy’s thing looks like. This is going to take a while… But first, Maria stops another war by summoning a Cyclops. Then, time to make Priapos do his first male succubus job. At first he thought he is going to seduce this pretty lady. Turns out to be a macho gay man! Oh sh*t! But that man doesn’t care as long as he can ‘stick it in’! Double sh*t! Artemis then throws Maria inside to solve her problem. Who wants to go first?! Maria busts out via riding a serpent. That is when she is hit by the light of Archangel Michael as warning.

As they head back, they notice Anne’s village being pillaged by soldiers turned bandits. Maria is disappointed of the people’s ugly hearts. She cannot let this slip as this is the first village who accepted her as a witch. Maria drops in and warns those bandits to get out. But as she uses her magic, Michael’s light strikes her. The light also temporary blinds the bandits. Maria is mad that God never do anything to help these people despite praying for salvation. That is why she is trying to help others. Michael tells her, there are other villages being pillaged right now. However Michael says this is the law of their world and that Maria is the one disrupting the flow. The villagers pick up the weapons ready to kill the bandits but Maria tells them to stop as they are no longer a threat. Michael warns they will be once they can see again. Everyone listens to Maria. Michael takes Maria away as she adds that people’s prayers are not requests or commands. These are concern of men and heaven does not meddle in it. That is why Maria is the one disrupting the flow of the world. Maria still believes if everyone followed her way, there won’t be fighting in the first place. Besides, she is a witch and doesn’t need any sermon from God. Maybe Maria got a little too confident to attack Michael but nothing happens. Michael gives Maria warning or would she rather ascend to heaven right now. Joseph and Anne are drawn by the light head over as Joseph fires his arrow at Michael for her to let go of Maria. The next one will be at her head.

Episode 3
Joseph is in shock to learn he just shot Michael. But he is forgiven since he didn’t know. They plead to Michael about Maria’s good deeds. But when told Maria will be punished, Joseph raises his arrow at her because they love Maria the witch. Isn’t it part of the Ten Commandments, love thy neighbour? The heavens start to light up and it is a sign that they have decided to grant Maria clemency. But with a condition that she is never to use magic in front of people. Also, the moment she loses her virginity, she will lose her powers. Michael summons Ezekiel as her representative to watch over her. Ezekiel can also take a form of a little owl but this only makes her an easy bully victim for Artemis and Priapos. Priapos is still frustrated he is lacking that guy thing and his libido is screaming to get it all out. Back to serious discussion, Maria asks Ezekiel to go stop the war because it will be okay if it is through Church’s power rather than a witch, right? That same answer of heaven only watches and never intervenes. Joseph has always wondered what a world of peace would be like and although it is unfortunate heaven can’t help, is it too much to ask for a sign or omen? He does not believe Maria’s actions are evil and worthy of divine punishment. Yet another war between English and France. Ezekiel keeps a close tab and warns Maria not to intervene. But once she confirms that Michael cannot always be watching her 24/7, when Ezekiel is not looking, she summons a monster cat to break up the fight! Ezekiel is appalled that she did it but hey, she didn’t see that, right? Maybe it just fell out of the sky.

Word of Maria’s doing goes around so Bernard the monk wants to have a word with her. Joseph brings Maria through the city as she is appalled to see a pig being judged and sentenced to death for trampling over others. They meet drunk Galfa who thinks Maria is his girlfriend and tells her to satisfy this kid. Maria meets Bernard alone. He is bewildered she shares the same name as their holy mother. Maria doesn’t remember how she got. She already knew herself as that. Bernard is willing to put a good work to the bishop if she confesses her sins. Her actions are unorthodox but she has followers and he can’t overlook the fact she calls herself a witch. Confession is the only way to go. But what’s in it for her? She’ll gain great love and a peaceful life. What’s in it for them? The Church doesn’t act out of self interest. They offer their hand to those who seek God’s love. Maria realizes she should not be hesitating. She is a witch and doesn’t give a damn about God or heaven. Send her regards to your other Maria. Bernard would like to request a confession for he has spoken to a witch. For now, he suggests letting Maria be and lending her aid to the villages. There is no need for drastic measure till she becomes a problem. Late that night, Maria is visited by a being known only as Cernunnos. It must be the umpteenth time Maria has been asked what she would like to achieve with her actions. Simple. She hates wars. And if she doesn’t like what is happening before her, she can’t let it go. Cernunnos tells her the harsh reality about pain and death. Living things inflict pain upon others before they die. When new life is born, the cycle repeats. Her efforts are futile. Well, you won’t know if you don’t try. But to Cernunnos, it looks like the same pattern is just repeating itself. He will watch her with great pleasure.

Episode 4
Rogue soldiers are trying to pilfer a village and rape its women. The villagers put up resistance but it is not enough. They’ve got guns! That is when a wyvern appears to scare them away. Yeah, thank Maria. Ezekiel has her eyes covered by Priapos! Can’t report what she can’t see, eh? It is no surprise Ezekiel is screaming her head off at Maria but she doesn’t give a damn as she is curious about the gun she found. Boom! Don’t let it frighten you. Maria is visited by an English witch, Viv. On behalf of the complaining guilds, she wants Maria to stay out of the war because there is gold to be made the longer it lasts. Viv even thinks of drafting Maria to be part of the team to earn money but when Maria says she isn’t doing this for the money but for peace, Viv chides her for being naïve. Without war, it is the reason why those soldiers tried to rob a village. Isn’t she just forcing her ideals on others? When Viv learns Maria is a virgin, she tries to persuade her about the thrills of sex. First time is painful but once you get passed that… Is Maria curious? Is Maria interested? She seems panicky. Ezekiel shutting her ears? Can it work? Viv wants to take her to find a man now but since Maria needs time to prepare her heart, watching will just do. Viv sees Priapos and thinks he is the perfect start. Imagine to her horror when she finds the missing goods. Disappointed? She wants Maria to finish this the next time she comes.

As Ezekiel is forced to deliver medicine to Martha with Priapos, they pass a nearby village that was ravaged by a plague. They get into an argument especially about Maria being selective on who to save. Why didn’t she save this village then? Oh, really? Why didn’t God? After they deliver the medicine to Martha, the old lady starts to speak of the fine days with Maria. However Ezekiel is not pleased. Despite Martha praying to God and yet she uses a witch’s medicine and thanks her? Martha tells a story that before Anne was born, a nearby village was being ravaged by an epidemic. Fearing it would spread here, they prayed to God day and night but it was Maria who came to their aid with medicine. Because of that, not a single person fell ill. Thanks to that, Anne was able to be conceived in this world. How can she not be thankful? Don’t get the wrong idea. Martha is still loyal to God but in this complicated world, one needs to keep an open mind. Maria visits the abandoned village and the truth is she wanted to help but the villagers chased her away and do not want help from a witch. They paid the price for their blind faith. Ezekiel wonders if Maria would become the next God if people desire her. Well, the best way is to ask her yourself. When Bernard receives news that the last survivor of that ravaged village has died, he wants his deeds to be remember because that is true faith. As there are rumours the forest around that area is related to Maria, he decides to send a message to the noble lord about an upcoming battle.

Episode 5
Bernard goes to see his uncle, Guillaume over Maria’s increasing influence. As she brings chaos to the battlefield, the king has no choice but to raise taxes for the war the longer it holds out. It is suggested that Maria only attacks the English side. Bernard has a friend that will keep them inform of England’s plan and will use a messenger to relay messages to Maria. Although this might seem to increase Maria’s reputation, but this is only because the people see her as a need during the war. Once peaceful time reigns, she will be no longer needed and forgotten. And then they will step in at the end to rid the English and ward off Maria. Joseph becomes the messenger to deliver messages to Maria although mostly feel like petty quarrels. As the French mercenaries under Yvain are getting paid in advance ahead of the war, his troops celebrate. But Galfa is caught with his pants down. He was too drunk and ended up bedding a knight’s lady, Eugenie. It is no surprise Jean de Drouant and his men beat him up but since this will affect both sides, Bernard suggests holding a duel to uphold the honour of both sides. What are the odds since Galfa has a broken arm? Joseph is worried that Galfa will die and he has dreams to achieve but Galfa tells him off that he might do anything to achieve his dream but this is what he has chosen to live his life. Dilemma ridden Joseph seeks Maria’s advice about his friend going to die and he is chosen to be the witness of the duel. He wants to know how she keeps her cool and resolve. Maria disagrees with that because the people she saves usually turn on themselves and there is no end to the conflicts each time she intervenes. The biggest puzzle is how to end the fighting for good but what is most important is that she decided on her own. So duel day comes. Looks very unfair. Jean on his horse in his armour and sword. What does Galfa have? That helmet and small shield won’t do him any good. Besides, his fellow mercenaries are mocking him to die fast since they bet against him. Jean like the noble knight he is decides to fight him at the same level. On his feet, without armour. But he won’t use only an arm, won’t he? The duel begins and it is definitely one sided. Galfa takes a beating while Maria is reduced to just watching, wondering if she should just intervene. When the fight is seemingly over and Jean is about to win, sly Galfa uses his broken arm (which actually isn’t) as he has hidden a metal shield there. He turns the tables on Jean and beats him up with his own sword! Bernard signals the end of the match to declare Galfa the winner. Was this all part of his plan? Galfa is now rich enough to repay Joseph. Jean killed himself as he couldn’t bear the humiliation of his peers mocking and Eugenie disappeared. Like Galfa cares.

Episode 6
Maria once again drives away the English by summoning her dragon and giant mermaid. She didn’t even bother hiding using her magic! But did Ezekiel really see her summon those? Joseph sees Galfa and brings him to his master, Guillaume who wants a word with him. Galfa explains why he shared his rewards with others from that duel. Bernard was listening and after confirming his faith in God, he hopes he could help save Maria and kill her if she continues her sinful ways. Joseph didn’t like what he hears and tries arguing about Maria saving many lives but Bernard silences him about his faith in believing in a witch. Plus, if Maria desires to end the war, the will be no more need of her when peace reigns. Joseph does not like his new mission one bit but he has to go deliver a message to Maria about the upcoming war at Normandy. Joseph brings Galfa to see Maria for himself though he doesn’t mince his words about the need to kill her later. Maria then whisks Joseph away to talk. Since planes weren’t invented at that time, the flight must be a real scary one for him, eh? With a heavy heart, Joseph tells of the upcoming war and the big decisive one that will end it all. That is why he is telling Maria not to interfere this time. Anne’s dad laments he is being called to fight again. Anne is not worried and will go seek Maria’s help when she goes to get grandma’s medicine. But father isn’t too sure this time. Is it right for them to rely on a witch always? Anne goes to Maria’s house but only Ezekiel is there. She has made wreaths for them all and hopes she could do her a favour by telling Maria to keep her father safe during the war. Ezekiel won’t give in at first but I guess Anne’s cutie begging has her relent. But only just to tell her.

After happy Anne leaves, Michael appears before Ezekiel! Oh sh*t! Somebody slacking on the job? You can tell Michael is not pleased by the way she lectures and reminds Ezekiel about her duty. However Ezekiel is also in doubt as she asks if it is wrong for someone in this world to listen and fulfil wishes that Heaven only hears. Michael says humans are limited in their abilities. There are many things they don’t understand and thus there is no choice for them but to accept the kind of world they live in. Oh, one final reminder: Should Maria use her magic again, she will be returned to heaven by Ezekiel’s own hands. Bernard’s assistant, Gilbert is about to relay more info about the English soldiers but Bernard starts laughing hysterically that Maria is a virgin! He looks like he’s being possessed by the devil! Artemis cannot understand why Maria is lying around and taking no action when the war is about to begin. After all the scouting she has done and now she is doing nothing? The French side ambushes and flanks the English. Viv and her English witches are gleefully watching it all but Viv feels something is wrong. Where is Maria? Ezekiel remembers after being told off by Michael, she got scared sh*t and went off to search for Maria. She spotted her with Joseph and eavesdropped on them. Maria knew Joseph was being made to inform her. Joseph wants to help Maria fulfil and share her dream by her side but she finds that cruel. Ezekiel finally relays Anne’s message to Maria but that is just that. She won’t let her go to the war since that is her purpose. Wrong choice of words? Because Maria’s mind is made up now as she flies into the battlefield. Artemis and Priapos tie Ezekiel up in a sack but she manages to break out and go after them. You don’t want to be f*cked by Michael again, do you?

Episode 7
The English are being routed. Galfa thinks they won’t be making much money and suggests joining the main war. Joseph is about to get his first kill but gets cold feet and lets his enemy run away. The English dude is grateful but is shortly killed by Joseph’s fellow man. Just shocking, eh? Just as the French are gaining the upper-hand, here comes Maria in her usual ways to tell them to stop or else. She even gives the English a chance to escape. Everyone has no choice but to abide till a disgruntled Englishman fires back. Then all hell breaks loose again. Maria is going to use her magic when Michael turns Ezekiel into her spear and is moments before striking her down. Viv saw it coming and tries to warn her but too late. Maria was struck down. Viv becomes frantic in trying to look where Maria fell. Meanwhile the battle rages on as the English push forward. Guillaume panics as they come closer and wonder where Yvain’s troops are because they’re supposed to be protecting him. Guillaume orders to fire canons at them despite knowing there are allies in the field. Well, he paid good money for those canons. Time to earn their keep. When Yvain finds out, he orders his men to quickly return because they won’t get paid at this rate. He blames Galfa for this idea and that he will not get a single gold after this. Galfa slits his throat! Lolotte cannot believe he did that but as he tries to explain himself, a canon blew off his left arm. Several soldiers find Maria. They blame her for everything and are about the get their revenge. Artemis shoos them away but it is not enough till Viv comes kicking their asses. Meanwhile Ezekiel must be scared sh*t. She cannot answer Michael why she missed hitting Maria on purpose. Guillaume sees the advancing English and has no choice but to call for a retreat.

Maria wakes up in the place of Edwina, Viv’s witch friend. Viv lets Maria talk to the other witches about their differing views on the war as she needs to hear opinions of others. Maria is steadfast in her stance to stop the war even if it means going against Michael. As her pitchfork is missing, Artemis and Priapos go to look for it. Thankfully it is in Joseph’s hands as he sees Ezekiel sitting dejectedly alone. She tells him about her dilemma. She told Michael she doesn’t know how she feels about Maria anymore and was told she is her spear and spears do not think or have emotions. The next time, she will strike down Maria. Ezekiel believes she made a mistake but Joseph didn’t think so. Everyone makes mistake. He realizes he only brought more grief to Maria. The problem is to face Maria now because Ezekiel thinks she will be mad for shooting her down but Joseph knows it wasn’t done by her own will and Maria will understand. The owls are here to pick them up to see Maria. First a big emotional hug and sorry from Ezekiel. Then Maria thanks her for saving her. Bernard heard lots of complains about Maria’s doing and that she may not be on their side. Gilbert wondered why he went all his way to save Galfa. Because that guy has a grudge against Maria and knows of a plan to deal with her. Yeah, friendship is a wonderful thing. Anne is glad that her father has returned. She calls out to grandma daddy is back but there is no answer.

Episode 8
Maria returns home but sees a clan of Yoda orcs outside her house. They are here to get some medicine for those injured in the war (not sure if it is with humans or their own kind). As they leave, they claim they saw a young girl (Anne) coming and desperately calling out to her. Maria sends Priapos to go check it out. Martha is doing fine as Gilbert has delivered medicine from Bernard. But Anne is not happy. She tells Priapos that she heard Gilbert saying it was Maria’s ‘poison’ that was making grandma sick. So who is telling the truth? Joseph is tasked to deliver something to Galfa who is now the chief of Guillaume’s Red Army. Galfa questions Joseph over Maria’s betrayal because he thought he had convinced her to stay put. Joseph thinks Maria’s intervention was because she decided to stay true to her beliefs. Galfa thinks that it is because of that they ended up losing a winning battle. He also heard rumours that everyone is now blaming Maria for this loss. It is best for her to lie low now. When Priapos reports to Maria, she cannot help feel upset that her medicine is being labelled as poison. She wants to go clear things up but Artemis advises her not to as the village has lost trust in her. It took an emotional Ezekiel to calm her down. She’s saying that everything happened because Maria is a heretic. She is reminded of the village that refused her. Since she lives a life where people punish her for the slightest mistakes, yet she still acts purely based on emotions. She should have realized it by now. All this would not have happened had she listened. If she keeps acting childish and swayed by emotions, she’ll end up alone. Joseph believes Maria’s doing is not wrong. Even if the world is against her, he will always be by her side so please continue to walk the path she believes. Maria hugs him before realizing how embarrassing it is.

A soldier confronts Galfa and believes he killed Yvain. So he is going to kill him too? Well, he thought it would be easy now that Galfa lost an arm. Remember that package? It contains a metal arm. Oh man, this is going to be sweet. Easy victory. Artemis teases Maria for doing it with Joseph in the woods since she took her time. That classic blushing-cum-denying face… Cernunnos visits Maria again and warns her it is going to begin. People are going to remove her acts from their life and she will be easily forgotten. Again, the umpteenth question he asks about Maria wanting to end this war. He invites her to be their companion but Artemis shoos him away. Bernard visits the village and speaks to Martha. As usual, he calls her speedy recovery this a miracle of God. Then when he mentions about her association with Maria, she is made to confess. What choice does this old lady have but to sever ties with Maria in the name of God? Anne is such a sad girl. Bernard continues to give his smooth speech about Maria wanting chaos and thus her existence unlike humans who strive for peace and free of conflict. They can do this by believing in their faith and forgetting Maria. He assigns Gilbert to assist the village in their faith. Galfa is on his way to see Maria. Apparently Bernard told him about Maria losing her magic when she loses her virginity. Guess who is going to do that job? He has prepared some concoction for him and leaves it to him on how he wants to do it. It would also serve a good revenge. When Galfa notes Bernard’s devilish side, this is the best reply ever: There is a little devil inside everyone’s heart and that is why we need God.

Episode 9
After her familiars leave the house to bring back some help, Galfa releases a gas that weakens Maria. She tries to summon her magic and could only bring forth a mini phoenix. But that wasn’t enough to stop him. Priapos and Ezekiel return to help save Maria but when she cannot use her magic anymore, Galfa dances happily on his way out. Gilbert and the soldiers prepare to storm in to apprehend her so Maria tells Priapos and Ezekiel to take her pitchfork and run. When Joseph passes by Galfa who didn’t say much, he finds something amiss. Maria’s home is burnt down and the witch is taken away for trial. Next day they see the monks making the villagers confess before Maria that they saw her summon demons. Bernard makes Martha show her unwavering faith. Maria can tell Martha is sad and hurt so she allows her to throw a stone at her. Ezekiel blames herself for letting Galfa knows about Maria’s secret but Joseph believes Maria’s purity is still intact because had she totally lost her magic, her familiars would not have retrained human form. He has Artemis and Ezekiel go seek Viv’s help while Priapos is to observe Maria who is being held at the monastery. Since she will be put on trial, there will not be branded a heretic immediately and this should buy them some time. Joseph then speaks to Guillaume that he wants to save Maria but was scolded about the trouble he will bring. He is told to forget about her and prepare for war since he heard the English are preparing for another attack. Later Guillaume talks to Galfa about not finishing his job because Maria’s purity is still intact. Galfa says he was tasked to make sure her magic didn’t work and not screw with her.

Viv is on her way with Artemis and Ezekiel when Michael pops up before her! Why is she going to save Maria? Because she is her friend. Viv doesn’t care who Michael is and harvests all the weapons from the English army to strike her. You think that will work? Bernard talks to Maria that he finds it curious that despite the doctor examined and confirmed her purity, she lost her magic ability. He learns of Maria encouraging Martha to throw a stone so that her family could be spared. When Bernard starts talking about God, Maria talks back about him preaching gospel that he hardly understands. Because if God really appeared, he would have solved everything instantly. But now it looks like it is better to rely on themselves instead relying on a silent God. This makes Bernard rant about the existence and non-existence of God. If you don’t understand all that he is saying, don’t worry because Maria also don’t know what the f*cks he is blabbing. Her reason is simple. All they need to live in this world is to be able to stand on their own 2 feet. Bernard is so enlightened by Maria’s thoughts that he kisses her foot! OMFG! So disgusting! Don’t think there are no witnesses. Aside God, Priapos and Gilbert see this unholy act.

Episode 10
Viv doesn’t care who Michael is and continues to attack. She tells Ezekiel about why God doesn’t help humans who seek and pray for His love. The answer is simple: God doesn’t know what love is! So stop trying to rule over them! Viv must be proud she said that but that slight distraction was enough for Michael to turn Ezekiel into her spear and stab her! Michael tells Ezekiel that it was not Viv’s words that made her strike but the fact Viv pointed her sword at the Heavenly Father. She gives an example about humans and wheat. Will humans ever listen to wheat if they could tell them when they will be sowed? Luckily Viv still lives although she is heavily injured as she recuperates in Edwina’s house. Guillaume is fed up of Joseph thinking about Maria so he tells him to fight for him in this upcoming war with the English and he’ll personally settle this Maria thing for him. I don’t think Joseph is convinced but he is going to do his part and return from his war to save her. For once we see Joseph getting mad. But overturning tables won’t make Galfa show up. Lolotte tells him to find him at the battlefield. He’ll definitely be there. Maria is under Gilbert’s inquisition. She will not seek the Lord’s forgiveness and continue her ways. Gilbert reports her failed confession to Bernard but he seems to be not paying attention like as though he has lost interest and lets Gilbert do whatever he wants. Artemis tries to convince Edwina to come help rescue Maria but Edwina is scared and doesn’t want to risk being killed by Michael. All she wants is a peaceful life. Ezekiel hoping to find answers, visits Martha and Anne. They are in great pain for hurting Maria especially Anne who is now thinking what the church did to Maria was totally wrong.

It seems with Gilbert’s power, Maria’s burning at the stake comes early. It will be tomorrow. Priapos desperate for help, reports this to Artemis and is even willing to lose his virginity to Edwina for it! You’re scaring her without a dick, kid! Sorry guys, Edwina is too scared to help. You’ll have to do this by yourselves. Ezekiel visits Maria and tells her about her visit to Anne. She is still puzzled that all this could be solved had she just said those words. It‘s only words. But Maria being the staunch believer in her beliefs, knows better she can’t no matter what. Maria must have the whole night to think why she is doing this. Was she doing this for the praise instead of really helping the people? Yeah well, she can’t be as shocked to see the villagers coming to see her burning at the stake. Some are so happy and giving applause! Meanwhile Guillaume leads his troops to storm the English castle. It looked like the French isn’t making any progress with their puny attacks. I mean, how can they bring down a castle wall?! They can. But it takes time to load this super cannon! And it only takes one hit. Once the wall is down, the invasion begins. Before Maria could be torched and her owl familiars barge in to save her, Edwina crashes down. She blames Maria for making it easy for witches everywhere to be witch hunt. Does she want other witches to be harmed? Although still trembling in fear, she keeps the guards at bay with her magic as they try to kill them. The owls free Maria and off they go into the sky. But Maria doesn’t want to go back home yet. She wants to head to the battlefield. Joseph is being ambushed by Galfa. Looks like they have more than just serious talking to do.

Episode 11
Gilbert remembers one of his informants. He now realizes she is a witch (Edwina’s cat). This means the medicine he got is also from her. This means Maria’s temporary paralysis (how Galfa did her in) was one of Edwina’s medicine and they never thought humans would go this far to use them. When Gilbert confronts Bernard about this, he doesn’t deny it was medicine from witches. This means he was associated with them for a very long time? Well, he thinks everything that can be used to make this world a better place, will be used. Joseph is mad as he fights Galfa but the latter is also mad thinking about Joseph’s sheltered life and never had to worry about food or shelter. Once Maria crashes into the battlefield, she quickly goes to find Joseph. Good thing she did it fast because he is no match for skilled Galfa. Maria is not happy that this is the umpteenth time he told her he was against war but yet again he rushed off to fight. Joseph gets even more upset now that Galfa wants to really finish them off. Thanks to everyone cooperating, Joseph deals the winning blow. But he didn’t stop there. He is filled with so much rage that he continues to punch Galfa! It took Maria several calls to make him stop. Lolotte waltzes in like as though everything was a joke to take Galfa away. Enough for today, boys. If their chief gets killed, nobody is going to collect their reward. Yeah, she’s even singing a sick fighting song…

Meanwhile Anne is at Maria’s devastated home. Cernunnos speaks to her as she feels guilty for what she has done for Maria. He tells her to forget and the pain will go away but Anne will not and tells Cernunnos not to drag Maria onto his side (since he claims Maria is not on human’s side). Maria updates Joseph on what happened to her. He feels he does not deserve to stay by her side since he gave in to his rage. He realizes he is weak and only Guillaume’s puppet. Maria had to slap him for beating himself up. I mean, she came all the way here instead of home for one obvious reason, right? To save him! But he still considers himself weak and unable to do things. She tells him to just do it. Stay with her and support her. Doesn’t this sound like a proposal? Joseph has decided. He apologizes for not seeing her more than a witch. He confesses he loves her and proposes to marry her. Maria’s face lights up so bright that not only it reconstructs her house back to normal and heal their wounds, this believe in herself has return her magic. Huge overgrowth envelope the entire battlefield. Maria takes to the skies with Joseph and rounds up all the weapons from the soldiers’ hands. With a loud happy voice, she thanks everyone. Every single soul. Because she has found her happiness. Then she happily summons all her monsters to scare them away. Maria is then lifted up further into the skies. Michael has summoned her. Oh, Maria happily introduces her new boyfriend!!! Such a happy witch!

Episode 12
So what does Maria have to say for all this? She believes that everyone should just find their own happiness and that way the balance of the world would balance out itself. Well, it doesn’t sound like the answer Michael is looking for. She is going to kill Maria but backup arrives. Artemis, Priapos, Viv, Edwina, the English witches and their summoned monsters are supporting Maria. Looks like they don’t give a hoot about God or heaven. They’re sick of hearing this order thingy because it makes you angels look like puppets. True to Maria’s spirit, she doesn’t want them to fight. I guess they’re not listening. Power battle! No different than humans, eh? Meanwhile Gilbert confronts Bernard to go on a witch hunt but he seems more preoccupied in writing his scrolls that contains ‘new teachings’. Bernard is obsessed with this new idea they can create a new world without God’s protection. Michael of course bests her opponents. She wants Ezekiel to become her spear and kill them. Surprisingly Ezekiel resists her. As she has spent time living with them, she has decided Maria and co are good people. With the heavens lighting up, Michael will review Maria’s doing. She projects herself in everyone’s thoughts to have them opine about Maria. Some call her a pest, some aren’t sure and there are those who are 100% behind her. Bernard is most shocked seeing Michael before him. He cannot accept this because it contradicts his new learning. He is going to strangle Michael???!!! Nut case! He got turned into sand upon contact. Martha’s testimony of Maria has her view Maria as an important person in her life and is sorry for stoning her. Finally, what has Joseph has to say? He once met a hermit who told him about world peace. But living in a world rife with war, that is only a dream. He never did anything to change it unlike Maria. She made him realize that he wanted to make a difference. From now on he wants to fight on her side.

Maria also wants a say. She’ll continue doing what she does whether she has magic or not. If Michael wants to kill her then go ahead. She has an idea how heaven is feeling with everything happening right now. So for this once, she will forgive God! Amazing?! So amazing that Michael is laughing! The heavens lighting up again means they have accepted her as part of the world’s natural order. Of course the heavens will not heed Maria’s words and will continue to watch her. Each time Maria does her thing, Michael will be there to stop her. Michael relays to everyone that Maria’s judgment has been decided. She will be everyone’s good neighbour. Remember the commandments, love thy neighbour. Because Ezekiel has gone against heaven, she is no longer fit to serve there. She will become human in this world but she may choose which mother she wants to be reborn from. Everyone is looking at Maria… She doesn’t want to take this responsibility but with everybody begging her, I guess it’s decided. Hope she comes out a healthy baby. In the aftermath, Edwina continues to stay put in her place. She is still scared because she thinks witches are not being forgiven yet. Viv thinks of going back to England and getting a job. Then maybe she’ll try to bring peace to the world. Joseph resigns as Guillaume’s messenger. The latter isn’t shocked but notes he has grown stronger like his father. Bernard’s scrolls are burnt away. Maria departs with Joseph to live in the human world. Before she goes, Cernunnos talks to her. She thanks him for his answer to Michael. He considered himself the past and Maria the future. One day Maria will be like him but she still has a purpose. This world is built upon each and every living thing. Not even Michael can escape from this process. As long as Maria remembers him, he will not disappear. So please do not make her something of the past. Maria invites him to join them but he will return to the forest and with permission, use Maria’s old house. Maria and Joseph now live in Anne’s village (the owl familiars as their pet?). They are happy to welcome them and they’re just in time for the harvest festival. England returned to their homeland and there was no more war. Everybody lived happily ever after! All thanks to a witch.

War Veterans, Peace Virgins
Hmm… Despite being quite a good anime, something in the end feels lacking. I am not saying that the end is bad. It is a good one. Satisfying. Ties up everything nicely. But somehow it feels like it lacks the oomph to make me marvel and consider this an epic anime. This an epic anime? When you have God and his archangel seemingly like the ‘antagonist’, how can you not consider this to be not epic? Anyhow, it is still a good ending for everyone because eventually with peace reigning over the lands, Maria doesn’t have to risk her neck in the battlefield and in turn risk being killed by her usual stalker- oops, I mean the archangel. Hmm… Maybe that is what feels lacking. The sudden resolve and peace to end the story makes it feel like a happily ever after fairytale. Well, isn’t it?

Without a doubt after hearing arguments about if God actually cares about his creations and the fact if he knows anything about love, there is going to be divides and differing opinions from all sides. I hope it will be a fruitful one so I hope to give my 2 cents worth of it too. Although I am not a very religious guy (can I consider anime as my religion?), what is being said about God and his angels is neither right nor wrong. In fact, both could be correct. After all, who are we puny beings to try and understand Him? Perhaps it is something that goes beyond science or even explanation in words that we do not comprehend how He thinks. But as far as the setting in this anime is concerned, it is of course ironic that a witch is trying to make pace while the very being that people devoutly pray to day and night does nothing and watches over them. Because peace would have reigned for a very long time and war never to even start if He wanted to set things straight. But He did not. How do you explain this?

But the funny thing is that if people are left to decide to do what they want even if this means killing themselves, going by that same logic, I do not see why Michael should stop Maria from trying to save a handful of lives. I mean, this is her will, right? This is her choice, right? Why does she label Maria from trying to interfere and disrupt the flow of nature if considering and assuming Maria is part of that flow? Just that she just doesn’t want to see people fighting. So if Maria continues her ways as usual, don’t you think this is also part of the flow of the natural order? Because by obstructing Maria and letting humans fight, doesn’t this mean God loves watching humans kill each other? Now that the heavens have declared Maria as a good neighbour, I suppose nobody is going to have the guts to go against that decree. So she is safe to come out of her hiding and assimilate with the humans.

Therefore it is a big irony, pity and shame that Maria who desires peace, goes all her way out to do what she believes is right, only for her doings to be backfired. All because everybody only recognizes her status as a witch and only praises her when she does things that turns out favourable. Humans being humans can be cruel and forgetful as seen here. Each time Maria goes to do her usual stuffs, only to be hindered and obstructed. You can’t help feel her efforts in danger of going to waste and you want to root for her so bad that you might go to the extreme lengths in labelling Michael and God as the bad guys! OMG! Is this considered as heresy? I know there is a limit to how much Maria can help but at least she is doing something instead of nothing. It might not make a dent in the world. It might not make any difference in the big wide world. It might not even be remembered for the generations and times to come. But at least she does make an impact and matters to those that she got involved with. Even if everybody is against her, not everyone is. As seen in Joseph, Martha and Anne who are considered her staunch believers, you can’t blame them for siding with Maria because she gets things done and has the results to show for. To these people, it is not who you are but what you do to make a difference.

All in all, Maria is not perfect but everyone forgets that aside from being a witch, she is the same living thing like everything else on this planet. Even more so, she is considered more human than most humans would be. All she wants is love happiness. But even if she can’t change the world or her area, at least she found happiness for herself. It’s like lowering your goals and screw the world, eh? Which isn’t a bad thing because how can you make the world a happier place if you yourself aren’t happy? So I feel that it is a good thing to start small and achieving smaller things before proceeding to bigger stuffs, one step at a time. The most important and biggest fact is that Maria believes in doing what she thinks is right regardless of what others tried to tell and impose on her. She might be lost at certain times but eventually she stays true to herself. This is what I think the anime is trying to tell us all in real life too.

Ezekiel was a pretty amusing and fun character. She was like a joker and comic relief seeing as the newbie and freeloader who only knows how to give lip service, she often gets ‘bullied’ and even easily ‘conned’ whenever Maria uses simple loopholes to prevent her from witnessing the use of her magic. And then when she starts hanging out with Maria a little too long and observing her actions firsthand, she starts to fall into a big dilemma that she might start experiencing nervous breakdown anytime. It wasn’t so fun seeing her anymore…

Artemis and Priapos are good familiars but I wish that they would do something more but I suppose that would mean usurping Maria’s role and overshadowing her. So they’ve been relegated to just her sidekicks with a little quirky habit whenever they’re not in any mission like Artemis’ penchant to tease Maria about her virginity (she must really like to see her blushing reactions) and Priapos desperately trying to cross over his manhood. I wonder if he can since he still lacks that important genital. Viv strikes as an interesting character as she takes interest in Maria’s actions. But before I knew it, suddenly Viv becomes Maria’s friend. I don’t know when this happened but I guess it is better than being foes. Oddly, if witches lived so long and assuming Viv and her English witches watching human battles for so long while Maria has been doing her war disrupting efforts for equally the same amount of time, why only now does Viv take notice of her? Maybe she did. Just that they never talked and when they first do, it was fascinating enough for Viv to take a liking for her.

It was obvious that Joseph took a liking from Maria from the start. It might take a while for Maria after a few prodding from Joseph but I guess it is more fun for them to be in denial and only confess it all in the end. So do you see the power of love triumphing in the end?! So with everyone putting their hopes on Maria to give birth to Ezekiel, I figure that means she is going to lose her virginity to Joseph, right? Unless she becomes the second Mother Mary giving birth to Jesus Christ. Well… I can imagine this awesome family… An ex-messenger and his wife who is an ex-witch. They have a daughter who was an ex-servant of heaven as well as a couple of owls as pets. A goddaughter and a godmother grandma as extension family. If the witches took a pledge of sisterhood, Viv and the rest could have been Maria’s sisters. Awesome family indeed.

Other minor and supporting characters do play their role and bit in the development of the climax of the story despite it feels like they make less of an impact overall. Like those English witches who are just watching from the sidelines and then all of a sudden in the final episode they want to play hero and gang up against Michael after they spend a little time bonding with Maria. Edwina is commendable for her bravery despite always being scared and pessimistic. At least she is being realistic. But when it comes down to what is most important, she’ll do what is right. Albeit still scared sh*t. I thought Cernunnos would be Michael in disguise. The archangel taking another form just to troll us and try a different approach to change Maria’s mind. In the end he was entirely a different being and his role in this anime was only reserved in the last moments as one of the testimonies for Maria. Well, if words could change the outcome and world like that. Galfa must be the biggest loser because he lost everything and at the end of it all, his testimony to Michael is he doesn’t want any more to do with her. He’s had it.

It is hard to say if the monks are the real villains because based from history and our stereotypes, the closest aides to God can also turn out to be the biggest devil. So we see Bernard’s actions that make us wonder if he is genuinely good or otherwise. Some of his intentions are sly and it is surprisingly shocking that after his inquisition with Maria, he seemingly lost all interest in her. So he lets Gilbert take over his role? But from what we have seen from Bernard, he remains the biggest hypocrite ever because despite preaching to others about God and the evil of witches, he himself has been associated with them for his own purposes and recently seeing that unholy act of kissing Maria’s feet! Is he considering her his new Maria? He reaps what he sows eventually. The one who is supposed to be closest to God pushes Him far away even when a miracle appears before his eyes. Needless to say, he paid with his life. May God bless his soul.

For some reason, I thought the character designs remind me of those from Dragonball but it is actually only in Maria that I see this. Maybe it is because I am just fresh off from my Nanatsu No Taizai stint so this may be only a big coincidence. The characters look pretty okay but not too much anime-like characteristics that might have diluted the ‘realism’ of the history setting. But when I first saw Ezekiel, I jumped up thinking what the heck was that squid girl from Shinryaku! Ika Musume doing here?! OMG! They look so similar! At certain points there were times that my mind will go crazy thinking when would her hair turn into long tentacles and start using them as extensions to her arms. Heh… Most of the witches’ sexy outfit somehow makes them feel out of place because you know, this is the Middle Ages and then you have some like Artemis dressing in what looks like S&M bondage outfit. Maybe that is how such getup got brought over well into our current era? But Artemis and Priapos in their owl familiar form do look cute. So cute and lovable that you’d wish they get a spin-off series like how those Minions did. Really. You should see that scene when Priapos as an owl fitted just nicely inside the window cell that Maria was held. Freaking cute! Aside the characters, the sceneries and backgrounds are also okay, depicting well the old European lifestyle.

It was such a pleasure to hear Mamiko Noto in a supporting character role as Viv albeit not much. Lately she has been only voicing cameos and very minor characters so it was such a big relief and ultimately my overall happiness (yes, it’s true!) to hear her voicing lines that lasts more than a couple of scenes or episodes, characters that aren’t so insignificant. Kana Hanazawa was also pretty fun as Ezekiel. At least initially when she was a newbie who was a constant ‘bully victim’ to her senior owls. I guess the voice behind Ika from Shinryaku! Ika Musume has grown up. Because as the voice of Maria, there wasn’t the slightest shred that reminded me of that squid girl. Well, at least Takahiro Sakurai as Bernard was recognizable. There were a few seiyuus that I have mistakenly identified. For example, I thought it was Ayane Sakura behind Anne’s shrieky voice but it turns out to be Ai Kakuma instead (Isuzu in Amagi Brilliant Park). Also, I thought it was Kazuya Nakai behind Galfa but it was Yuuki Ono (Zenkichi in Medaka Box).

And thus others that I should have recognized but didn’t include Kikuko Inoue as Michael, Mikako Komatsu as Priapos and Youko Hikasa as Artemis. The rest of the casts include Kensho Ono as Joseph (Slaine in Aldnoah.Zero), Natsuki Hanae as Gilbert (Kousei in Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso), Bin Shimada as Guillaume (Ken in You’re Under Arrest), Yumi Uchiyama as Edwina (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Sachiko Kojima as Lolotte (Sayako in Bamboo Blade), Miyuki Ichijou as Martha (Elizabeth in Mars Daybreak) and Takaya Hashi as Cernunnos (Bacchus in Mirai Nikki). The opening theme is Philosophy Of Dear World by ZAQ is surprisingly a catchy rock outfit. The ending theme, Ailes by True is a total opposite. A slow rock ballad but yet a beautiful peace.

Overall, this series is a remarkable and entertaining story that makes you think a little bit although it is not meant to encourage you from deviating from your faith. You are just questioning to understand better instead of questioning to go against. It might not be deep in religious values as I believe this is also not what the anime is intended to, so it is safe to watch for all people from all kinds of faith or no faith. Unless you are the close minded kind than this series would already be blasphemy just by reading the synopsis. Because it is just unthinkable for God to sit back and do nothing but let a witch run about and ruin the so called world order just to achieve peace. Well, it worked out fine in the end, didn’t it? Yeah… Maybe all this was also part of God’s greater plan as well. Oh, you sly Father. You knew this would happen and that is why you sat back and did nothing. Yup, a part of God’s plan indeed.

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