Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: Junketsu no Maria, vol. 1

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Masayuki Ishikawa, aside from writing Moyashimon, also puts out Junketsu no Maria (AKA: Chaste Maria, or Pure Maria). It's a much more "adult" story, but not really all that "etchi". It's being carried by a number of the fan scanilator sites, so I won't bother putting too many of the scanned pages here. It's been running in KC's Good Afternoon magazine since 2008, and the first collected volume came out on Feb. 5, 2010. The copy I have is the third printing, dated March, 2010.

(Front cover.)

Junketsu no Maria, vol. 1, Masayuki Ishikawa - Grade B+
According to the fan sites, "Maria" is set during the 100 Years War between England and France (1337 to 1457). By Maria's own account the story occurs after Joan of Arc's death in 1431. Maria is a magic user (often translated to "witch" in the fan versions) living in the forest outside of a small village in France. She dislikes war, and tries to keep her part of the world quiet when the various armies come too close to her boundaries. Mostly she just makes medicines for some of the villagers. Being a magic user, she's automatically deemed to be "evil" by the religious authorities. Then again, most of the religious authorities are corrupt, power-mad war-mongerers, and they see her as a stumbling block to their attempts to conquer everything.

(Back cover.)

Maria has animated a white owl, turning it into a succubus named Artemis. During the day, Artemis is an ordinary, everyday run-of-the-mill talking white owl. At night, she's sent out by Maria to turn the various generals insane. One day, Artemis encounters a gay military leader, forcing Maria to turn a second owl into an incubus named Priapus

Unfortunately, Maria is a virgin and her encounters with men have been limited to just reading the occasional erotic manuscript, so Priapus ends up being a eunuch. At least, though, Priapus can cook, and he makes for a good giant dragon when the time comes to level a castle or two.

(Artemis being interrupted at work unexpectedly by Maria.)

One day, the British forces reach the village and set fire to some of the buildings. When Maria tries to intervene, she's attacked by Archangel Michael. Seems that the death and destruction flowing across the land is part of the plan designed by "the guy at the top", and He's taken notice of Maria's interference.

Finally, there's a battle between Michael and Maria, with Michael winning and preparing to bring Maria back to heaven for judgment. However, some of the people she's saved come to her defense, and Michael lets her stay in the forest.

But now, if she loses her virginity, she loses her powers. To keep an eye on her, Michael animates a white dove, named Ezekiel, and tasks it to live with Maria. Priapus and Artemis, being an incubus and a succubus respectively, and therefore not into that "virginity thing", take it upon themselves to use their owl forms to peck on the top of the dove's head mercilessly with their beaks.

Summary: Chaste Maria is an adult title, and it's not for those under 18, or otherwise offended by stuff. However, the artwork is great, the action flows well, and Ishikawa is really good at drawing dragons beating up castles. Besides, Maria is cute. The humor is toned down a bit from Moyashimon, but there still are a lot of funny moments, as well as some tense drama. Recommended.


aime said...

Just wanted to say thanks for the scan of inner front and back cover.
I bought LE back and was a bit disappointed when i found out that inner covers are all white... though it made fine contrast with black flip cover.

TSOTE said...

You're welcome. Yeah, Ishikawa has a tendency to have his book covers in really light, hard to see colors. This happened several times with Moyashimon. I was playing with changing the contrast on the Maria covers to make them darker and more distinguishable, but I didn't want to misrepresent them to new fans, either. If you have photoshop or paint shop pro, try using the contrast histogram tool to may the lines darker, if you want.