Maria Holic Opening Possible Influences – Erwin Wurm and the Red Hot Chili Peppers

So, when I first saw the legendary Maria Holic opening video, besides being blown away I was reminded of something – the video Can’t Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers. I dug it up and, sure enough, there are some obvious similarities. And it doesn’t end there.

Much like the Maria Holic op, the video takes place in a white warehouse and stresses the contrast of bright colors on the white backdrop. One very obvious motif is the buckets, which are aplenty in the Maria Holic video and seen repeatedly in Can’t Stop. The general placement of tons of strange objects is also alike in both videos. That’s about the extent of the similarities, but it’s more than enough to see some kind of possible influence, especially since Red Hot Chili Peppers are known to be quite big in Japan (see: Ichigo Mashimaro).

However, I was even more interested when I saw the message at the very end of the RHCP video that it was inspired by the “One Minute Sculptures” of Erwin Wurm. I searched quickly and found an interesting interview with the man on youtube as well as his wikipedia article.

Erwin Wurm’s style is to take pictures of people in everyday situations doing something stupid or bizarre. For instance, there may be someone sticking a pencil in their nose or wearing coat hangers over his ears, or something more odd like a ‘toothbrush launcher’ made with a bed, a chair, and a 2 by 4. Instantly, I get the feeling that this man could be one of SHAFT director Akiyuki Shinbo’s influences, as Shinbo is known for having random, bizarre things going on in normal situations during his shows for no apparent reason.

Erwin Wurm says in his interview that he likes to see people at their least socially acceptable, and likes to see people looking at their place in the world, figuring out where their niche is. Both of these are not only things that Shinbo would likely incorporate, but are major themes in Maria Holic itself. Wurm also states that he doesn’t like to take things seriously and that he likes a bit of cynicism and comedy. Once again, the similarities are obvious.

This, I think, provides an interesting look into what Shinbo’s crazy ass might be thinking with this amazing masterpiece of an opening video.

7 thoughts on “Maria Holic Opening Possible Influences – Erwin Wurm and the Red Hot Chili Peppers

  1. I Youtubed the Maria Holic op to see the similarity with the RHCP PV (which I love BTW) and approximately 0.5 seconds in (no kidding) I thought “Holy crap! Akiyuki Shinbo!” The thing is, I read the synopsis of the show and dismissed it as yet another generic fanservice/high school comedy series and thought nothing of it after that, so didn’t know a damn thing about the staff involved. If Shinbo’s directing though maybe I should give it a chance after all…

    Funny how I can spot his directing style right off the bat – which is something I only experience with my all-time fave directors. Says a lot really.

  2. Not bad; the similarities are noticable indeed. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Shinbo was partially influenced by abstract sources like Wurm – stuff like this is too unique to be a complete coincidence.

  3. I haven’t seen that video in a while, but it still is fun to see.

    I think it’s because I’ve listened to too much music, but when I hear “Can’t Stop”, word association leads me to “Won’t Stop” as my first thought, with that being a justification at being unable to stop. I guess you could say that’s the case for Mariya. :P

    Either way, nice spotting of the parallels. :3

  4. Bleh I left a comment at my blog but realised that’s not a very polite thing to do -__-. So just copy-pasting my response:
    “That’s a very sharp observation, I wouldn’t have noticed since I don’t listen to their music. The reference was most likely deliberate as Shinbo is a very sophisticated man, very self-aware as one would notice from Zetsubou Sensei. I think he enjoys showing his obscure taste, such as Kubrick’s to Miike (Audition). I don’t like the music but the way they’re using such bright colours against white background certainly is very sensual.”

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