Oh, Shinbo! You utter bastard! You’ve failed to fail me yet again! Yes, you could say that Maria Holic 3 completely and thoroughly won me over. There was not a disappointing minute the episode over (perhaps because of my lowered expectations?) the show went from ‘chopping block’ to ‘OMG win’ all at once. It was like a glorious eruption of pure win.
First off, the episode started off with 5 straight minutes of jokes that were all funny, didn’t get repetitive, and were delivered well, fast, and with the backdrop of Shinbo’s awesome style. For once we got away from the mere fact that Kanako is being bullied or that Maria is a trap, and onto the kind of things that are caused by all this. Had this been episode 2, I would never have had to bitch, but it’s here now and it’s glorious.
The whole fucking episode was great. Kanako’s emotional outburst was especially gripping, and the spurts of extra-nice animation were… well delightfully uncharacteristic of SHAFT’s budget! It was a blast, and I really felt like ‘this is a Shinbo show’ for once. He’s not cranking it up to 11 yet, but he’s still having a blast now, it seems, and bringing in some of his favorite old tricks as well. I think that, like me as a viewer, Shinbo was getting a feel for the material, and is now ready to charge into it full force. I couldn’t be more ready!
The absolute crowning moment of this episode was definitely when the glasses girl said ‘she is dating me!’ and OH MY GOD WAS THAT THE FINAL COUNTDOWN?!?! There were a couple noes difference, but I am fairly fucking certain that was a parody of The Final Countdown playing in the background. I went into uproarious ZOMG laughter at that moment, when a great episode became ‘perfect’. I could even rewatch this ep, it was that good.
I’m trying not to get TOO excited since this could be like the first season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei wherein some episodes were great and others were shitty, but I’m glad to see this show turning around and becoming awesome. Especially since I definitely did NOT want to drop another Shinbo show, especially not so soon after dropping a Matsuo Kou show.