Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Marimite 4th 09: Touko's Little Scheme

It's Election Day and the second years are running for Student Council. Hold on, what do you mean there's another candidate? Find out who!
EPISODE 09: The Masked Actress
More Screencaps from Maria-sama ga Miteru 4th 09

It's the opening ceremony and Yumi can't take her eyes off Touko. Later at the Rose Mansion, Noriko gives Yumi her sympathy. Yumi acts brave, not knowing that Sachiko is listening in on their conversation like a perverted stalker. Then much later, the Roses convene to talk about the order of the day: elections for the student council. Naturally, as per tradition, the second years, including Shimako, have to run. Sachiko says that even Noriko can run but of course that means she'll be up against her onee-sama, which Noriko is not willing to do. So with that decided, the second years make their way to the council room to file their applications.
While the second years wait for the clock to strike the hour of the deadline, Noriko happens upon Touko. Touko, however, is in a hurry so they both resolve to meet up later to talk about, err, stuff. Back in the council room, the deadline strikes but suddenly a commotion is heard from outside. Apparently, a late applicant is trying to get in. Yumi urges the organizers to let the girl in and to her shock, the girl is none other than Touko. In a meeting held much later, the Roses all express their surprise at Touko's running for student council. Noriko seems particularly bothered by it so Sachiko asks her if she happens to know the reason for Touko's action. Noriko tells them about the rumor that Touko wants to be a Rose. Yoshino immediately points out that Touko could achieve this simply by accepting Yumi's rosary. This leads Yumi to conclude that Touko must really hate her that much. Of course, Noriko denies this and says instead that running for the election is Touko's way of challenging the Roses.
But then the Roses have other problems because Touko's application means they have a real opponent to contend with. Yoshino does not want the three of them to be separated and urges Shimako to do her best. Shimako appears shocked by Yoshino's outburst at first but in the end is glad to see Yoshino express her true feelings. The next day, Noriko finally has her talk with Touko. She confronts the other girl about what happened during Christmas break but Touko acts like nothing happened, frustrating Noriko even more. In the end, Noriko declares that she likes Touko but that she is going to support Shimako at the elections.
Meanwhile, Yumi is in her classroom, being pep-talked by Takako. The camera girl has zoned in on Yumi's problem and assures her that of course she would not know what Touko is thinking because said girl is a good actress. Later that day, Yoshino drags Yumi to Touko's classroom where they pretend to be engaged in animated conversation while spying on the girl. Yoshino's point is that no one in Touko's class seems to be acting any differently despite the fact that Touko is running for the student council. Noriko later joins them and confirms that no one from their class is supporting Touko's bid for the election.
The two girls soon go away, leaving Yumi by herself. She spots a woman walking around class and decides to guide her through the halls. The woman reveals that her daughter left something so she is there to bring it to her. But because she does not cause any embarrassment, she just wants to leave the object at the administration's office. In the course of their talk, the woman reveals that her daughter is wholeheartedly supporting the election candidates, something that strikes Yumi right at the solar plexus. Of course, the daughter turns out to be Touko, who left her indoor shoes at home. As to why she had to bring home her indoor shoes, Noriko finds out from Touko that someone from their class put dirt on them. Yumi knows nothing about this, indeed not even that the woman she is helping is Touko's mom.
Finally, it's election day and Yumi and Shimako are at the Rose Mansion, presumably by themselves, when Stalker Pervert Sachiko (TM) shows her face. She tells Yumi to just show her true self to the students, an advice which she reiterates at the backstage before Yumi takes the podium. At the end of the day, the second years win the posts, leaving Touko as the big loser. But girl is awesome through it all and even manages a graceful smile in Yumi's direction. Noriko sees this and realizes that she has been wrong and that Touko did not run in order to challenge the Roses. Yumi makes the same realization and calls after a retreating Touko. Will she catch her in time? Up next: Stalker Pervert Sachiko and a whip ohmygod! Kidding ^.^

That was a pretty well-executed episode. No, I'm not talking about the art because, well let's be plain about it, SUCKAGE! I'm talking about the tight dialogue and all the unspoken implications in-between. Hardly any yuri here, unless you count that part where Yumi begs Sachiko to fondle embrace her. Rather, the episode is more about Yumi and Noriko reaching out to Touko and trying their damnest if not to help her then at least to understand her, despite the other girl's frustratingly lukewarm and ambiguous reception. It's something that happens in real life and I think it's wonderful how this is accurately portrayed in a semi-fantastical setting as Maria-sama ga Miteru. When I think about it, this is actually the series' real strength: it's portrayal of the understated drama of everyday conflicts and their resolutions.

Speaking of resolutions, uhm, next episode I hope?