Maria the Virgin Witch: Exhibition
純潔のマリア exhibition (Junketsu no Maria exhibition)
Seinen – Fantasy, historical, comedy
1 Volume (complete)
Kodansha Comics USA
While the Hundred Years’ War rages on, Maria the witch and her familiars try to stop the fighting. But not all the people want her help, and Heaven does not approve of Maria’s meddling. Will Maria keep using her powers to prevent battles, or will she just give up and have a carefree romp in the hay?
Maria the Virgin Witch: Exhibition adds some nice character interaction missing from its predecessor, but it’s a bit on the short side and not essential.
This review is spoiler-light/spoiler-free for Maria the Virgin Witch.
Maria the Virgin Witch: Exhibition is basically the expansion pack to Maria the Virgin Witch. The fandisk. The side-stories. In many ways, Exhibition is what good side-stories should be: they add some information and expand upon some characters’ personalities and behaviors. While what is considered “filler” in a series varies from fan to fan, I have already stated in my review of Maria the Virgin Witch the series could have been a little longer, and Exhibition helps a bit.
Exhibition consists of three main stories: one about Viv the witch, one about Maria and Joseph’s first meeting, and an epilogue to the main story. There’s also a small chapter about Maria and the birds. The chapters show little fighting. Instead, the manga adds more information on the characters. The first two are arguably more important, as we get to see why a couple of characters gravitate toward Maria. Exhibition also answers a couple of other questions I had about the main series. One chapter, for instance, demonstrates that Maria’s bragging isn’t without merit; we get to really see she’s stronger than other witches. In another, we get a bit of a glimpse into Michael’s thoughts. There’s nothing groundbreaking in these stories, but it is nice to learn more about Maria’s world.
I will say that, from an aesthetic standpoint, Exhibition looks disappointing. While the main series had a rough, papery feel, Exhibition‘s cover is glossy. I liked the original series better as it looked and felt unique, especially since the series is a historical manga. Exhibition‘s one volume also clocks in at around 130 pages, below the standard for a manga release. It is especially noticeable when next to volume three of the original series. That book’s 215 pages completely dwarfs this release. Page-wise, the two balance each other out, but I wonder why Ishikawa didn’t include another 20-30 page story to help pad the release. I love the cast, so I would have love to have spent more time with them, even in 4-koma.
I’ve already discussed the characters previously, so I won’t be adding much here. Maria herself is only the star of two of the stories, and Priapus is absent in most of the chapters. I was a little disappointed by their reduced roles. But in exchange, I got a much better understanding of Viv. I really didn’t get why she was so fond of Maria in the main series, so I appreciated her backstory. Unfortunately, her enhanced backstory is not enough to make up for the lack of the titular character and her second familiar. Maria herself shows off more of her strong and naive self, but Joseph and Michael also show a little more of themselves outside of token love interest and antagonist respectively. Overall, you won’t feel much for them if you haven’t read Maria the Virgin Witch, but I don’t know why you’d want to read this manga before the main series.
The art continues right where Ishikawa left off in the main series. Maria and Joseph especially look better here than in the first volume of Maria the Virgin Witch, and Ishikawa even shows off more of Leviathan’s look. Since there are independent stories taking place at different times, the chapters’ endings are much more clearly-defined. Pacing is also improved, but this is partly due to the side-stories concentrating on on one storyline, not several at once. Inking and shading add almost a pencil-like feel to the drawings, a nice effect in a historical manga. Scenes featuring swarm of troops are still pretty impressive, looking like a real Whether you liked the art style or not, this volume is not likely to change your mind.
Same as Maria the Virgin Witch. ‘Nuff said.
The short page count is unfortunate, and the lack of Maria herself is a bit of a disappointment. However, one more volume is not likely to break your bank if you’ve already invested in the short series that is Maria the Virgin Witch.
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Nice write up. I need to watch the anime adaptation one of these days.
Haha, I need to, too. All I know is that it’s different from the manga.