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Maris the Chojo

Anyone whose spent some time exploring anime through the years will inevitably come across the works of Rumiko Takahashi. So many of her manga have been adapted with the likes of Maison Ikkoku, InuYasha, Ranma 1/2, and Urusei Yatsura among others. From there the challenge is picking a favorite because her works are consistently entertaining. Today, though, we’re here to look at one of her early works, Maris the Chojo, an OVA based on a short one shot manga that Takahashi released in 1980. She’s certainly released far better over the course of her career, but this is still an interesting look at what she was up to in her early days.

The show is about an alien girl named Maris who is working as an inter galactic police officer with her partner Murphy, who is a talking fox. The main gag that much of the show is built around is that Maris was born on the planet Thanatos where the inhabitants are six times stronger than other species of the galaxy. If left unchecked these beings can accidentally destroy just about anything with their strength, so they have to wear special restraints to prevent that form happening. However, for Maris, she often times finds herself without her restraints, and winds up destroying her police space vessels with all of the repair bills coming out of her pay. Making matters worse, he father also routinely forgets his restraints and destroys things leading Maris to have to pay for that as well. As a result of all this, Maris never has any money and it’s getting her down. When her boss tells her the son of a billionaire has been kidnapped, Maris sees this as her chance to turn things around. If she can rescue him, hopefully she can win his heart and marry him, solving all her money problems.

With so much of the show being about Maris breaking stuff and obsessing over money, acting as a running joke, it gets old fast. If anything, her money problems are downright off putting. Her constant complaining about the situation, especially towards the end of the show, make her come off as pitiful, especially in this day and age where plenty of people are grinding away just to stay above water. The joke just doesn’t work in the present time. The only elements of the story that even stood out as remotely enjoyable were a wrestling match and when Maris met her boss face-to-face.

Watching things unfold, the art style is exactly what one would expect from something made by Takahashi. Her unique touches are everywhere, especially with regards to character design. People and places have a cuteness to them that has been consistent throughout her works. Spaceships and buildings have a simplicity to them that differs quite a bit from other science fiction anime of the time where these things would be highly detailed. When the action picked up, the animation could be quite well done, especially with regard to the wrestling scene mentioned earlier. That was good fun to watch.

It’s also worth noting that there are a decent amount of musical numbers in Maris the Chojo where 80s Japanese pop starts playing for extended periods while things are happening. The music is quite catchy and fans of this sort of thing will likely quite enjoy these parts of the show. The tune playing while Maris is on the beach resort planet is particularly enjoyable.

Looking through who provided voice acting for the anime is pretty neat too. Maris was played by Mami Koyama who has also done roles such as Arale in Dr. Slump, Shaina in Saint Seya, Miki in City Hunter, and Balalaika in Black Lagoon. Murphy was played by Jouji Yanami who has also played Master Roushi in Dragonball, and Buaku in Dominion Tank Police. Koganemarue, the rich boy that Maris was trying to save, was played by Toshio Furukawa, the voice of Piccolo in Dragonball as well as Asuma in Patlabor. Meanwhile, Sue, Marin’s main rival, was voiced by Sumi Shimamoto, who has also voiced Kyoko in Maison Ikkoku, Ginrei in Giant Robo, and Shokupanman in Anpanman. For such a mediocre OVA, it has a lot of well-established actors involved with it. Then again, it was billed as an anime by the creator of Urusei Yatsura, so that would certainly be a draw.

Maris the Chojo is only really worth watching for super fans of Rumiko Takahashi’s work that need to consume everything she’s created. It’s not that good compared to her other creations, or compared to other anime in general. The jokes may have been funny when the show first came out (and even that is debatable), but they certainly aren’t funny now. Meanwhile, Maris’ constant money problems while intended to be funny just makes the viewer feel bad for her nowadays, making the show a bit of a downer. By no means should this show be considered a hidden gem. It’s a curiosity at best and still difficult to recommend.

- IroIro
October 11, 2019
Directed by: Kazuyoshi Katayama
Studio: Studio Pierrot
Released: 1986
Episodes: 1

Maris the Chojo Image 1
VHS Cover

Maris the Chojo Image 2
Maris destroying yet another ship

Maris the Chojo Image 3
Maris and Sue discovering who their enemy is

Maris the Chojo Image 4
Koganemaru, son of a billionaire