Maria-sama ga Miteru is the first novel in the series. Originally a short story in the shojo magazine Cobalt, its success inspired author Oyuki Konno to turn it into a series of novels.
This book covers episodes 1-3 of Season 1.
- Note: If you are unfamiliar with Maria-Sama Ga Miteru, then I would suggest reading an explanation of the way the Yamayuri Council and the Soeur system work. These can be found below in the "Premise" section as well as other places on this site.*
Our story begins at the elite catholic school, Lilian Girls Academy. One Monday morning our protagonist, Fukuzawa Yumi, is walking to school with a crooked tie when she is stopped and corrected by Yamayurikai member and major school idol, Ogasawara Sachiko. Later that day, Yumi is approached by the photography club's ace, Takeshima Tsutako, who offers Yumi a picture of her morning encounter with Sachiko, in exchange for Sachiko's permission to put up the said picture on the photography club's display board. As Yumi is a huge fan of Sachiko, she reluctantly agrees and goes to the Rose Mansion (Yamayuri headquarters) in search of Sachiko.
At the Rose Mansion, Yumi encounters an angry Sachiko who, upon seeing Yumi, quite unexpectedly attempts to make Yumi her soeur. We learn that the Yamayuri council is putting on the play Cinderella in which Sachiko, who hates men, will be forced to play Cinderella opposite a boy from Lilian's neighbouring school, Hanadera. Sachiko's onee-sama, Rosa Chinesis (or Mizuno Youko), told her that since she didn't even have a petite Soeur yet, Sachiko had no right to dispute this, hence Sachiko's sudden interest in Yumi. Sachiko attempts to give Yumi her rosary, but at the last second Yumi refuses for reasons of her own. Then, Rosa Gigantia proposes a deal. If Sachiko can succeed in making Yumi her soeur by the date of the performance, then Yumi will have to take on the role of Cinderella thus allowing Sachiko to step down. If not, things remain as they are. Sachiko sets to work on winning Yumi over by offering to answer an interview for her and playing a piano duet with her. By the next afternoon, Sachiko has convinced Yumi to attend Cinderella rehearsals even though Yumi is certain that she will not become Sachiko's soeur.
Because Yumi is attending rehearsals, she ends up spending a lot of time with not only Sachiko, but the rest of the Yamayurikai as well. She starts to make friends within this group of people most notably with Rosa Gigantia (Satou Sei) and Rosa Gigantia en bouton (Toudou Shimako). Soon enough rehearsals with Kashiwagi Suguru (the boy playing the prince) start and things are pretty tense as it is obvious that Sachiko is not enjoying herself. Around this time Rosa Gigantia reveals to Yumi that an ulterior motive for the play is to help Sachiko get over her fear of men. Rosa Gigantia perceives Suguru as "safe" for reasons that have yet to be revealed. Yumi stays by Sachiko's side throughout it all and supports her.
The next week, during the dress rehearsal, Sachiko and Suguru both go missing inciting much worry among the Yamayurikai members who promptly form search parties and scan the campus. When Sachiko and Suguru are found, Suguru appears to be holding onto the wrist of a resisting Sachiko. The council wishes to get the police involved but Sachiko explains that she and Suguru are in fact cousins. She goes on to explain, to everyone's surprise, that she has been betrothed to Suguru since childhood so he is technically her fiancée. Suguru asserts this by attempting to kiss Sachiko, however Sachiko slaps him before he can and runs away to an old greenhouse followed by Yumi.
In the greenhouse, Sachiko cries on Yumi's shoulder after which Yumi asks to become Sachiko's Petite Soeur. Sachiko however, refuses this time stating that she can't run away. She explains that she was love with Suguru when, the previous year, he told her that he was in fact gay and could only love men. This broke Sachiko's heart causing her to hate men even more than she already did. The reason they had argued just now had been because Sachiko wanted to break off the engagement but Suguru had gotten angry and refused. Sachiko then remarks that most of the flowers in the greenhouse are roses and points out the Rosa Chinesis to Yumi.
The day of the play arrives and Sachiko is playing Cinderella. The play runs smoothly enough and after it finishes, Sachiko invites Yumi out in front of the big statue of the Virgin Mary and, one last time, asks Yumi to become her Petite Soeur. Yumi of course accepts the rosary and is officially accepted into the Yamayurikai.
Soeur System: At Lilian high school, the teachers and officials do not instate very much discipline. All in all, starting high school, the students have way more freedom than they are used to. Because of this, Lilian started a system where the older students guide the younger students called the soeur system. Basically, an upperclassman could ask an underclassman they are close to, to be their Petite Soeur. They do this by offering them a rosary. If the underclassmen accepts, then they are now soeurs. Meaning that if either one of them do something wrong or leave something unfinished, the blame lies on both of them. The Petite Soeur addresses the Grande Soeur as onee-sama (older sister). And the Petite Soeur is often referred to as an imouto (younger sister). It is the job of the onee-sama to guide her imouto through high school. It is the job of the imouto to support the onee-sama if she needs it.
Yamayuri Council: Basically student council. It is headed by three officers or, "Roses" (co-presidents). Their titles are Rosa Chinesis, Rosa Gigantia, and Rosa Foetida. The Petite Soeurs of the Roses take on the title of "Bouton" (Rose Bud) added to the title of their Onee-Sama. For example Rosa Foetida's Petite Soeur is Rosa Foetida en Bouton. Sachiko is Rosa Chinesis en Bouton. The Yamayuri Council is made up of: the Roses, the Boutons, and the Boutons' imoutos. At this point in the story, the Yamayurikai is made up of seven people. The three Roses of course, Rosa Foetida en Bouton (Hasekura Rei) and her imouto (Shimazu Yoshino), Rosa Gigantia en Bouton (Shimako), and Rosa Chinesis en Bouton (Sachiko). For the most part, the Yamayurikai is idealized by the student body and all it's members are extremely popular.
Anime vs BookEdit
The anime does a pretty good job of getting the story across and hitting all the major plot points. Although a lot was cut out of the anime, nothing really big was cut. The third episode of the anime covers well over half of this book while the first two episodes cover about a section each. Because of this, I personally always found the third episode rushed. One of the bigger things that the anime cuts out is Suguru's homosexuality. In the book this is important because it explains why he can't ever love Sachiko back. In the anime they gloss over this fact. Another small difference is that, to save on time, in the anime they make the introduction of Suguru and the revelation of his engagement to Sachiko happen at the same rehearsal. The anime also skips the actual performance of Cinderella as well as Yumi's major trauma of having to wear Sachiko's bra during rehearsals (so that the Cinderella dress wont be to loose around the chest). The anime didn't really add anything. All in all, I would say these episodes were quite faithful to the book.
The following illustrations appear in Maria Sama Ga Miteru Book 1.