[[quoteright:208:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/marimite.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:208:The original cast. Clockwise from top left: Shimako, Sei, Yoshino, Rei, Eriko, Yumi, Sachiko, and Youko.]]-]

->''"Gokigenyou, [[OneeSama Onee-sama]]!"''

'''''Maria-sama ga Miteru''''' ("''Maria Watches Over Us''" [i.e. the Virgin Mary] or "''[[PortmanteauSeriesNickname Marimite]]''") is set in a {{Catholic|SchoolGirlsRule}} [[OneGenderSchool all-girls']] High School. The school has a "''soeur'' system", in which an [[SempaiKohai older student adopts a younger student]] by giving the younger student her rosary, frequently having elements of a RomanticTwoGirlFriendship.

The student body is led by an [[AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil self-perpetuating oligarchy]] (it's supposedly democratic in theory, but due to 100% incumbency as shown by the failed Rosa Kanina candidacy...) called the ''Yamayurikai'' of three groups of ''soeurs''. The oldest students are three leaders elected in a rubber stamp election by the student body at large. Their ''petites soeurs'', in their second year are upgraded to ''Boutons'' (rosebuds), and so on. This leads to lots of GratuitousFrench such as "''Rosa Chinensis en Bouton Petite Soeur''".

Yumi Fukuzawa is a first-year student who idolizes [[OneeSama Sachiko Ogasawara]], the ''Rosa Chinensis en Bouton''. One autumn day, Sachiko stops Yumi as the two pray to the statue of the Virgin Mary, to correct Yumi for having an improperly tied scarf. Later that day, Sachiko abruptly asks Yumi to be her ''petite soeur'', despite having only just met her. The rest of the ''Yamayurikai'' objects... and Yumi, feeling unworthy, turns Sachiko down. Sachiko vows to [[LesYay win Yumi as her ''soeur'']] by hook or crook...

''Maria-sama Ga Miteru'' started out as a popular series of {{light novels}} by Oyuki Konno, illustrated by Reine Hibiki. It got adapted into a TwelveEpisodeAnime, with a second "Spring" season and third season released as an {{OVA}}. After a prolonged wait a fourth season aired in Japan. The show has been licensed in its entirety for North American distribution by Nozomi [=Entertainment/Right Stuf=]... with subs only. There is a dub version, [[NoExportForYou but it's only available on Animax Asia]].

Not to be confused with a food spread made from yeast extract that's known for its distinctive and controversial flavor.
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!!''Maria-sama Ga Miteru'' provides examples of:

* AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil: This trope is played even straighter than usual, with the Yamayurikai positions being virtually hereditary (i.e., passed down from "older sister" to "younger sister"). The possible power abuse is mitigated by the fact that the Yamayurikai seem to be both benign and possessed of an acute sense for exceptional candidates.
* AlphaBitch: Touko initially comes off as this, until she begins accumulating PetTheDog moments and [[spoiler:Yumi discovers things that made Touko build emotional walls around herself]]. Better examples would be [[spoiler:Kikuyo, Kieko, and Yukari, Sachiko's social-climbing distant cousins in episode 1 of the {{OVA}}s. They take an immediate dislike to Yumi -- as much out of jealousy for her closeness to Sachiko as [[HypocriticalHumor for her relative inferiority on the social ladder]] -- and spend most of episode 1 trying to humiliate her. Fortunately, Sachiko doesn't buy a word of it, and the end result is Yumi's modest "finest hour."]]
* AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents: Yumi and Shimako seem particularly to suffer from this during one of the school festivals)
* AmbiguouslyGay: Essentially all the girls.
* AnimatedActors: In the chibi "Maria-sama ni wa Naisho" omakes.
* ArrangedMarriage: [[spoiler:Sachiko and Suguru]]. Called off later in the novels. The engagement was purely based on [[spoiler:their parents' assumption that they really love each other, only to realize that as time passed Sachiko no longer loves Suguru, who never loved her in the first place]].
* ArtShift: From the third series onwards there has been a change in animation style, resulting in -- or possibly due to -- the characters' aging.
* BaitAndSwitchLesbians: Sachiko's overtly romantic courting of Yumi in the first few episodes transforms into mere [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship sisterly affection]] as [[RelationshipCeiling soon as both girls become soeurs]]. Many of the other relationships are subject to the same trope as well.
* BetaCouple: Two -- Rei and Yoshino, and Shimako and Noriko.
* BifauxnenAndLadette: Rei and Sei. Even their names fit the trope!
* BigFancyHouse: Sachiko
* BlandNameProduct: Tsutako's "Ganon" camera.
* BokeAndTsukkomiRoutine: In many of the {{Post Episode Trailer}}s, sometimes with Yumi using a KansaiRegionalAccent.
* CameraFiend: Takeshima Tsutako. She's not a member of the school newspaper's staff, but she frequently takes pictures for them and is rarely seen without her camera. Sei remarks her reputation for this is well known despite being a freshman.
* CanNotSpitItOut
* {{Catchphrase}}: "Gokigenyou!" also "Onee-sama!"
* CharacterDevelopment: One of the principal driving forces behind the series.
* CherryBlossom: Combined with MeetCute on two occasions. Must be a White Rose thing.
* CrashIntoHello: Yumi and Sachiko
* ComicBookTime: The plot in the [[LightNovels light novels]] has undergone an immense time dilation to postpone Sachiko's graduation.
* CoolOldLady: Several, all of them former students of Lillian:
** The principal -- [[spoiler:during the Forest of Thorns scandal, she supports Sei's innocence... because she knows she was part of the original story.]]
** Yumiko, Kei's landlady, [[spoiler:who is revealed to have been soeurs with Sachiko's grandmother, with whom she had a decades-long estrangement, only to resolve in in time before said grandmother passes away.]]
** [[spoiler: Yukari's great-grandmother, who is unmoved by her descendant's petty social maneuvering, but finds Yumi's simple heartfelt singing charming.]]
* DarkIsEvil: Invoked when Kanina Shizuka asks Yumi what she thinks a rosa canina flower (her nickname) looks like, and Yumi replies: "A black colored flower." Shizuka tells her she's right, but Yumi then looks it up and discovers it's actually pink. Kanina later laments: "It would have been cooler if it was black." Subverted in that Kanina's actual motivations [[DarkIsNotEvil aren't bad at all]].
* DatePeepers: A very jealous Yoshino on Rei. As well as the reporters trying to get good photographs for the newspaper.
* DiscretionShot: To avoid Sei and Shiori's kiss, and to avoid exposing [[spoiler:Yoshino]]'s chest when she shows off a scar left by her heart surgery.
* DoesNotLikeMen: Sachiko and Kanako especially. In Sachiko's case, so much so that she's ''utterly repulsed'' by the touch of a man, and [[spoiler:actually faints just by seeing an all-male student council]]. Surprisingly, Sachiko has no problem being with Yumi's younger brother Yuuki, possibly because he looks like her. Knowing this might lead people to [[CrackPairing ''certain ideas'']].
* DontYouDarePityMe
** In the fourth season, [[spoiler:Touko's reason for rejecting Yumi's rosary]].
** Yoshino also had this attitude toward Rei at some point, [[spoiler:which lead her to decide to have a heart operation so she's not so fragile anymore]].
* DramaticWind
* DrivesLikeCrazy: Sei could give [[Manga/AzumangaDaioh Yukari]] a run for her money. Suguru's driving is crazy some of the time, and otherwise perfectly normal.
* ElaborateUniversityHigh: Averted, which is interesting considering that just about every parody of the show portrays it as one. Lilian only has small facilities that you'd expect in any regular high school, it has no boarding division (everyone commutes) and most auxiliary buildings are made of wood. It does, however, border an actual university (which admittedly doesn't look like more than a community college, though).
* EnjoKosai: [[spoiler:One episode revolves around rumors that Eriko engages in this. It turns out that she was just being forced to go out with her brothers and father.]]
* EstrogenBrigadeBait: Subverted in that Yumi is extremely popular with all the girls at her school as well as the majority of the boys at the nearby all male school.
* EvenTheGirlsWantHer: Happens to all of the popular girls, which makes sense [[OneGenderSchool considering the setting]]. Especially Sachiko receives a lot of admiration, but after a while gets outshined by [[spoiler:Yumi]].
* FalseCameraEffects
* {{Fanservice}}: Generally averted. Amusingly enough, however, one early episode has Youko insisting on Sachiko wearing a low-cut dress as service to her fans ''in-universe''.
* FlowerMotifs: Lots of them.
* GivingSomeoneThePointerFinger: Yoshino is particularly fond of this.
* GivingUpTheGhost: This occurs in one of the [[{{Omake}} Niwanaishos]]. Yumi and Youko are trying to get a scene right that involves drinking a nauseous mix of strawberry juice and milk. They mess the scene up two times. During the last take Yumi passes out and gives up her ghost.
* TheGlomp: Sei → Yumi. Also [[spoiler:Youko → Yumi]] on one occasion, much to the latter's surprise.
* HetIsEw: While probably not intended, a mild case of this seems to be in effect throughout the series, as the majority of male characters are [[TheUnfairSex philandering assholes]] while the relationships between the girls are presented as pure and beautiful.
* HiddenDepths: All the girls, but the Foetida Roses especially.
* HiddenEyes
* HideYourLesbians: Despite a plethora of subtext, there is only one explicitly lesbian relationship in the whole series.
* HighSchoolRocks: Lillian is the platonic ideal of an all-girl high school, populated as it is by thoughtful, beautiful and fun-loving students.
* HilariousOuttakes
* HimeCut: Yoshino and Touko.
* {{Honorifics}}: Punched up a notch -- upperclassmen are "-''sama''", rather than "-''[[SempaiKohai sempai]]''". Underclassmen are usually "-''chan''".
* HotBlooded: [[spoiler:Yoshino]]
* IllGirl: [[spoiler:Yoshino suffers from a congenital disease, which is later removed through heart surgery. She has since been making up for it... [[GenkiGirl in spades]].]]
* ImportantHaircut: Sei, ''twice'', and Mifuyu.
* InstantFanClub
* InstrumentalThemeTune: The first and third seasons have Pastel Pure. The second season subverts this as it is a song set to Pastel Pure. Both the song and instrumental music also are cases of EarWorm.
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: While he might be a jerk [[spoiler:Suguru genuinely cares for Sachiko and her friends in his own way. He has behaved defensively on Yumi's and Touko's behalf, and has been supportive of Yumi and Sachiko's bond. In the fourth season he even warns Touko that she'll ultimately alienate even the few people who still care for her if she keeps up with her JerkassFacade.]]
* {{Joshikousei}}
* {{Keigo}}
* KissingCousins
** [[spoiler:Sachiko's arranged marriage with Suguru, which is ultimately called off after their parents (who misunderstood their situation) realized they never loved each other at all.]]
** Also, if one interprets their [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship relationship]] [[HideYourLesbians in that way]], Rei and Yoshino.
* LeftHanging: The series ends before Yumi's graduation, and many things are left unresolved, most notably how the relationship between Yumi and Sachiko will progress.
* LongRunningBookSeries
* {{Melodrama}}: Yoshino ''is'' melodrama personified, although Yumi and Sachiko sometimes get in on the action.
* OfficialCouple: Yumi & Sachiko. Also Noriko & Shimako, despite having a totally different dynamic.
* TheOjou: Sachiko. Most of the cast fits since they come from rich families. However, the ''Chinensis'' family seems to be a natural Ojou breeding ground. Sachiko and Youko have a regal air about them (with Youko as the undisputed "queen" of Lillian during her term as Rosa Chinensis and Sachiko as her princess). Even sweet, down-to-earth Yumi has a following among her schoolmates worthy of an Oujo; also, [[spoiler:her incoming ''petite soeur'']] Touko definitely counts as a haughtier variant.
* {{Omake}}: ''Maria-sama ni wa Naisho'' (''Keep it a Secret from Mary'')
* OneGenderSchool
* OneeSama
* OrdinaryHighSchoolStudent: Yumi starts off as one of these, until she receives the attention of a certain {{Ojou}}.
* ParentalAbandonment: They're there, but we almost never see them. [[spoiler:This also fuels Touko's JerkassFacade: with her parents killed in a car crash, the infant Touko -- the sole survivor -- was adopted by Sachiko's distant relative, who happened to be a classmate of Touko's mother in Lillian... only to grow to resent the fact that [[DontYouDarePityMe she mostly receives help out of pity for her situation]].]]
* PhenotypeStereotype: Most people the girls interact with during their {{class trip}} to Italy are blond and blue-eyed.
* PinkySwear
* RelationshipCeiling: The relationships between the girls never quite seem to make the [[RelationshipReveal jump from subtext to text]], no matter [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship how much they feel for each other]]--which is especially egregious in the case of Yumi and Sachiko.
* RomanticTwoGirlFriendship: Nearly everyone. Lilian seems to have nearly institutionalized these kinds of relationships.
* SchoolFestival: Two of them per year -- Lilian's and Hanadera's.
* SchoolNewspaperNewshound: Minako and her soeur Mami.
* SchoolgirlLesbians: Just one explicit case, even though [[MemeticMutation references to the show in other media]] ''always'' invoke this across the board. At the same time, it is noteworthy that few of the girls are ever shown to be interested in romance, ''period''. Romantic relationships would likely only distract from the premise of "maidens" with strong emotional bonds. [[WordOfGod Even the author admits]] that the series [[http://okazu.blogspot.com/2008/01/light-novel-maria-sama-ga-miterukira.html should best be seen as a fantasy story]]. None of the girls even use mobile phones, even though it's obviously set in the present.
* SempaiKohai
* ShaggyDogStory: Mifuyu's story in the "Valentine's Day Contest" arc.
* {{Shojo}}
* ShoutOut: During the Foetida Roses Feud/Crisis in the first season, at one point Youko and Sei are in a pose very similar to the [[ClaspYourHandsIfYouDeceive trademark pose]] by [[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion Commander Gendo and Vice-Commander Fuyutsuki]]
* ShrinesAndTemples: In the "Spring" season.
* SitchSexuality: The ''entire school'' turns out for a contest to win dates with some of the popular girls.
* SouvenirLand: The amusement park in the anime appears to be more or less like this. Not that Yumi or Sachiko mind.
* {{Spinoff}}: There's a series of light novels called ''Oshaka-sama mo Miteru'', or ''Buddha Watches Too'' in English, based around Yuki's brother and his schoolmates.
* {{Squee}}: Especially ''that'' scene between Sei and Yumi.
* StalkerWithACrush: Mifuyu and Kanako.
* StraightGay: Suguru.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: '''Sei''' (this is from when she was asking to borrow Yumi in order to have them get food for her while she read a novel) "It's not like I am going to strip her naked and play with her body."
* TeamMom: The Rosa Chinensis seat seems to be reserved for this role, though Youko and Yumi have generally comported themselves better in the role than Sachiko.
* ThemeNaming: Samurai and noble families, fitting with Lillian being an upper-class school.
* TitleDrop: The first episode, when Sachiko tells Yumi to pay closer attention to her appearance because "Maria-sama is watching." [[spoiler:Also after Shiori pushes Sei away in the church when Sei tries to embrace her.]]
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: {{Subverted}} by Rei and Yoshino. Rei, in spite of being tall and boyish-looking (and being [[KendoTeamCaptain captain of the school Kendo team]]) has rather girlish interests, while short, long-haired Yoshino loves thriller stories and watching sports.
* {{Transsexual}}: Arisugawa "Alice" Kintarou. She describes herself as having received "a male body by mistake," and that she really wanted to attend Lillian. When she's not wearing her school uniform, she dresses as a girl. Her friends in both schools usually address her as Alice and behave supportively.
* TrueCompanions: The Yamayurikai, which is also a periodically self-refreshing one.
* TwoTeacherSchool
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: Sei gets one in both the first and second seasons. [[spoiler:The first was about the backstory in the "Forest of Thorns" arc, and the second was about her meeting with Shimako.]]
* WillTheyOrWontThey
** Yumi and Sachiko often seem to come dangerously close to a {{relationship upgrade}}. [[spoiler:[[BaitAndSwitchLesbians It never happens, though]]]].
** And then of course there is the milder variety with all those girls chasing other girls to become their soeur.
* XanatosGambit: Sei's wager with Sachiko. If Sachiko wins, Sachiko gets a cute soeur and the Cinderella show will go on. If Sachiko loses, the Cinderella show will go as originally planned. Sachiko's "sore-loser" personality ensures that even if she doesn't make Yumi her soeur before the show, the two will grow very close and will eventually end up as soeurs anyway afterward. This is exactly what happens.
* YaoiGuys: Suguru is rather hot for [[spoiler:Yumi's younger brother Yuuki]].
* ZettaiRyouiki: Yumi's is very conspicuous in the 4th season of the anime.
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