A brief history lesson to clarify the life of witches during the middle ages in Junketsu no Maria.
I’m really captivated by the subject matter at hand in Junketsu no Maria. It was a time where Christians and other believers were convinced the devil could posses humans and use them as tools to harm others. In Europe, this resulted in a hunt for witches during the 1300s till the 1600s, where tens of thousands of people were executed, with most of them being women. The Salem Witch trials in Massachusetts in Colonial America in 1692 is the presumably the most famous one.
The belief in witches was reinforced in 1484 when Pope Innocent VIII confirmed the existence of witches and believing otherwise was considered heresy. Witches themselves underwent torture and other terrible inhumanities only to confess to their persecutors. The famous ‘Witches Weighhouse’ in the Netherlands depicts one of those methods, determining whether a person was a witch or not when one was lighter than the weights put on the scale.
This gives weight to the setting in Junketsu no Maria where people believed that witches would bring misfortune and worshipping them was a sin. Villages turning against those who were demon spawns or practitioners of the dark arts. And even those who meant the witches no harm, were considered as heretics. Peer pressure united villagers against heretics. An element which also flows through dialogue and events in Junketsu no Maria. Witches, with no evil intent, faced hatred. Only a few didn’t fear the witches and accepted their methods, as they didn’t impose harm.
The interaction between witches and people is greatly portrayed where Maria lives in the woods together with her familiars and only a select few dare to visit her. The church that tries to reinforce hatred against those who oppose Christianity and fuel society with angst. The church’s’ methods worked in their favor during the witch trials as they were able to hold power and control. Even divine interference from the heavens to halt Maria’s activities, takes stage in Junketsu no Maria.
I highly recommend watching Junketsu no Maria, considering the refreshing theme, crisp visuals and good main cast.