Saturday, October 19, 2019

Anime Recommendation: O Maidens in your Savage Season

Train! Train!

When O Maidens in Your Savage Season came out last Summer season, I was someone who believed that it could potentially be the Anime of the Year. The first few episodes were fantastic and I I had a feeling that I was in for something really special...but then it took a turn and I felt uncomfortable. Not only did I feel uncomfortable, but I was getting concerned that the message the series was trying to communicate might be problematic and disgusting. By the end of the series, I am glad that it didn't end with anything disturbing or gross, but was actually kind of heartwarming.

So while I'm not really sure if I'd call O Maidens in Your Savage Season the best anime of the year, it was definitely a highlight of the Summer. With that being said, let's get into what I initially liked about the series, what made me feel uncomfortable, and why I kept watching even after things started to get a little controversial.

O Maidens in Your Savage Season, or Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo, is about a group of girls in a high school literature club as they start to think more about sex and relationships. The main character is Kazusa Onodera, who has quietly been falling in love with her childhood friend and wonders if he's been thinking about sex and other "dirty" things. Along with Kazusa, there is Rika Sonezaki, who thinks all relationships are impure and gross; Hitoha Hongou, who wants to have sex in order to write a realistic erotic novel; Momoka Sudou, who wonders why she's never really liked boys; and Niina Sugawara, who comes off as mature and brings up the topic of sex to her friends. 

So with that premise and those characters, O Maidens explores romance, relationships, and sexuality through these young girls who practically have no knowledge on these topics. It's both sweet and funny to see these girls awkwardly struggle with these things. They often overthink things and get further away from the relationships that they want, or confuse one feeling for another. And I really liked that about O Maidens and I was looking forward to a very deep story with some laughs and tears along the way.

Then the really gross stuff came in and kinda spoiled the show a little. As the series progresses, it's revealed that Niina has feelings for her old acting teacher, who would fondle her when she was a little girl. Obviously, this guy was grooming Niina and whenever he's shown, he's framed as being shady and monstrous. But there were just a few moments where it seemed like maybe O Maidens was defending their relationship as something that's just different from the norm and I know that some people dropped the show when these kinda things were suggested. In the end, the show did not condone pedophilia and sexual predators. 

However, there was also another storyline going on that was not as dark, but still kinda off-putting, to say the least. So Hitoha is a high school girl who has been pressured by her editor to write erotic fiction but she's mocked because her writing comes off as childish, like she's never actually had sex, which she hasn't. Hitoha has been having sexual conversations with a stranger to improve her writing, but when she takes things a step further, Hitoha finds out that the stranger is actually her teacher. I won't go anymore into it to avoid spoilers, but it's kinda uncomfortable.

Honestly, these two storylines are good reasons to not get into this series and I probably would have dropped it if this was all O Maidens had to offer. Fortunately, there was another storyline that I really really loved. Rika is disgusted by her classmates who are involved in relationships and partake in lewd behavior, she prefers the romances and affairs she finds in literature. But when a boy confesses his love to her, Rika is flustered, her world becomes sunshine and flowers, and she doesn't know how to carry herself after looking at her love-stricken classmates with such disdain for so long. I found Rika's storyline to be really sweet and would have been perfectly okay if O Maidens was just about Rika falling in love. And her budding friendship with a gyaru at her school was also nice and I wish there was a little more of that in the anime.

Momoka's storyline was also great. It had some happy and funny moments, but also some sad and heartbreaking moments, but nothing that really put me off. While I can't really relate to her as a character, I was invested in seeing the journey of this young girl learning that she doesn't have to fall in love with boys, and that loving another girl is normal and wonderful. Momoka was just a great character and was another reason that kept me coming back every week.

So while O Maidens in Your Savage Season could be a bit problematic and definitely uncomfortable, I thought that it was still a really great series. It was dramatic but also funny. It could get dark and a little depressing, but it was also sweet and one of those shows that makes you smile. I think that because the characters were endearing, that it was easy to invest in them as they stumbled through this new chapter of their young lives. I wanted to applaud and cheer when they found happiness, and I shook my head in disappointment when they messed up and took a step in the wrong direction.

So if you're looking for an anime that's a roller coaster of emotions, I recommend checking out O Maidens in Your Savage Season. And if you did watch O Maidens in Your Savage Season, let me know what you thought of it. And if you know of similar anime that might better deal with some of the topics from this series, go ahead and recommend them to me.

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