One of the main problems with no longer doing the APBs every season is that it is a bit easier for new shows to fall in between the cracks. Thankfully in this age of the Internet, there are also more than enough people going out of their way to tell you what you’re missing on to balance it all out. Last season the show I slept on was O Maidens in Your Savage Season.
I’m actually a little surprised we missed this one. It really seemed like something that would be a Reverse Thieves title. I wonder if it was a case where we saw the little blurb on the seasonal chart and wrote it off as nothing more than a basely pervy comedy. It used to be that the low down sex comedies would be a cast of all girls except one guy but now the pure all-girl formula is increasingly common. If that was the case I’m sorry I wrote this show off so quickly for while it definitely revels in sexual comedy it does so in a brilliantly clever and thoughtful manner. It is a proper dramatic comedy with sex and not just a dumb fan service romp.
Although it might also have just been that it was on HIDIVE and I just forget to look there at times.
Five girls have formed a Literature Club mostly as an excuse to read smutty books but high-class smutty books. This little band of misfits has hardly made themselves any friends within the faculty or the student body and seems to be a hair’s breadth from being shut down. While these girls have read quite a bit about love, lust, and everything in between they have no practical knowledge. Can the literature club learn how to stay open while also learning about their own sexuality?
This series of Mari Okada as FUCK. Mari Okada has developed a name that people (especially anitwitter) recognize. She has a very mixed bag reputation which matches her very hit or miss body of work. Most of that, in my humble opinion at least, comes from the fact that she is a very work for hire writer. She often seems to go wherever the work is. That means she works with a good deal of different animation teams and works on a very diverse number of titles. She tends to synergize very differently depending on who she is writing for currently. That said Mari Okada always leaves a bit of a thumbprint on anything she works on. Just how much of a fingerprint she leaves is dependant on the particular work. O Maidens in Your Savage Season is pure unfiltered Mari Okada.
She really seems to like complex romantic and sexual relationships usually with at least one character who is very much off the beaten path in that respect. Sometimes it is alternate sexuality, sometimes it is complex relationship structures, other times it is unusual preferences. It is different every time but you know that not every relationship is going to be the standard boy meets girl formula. Two of the girls have more of your standard romantic comedy relationships but the other three are very Mari Okada. It is hardly the full spectrum of the female journey through puberty but it feels fairly diverse.
As I was writing this I was trying to put my finger on what makes this show feel special. It is not the first anime series to take a look at the sexuality of young ladies. I can remember Please Tell Me! Galko-chan and Joshikousei: Girl’s High both come to mind as series that deal with the topic and were generally well-received. I’m sure there are other series several of which were just too mediocre or awful for me to remember. So it does not stick out because it is utterly new.
I going to give my standard disclaimer for my next claim. Take anything I say with a grain of salt. I’m a straight dude so I am hardly the expert of female sexuality. I’m hardly an expert on male sexuality. I have been wrong before and I will be wrong again but these are my thoughts for what little they are worth.
This show appropriately enough is much like female sexuality in the media. It is distinctly in a transitory period where it is far more visible than it used to be but also will be in a different place a decade from now. So there have been shows about young women talking about sex and sexuality in their high school years. There have also been sex comedies about the same thing. The thing is they are sort of the exception whereas male-focused sex comedies are the rule of the day. O Maidens in Your Savage Season fills a niche that only gets filled on rare occasions. But just because you fill an underserved niche does not make you good. It just means you stand out. Thankfully O Maidens in Your Savage Season is a delightful show.
O Maidens in Your Savage Season is a fairly balanced mix of comedy and drama. It is distinctly a show that starts off firmly in the realm of silliness and then it slowly ratchets up the drama. Thankfully the show makes sure to always recognize where it came from so the comedy never drops out altogether. As anyone who has gone through adolescence knows there is a goldmine of comedy and drama surrounding the discovery of young love and lust. All the girls are eager and curious to learn more but at the same time, they are filled with an equal mixture of healthy and unhealthily fear and trepidation.
Kazusa is probably the closest thing to the everygirl character. She has feelings for her next-door neighbor but he is just as bad at this as he is. She probably has the greatest highs and lows in being obsessed with sex one moment and utterly terrified by the prospect the next. She is the most relatable character and acts as a good baseline for the others.
Rika, on the other hand, goes out of her way to be prim and proper but it is very clear that she uses rationality and etiquette to quarantine her passions. Of course, since she is the one who spits on being in a base relationship she is the first to start dating. Hitoha seems like the most mature and level headed of the group and she even writes erotica but it turns out she is all book knowledge and had no real practical experience. Her story goes to some interesting places as she tries to find ways to improve her writing.
I don’t want to talk too much about Rika and Niina as their stories are best experienced without too much explanation. Rika seems to be the most boring of the group and basically just the really good friend of Kazusa who is along for the ride. As the show goes on you see her go on a little journey of discovery that adds a lot of depth to her character. All I will say about Niina is her story … goes places. If anyone is going to disturb you it will probably be her.
There is definitely something to be gained by using fiction to walk a mile in another persons’ shoes. I will never be a teenage girl so the idea of seeing what they go through with puberty is an interesting experience. Now to be fair this story is filled with Mari Okada styled melodrama so this is hardly a one hundred percent accurate portrayal of the topic but it is clearly drawing from lived lives. That alone is worth quite a bit.
I am curious if anyone who is reading this was/or is a teenage girl. How much did you feel the story resonated with your experiences or the experiences of people you knew? It is one thing for me to say this feels like it draws from real life but I’m curious what a woman thinks on the matter.