When they were little kids laughing and playing together, Izumi Norimoto and Kazusa Onodera were like siblings. But as their bodies matured into middle school, Kazusa began seeing him as something different; unfortunately for her, so did the other girls. Ostracized, Kazusa had no choice but to distance herself from him going into high school. After joining the literature club, however, she finds friends that keep her mind occupied. Known throughout the school for reading aloud sex scenes in literature novels, the club's reputation has kept all teachers from accepting the task of being their adviser. During a discussion about what they would put on their bucket list, one of the girls says one thing: sex. This single word sends ripples throughout the five girls, as the thought of sex begins taking over their daily lives. And, after walking in on Izumi during a very private moment, Kazusa is sent into a spiral of emotion that forces her to face her true feelings for him. Now, with their hearts racing and the literature club facing immediate disbandment, the five girls must work hard to keep both their sanities and their club alive. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
I’d been looking forward to this adaptation of Mari Okada’s coming-age-dramedy ever since I read the manga for the first time awhile back, and Studio Lay-duce has not disappointed in how they’ve translated this funny, biting, and delightfully honest story to the screen. We’ve seen more and more anime recently that have attempted to explore female adolescence through a lens of honesty and empathy that doesn’t skirt past the awkward and uncomfortable phases of youth that other shows choose to tip-toe around, or simply play for raunchy laughs. What makes O Maidens such a great story is that it acknowledges the horrible paradox of puberty, where sex is both terrifying and humiliating, yet often inescapable and infuriatingly alluring.
You need look no further than the title, which cribs one of the episode’s central jokes that I can’t help but find supremely hilarious (and absolutely on point). The girls in the Literature Club have been doing what so many young nerds do at their age: They’ve discovered that the high-minded literature that is coveted by adult society is horny as all get out, and they’re using the graphic depictions of lust and love in the books they read as tools for their informal, communal sexual education. I have obviously never been a teenage girl growing up in Japanese society, where young women’s sexual expression can be even more difficult to explore and learn about in a healthy way, but I can totally remember when I was a kid getting both freaked out and inspired by all of the dirty stuff hiding between the covers of the grown-up books. When Kazusa, Niina, and the other girls are confounded by a book’s culinary euphemisms for a woman’s bodily fluids, they get trapped in a feedback loop of making involuntary dirty jokes (as most kids do). When a flustered Rika proclaims that promiscuous girls must taste like miso soup “down there”, there’s no coming back from it. Poor Kazusa can’t even watch her mom make a homemade meal without her mind turning to the gutter.
It’s a difficult time that can be hilarious to look back on as an adult, even when one is also remembering how hard it could be to handle all of those feelings to begin with. O Maidens uses this understanding of melancholy nostalgia with surgical precision, engineering what may be the most awkward visit to a childhood friends’ home in the history of anime. It begins when Kazusa catches her crush Izumi right in the middle of what looks to be a very rigorous session of self-pleasure – the kid is whacking away with the door unlocked and the volume up loud, with his feet double-docked on top of his desk like a professional pole polisher, which means he’s either incredibly stupid or just banking on the thrill of getting caught. Either way, Kazusa hits sex overload at this point, and what follows is a montage of ridiculously euphemistic store names and trains careening into tunnels that manages to be gut-bustlingly funny and painfully relatable all at once.
O Maidens in Your Savage Season’s premiere is a home run for anyone looking for an anime that isn’t afraid to cringe along with its cast as they figure out exactly where they stand on the topic of sex and growing up. It won’t be for everybody, but it’s easily earned a top spot on my watch list for the summer. You can also free Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo anime watch online and free download.