[Review] O Maidens in Your Savage Season – Episode 1

By: Caitlin Moore July 7, 20190 Comments

What’s it about? Sex! For the girls of a certain high school’s literature club, it seems to be everywhere. The books they read have erotic scenes couched in poetic language. Everyone is having it or talking about it… except for them, it seems. Kazusa’s childhood best friend Izumi has matured into an attractive young man that all the other girls at school want to pursue, but she’s uncomfortable with the physical changes she’s noticed in him.

Hongo sees it as something to research for the novel she’s working on. Sonezaki is disgusted by it in every context outside of literary metaphor. The beautiful Sugawara wants to try it at least once in her brief human existence. Join these girls for their journey through the often-painful, often-hilarious experience of sexual awakening.

CONTENT WARNING for NSFW screenshots

Blessed are we to live in this time of stories starring gross, funny, weird girls. Sexual coming-of-age stories used to be reserved for boys and their boners, or, particularly in anime, married couples figuring out the ropes. But now, bawdy comedies are becoming the territory of teens on both ends of the gender spectrum. O Maidens in Your Savage Season joins recent anime like Please Tell Me! Galko-chan, Yamada’s First Time, and Asobi Asobase, as well as Western cinema such as The To-Do List and Booksmart, with smart, funny, and honest humor about the weirdness that is adolescence.

The manga O Maidens garnered attention for being penned by none other than Mari Okada, one of the big names in anime production these days. Truly, this is Okada at her best – drawing from her own experiences and hangups to create something that is bluntly authentic. Of all the sex comedies I’ve seen in my life, this one is closest to my own life and the lives of my high school friends.

It’s so easy for these kinds of stories to try to universalize one kind of experience – “Well, of course everyone is horny and wants to have sex in high school!” – or to lean into gender essentialism – “Boys want to have sex and girls don’t!” The truth is much more complicated than that: gender, sexuality, and desires are all on their own spectrums, and everyone comes into their own in different ways at different times.

O Maidens appreciates the breadth of experience even in one seemingly-small subset – socially awkward teenage girls who aren’t having sex. I’ve known, and even been like Sonezaki – afraid of and even disgusted by it, well after everyone else seemed to be obsessed with it. I knew girls like Hongo who, without experiencing the physical act, sought to experiment in the seemingly-safer (but not really) wilds of the internet.

And I’ve certainly been in situations similar to Kazusa, who hates the idea of her relationship with her close friend changing just because of puberty. But change is inevitable, both physical and emotional, as evidenced in the episode’s breathtakingly hilarious climax–pun intended.

Worth further note is that the sexual discussion of the episode centers mostly around cunnilingus, with references to “drinking her sweet liquid.”  It recognizes that sex extends beyond simple penetration, and can be about female pleasure. It’s a small thing, but it’s satisfying to see.

One thing that remains to be seen is whether or not it will account for the distinct experiences of queer, asexual, and trans teens. There’s nothing really to indicate that it will, but… there’s also plenty of room for it, too. A story like this, about young adults feeling out of place among their peers and in a weird place developmentally, would be remiss not to include them.

Although I predict Kazusa is going to explore her relationship with Izumi and Sonezaki seems to have a male classmate interested in her, we don’t know the gender of Hongo’s internet partner. Sugawara wants to have sex, but never specifies who she’s attracted to. Momo is still a complete mystery.

For years, stories about young women and their complex relationships with sex were few and far between. So few of us had an opportunity to see our lived experiences represented. Times are changing, and O Maidens in Your Savage Season is looking to be a welcome new addition to this growing subgenre.

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