Note: Review copy supplied by MVM Entertainment
Title: O Maidens In Your Savage Season
Anime Studio: Lay-duce
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Genre: Coming Of Age
Released: September 28th 2020
Language: English / Japanese
Length: 300 Minutes
It started when the Literature Club’s president, Rika, began reading some especially lurid prose out loud to the other girls, but the major turning point was when the term “bucket list” was discussed and Niina stated that having sex was at the top of hers. From there… well, they were a group of young women swimming in the sea of hormones of a modern high school. How could they NOT find their brains preoccupied with sex? Especially with Kazusa dealing with her feelings for a childhood friend, Hitoha secretly writing adult novels without any experience, and Momoko experiencing revelations about her own orientation. A whole new chapter is about to begin in the lives of five young women as they venture past the printed page and into the real world.
I’m going to be completely honest here. When I read what this series was about, I was uncertain how much I’d enjoy it. This has nothing to do with female sexuality, but rather how this is often presented in anime. Generally speaking, my experience with female characters that are interested in sex appearing in anime mostly fall into a couple of clear categories. There’s the woman who uses sex as a weapon in a very negative way, such as in Dai Shogun: Great Revolution. Then there’s the aggressive lesbian character that can’t help but grope fellow cast members without consent like we see in far too many shows. There are exceptions, of course. Sometimes, the whole thing is played for laughs.
The thing that I really hate with all of that, is that it shouldn’t be in any way a shock that women think about sex. Women can be sex-positive and shouldn’t get hassle for that. Yet, when we see this portrayed in fiction, I’ve not come across too many series when it’s done in a positive way. In that regard, O Maidens In Your Savage Season surprised me. This is a coming of age story where we follow a group of girls as they become more aware of their feelings towards other people. These are characters that are working their way through the confusion of puberty in a realistic, non-degrading way. It really does deserve praise for that.
To that end, each of the key characters has their own arc. The stories intertwine a few times, but their own goals are different. Sometimes, these lead us into some uncomfortable themes. Hitoha’s advances towards her teacher and Niina’s prior experiences with an acting coach certainly fit this. These topics are treated the way they should be though. Niina’s past (and the way it affects her present) is presented as a very negative experience. Meanwhile, Tomoaki repeatedly tries to find a way to make it clear to Hitoha that nothing is going to happen. We also get to see the characters face up to things like unwanted attention, which is a sadly common thing in the real world.
When the characters aren’t dealing with clearly negative situations, there’s a good amount of humour to the proceedings. The natural awkwardness of it all is well done, and at times, it makes the characters more endearing. On top of that, while the ending perhaps played out a little quicker than you might expect, it does all feel satisfying when we reach the final scene.
In terms of aesthetics, the series is fine. Both voice casts do a decent job with the script, the soundtrack is unobtrusive, and the art is decent enough. If anything, I’d describe it as being entirely understated. I’m torn on how to take that because it’s not a story that needs a lot of flash, but at the same time, when you look at releases like 5 Centimetres Per Second, it is possible to look phenomenal in a contemporary setting. This isn’t quite lacklustre, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be anything more than fine.
Using a likeable cast of characters and some excellent writing, O Maidens In Your Savage Season tackles an often misrepresented topic without fear. For the story alone, this is an easy recommend, and it scores a strong 4 out of 5 from me.