Monday, September 2, 2019

Missed It Monday - O Maidens in Your Savage Season Volume 3 (Manga Review)

Mari Okada and Nao Emoto
Missed It Monday is an ongoing series where I review manga and anime I missed when they first came out in search of great series to keep reading.

O Maidens in Your Savage Season Vol. 3 - 9/10

Volume 3 cemented it. O Maidens in Your Savage Season is simply amazing. It so perfectly captures the mix of pubescent sexuality, naivete, lust, fear, anxiety, confusion, and passion with a mix of realism, drama, and comedy. And the art continues to be extraordinary. Basically, I loved this volume and I love this series. I don't say that lightly, I'm pretty "meh" on most series, hate a bunch of others, and only seldom rave.

O Maidens follows the exploits of the literature club, five high-school girls who read well-regarded literature and dissect it with a heavy focus on analyzing the sex scenes. In volume 2, they escaped being shut down when the got a faculty adviser. In addition, each girl is beginning to explore her own sexuality as well as open up (at least to the reader) about their own pasts.

In volume 3, Kazusa continues to have conflicting experiences with Izumi (her crush). Sugawara helps Izumi understand Kazusa but causes some confusion of her own when Kazusa sees them together. We also get some insight into the traumatic experience Sugawara went through with an older man in her childhood. Sudo goes on a first date with a boy, only to come away feeling that boys are relatively stupid, strange, and not terribly interesting. Hongo continues her quest to improve her writing by trying to get experiences that will make it more authentic, predictably going about it all wrong and trying to implicate their adviser. Sonozaki, the president of the club, has demanded a 50 page essay from the boy who likes her explaining why he likes her. Despite her tearing it apart on literary grounds, she is ultimately moved by it.

None of this does justice to the way these stories unfold. Okada-sensei's writing, her exploration of the manic confusion in these girls minds is spot-on and both deeply emotional and lightly comedic. It is a great balance of being both sensitive, dramatic, but not overwhelmingly so. It might be a bit overwrought at times, but I think that serves to make the point clear that women and girls have complex inner lives that are not the idealized "pure" fantasy men have of them.

Emoto-sensei's art continues to be incredible. It is detailed, with varied line widths, great facial expressions, great tonal variation, and a clear sense of personal style. I love this art!

I know this is a short review, but the fact is, I'm just blown away so far by this series. It is a unique take on high-school girls and sexuality that feels much more authentic in some ways than the more traditional romance stories we see. It's not classical shoujo in any sense, and I believe it is actually a shounen series. But frankly, it is great if a male audience is getting to know that girls have complex and confusing thoughts about sexuality. It can only help humanize women and perhaps be a part of the solution to helping young men treat women with respect, dignity, and agency.

I highly recommend this whole series, as three volumes in, the quality is fantastic and consistent. O Maidens in Your Savage Season Volume 3 is a wonderful 9/10.


Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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