O Maidens in Your Savage Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 7 of
O Maidens in Your Savage Season ?
I know Niina needs to confront her abuser, but I was hoping it wouldn't be like this. Although it only takes up the last three-odd minutes of the episode, Niina's visit to her former director is the part of the show that makes the biggest impression this week. It's indicative of the inner turmoil she's suffering, which, like Kazusa's, comes in part from the confusion of romantic love and friend love. Niina values her relationship with Kazusa and Momo, but she's so hurt that Kazusa mostly sees her exterior appearance rather than Niina as a person that she's starting to wonder why she needs to be supportive of the other girl. Essentially she's thinking that maybe it's okay to be selfish and want Izumi for herself, but her motivation is equally made up of hurt as it is of actual affection/attraction for Kazusa's crush. In fact, it feels like perhaps it's more a reaction to Kazusa's perceived betrayal than anything else.
That's pretty normal, but her decision to ask the director to kiss her takes things into different territory. In all fairness, it's not that different from Hongo relentlessly pursuing Milo-sensei (who needs to set up a clear boundary now); she's trying to figure out her emotions pertaining to romance and sex, and frankly he's the guy who's come the closest to showing her either of those things, albeit in a creepy way. We haven't seen Niina have any sort of relationship with another adult where she can talk about her feelings, and she may not trust Momo at this point, since Momo's relationship with Kazusa would muddy the waters. But she's still returning to the man who preyed upon her and asking for more of the same before getting a predator's advice on love and romance. I can't help but think that's a Really Bad Idea.
Kazusa, meanwhile, may finally have gotten her feet under her. Having Niina as a rival has helped her to solidify her thoughts about Izumi, but she's also just had long enough to really think things over. As an overthinker myself, I can say that it sometimes does just take a stupidly long amount of time to work things through your brain, and that may be a part of what's finally happening for Kazusa here. She's not going to get less anxious any time soon, and if she and Izumi do end up getting together it won't eliminate her concerns, but she's definitely moving forward at her own pace, and that's good for everyone, Izumi included.
Sonezaki, on the other hand, seems to be having the opposite issue. She's thrilled that she's dating someone, but she can't seem to let herself move that out of the realm of her delicious secret, and it looks like that may be taking a toll on her relationship. Sonezaki enjoys having this hidden piece of herself, contrary to what others think of her, allowing her to maintain her image (which she appears to value) while still feeling secretly grown up. The scene where she thinks she's so much more adult than Momo only to be brought abruptly back to earth is so painfully true of adolescence that it really stands out – Sonezaki, for all of her airs, is still exactly like all of those girls she was so disgusted by in the past, whether she wants to acknowledge it or not.
Momo's story is headed in the opposite direction, with her beginning to realize that perhaps she's not exactly like her friends in terms of what she's interested in – her speech about how much more physically attractive girls are shows that part of her issue with the boy from cram school may simply be that she's not attracted males. (Also, he seems like a jackass.) I do think that it's important that O Maidens in Your Savage Season includes a narrative that can be read as queer, regardless of whether or not it turns out that way – while high school is vicious no matter who you are, the moment you realize that you're not like your friends in a very specific way is one of the hardest, and even if you knew before, having it driven home is difficult in a special way. Giving voice to that experience, even if it isn't as universal as some of the others, allows the story to reach a larger audience, regardless of if it's only larger by one or two people.
With the school festival rapidly approaching, Niina and Kazusa both resolved to do something, and Sonezaki's precious secret risking her relationship, things are coming to some sort of head. The girls may be about to learn that relationships are never just about one person, whether that's between friends or something else.
O Maidens in Your Savage Season is currently streaming on HIDIVE.
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