O Maidens in Your Savage Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 9 of
O Maidens in Your Savage Season ?
I have to admit that it was almost a relief when I got to be mad at Niina and Milo-sensei again for their intensely stupid or annoying actions after the first half of this episode. Not that I approve of what either of them are doing, or particularly enjoy watching people actively be jackasses, but the walking-on-clouds first love aspect of Kazusa and Sonezaki was also incredibly irritating. In that case, however, it's not because the characters are being ninnies, but rather because it's all too familiar from my own high school days – the way a friend suddenly became some mushy pink lump the moment they began dating someone.
As I've said before, with O Maidens in Your Savage Season, part of the difficulty in reviewing is distancing myself (or perhaps yourself as a viewer and reader) from the parts of it that hit too close to home. At this moment, and possibly for the remainder of the series, Momoko is the most relatable character for me, because while she's dealing with one very important realization about Niina and her own feelings, right now she's much more invested in trying to preserve her friendship now that A Boy has gotten in the way. Momoko's afraid that Kazusa's and Niina's crushes on Izumi are going to destroy their friend group, something that Niina is all too willing to facilitate. She flat-out tells Momoko (or implies, at least) that she's going to choose her crush on Izumi over her friendship with Momoko and Kazusa, which is an awful (albeit fairly believable) thing to say. Momoko quickly goes into crisis mode, desperately trying to keep the trio together, but while she's doing that Niina is actively sabotaging her efforts, along with Izumi's relationship with Kazusa. Her parting line, that you don't have sex with your friends, sends Momoko reeling, but we can see her quickly shove that little moment back into its lockbox in her brain as something she's not ready to deal with yet. While that's a little too bad, it also makes sense, since two of her clubmates and friends are currently obsessing over romantic feelings for boys. This is not the moment she wants to pop up and say that she's different, especially since the Niina/Kazusa dynamic is so threatening to her peace of mind and ideas of the way things have always been in the first place.
It's worth wondering about Niina's motivations for what she's doing as well. There are definitely a few options here: she could be reeling from Izumi's rejection (when, after all, she's The Pretty One as far as the school is concerned, so how could he choose someone else), she could be suffering from her abuse at the hands of Saegusa, who continues to take advantage of her for his own entertainment, or she really could be exactly what everyone thinks she is – the kind of girl who steals someone else's boyfriend just because she can. Since reality is rarely so neatly divided, the truth is probably some combination of all three, and Niina's own internal wounds are almost certainly driving her actions.
The use of Antoine Saint-Exupery's novel The Little Prince is particularly interesting here. Saegusa tells Niina that she is the Fox in the novel, while Izumi is the Prince and Kazusa is the Rose. The Fox wishes desperately to be tamed by the Prince, to have her wildness removed and to belong to him, because it will make the Fox special and unique among foxes, just as the Prince's Rose is special and different from all other roses. But the Prince can only have his Rose, and at the end of the novel he sheds his corporeal body so that he can return to his planet to be with her again, his ephemeral something, ultimately leaving everyone else – Fox and Narrator, King and Lamplighter – behind. Even if Niina does succeed in briefly winning the Prince (in this case, sleeping with Izumi), this seems to imply, she is not his eternal, ephemeral Rose, and she never will be. Perhaps even more important is the fact that it is the Fox who tells the Prince that true things are seen with the heart rather than the mind, which is a lesson Niina herself could definitely stand to learn.
Regardless, what she's doing is awful. And Milo-sensei agreeing to sleep with Hongo? Also bad, although I'm definitely not sure he'll go through with it. Hongo probably should know better than to proposition him, but he's still the adult in this situation, and he really should have shut her down right away instead of letting this play out.
But maybe everyone in this story is just living out their time as the King in Saint-Exupery's book – trying to order the sun to rise and set when and how it suits them best.
O Maidens in Your Savage Season is currently streaming on HIDIVE.
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