As I was writing up my summer 2019 prediction post, I wrote a good 1500 – 2000 words and then cut a third of it because I was going on about shows I was uncertain about. However, there’s one summer anime I really have a weird relationship with…
…and that’s O Maidens in Your Savage Season (Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo). Explaining why is going to take a lot of words and is going to be awkward for me, so make sure to grab a beverage of choice or something first.
You settled down? Let’s begin.
Once upon a time, there was Boku no Hero Academia. In the same season it began, you may remember there was an anime called Kiznaiver, which Okada had her hand in. This was my first exposure to Okada in general, but…me being me, when I was talking about the two on Anime News Network, I thought, incorrectly, Okada was working on BnHA. Like any other person, humiliation made me associate negativity with Okada’s name.
After spring 2016 finished, Kiznaiver was fine but distinctly way too melodramatic in my head. I also jumped ship on Mayoiga soon after it began, only to watch its slow descent into “anime you’d like to hatewatch” territory.
Between spring 2016 and the end of 2018, Okada’s biography came out. Still vaguely annoyed by my past experiences, I checked out some of what she’d said, some of which was discussed on Anime News Network to entice future readers.
I didn’t get it…
End of 2018: I started Hanasaku Iroha, since it was going to vanish from Crunchyroll. Again, I found it far too melodramatic and dropped it after 2 episodes.
April 2019: I went to Japan for the first time. Spring anime had just begun, but of course ads for upcoming anime were around. I spotted a flag in a region near the Asakusa lanterns, but didn’t remember exactly what anime it was (or even if it was an anime ad at all) – I didn’t get to take any pictures of it (curse the fact it was a shopping trip), all I remember were that there was a lot of characters in the name and there may have been a girl on it (not to mention I was sleep-deprived from trying to watch anime the previous nights). Blurting something out, I identified the flag as possibly being O Maidens in Your Savage Season.
However, when I got back and checked the characters for the Japanese name of Maidens, I somehow knew I’d misidentified the flag.
24th June 2019: It was a few weeks out from the summer season. Prattle put out a post evaluating the pre-season scenario, mentioning how Okada is such an untrustworthy person when it comes to quality critical works. Having been burnt by her work before, I had to agree.
That’s the end of the story that has to do with Okada. There’s a final bit to the saga though…
13th August 2019: The anime club was watching the first episode of O Maidens in Your Savage Season. I didn’t deeply connect with any one character – there’s far too little focus on anyone but Kazusa and even she’s a bit flat in her characterisation at that stage – but I did resonate with the “What’s the big deal about sex if it’s just going to frustrate and annoy people well into adulthood?” vibe Kazusa (in particular, but the idea isn’t limited to her) was going for. I previously saw Bloom Into You through the anime club and I had the same kind of “I get it” feelings from Yu as I did Kazusa.
I’d been having a long hard think about my general ineptness when it came to sex stuff at that point – it always made me feel awkward whenever the topic came up and both characters were read by feminist critics to be asexual.
Basically, this was more of a “confirmation” for me, rather than an “awakening”.
Ever since the collab with Astral on Boueibu HK and our disagreement about Maasa over a year beforehand, I’d had a niggling suspicion I may not have been entirely allosexual and/or cisgender – it didn’t help that at some point in my life, I’d been told that before I was born, I was identified as a dude. Some searching using Tor and some gender quizzes pointed me in a few directions, but in the end I figured I was still cis, but possibly ace, less possibly aro.
I hesitate to use those labels on myself since it may just be my general ineptness with relationships speaking (plus I’d hate to imagine how my dad would react if I used them openly…!), but I guess in a sense I’m glad Mari Okada came into my life, even though she’s caused me much anguish in the past.
So what’s your relationship with Mari Okada?