Blu-Ray Review: O Maidens in your Savage Season – The Complete Collection

A coming of age story with a difference, as today we take a look at what MVM Entertainment’s Blu-Ray release of O Maidens in your Savage Season – The Complete Collection has to offer.

Synopsis:

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!

Our View:

Adapted from the manga series of the same name by Mari Okada and Nao Emoto, O Maidens In Your Savage Season is the slice of life coming of age story that sees a group of friends overcome their disgust and embarrassment of relationships and sexual engagement to discover what it truly means to be in love.

Let’s be clear, O Maidens in your Savage Season is not a fan-service series, nor does it contain nudity outside of the regular bath scenes, it is simply a series that focuses on the journeys of discovery of sexual awakening (without actually engaging in sex) and romance for each of the characters involved. The BBFC’s 18 rating, with “child sex abuse” descriptor, doesn’t help convey this message either, even if it is partially accurate with how two adult characters act and are portrayed with the series… but we will highlight that later.

O Maidens in your Savage Season follows the activities of the Literature Club, which consist of Kazusa Onodera, Niina Sugawara, Momoko Sudo, Rika Sonezaki, and Hitoha Hongo, as they partake in reading books during club meets. Unfortunately the books chosen are sexual in nature that describe sexual activities in non-descriptive-but -unique-details.

Various ways of describing sex without actively saying the word (or the relevant parts involved) is portrayed, even more so when the club decide to find alternative ways of saying the word sex. This consistent obsession with sex soon leads each of the members to have their own form of sexual awakening, with some being more pro-active than others.

The awakening, so to speak, for the different members of the Literature Club is presented in varied and unique ways, with each tailored to the respective character. Kazusa Onodera, the seemingly main character in this story, for instance begins to notice her childhood friend Izumi Norimoto in an alternative light and this development of romance evolves through the course of the series. Niina Sugawara’s awakening on the other hand is a combination of her relationship with her former acting instructor as well as her own desires to be within Izumui Norimoto.

Hitoha Hongo’s awakening on the other hand is less subtle and direct than the others, as she is an aspiring author who finds herself writing erotic fiction with advice from an online persona. Through a rather questionable (and comical) set of circumstances this online advisor is actually the same person as a teacher at school, Tomoaki Yamagishi. Hongo’s determination to become a better writer, and her own developing emotions with Tomoaki, spirals into dangerous territories with her attempting to coerce him into all sorts of different activities in and out of school grounds. The awakening of Momoko Sudo and Rika Sonezaki meanwhile is less subtle with both finding companions, but while Rika embraces her new partner Momoko finds herself discouraged and unable to understand her own feelings which cause further confusion and disruption amongst the group.

Pushing the questionable relationships aside, especially Nina’s relationship with Hisashi Saegusa and Hongo’s relationship with Tomoaki, the overall pacing is one of self-discovery and of understanding ones emotions of what it means to be loved. As mentioned there is no sexual activity within the series, but there are suggestions, hints and carefully placed references at each turn – some more tactfully placed than others.

The characters, their individual stories, the animation and the musical set pieces also combine together to present a story filled with emotion and realism like any other and as the series goes on these individual stories become stronger and more entwined with one another with friendships becoming strained as a result. Fear not as the ending is a satisfactory and happy one, but the journey to it is filled with confusion and heartache for those involved, with some suffering more than others.

Put simply O Maidens in Your Savage Season is a compelling story from start to finish and unlike romantic comedies or tsundere styled stories the focus is on the emotions of five different female characters rather than just one, with each having their own story and experience to share. This type of presentation of the girls attempting to understand their own emotions, without sharing it amongst the group, creates further tension and realism that other shows fail to offer.

Extras:

Although O Maidens in your Savage Season provides a captivating story the bonus features on this Blu-Ray release are less so, as you will only find clean ending animations for the shows various ending sequences. I find this a little disappointing as not only is the opening song great, which changes slightly per episode with characters sharing their thoughts on their feelings, but it’s not included as an extra. The ending animations meanwhile have differences by showcasing the key character of that particular episode.

In addition to the lacklustre inclusion of bonus features we do find trailers for other ‘Sentai Filmwork’ produced releases, as once again MVM Entertainment are using disc assets mastered by the North American anime distributor, with titles including Revue Starlight, After the Rain and The Demon Girl Next Door. Surprisingly most of the trailers are also being released by MVM Entertainment, so you’ll get a nice little preview of some other anime actually available in the UK.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50, BD 25
Region: B
Running Time: 3:47:48 (Disc 1), 1:15:27 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD 2.0 (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

O Maidens in your Savage Season is a series I started with the expectation of disliking it, but within a few short minutes of starting the first episode I was instantly hooked. The combination of unique characters, each with likable personalities, and the difficulties they must overcome within themselves to understand something that is, at the best of times, confusing is entertaining to watch unfold.

This combined with regular activities, both in and out of school, make it a realistic series with little time for non-essential themes. The story within O Maidens in your Savage Season may set Kazusa and Izumi as the lead characters, as they have the most screen time because their developing relationship is more complicated, but in actuality the entire Literature Club cast receives a fair amount of screen time with each character having something to offer as well as being given time to flourish and develop.

The story, as a whole, is one of development and understanding something that has yet to be experienced. Whether it is the prospect of sex, discovering long-term friendship or simply understanding thyself, this series has it all and over the course of the short series the feelings of each character are explored and nurtured in a way that feels authentic and true to life. Of course some scenarios may seem outlandish, such as the high school student drafting up erotic novels for a publisher, but the overall feelings that are being conveyed between characters on screen feels authentic.

Compared to recent shows O Maidens in your Savage Season is a breath of a fresh air to a medium that is easily over-populated with fan-service, harems and tunderes. It also seems MVM Entertainment’s recent string of UK releases follow this trend of real-life-styled slice of life coming of age stories, with Bloom into You and Scum’s Wish being some interesting alternatives.

Each of these are different and add something new to the genre, and the same goes with this series. Unfortunately while the events of the series, and its presentation, remain consistent the lacklustre selection of bonus features and the ‘acceptable’ English Dub rather hamper the overall satisfaction received. The English Dub is ‘ok’ at the best of times, but watching in Japanese  (with English subtitles) delivers a more fulfilling experience that the English dub doesn’t even come close to.

Despite its 18-rating, which was most likely received due to the BBFC’s perception of Hisashi Saegusa obsession with “girlish features” and the potential of sexual contact from both him and Tomoaki’s relationship with Hongo, O Maidens in your Savage Season is a relatively tame show that talks about sexual attraction and the prospect of sexual relationships rather than depicting it.

Whether it is the artistic visual presentation of the series, the story of each characters understanding of what it means to be loved or their perceptions of sex, O Maidens in your Savage Season is an absolute delight from start to finish and despite a lack of compelling bonus features this Blu-Ray release delivers to the best of its ability.

Score: review-stars-4

O Maidens in your Savage Season – The Complete Collection is now available on Blu-Ray in the UK via MVM Entertainment.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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