With only a few weeks until the start of the O Maidens in your Savage Season’s anime adaption, what better time to check in with the manga! Join us as we take a look at what happens in the second volume of Mari Okada’s insightful coming-of-age story.
In this volume of O Maidens, the Literary Club is facing a problem like never before! The school’s teachers have gotten wind that the girls spend so much time talking about sex and have decided to shut down the club. The only hope for the members is to find themselves a new club advisor (their previous one retired and was never replaced) but no one wants to take on the troublesome group. Club president Sonezaki decides to form a petition for students to sign, in the hopes of overturning the teacher’s decision – but will they be able to?
On top of dealing with the threat of the club being disbanded, the girls are all grappling with various problems of their own. Protagonist Kazusa has finally admitted to herself that she does love childhood friend Izumi, but she also doesn’t want their relationship to be tainted and changed by these feelings. Struggling to decide if she should confess or not and wondering what happens if Izumi rejects her, Kazusa suffers in silence with no one to turn to for advice.
Meanwhile, the budding author Hongo is struggling with her writing, having been criticised by her editor for not having realistic sex scenes in her work. To improve her writing, Hongo has been engaging in sexual roleplay online with someone under the username ‘Hitoto’ but after these latest comments from her editor, Hongo asks if she can meet up with her online ‘friend’ to have a real experience. This leads to a shocking reveal that teaches Hongo that not everyone is whom you expect them to be and thankfully doesn’t lead to her having sex with someone she met online (or at all).
While this volume still focuses a lot on Kazusa and Izumi, I like that it changes gears to spend more time with Hongo and Sonezaki. While Hongo’s story speaks to how willing young adults are to do anything to gain the experiences they feel they need, Sonezaki’s plot approaches how easily influenced we are at such an important point of our lives. In Volume 1 of O Maidens, one of Sonezaki’s classmates, Amagi, told her she was cute and similar looking to well-known model Erika. This comment has been playing on her mind ever since and after seeing Erika in a magazine, Sonezaki starts to wear makeup and changes her hairstyle to match. It’s clear there is a budding romance blooming between her and Amagi, but Sonezaki has low self-esteem and doesn’t understand why anyone would like her. Amagi certainly has his work cut out for him! I’m hoping that as Sonezaki’s plot develops she’ll understand that she’s cute as she is and doesn’t need to make herself pretty for anyone.
Being familiar with many of Okada’s works, I’m sure that whatever happens, I’ll be satisfied with what O Maidens has in mind for its cast. This volume is delightfully written – full of entertaining dialogue but also insightful, meaningful conversations about relationships and growing up. All of the Literary Club members are coming from different places with different problems to deal with, which offers a wide range of emotions and stories to follow. There is something for everyone to relate to. I also like that we had the suspense of the club’s fate hanging over us throughout this volume because it offered a different kind of drama to all the romance in the series.
The artwork for this series (handled by Nao Emoto) also continues to delight this time around. Emoto gives the characters a wide range of expressions (essential for a series like this) and the panels flow really well. While flipping through this volume, I started thinking about the upcoming anime adaption and the more I read, the more excited I grew for the anime. The way the sequences of each panel come together already feels like it’s framed and directed perfectly to transition into animation. I’m very excited to see how it will all come together!
This volume of O Maidens once more comes to the West thanks to Kodansha Comics and continues to be translated by Sawa Matueda Savage. The translation reads well and is problem-free. There are also a number of translation notes at the back of the book, which are very insightful for some of the books the characters reference!
Overall O Maidens in your Savage Season Volume 2 continues to offer a Mari Okada story not to be missed. As more of the cast get their chance in the spotlight, my feelings for the series only grow stronger. Emotional, dramatic and entertaining – this is a manga that belongs in your collection.