OP Sequence

OP: 「乙女どもよ」 (Otome-domo yo. ) by Chico

「豚汁の味」 (Tonjiru no Aji)
“The Taste of Her Pork Miso Soup”

The first episode of Araburu captures the intrigue and embarrassment that comes from learning about the birds and the bees during puberty to its fullest. Through its expressive art style and creative take on encountering the topic of sex after years of being kept in the dark or blissfully ignorant of the subject, it makes Araburu‘s debut an unforgettable trip.

Niina (Anzai Chika) incorporating sexually-charged literature into the Literature Club’s reading list acts as the powder keg that forces the girls to think about what love means to them and whether they would really want or care to make that next step towards inching closer towards sex. The fascination that we have with sex when we’re younger ends up creating the image of intercourse as a forbidden fruit or an impurity that cannot be indulged in until marriage or else you will have more consequences than just shame waiting for you. This fascination is amped up to eleven in the world painted by Araburu with the girls having only just been introduced with the idea of whether to pursue sex or not in a school where a huge chunk of the student body is sexually active.

As a result, there are many adverse reactions to Niina having intercourse on her bucket list. The harshest reaction came from Rika (Uesaka Sumire), the prudish president of the club who is outright repulsed by the concept of sex and the fact that those around her are having sex. What you’ll definitely notice is that Rika tends to attract the negativity in her life through her standoffish demeanor. Such is the case when she gets the entire class to make fun of how she looks after she slut-shames a group of girls who brag about their weekend escapades. Hitoha’s (Kurosawa Tomoyo) reaction is far less negative if only because she’s been curious about sex farther back than the rest of the girls and actively goes on chat sites to get research on what exactly sexual contact is like. Momoko (Asakura Momo) is still trying to gauge whether the topic got to her, but for the most part, her main role is offering Kazusa (Kono Hiyori) support.

Speaking of Kazusa, the episode’s most prominent moments are focused on how she’s dealing with the Literature Club’s shift in focus towards sexuality. More particularly, it shows Kazusa mulling over what it means for her budding crush on her childhood friend Izumi if sex is something that comes into the picture at some point. She knows her love comes from a deeper place where she is slowly falling for Izumi because of how he’s always been there for her, but with sex being so prominent as a teenager, she is unable to see Izumi as a boy with urges. She would always grab her mother’s home cooking for him and watch him enjoy it, but with so many teens, including the girls who scorn and bully her, letting their sexual desires for Izumi be known, Kazusa can’t shake a feeling of uneasiness from her lack of security over her object of affection.

This is where we hit the most memorable scene of the episode where Kazusa’s impulse to deliver him food on one lonely night ends with her seeing Izumi hovering over his computer as he is caught masturbating spread-eagle to train molester pornography. The situation is all the more awkward when Izumi tries to act as if everything’s fine while the porn is still playing in the background, but Kazusa storms out, knowing now that everything she thought of Izumi was starting to slowly dissipate knowing that the boy she thought she knew since she was a child has grown up and already has a heightened interest in sex. As she runs, the animation hits its most creative streak as she is flustered by all of the sexual innuendoes she sees in the signs, ending when Kazusa breaks down, crying over the thought of losing that feeling of innocence she had when she first locked eyes with Izumi if sex is going to interfere with her connection with him. And then it all ends with the symbolism of a train running underneath her feet as it passed into a tunnel. There are plenty of shows this season that have been entertaining or humorous, but none come as close to creating the level of sentimentality and depth as Araburu by giving us a meaningful and amusing glimpse of what it means to have to figure out your place in the world as you start to learn about sexuality. It’ll be interesting to see how the anime pulls off the next episode as it handles the aftermath of Kazusa seeing a different side of Izumi.

ED Sequence

ED: 「ユメシンデレラ」 (Yume Cinderella) by Asakura Momo


  1. Well, Izumi is a budding train/densha otaku. Masturbating to train molestation role-play porn would not be surprising. Each person has their preferred kink. It would be hilarious if he ended up developing an NTR kink of watching his girl get molested on a train.

    Im any case, this show is still not confirmed to be on my to-follow list yet. It turned out better than my neutral expectations though.

  2. First I wanted to give Araburu a pass. But after watching the first episode I will definitely follow it. Its theme is surprisingly deep. The girls are more or less misfits and I guess it will be difficult for them to get sexual experiences. (E.g. think about how Hitoha grossed out her chat partner).

    1. True, I appreciate how the anime shows a far different take on puberty because the girls don’t have an over enthusiastic disposition on sex nor are they seeking out an experience right away. It gets down the general fears that teens have about sex whether it be the idea that the acquaintances they love are interested in more than just sex or if sex is only going to be weaponized to alienate them for being unable to catch up to their classmates. The only exception, Hitoha, only shows interest in sex from an analytical point rather than wanting to rid herself of her V-card or seek pleasure like your standard American Pie’s or In-Betweeners.

  3. I’m hopeful here. I actually think this could develop into one of my favorite shows this season.
    This is a real topic that young kids would really be thinking about, but we don’t tend to see this in anime unless it’s entirely comedy, or borderline hentai.
    If this series really addresses the subject matter with respect (and the occasional joke), I think this could be something very good.

    1. I am impressed with the show because it’s not played as a joke save for the Izumi danger-fap scene or a scandalous affair. There’s real gravitas in the series for the subject and it’s treated with the weight that it should have for students who are only starting to learn about where their feelings factor into this new and threatening territory.

  4. Haha, this brings back memories.

    My first encounter with anything about intercourse was watching a DVD copy of Enemy at the Gates when I was a kid. I was and still am obsessed with pivotal world changing events and for this case it was the Battle of Stalingrad.

    I was totally bewildered what on what the hell Racheal Weisz and Jude Law where doing in one scene. “Why are bumping into each other?” was what I thought.

    I honestly think that the way this show portrays the discovery of sexuality by kids is rather accurate.

    1. The Sims was my first exposure to the idea, but it always seemed like something outside my reach as territory specifically for adults. By the time high school came around and you had more students discussing their sex lives, it still felt like foreign territory, but knowing that it’d be realistic to have it in high school made it an obsession. At the same time, it felt like a dog chasing a car where, once you get there, you wouldn’t know what to do. There were definitely girls I had a crush on, but if I were ever to start a serious relationship that got far enough for sex to pop up that early, it’d be hard to gauge what I would’ve done since sex was merely a fantasy to supplement that void left behind by the love I sought for. Like, would it ruin a friendship I was able to do it with a friend I liked or escalate a relationship far too quickly if I were to do it in a time where sex ed amounted to “all sexual contact gives you gonorrhea and/or children”? Would it become the backbone of an entire relationship if I were to do it? That’s why college is far easier for soul searching because, by then, the answers you find are far easier to process, especially since there were far more resources to keep you educated about sec and what it can/can’t provide for a relationship. But for high school and Araburu in particular, the anxiety that comes with hashing out the consequences/desires of sex is realistic and it’s nice to see an anime/manga that would head in the trajectory of realistically approaching these fears.

    1. Yes, I added a Pink Guy reference. I remember adding a couple references to his work in my taglines, but the ending scene where Kazusa kept seeing innuendo around her reminded me of the song and how prevalent sex was in “セックス大好き”.

      1. definitely a case of “someone needs to get laid”
        whether she will, though, I’m doubtful
        a type to end up as old maid looking with disgust at everyone happy around her in their marriages

  5. well the teenage awkeardness of stumbling into intimate contacts with other (or in some cases, same) sex…
    never gets tiring, if done properly…
    think of this as of female-staffed counterpart to amagami or similar shows
    I think I like it

  6. Its been a while since i return to RC and be involved w the discussion.

    Anyways, wow. This is painful to watch, the cringe is just too stronk XD my goodness, these hormonal kids. While im all in for a good laugh, i kenot dismiss Mari Okada’s name in the credit. I mean, good god, now we’re in for an angsty ride. I read the manga, and um, im gonna stop spoiling myself and wait for the anime instead. 🙂 my youth, how bittersweet these girls are.

    And oh,lol at the boy. Why the hell are you fapping and NOT locking any of the doors at all! Imagine if someone else caught him in the act, and he got robbed bc he was busy masturbating XD how will you ever explain

    Onion onion
    1. Locking doors is a cultural thing, and the concept of houses in Japan even having doors that you could lock is relatively recent (what’s the point of locking up a paper house?) Even in cities it’s common for people to leave their front door unlocked during the day if someone is in. People didn’t used to lock doors in the West either so friends and neighbours could come and go as they pleased – my grandmother used to say “if anyone knocks, it’s the bailiff”.

  7. Well, this is all very nice, but these are girls we are talking about. Not like it’s a great problem for a schoolgirl to get laid. What a great and terrible problem it is, saying “yes” or “no”. Out of my age group in school (3 classes of 25 people each) all the girls graduated were in a relationship, with many getting married straight out of school. While several guys were still virgins. Female virgins though, yes…those mythical beasts, existing only in legends, I’ve never encountered one. I thought i saw one, once, but blink – and it’s gone, leaving you guessing if it was just a mirage.

    1. This is the comement I was waiting for. Even if the majority lose there virginity in their teens, you still have one-quater to on-third of all woman who have sex for the fist time in their 20th or 30th. Only a minority engage into hookup culture, but its hookup culture whith shapes oure view of the norm, which is a distortion.

      Now have a closer look to our cast:
      Rika is extremly inhibited.
      Kazusa has very low self esteam.
      Niina is too smart for her own good.
      Hitoha is too determined for her own good.
      And Momoko is to much a side character to have a real change.
      These are exactly the people whom you expect to get experience later.

    1. Namaewoinai
  8. Lol, anything is better than these recent retarded school romance love triangle attempts, always by talentless gashes to boot. But mark my words, this one will be a trainwreck just as well.
    Maybe entertaining though.

  9. One of the girls, Kazusa I believe, reminds me of Mari from Sora Yorimo. Seeing as how Mari Okeda wrote the story for this, I have very high hopes for this.

  10. I was expecting this to be funny, but I ended up also getting a dose of nostalgia. I remember when my mom had to give me the sex talk because a teacher kept referring to “hanky-panky” and I had no idea what it was… The next few months were a lot like Kazusa’s experience, where everything makes you think of sex, or something sexual, and you seem to have a heightened awareness of any discussions around you that are pertaining to it. In addition, most of my peers were also just learning about sex, and so it was a hot topic at the lunch table.

    I ended up reading *a lot* to teach myself (the curse of intellectuals), and in the many years since have had frank discussions with my married friends about their sex lives, as well as having two close friends who are in the mid-wife/doula business, and now feel like I’m actually more knowledgeable than most sex-ed teachers.

    As for the commenter from above, I’m in my thirties (single) and about half of my single lady friends and I are still virgins. It’s a self-value thing where we’d like to see a little more commitment from the guys we date/marry before getting to that point. So far the pool of men we’ve dated has not made it to that point, so… Also, as a general rule we were very similar to the girls in this show, in our teens we were too shy/low self-confidence/too “smart” to be attractive to the kind of guys who preyed on girls when we were younger. Now we’re “too successful and self-assured.” *snort*

    I think the current culture tends to look down on virginity, as though it equals ignorance, or just to outright disbelieve those claims. Most of my coworkers think I sleep around because that’s what they do, and I just don’t respond because it’s not their business… if I ever told them, I know I’d get barraged about “what’s wrong with you?” “are you a lesbian?” Because it’s happened in past work environments. (And in my current job I deal with sex crimes so I’ve seen more than my fair share of d***s, unfortunately).

    Anyways, that got me WAY off topic, but needless to say this really caught my attention with how they’re handling the material, and also the main characters’ perceptions and ideas. As awkward as some of the scenes are, this is now on my must-watch list!


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