「乙女は森のなか」 (Otome wa Mori no Naka)
“Maidens in the Woods”

In this week’s episode, an outdoor festival is in the works for the school’s events committee, and the Literature Club is tasked with creating a mythos behind the evening dance as a magical and romantic experience. However, at this point in the story, the girls find themselves unable to come up with a scenario given that they are currently in the process of actively sabotaging their happiness whether it be out of pride, spite, or lust.

Unfortunately for Rika, her tendency to look a gift horse in the mouth have come to bite her as she openly acts ashamed of her relationship with Shun. He tries to excuse it as just Rika still finding it hard to avoid her old ways, but he is genuinely hurt by how quick she is to shoot him down. When he asks if she wants to be with him, her confirmation seems like it’s enough for the time being, but her insistence on having them keep their relationship a secret because of the implication that he would make her look bad is demoralizing and insulting. On top of this, she took it into her own hands in creating obstacles for the Literature Club when she kept telling administrators that dancing and the bonfire had to be banned for sexual content.

You would think Rika would be the most insensitive character of the episode, but that award goes to Niina for trying to spur Kazusa and Izumi to confess by pretending to steal her crush. While it is with the intent on getting Kazusa to take a stand on something for a change, Niina is also doing it because of her grudge against everyone in the past whoever accused her of trying to steal someone else’s boyfriend, so she plans on taking it out on Kazusa by…indulging in the stereotype? It’s difficult to applaud the tenacity of Niina’s powerplay to create misunderstandings with the full intention of causing disarray when it’s not only incredibly petty but is unhelpful when your target-of-choice is a dopey bookworm with an inferiority complex. Kazusa might stick up for herself eventually, but being in the crossfire of a vindictive friend who she has no chance of competing with on an equal playing field is currently doing little to spur her to do anything other than wallow in self-loathing and self-pity.

Another confusing story is Hongou’s considering how scrambled her mindset is after being jerked around by both her editors and Milo-sensei. Earlier in the episode, her editors did a complete 180 and told her that erotic literature novels written by highschoolers are outdated in favor of self-fulfillment young teen fantasy novels. Hongou mentioned that she was never initially interested in erotic literature and had always intended on breaking through with a more normal story, yet she continues to tread dangerous and ridiculous territory just because she’s too far gone to think about anything other than honing in on her erotic work and having sex with her teacher as the piece de resistance that will push her writing into new territory. It might feel like a tragic tale of a young writer broken by the misdirection that they’ve had to contend with ever since they joined up with a larger publisher, but it feels like ludicrous padding that exists to make sure that Hongou is still willing to try to go all the way with Milo-sensei. It doesn’t feel good to examine the anime in such a cynical light considering that the animation still looks outstanding and it is fascinating to see how much of a mess has been created since. But at the same time, it runs the dangerous trend within the show’s writing in that a story that could have been told in a compelling and relatable light would devolve into the evening drama tropes that soapier anime have come to embrace. The initial presentation of the anime was far better than that and hopefully, future episodes will start to come together again rather than come to embrace the hokey drama that sank other erotic late-night TV anime that have come out recently.


  1. Rika is unsurprisingly not entirely fitting into new role, from the self-appointed guardian of morality into someone actually enjoying romance.
    Niina is definitely doing the wrong play here, instead of spurring Kazusa she ends up forcing withdrawal. She would probably be better off just honestly to tell “Listen, your crush is so dense he isn’t aware you like him, so you have to tell it to him in most direct way possible, short of “shut up nad kiss me”. (and maybe even that will be needed)
    I hope Hongou will get over her fantasies concerning Milo-sensei. He is far too decent man to have him landed in jail.

  2. Frankly love the show. Animation is great, and where else would you get plausible-realistic situation and complete trainwreck coexisting so harmoniously? Even Fire Force doesn’t mesh the two elements as well. Heck, I even listen fully to the OP and ED, which I typically skip (Enn Enn’s Inferno OP is definitely better though, let’s not kid ourselves).

    I agree that Niina’s wrong in her actions, but taken from her point-of-view (personal grudge, her own self-confidence) it’s totally in-character. Remember when she openly filmed Izumi’s reply to the confession for Kazusa a few eps back?

    Totally unexpected but it’s definitely leading for show of the season for me, given that it was barely on my radar at the start of the season.

  3. This show was on my radar the moment I heard Okada Mari was involved. Furthermore having female side of the adolescent hormone storm shown is a rarity that needs to be treasured.

  4. I personally have no issues with any of their behaviors in the sense that I get what’s going on and I’m here for it. In the end they’re all trying to be good kids with hormones and typical teenage foolishness eroding away their thought processes. Nina is mad that instead of some random person thinking that she’s going for their boyfriend, it’s her own friend, one of her best friends. I’m sure it hurts that someone who should know better is silently accusing you of that kind of behavior. Hongo and Milo are treading on dangerous waters. I personally am not sure what Milo-sensei is trying to do exactly with Hongo, and this is my one snag. He seems to range from disinterested to outright repulsed by her advances, yet there are instances where he appears to actively encourage it. I can get that he doesn’t want to go to the principal because that might get her expelled, but I also don’t think he should be the one guiding her through her sexual awakening. Especially since he is the target of her emotions. Rika is trying and failing to be more open. She’s so caught up in her own hype, that it’s difficult to let go. At least she sees that its hurtful, but since she has absolutely NO experience in romantic relationships, she’s trying to solve a problem of her own creation that doesn’t really exist without talking to her partner. Lack of communication happens to all couples, but she’s at an extreme. Fortunately, Shun is truly the MVP best boy and apparently really likes and understands her because he is doing his best to be patient and kind. I don’t want him to continue doing this at cost to himself, though. Everyone has a breaking point, even him. I just don’t want it to end with Rika being her usual hyperbolic self and making some ultimatum that Shun will take as the last straw and break up with her because of his own valid hurt emotions.

    The Walker

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *