「乙女心のいろいろは」 (Otomegokoro no Iroiro wa)
“The Colors of the Hearts of Maidens”

With a hostage situation that transforms into vandalism overnight, the finale for Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo. was destined to be a unruly free-for-all. But while this was the central focus of this episode, it aimed to rectify many of the concerns that continued to pile up throughout the series by giving the characters a platform to unpack their issues and create a semi-fulfilling ending for everyone.

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that the hostage situation was destined to quickly escalate into a chaotic dumpster fire. Having all of these girls under the same roof trying to deal with each other after everything that’s happened between them is already rough enough as it is. But adding Izumi in the equation made it worse. Far worse. From there, anything that happens this night is ripped straight from the messiest J-drama storyline you could imagine. In a twist of events, Momoko went absolutely off-the-rails as soon as Niina let it slip that she was going to confess to Izumi with Kazusa’s consent. It’s understandably cruddy to see Niina straight-up let Momoko know that she rejected her to shoot her shot with Izumi. It’s not so understandable when Momoko gives her an ultimatum to get with her or remain single forever. In the ensuing chaos, Izumi comes in through the window right when Niina tries to defend her interest in Izumi to Momoko. From there, we get the stupidest line from Izumi where he opens up directly to all of the girls that he emotionally loves Kazusa, but wants to have sex with Niina. This is followed up with Niina being happy that Izumi wants to have sex her since the feeling is mutual. Everyone is taken aback and it’s such a ludicrous comment that everyone is caught off-guard into letting more of their outburst to blurt out, but it is to be expected from a show like this.

Thankfully, a game of tag helps the girls diffuse their personal conflicts, but it’s not exactly going to be a smooth transition based on some of the girls’ struggles. Kazusa might be happier knowing that Izumi doesn’t want to rush into things and is scared to move too fast, but how do you fix Momoko’s raging jealousy? Everyone is well-off by the end of the show with the finale wrapping up our main two couple’s stories with a fine bow. Rika is still with Shun and is in-contact with Jujo, who delivered her baby with her boyfriend by her side. Kazusa is able to get on a train with her boyfriend Izumi, bringing everything in full-circle when she is able to comfortably enter the tunnel that previously passed through her legs in Episode 01. Hongou may have lost against Tomita-sensei, but she’s secure and comfortable knowing that she can keep the Literature Club alive along with Milo-sensei and make a wedding play for the two. Momoko and Niina, however, are completely lost in the equation. Niina may have a friend that values her existence, but is it healthier if Momoko’s development hasn’t emphasized that she’s made enough emotional changes to not remain possessive of Niina? They are friendly with one another, but they haven’t given us enough time with an out-and-proud Momoko to see how she handles rejection or friendship after her fallout with Niina. The ending does save the anime from being a complete mess, but with so much of the focus on Niina and her attempts to wedge herself between Kazusa and Izumi, it really causes the show to unravel and gets in the way of being able to develop the girls as they handle their struggles with puberty, love, and intercourse.


Final Impressions:
Much like Niina allegorical prison within Saegusa’s nose hairs, there is a good show that is trapped, left to watch a chaotic runaway train barreling down the tracks. It had all of the pieces of a puzzle that could have painted a cohesive coming-of-age story that hits as close to home as it could. But by focusing too hard on reveling in the absurdity of the girls’ decisions instead of letting the girls naturally progress through puberty by their own accord, the show operates much like Being John Malkovich, trapping its viewers into the psyche of a power-hungry menace using its visage to wreak havoc and abuse the beautiful vessel that we were once entranced by.

It’s sad because there are so many ideas in the series that are salvageable and would have definitely worked if they were executed properly by the middle of the series. You had a girl who had to come to terms with the idea that her crush/childhood friend has sexual desires, a girl who places herself in risky situations so that she could know how to write erotic fiction, a girl whose puritanical concept of love and preconceived notions of sexuality are challenged when a boy falls in love with her, and a girl grappling with her sexual orientation in high school. In the right hands, any one of these ideas could have been adapted into one of the best coming-of-age TV anime of the 2010s. Heck, if an elevator pitch for a TV show about puberty was delivered by just describing these beginning stages of the main girls’ storylines, I would understand throwing money behind funding the entire project from top-to-bottom. But so many of these storylines are left flagging because it is far more exhilarating to tell a story with shock factor than nuance. It is too simple to blame creator Okada Mari when she’s done the series composition for some classic coming-of-age anime, but she is also the type of writer that revels in melodrama. This isn’t normally a problem when she elevates the problems happening within the lives of normal kids, but half of the cast in Araburu is tailor-made to be far from the norm. Eccentric schemers are a godsend for this show since it’s easier to be indulgent in embracing the worst qualities of characters who are out-of-this-world and go out of their way to take advantage of those around them.

These flirtations with side-show antics come out in full-force with the driving factor behind the plot’s advancement: Niina. Niina exists not only to force the Literature Club to try to make sense of sexuality but to drive wedges between the rest of the girls by sowing the seeds of discord within the group. Her brazen approach towards taking what she wants allows her to worm her way into the friend circle to bring her self-destructive habits with her. She’s the type of character to feel bad for herself and picture herself as a victim while she’s plotting to betray her “best friend” and steal the boy she’s been in love with this entire time. It’s that frustrating kind of person who tries to prove you wrong about being awful by doing something even worse. But because she’s a lightning rod for the show’s messiest drama by bringing her pedophile acting coach into the plot, having the desire to steal Izumi from Kazusa, and causing Momoko to go full-incel on her, she’s given the most leniency and leeway to bring such unneeded soapy drama to the show. Hongou’s storyline is also regrettable because the initially interesting idea of someone who feels like they need to experience sex to be able to write about sexuality is quickly tossed out when she and her teacher Milo accidentally catfish each other. From there, we get a series of terrible decisions to have Hongou regularly forcing herself on her teacher Milo as he dares her into erotic situations. It’s moments like these in the show where you have to take a step back and ask yourselves, “Is this how it feels to grow up?”

It’s frustrating to constantly repeat that it could have been a normal series because the greater ideas encapsulate the feeling of growing up while puberty and raging hormones are driving you insane. Scenes like Kazusa sprinting after finding Izumi fapping, Niina walking through the street to reflect on her feelings of inadequacy to the sounds of a drunken karaoke singer, and Hongou tearfully propositioning an anonymous chat member to a real-life sexual encounter are easily scenes that you could imagine being in a more meaningful story. And I know that the anime had the potential to be all-around amazing because Rika’s storyline is perfect from start-to-finish. Her growth from being a prudish girl who chastises her classmates for their sexual lifestyles to being in a romantic relationship and sympathizing with a popular girl who got pregnant is worthwhile, heartfelt, and sincere. To see her build up her self-confidence and overcome her personal insecurities she’s grown up with about feeling unattractive is all the more rewarding when the boy who loves her is genuine about his feelings and brings out her best qualities. It’s hard not to tear up when they’re both on-screen because the developments in their relationship are so adorable and really feel like the budding feelings that would come from two teenagers that are in love with each other for reasons beyond wanting to get hot and heavy. It would’ve been Shun had opened up about his past relationships, but the closure she received is the most heart-warming as she got to see Shun later on as she pursued her studies with him and was able to see that Jujo and her boyfriend successfully had their baby together. It says something about a story focused on teenage sexuality when the best thing about the show is the one pairing that is in no rush to have sex. Had it not been for its final moments that gave all of the girls a better-defined ending without too many loose ends, it would be difficult to recommend Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo. The beginning and ending were very well-done and its realistic moments are relatable for anyone who grew up trying to consolidate what love and sex mean in high school, but it gets too indulgent in its wild side to be able to look back at all of this and say that it was an amazing coming-of-age story. For better or worse, the series truly is a train without brakes. Though to its credit, it made it through the tunnel in one piece.


  1. OK, so it’s a train-wreck, but I still enjoyed it a lot. Maybe it’s because I seem to have found it more realistic than some, especially regarding Hongou’s character. It was a shame to see Momoko’s situation unclear in the epilogue, she’s evidently still friends with Niina, but whether it has ever gone beyond that I suppose we’ll never know (unless the manga version of the epilogue gives us a better insight).

    Kazusa is able to get on a train with her boyfriend Izumi, bringing everything in full-circle when she is able to comfortably enter the tunnel that previously passed through her legs in Episode 01

    I don’t think you’ve quite got that final scene right though, Kazusa’s line over the title card rather implies it’s Izumi who was able to comfortably enter her tunnel! Pure Hitchcock.

    1. Rather than a trainwreck, it just didn’t gained enough steam to deliver and it didn’t go deep enough on the premise, but it’s a 1 cour after all. Nothing stellar, still I enjoyed it all along, it was a quite light ride. If I learned something from this is the japanese still got a long way to go towards these matters.

      1. On the contrary, I think it gained too much steam and went too deep into the premise for a single cour to be able to dig it back out again without the totally OTT ending. A train with no brakes is bound to end up wrecked in the end. Anyway, all we have to hope is that they don’t make a live action movie of it.

  2. rating the girls endings:
    Kazusa: 5/5 settled down with steady bf
    Niina: 4/5 managed to confess, got duly rejected on basis of feelings being more important than sex, but gets someone who loves her in the form of Momoko. They stay together either as lovers or friends, either way is win for Niina.
    Hongou: 4/5 she gets over her awkward attempts at seducing Milo, and her creative side is developing further, and she’s hopeful for future relations.
    Momoko: 3-4/5 depending on whether her relationship with Niina goes into yuri territory. At the very least they are close friends.
    Rika: 5/5 another happy pairing, and she gets more realistic about boys in general.
    Jujo: she might have been expelled and forced into being mom much too early but she seems happy… 4/5

    1. You probably wonder how I met your mother. I was in Shibuya doing nampa and then this gorgeous tanned thicc thot came along and, boy, I had to go full in there raw like I wanted to do reverse birth.

    2. You’re the father of the child?

      I find the look given by Jujo’s boyfriend/husband is one of mixed feelings and concern. He seems happy, guilty and rather concerned about whether he is ready to raise the kid. At least, he is shown to be taking responsibility. I hope he gets support to go to college instead of dropping out after finishing high school. It would help his employmemt amd family funding prospects.

      1. I would be like that too. Now imagine being a forced parent at your late teens and interrupting any plan you had in mind or just have to forcefully change it, sum to that lack of experience. You have to force yourself to be positive or else.

    3. Saki Yoshida living a peaceful life with her child and new husband after being rescued by Josuke Higashikata and Okuyasu Nijimura. (Colorized, 2019)

      OK, that’s enough Emergence/Metamorphosis/177013 references for now.

  3. These scenes made me, really upset. I was looking forward to Izumi choosing Niina over Kazusa. Children normally are driven by their instincts and rarely chooses what’s right. So realistically Izumi should have said “I choose Niina” then made some weak excuse for the sake of his sexual attraction towards Niina.



    The classmates deffinatly over dramatized Juujo being knocked up. Ones life does not end when they have children regardless when the bundle of joy arrives.


    1. Teenagers overdramatize everything, it’s normal, they haven’t lived enough to learn how to relativize events in life. The ones who overblow it are the teachers and instead of giving enough sex ed they just make like it doesn’t exist and make the something natural like love a sin, and those who sin an example.

      1. I was born from 1st generation immigrants Mother from China, Father Hong Kong, they never told me anything about Sex Ed. I don’t even know if such knowledge is taught in Asian schools, unlike here in the states where both educators and parents talk to their kids about the birds and the bees.

        My parents definitely didn’t teach me about Sex Ed I had learnt it by watching AVs…

    2. I read that in Asia its really big deal getting pregnant while being still in school/young. Someone mentioned that parents might even disown you. And yeah you can be kicked out from school, so I would say that that classmates didnt exaggerate it.

      1. I can’t speak for Asian culture I can only assume why; it has a lot to do with social politics and not being seen as an embarrassment. It’s one thing to raise a kid and the kid not being bright it’s another when you raise a kid and they get pregnant or knock another classmate up. When the word gets out between your neighbors (trust me it always does) your kid is the talk of the town and you as a parent will be the focus of the conversation. Since we in society unconsciously prejudge others you don’t want other’s prejudice affecting your social, professional and personal life which in Asian culture it seems like it does.

  4. Wow, that’s quite the review.

    I’ll be honest. I haven’t seen this series as I don’t have any way to watch it (it’s not on Crunchyroll), so following along with your reviews feels a little empty to me since I haven’t watched it. I was rather surprised that you guys thought that this finale was a bit of a downer. Sure, from what I read here and other blogs, this ending might not have been the most satisfying, but I guess to me, it doesn’t seem too bad, all things considering.

    There was a quote that stuck out me regarding this series finale that I’d like to share here:

    ……that leaves the facade of the school plastered in revolutionary slogans and the girls sleeping in their clubroom, spattered in paint of all colors.

    Those literal colors represent the proverbial colors that color the blank white canvas of youth as one goes through one’s savage season. To be so colored is no curse, nor anything of which anyone need be ashamed. They are necessary and inevitable—as much as a train with no brakes will, after enough distance with the throttle pulled back, eventually slow down and become more manageable.

    Given that this is essentially a story of girls maturing in their youth, I thought that this statement really summarized how well they managed to change throughout the series. I guess in a way, looking at it through this context, I felt this anime probably deserves more praise than criticism, but that’s just me.

    Also, I’m surprised that no one talked about the ending and how everything managed to ‘fit’ together. For this conclusion, those last two words really couldn’t have been better.

    1. I think a lot of folks were excited for this show because it seemed to be a progressive, fresh take on young women’s sexuality. Instead, it ended up relying heavily on dated, sexist tropes. Here’s my breakdown:

      Rika: Classic trope of a woman who’s insecurities make her lash out at more sexual women. Her issues are resolved simply by one guy pursuing her. Dropping her homely look and embracing femininity (and sexuality) make her popular with everyone.

      Kazusa: As a stand alone story, Kazusa’s narrative would probably be fine. Instead her ending reinforces the Madonna/Whore dichotomy. The “emotional love” Izumi has for Kazusa wins out over his “sexual love” for Niina. Emotional love is good and pure, sexual love is manipulative and inferior.

      Hongou: Honestly her whole storyline was pretty bizarre. All I have to say is that her narrative has no satisfying conclusion whatsoever. It’s actually pretty interesting to explore a character with an unhealthy obsession with losing their virginity, but Hongou fails to evolve at all. I had really hoped that she would discover her own sexuality in a way she never expected. Instead we just kind of get a narrative that says “Be careful what you wish for/Don’t be in such a rush to grow up”.

      Niina: Her whole personality seems to be defined by a man in her life, a sexual predator. She’s mentally damaged by this man, which manifests in her being sexually promiscuous (which is framed as a bad thing) and in trying to undermine her friends.

      Momoko: She essentially forces her love onto Niina, and we’re supposed to see it as a good thing. Niina is “broken”, but Momoko’s love can “heal” her. Momoko feels entitled to love Niina despite her lack of interest, simply because Niina doesn’t have any better options, in Momoko’s opinion.

      So, overall, this anime simply failed to tell a new story. I wanted to see a series in which young women’s sexuality was celebrated. I was hoping that taboo subjects like getting horny, masturbation, and getting periods were explored. Or where a girl lost her virginity and it wasn’t a big deal. Or where women worked together and realized they don’t need the validation of the dudes in their lives. Instead we just got more of the same tired stories.

      1. Whoa, hold on there! I think there’s an alternate reading of each of the MC’s stories that does have a more feminist slant.

        Rika: I’ll grant you that “woman becomes beautiful by just taking off her glasses” can be a pretty toxic trope, but I don’t see that was the case here. For all her bluster, Rika was actually quite a timid person hiding behind her glasses and unable to engage properly with her peers and the world. Taking them off was a symbolic liberating action which opened up her future options. OK, so there was a boy waiting for her, but she didn’t immediately swoon lovestruck into his arms, it was clear that she was taking the lead and completely in control of her destiny and her body.

        Kazusa: Both she and Izumi were struggling with psychosexual dysfunction – her with phallophobia after walking in on Izumi masturbating, and he with a Madonna/whore complex (which is a genuine condition, not a sexist trope) after his encounters with Niina. He was struggling because Kazusa up to that point had been effectively a sibling to him, and then Niina had gone for the nuclear option of giving him the opportunity to act out what she knew was his ultimate (albeit misogynist) fantasy of sexually abusing a woman on a train*. No wonder he got confused between love and lust. In the end, though, they had both managed to overcome their issues because we see that Izumi had definitively rejected Niina’s advances and Kazusa had, entirely of her own volition, entered into a full sexual relationship with him.

        Hongou: As I’ve said before, if you don’t think her character was realistic, you’ve not met enough high-school girls. But actually her story was never about unhealthy obsessions or discovering her own sexuality, it was about getting published. Except that she failed to respect the boundaries between reality and fiction so her life turned into the sort of tawdry novel she was trying so desperately to write. In the end, though, she succeeded in taking back control and became president of the literature club, her relationship with Milo-sensei clearly normalised as they were rehearsing a performance for his wedding.

        Niina: Niina is another difficult character, perhaps especially difficult for Western audiences because although quite Western in appearance, she is the most deeply Japanese of the protagonists. So don’t think of her in terms of Western tropes, she’s a kowasareto ningyo (“broken doll”). She was broken at an early age by the monstrous mono no aware-obsessed Saegusa, and as a result developed a desire to break things herself.

        Momoko: This one is out and proud, a refreshing change from the Class S characters still lurking in Japanese queer fiction. Yes, she pursues Niina relentlessly – what’s wrong with that? If it was a man doing it nobody would bat an eyelid, but it’s shocking because it’s a woman? Now that is sexism. Niina is indeed broken, so maybe Momoko can actually “repair” her, a bit like kintsugi, but look at the dialog during those final scenes. Just as you see Momoko looking worriedly at Niina, it say “perhaps someone other than yourself will rest their hand upon my cheek”. Momoko isn’t holding Niina captive, she’s free to leave if she wants.

        * BTW, this particular fantasy goes back a long, long way. Maybe it is something to do with the Freudian metaphor of trains and tunnels, but the English novel “Raped on the Railway” was published back in the 1890’s.

      2. Imho you are a bit too negative.

        Rika: Her development is not focused on the sexual. The story is more that she becomes more confident as she learned that she is being liked (by both Shun and Jujo). In fact by the end of the show she is still insecure about her sexuality.

        I have to agree with your take on the Kazusa storyline. It would be difficult to build a healthy relationship on this basis.

        Also agree with your take on Hongou. It’s a pity that we never learn how she overcame her obsession.

        I don’t see Niina be defined by Saegusa. During the show she increasingly detach herself from him. She builds some genuine bounds, but makes some awful decisions in a lose-lose situation. So you can say she outgrew what was once defined by Saegusa.

        Your take on Momoko is too speculative. This storyline is explored too poorly to say if Niina is “healed” and if she is healed by Momoko.

        The plots are indeed very standard, but Okada Mari made very good use of them. All in all “Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo” is a story about people with very different perspectives finding a common understanding.

  5. It ended in a trainwreck, but it’s one of the most interesting trainwrecks I have watched.

    Izumi’s speech was totally ludicrous, but totally relatable, and at that age yes I have witnessed guys say such stupid things, and even outrageous ones at that.

    1. I couldn’t think what is the main story and I only suggest to all our human being could be make different why should make don’t understand in public to need our demand. If the two characters is really mad why you all have to made in sexual sex whatever se cross what is that meaning where is the world going to all our human future here is the story only a love as relationship ha what is .is the story writer is write bad story. Some unexpected moment s I don’t like it.

  6. https://randomc.net/image/Araburu%20Kisetsu%20no%20Otome-domo%20yo./Araburu%20Kisetsu%20no%20Otome-domo%20yo.%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2003.jpg
    From taking Milo-sensei hostage…

    …to gathering the main characters and their significant others together for a game of color tag (with some honest confessions/admissions along the way)…

    …to making protest banners calling for a reversal on the ban on relationships and Rika (and Shun’s?) expulsion from school.

    Man, this series was a roller coaster that made me wistful about my younger days–days that were filled with far simpler concerns (as well as awakening to attraction to the opposite sex). NGL, I was a bit jealous that at their age, the main girls managed to find some meaningful relationships (or a “meaningful purpose in life” in the case of Hongou) in one way or another. But despite the lingering regret of not having a girlfriend back then (and still desperately looking for a purpose in life right now), the fun times I’ve spent with my own high school friends are still priceless memories. And the girls of the Literature Club seem to have made their own priceless memories, too.

    Anyway, the closest thing that could compare to Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo in the “coming-of-age” department was Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho. While not as emotional or fantastic as Yorimoi plot- and art-wise, Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo makes up for it in the candid portrayal of hormonal teenagers with differing backgrounds discovering their sexuality–and all the hijinks that ensue with it. In that regard, it was a good watch.

    And I do like how the epilogue scene with Momoko and Niina could be interpreted as either deep(er?) friendship or an implied lesbian relationship. While a bit on the “safe side” as an ending to their story arcs, I’m still fine with either interpretation, as long as they are both happy with either arrangement. After all the things those two have been through, it’s only proper that they find happiness in the end.

    P.S.: I should also thank this show for serving as a gateway to the music of The Blue Hearts.

  7. Putting aside the comments about this series in particular, the only thing I’d like to add is that my appreciation for Nagai Tatsuyuki’s moderating influence On Okada Mari’s writing has increased tenfold.

    I’m looking forward to the dream team doing it again with Sora no Aosa wo Shiru Hito yo.

  8. If was a decent show until the second halve of episode 11 and the epilogue if fine, too. The problem is that we didn’t could see the development which lead to the epilogue. We never show how Hongou overcame her obsession with Milo-sensei. We didn’t see what Niina and Momoko did to get their relationship work. Same with Kazusa and Izumi. So it could be much better if the show took more time.

    What I really liked about “Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo” was how it showed how similar events could be perceived very different. Think about Momoko and Rika getting SMS during the club trip, Rika is as happy as she can get, while Momoko is annoyed. There were dozens of similar occasions.

  9. Ending was a bit too cliche, but maybe I expected something unsual for series that is not so common itself, anyway it didnt left me disappointed. One thing maybe was a let down for me, which is Momoko. Man, I really identified with her at first, I was annoyed at guys too and didn’t really feel what others girl did, and I more focused on girls instead of boys, who always had ulterior motives while pretending to be friends, but then her behaviour turned out to be pushy and selfish. It’s not really healthy representative of lesbian. If I remember correctly we had similar problem with darling in the franxx.

    Has anyone noticed glimpse of Niina’s sensei and Momoko’s ‘ex-friend’ at the end? At the metro station.


Leave a Reply

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