Naisho no Tsubomi (oav)


 

      This OAV begins with Tsubomi looking through a old family photo album and seeing pictures of when she was born. She says that people fall in love and then have children, but she wonders why people fall in love. Later Rea-pi tells Tsubomi that Daiki definitely likes her, and she tells Tsubomi that he thinks about her all the time. Then she ask Tsubomi about her and Daiki and she tells Rea-pi about the time he gave her a gift, and he helps her. Rea-pi says that since and he lives close by so why doesn’t she just confess? When Rae-pi asks her what she really thinks of him all she can do is reply that she doesn’t know.

      When Tsubomi describes her feelings about Daiki to Rea-pi she tells Tsubomi that’s what you call liking a person, so she says that they should have a Christmas Eve party so she can confess her feelings to him and find out where she stands. When Rea-pi tells everyone about the Christmas Eve party everyone thinks it sounds nice and Yuu volunteers to have the party at his house. As Daiki is opening his locker a letter falls out and Futoshi opens it and it looks like it’s from another girl who wants to confess to Daiki, this puts Daiki and Tsubomi in an awkward situation.

    Futoshi and Rea-pi make a big deal about the letter, later Yae comes up to Tsubomi and tells her not to worry it looks like Daiki turned down the other girl. That night Tsubomi doesn’t think at she has the courage to confess her feelings to Daiki like the other girl did. The next day the crew arrives at Yuu’s house for the party, Daiki and Tsubomi exchange furtive glances at each other. At the party Yuu’s sister seems to recognize Saya from somewhere but she doesn’t say anything to anyone. The kids play games and do fun things but Tsubomi seems uncomfortable around Daiki because she feels Rea-pi’s pressure on her to confess.

 

     Tsubomi excuses herself to use the bathroom and Saya seeing Tsubomi’s stress level goes with her, Tsubomi tells Saya about the pressure she feels, and they have a conversation about why people fall in love. But, Saya tells Tsubomi that she should try to tell Daiki her feelings and that she’ll be cheering for her. Just before they are about to rejoin the group Yuu’s sister tells Tsubomi that she received a call from her family saying that Tsubomi’s mother is at the hospital about to have the baby, Tsubomi rushes off to the hospital to see her mother.

 

     When she gets to the hospital she sees that her father isn’t there yet and that her mother is in pain, and it’s time that she must help and support her mother. After they take Tsubomi’s mother into the delivery room Tsubomi must wait outside in the lobby. As Tsubomi is saying a little prayer for her mother Saya shows up and tells Tsubomi that she has to go and she needs to tells Tsubomi how she feels. She embraces Tsubomi and tells her thank you, and that she loves her, and she also says that she hopes they’ll meet again. Just as Tsubomi’s father arrives at the hospital she notices that Saya has vanished.

 

     Within a minute the baby is born, now Tsubomi has a little sister, inside the hospital room Tsubomi and her father meet the new addition to the family. Tsubomi is immediately taken with her new sister and when she’s asks her parents what her new sister’s name is they tell her that they decided to name her Saya. Later, her mother and father tells her now that everything is OK she can go back to her party because her mother and the baby needs to rest.

 

     Once Tsubomi returns to Yuu’s house everyone is happy that the birth turned out alright, but every one’s memories of Saya Endo seems to be fading. Rea-pi again begins to bug Tsubomi about her confession to Daiki. After the party ends Daiki and Tsubomi walk home together and just as they are about to go to their separate houses Tsubomi remembers Saya’s advice about telling Daiki her feelings. Tsubomi stops Daiki and thanks him for always being there for her and she tells him that she likes him. After a moment of silence and several longing glances back and forth Daiki tells Tsubomi that he wished he had the courage to tell her that he liked her first, and then they part ways and head home.

 

     As the school year progresses most memories and traces of Saya existence begins to fade. Tsubomi and Daiki are now a couple but they haven’t progressed to the kissing phase yet but that’s OK to them, they’ll move at their own pace. Daiki tells Tsubomi that he had a dream with a dark haired girl who looked like Tsubomi telling him that he should take care of her, and she tells him that she also had a dream with the same girl telling her to be kind to him. Well, That’s all for the OAV series.

       As far as I’m concerned this was the best episode of the OAV series, the first two episodes while interesting were filled with a almost over the top level of puerile concerns. But, this episode deals with a subject that viewers of all ages can identify with, the age old question of why to we fall in love, and if we do fall in love is it purely the results of random events, or as Saya argues, is it also fate?

       Now that’s a question people have been asking since time began, and as far as I’m concerned it’s never been properly answered, if there is any answer at all. What I really liked was how this episode dealt with the issue of Tsubomi’s stirrings of love for Daiki in a very sensitive and kind manner. I agree whole heartily with what was said about this episode in the Bluemist anime blog  

      ” It is the love story between Tsubomi and Nemoto-kun that, while extremely simple in anime standards, was entirely heartwarming! I was all smiles during this episode, really, because the couple reminded me more than ever about my favorite anime pairing (Sakura X Syaoran). And just like that, I was shown one of the best kokuhaku (confession) sequences in an anime!”        

       This episode was filled with so many warm and fuzzy things that I felt good most of the day. For Tsubomi the whole situation couldn’t have turned out any better, gaining a new sister, and a new boyfriend at the same time, how sweet.

      But to me the most interesting thing about this series was Saya, and what exactly is/was she, in a earlier review I had suggested that she was a puberty angel/fairy, and Bluemist calls her a cupid or a guardian angel for growing up kids. But after viewing this episode I have changed my opinion entirely to a more Shinto/Buddhist explanation of Saya.

       After putting together Saya’s almost unnatural life experiences in comparison with the other children, Tsubomi’s dream of saving her from water, Yuu’s sister’s almost shocked expression at seeing Saya, Saya’s almost always sad knowing expressions, and her disappearance at the moment of Tsubomi’s sisters birth lead my to conclude that Saya is really a spirit of a dead girl.

       In many versions of Shintoism/Buddhism the boundaries between the world’s of the living and the world’s of the dead aren’t as fixed or permanent as they are in the Christian worldview. For the very elderly (over 60) and the very young (under 15) the boundaries are very liquid or fluid in nature. Because the soul during these periods are not considered to be entirely of our impure world they still partly belong to the pure other world.

      So, what I think Saya is/was a girl roughly Tsubomi’s age or a little older who had a very rough life or was abused then she either died early, or was killed, or committed suicide then she went to the spirit world. Once in the spirit world either through the intersessions or prayers of others for her salvation or through the intervention of certain Kami/Bodhisattva such as Jizo (the protector of children in Limbo) or Kannon (Lord of Compassion and Goddess of Mercy) Saya’s spirit is granted rebirth into the human realm.

      So Saya’s spirit went in search of a loving family to give her the love, caring, and protection she never had in her previous life, that’s why Saya appeared after Tsubomi’s mother became pregnant, and that’s why she disappears seconds before Tsubomi’s mother gives birth. During the in between time Saya is able to use her knowledge gained from existing between worlds to setup the her ideal future situation, what could be better that having a loving older sister with a kind boyfriend, and a caring mother and father. Well, I maybe totally wrong about this but I’d like to think I’m right about Saya’s nature.

Below is a chart explaining the fluid nature existing between the spirit world and the human world. Please click on the pic to view at full size.

        

 

      This episode begins with Tsubomi’s mother showing a tape of her ultrasound to Tsubomi, Rea-pi, Yae, and Saya, with the girls asking her if it’s a boy or girl? Tsubomi’s mother tells them since a penis is not visible then it’s most likely a girl, and Rea-pi gets a kick out of the fact that Tsubomi’s mother used the word penis. One of the girls ask if there is a more complex test but Saya says that the penis is the most prominent diffrence between boys and girls.

      The next day at school, Tsubomi is greeted by Daiki and she immediately look at his shorts, and gets embarrassed by the fact that she now relates boys to penises. Later, that day the kids have to sit through a health video about puberty and the differences between boys and girls, and after the video and at swimming class Futoshi starts to ask the other boys to judge the girls breast sizes and if they can tell who’s an adult and who is not.

      Later while the girls are changing Yae seems upset about Futoshi’s comments about breast size and she asks Tsubomi if guys really only like large breasts, and then Tsubomi understands that Yae is attracted to Yuu, and later she admitted that she and Yuu are going out. As the girls head back to class they overhear the boys lead by Futoshi rating the girls by points, and as the boys are about to give a cruel rating to Rea-pi Futoshi says you can’t rate her because she’s a pig and not a girl, then she bursts into the room going off on them.

     Later at lunch Rea-pi takes almost no food because of the comments the boys made, and she is very hungry. But Saya tells her that Futoshi must like her because her because he actually stoped them from giving her an actual point rating, and Rea-pi gets embarrassed and denies that there might be any attraction between her and Futoshi, Tsubomi thinks that it’s a confusing situation when boys and girls can’t be honest.

     After school Tsubomi remember that she forgot something and goes back inside to find it and while she’s in the classroom Daiki walks in and suggests they check the AV room, he thinks that she had it out then. While they are locating the handkerchief they get locked inside the AV room, and the caretaker can’t hear their pounding on the door because the room’s soundproofed.

       As they realize that they are on the first floor and can go out the window they see Yae and Yuu kissing outside the school. After Yuu and Yae leave, Daiki jumps out the window and must catch Tsubomi, she lands on top of him and they are both embarrassed because she might have felt his penis and he might have felt her breasts , and he runs off leaving Tsubomi.

      That night Daiki has a dream of Yuu and Yae kissing then he dreams of him and Tsubomi kissing and what do you know he wakes up after having a wet dream.

       The next day at school Daiki is uneasy around Tsubomi and he stops Futoshi from talking about porno magazines in front of her, and soon Futoshi is stating that Daiki has fallen for Tsubomi. As she is leaving, the little charm he gave her earlier falls of her backpack but he’s unsure about giving it back to her.

        Later, Daiki has a talk with Saya about Tsubomi and himself and she tells him it’s natural to think about strange things about a person your interested in and she tells him that Tsubomi is looking for her lost charm. He goes to find her and return it to her, he walks up to her and returns it to her in front of Rea-pi and she’s not satisfied with their explanation of their relationship.

      This episode continues with the theme of boys and girls growing up and discovering the differences between the two sexes. Some of the funniest moments come from Tsubomi’s friend Rea-pi, like how she got a kick out of hearing and saying the word penis after Tsubomi’s mother used the word during her ultrasound showing, and when she says that now she understands what they mean on TV shows when they use the word boner after viewing the health video.

      This episode also continues with the issue of Tsubomi becoming more aware of the male/female interactions around her. Just a little while earlier she didn’t notice the little glances and gestures that the boys and girls exchanged without even realizing they were doing it.

      Now to the boys, didn’t almost all of us males at one time or another act like Futoshi in our youth, rate girls by points, equate breast size to a girl’s value, and knowing no better way to show our attraction to a girl other than acting like a goof or picking on them.

      And now about Saya, I’ve read the manga so I’ll keep my comments to the anime only, Saya is vastly more mature about boys and girls than any of the other children, it’s almost as if she’s the puberty/relationship fairy. With only one episode in the OAV series left the anime viewer will more than likely have to read the manga if you want any closure about Saya. 

    Several months ago a friend of mine handed me a copy of a manga, she asked me to look it over and tell her what I thought about it. The manga turned out to be Naisho no Tsubomi, and I told her that this was definitely a shojo manga geared towards preteen girls. Almost anything goes in manga, but this was different, aside from some over dramatised boy/girl school crushes, I felt that this manga was almost a preteen girls guide to puberty issues, more serious than how typical shojo manga handle this subject. So, when I saw the OAVs were out, I decided to blog the first episode, just because it’s so different from typical anime. 

     This anime is an adaptation of a manga of the same name, created by Yu Yabuuchi, the manga is currently at 3 volumes. The manga is basically a look at how young Japanese girls deal with the issues of puberty, boys, and so forth. The plot basically is centered around Tsubomi, a fifth grade Japanese girl and her friends.

     This episode begins with Tsubomi’s mother telling her that she’s two months pregnant, and to please keep it secret for now, this happens on Tsubomi’s first day of fifth grade. On the first day of classes Tsubomi is reunited with two girlfriends from last year, Yaechi and Reappi, and a boy that Yaechi and Reappi both think that Tsubomi has a crush on, because she always looks away or blushes when she sees him, and his name is Nemoto.

 

     After school, Tsubomi tells her friends about her mother’s pregnancy, and Reappi says not to talk about it because that means her mother and father committed perverted acts together. Reappi speaks too loudly and some pregnancy and perverted acts are the talk of the school, Tsubomi is confused, thinking her parents are perverted? Tsubomi is hanging around after school when a new girl (Saya) sees her, and Tsubomi tells her the problem, and they have a little talk, Saya seems more mature than Tsubomi and her talk cheers her up.

      The next day at school, the girls get ready for health check day, but Tsubomi still has questions about “hentai” stuff, she asks Reappi about it and all she can tell her is that boys and girls hug and caress naked on the bed, Yaechi also tells Tsubomi that her parents often kiss in front of her. Tsubomi and Saya again talk about those things alone, it seems she’s the only one that doesn’t turn it into a big drama. Later, Tsubomi is starting to have female issues and she’s afraid to ask her mother because she’s afraid to worry her mother in her current condition. The next day in class, Tsubomi is getting bothered by some of the boys for her excess bathroom use, then Nemoto and some more mature boys help her out, later Tsubomi wonders why her heart is beating so fast.

     That night, Tsubomi’s mother is not feeling very well and she has to go to the hospital, and her mother must stay in the hospital for a while because the risk of a miscarriage is high. Tsubomi does her best to take care of the house by herself, but her ongoing female problem really begin to bother her, but she has no one to talk to about it.

     later that night Tsubomi gets a mysterious phone call from Saya asking for help, Tsubomi rushes to help her. She finds Saya in the river struggling to hold on, she ends up having to go into the water to save her, but In the end she realizes that it was just a dream. It ends up that she just had he first period, so she rushes out of the house to go visit her mother, but runs into Nemoto  who gives her a small present.

     When Tsubomi finally gets to the hospital and tells her what happened, her mother is at first surprised that it happened so early, but then congratulates her. They have a mother daughter talk about female issues, and her mother tells her to feel free to ask her anything. Later at school, Tsubomi runs into Nemoto then Saya, it seems that Saya and Tsubomi had a similar dream. Well, that’s all for this episode.

     Well, this OAV is definitely diffrent from your typical shojo preteen anime, this anime takes a serious look at how a young girl deals with and learns about puberty issues. Some of the topics covered here are, a girl’s first period, first feelings for the opposite sex, a possible girl-girl crush, first thinking about your parents having sex, and a young girls ideas of what sex is versus the reality.

     If your a preteen girl or young teen girl you might find this anime interesting and maybe even educational. Back when I was in school, over twenty years ago, boys and girls had separate health/sex education classes, and as a guy watching this anime I almost feel like I’m a 12-13 year boy who’s has snuck into the girls only health classes. Like I said earlier this is the only episode of this series I’ll cover just because it’s so different.