One of the principal characters of O Maidens in Your Savage Season, a 2019 anime based on the manga by Mari Okada and Nao Emoto, describes fictional stories as not simply escapism, but a way to experience emotions at a safe distance; by empathising with the characters in the story, we get a kind of a vaccination against emotions that we'll experience first-hand later.
The trouble I'm having, now that I've finished the series, is that it's made me re-experience a particularly potent, complicated cocktail of emotions that I've not had to for quite a while — and I'm not sure I'm handling it well.
I'm not going to get into spoilers, but in short I'm something of a mess right now. It's been less than an hour since the last episode ended, but the borderline-anxiety that built up as the complicated relationships tangled themselves more and more (a phenomenon that's not exclusive to O Maidens, but hasn't been this pronounced since White Album 2) is still swirling around and not yet entirely processable.
This is probably — hopefully — just a side-effect of the dangling plot threads that the show has left me with; I'm not usually bothered by open endings, but there were two characters in particular who I'd hoped to see get a little more resolution. They were the less conventional of the relationships, but that made them all the more compelling — I know what the other two characters' arcs would have looked like even if they'd been left open, but these two needed more definition.
It's been years since I bought any manga, but I've ordered the first two volumes with the hope that it can give me some closure…