Growing up is something we all have to face eventually, and for elementary school student Tsubomi, the time to start the transition from childhood to adulthood has arrived. With a younger sibling on the way, her first period and the realisation that boys can be more than just friends, Tsubomi has a lot to deal with- but luckily a mysterious new student at her school is always there to offer support and advice through these important times.
A tale of growing up, Naisho no Tsubomi is a little different from the average anime- it isn’t every series that tries to tackle pregnancy, menstruation and first love all in the space of three episodes. With that in mind, however, it’s hard not to watch it with mixed feelings- on the one hand, it’s quite a sweet tale based on the feelings that everyone experiences at that age, but at the same time it’s slightly creepy to base a series on 10-11 years going through puberty. Certainly, whilst watching it, I found myself changing my mind several times as to whether it was okay to enjoy it, or whether that made me some sort of closet pervert.
As far as characters go, Naisho no Tsubomi has an effective if predictable cast, consisting of title character, potential sweetheart, best friends and family. The only enigma is the mysterious transfer student who quickly becomes Tsubomi’s confidant, but an educated guess will quickly reveal who she is and how she ties into the story.
Despite being an OVA, Naisho no Tsubomi is not particularly impressive in the animation department, featuring largely average visuals and forgettable music. Still, this is not the kind of story that demands highly polished presentation, so the look is appropriate to the content.
If you can put aside the vague feelings of perverted creepiness that crop up whilst watching this series, Naisho no Tsubomi is a pleasant little tale of growing up that is enjoyable enough without being particularly ground-breaking or original. If you want something a little different from the usual high school setting, then this is a good alternative.