Another week, another episode of Mysterious Girlfriend X! I’ve been voicing my thoughts on the pacing of the adaptation, and this week, we finally got to see how they would fit multiple chapters into one episode. (The contents of episode 3 are taken from chapters 3 and 4 of the original.) I thought it was handled pretty well; the two halves felt distinct, and yet were tied together nicely by the idea of what really “connects” Akira to Mikoto.
Mysterious Magical Realism
This week, the relationship between Akira and Mikoto are tested by a certain Ogata, who asks Mikoto to be his girlfriend. From this occurrence, we learn a little bit more about the bond of drool that ties Akira and Mikoto together.
This idea was touched on back in the first episode, when Akira, ever the sci-fi fan, suggests all sorts of possible explanations for the mysterious properties of Mikoto’s saliva. But of course, Mikoto laughs this off. After all, we’re not in the realm of sci-fi with Mysterious Girlfriend X; this is magical realism.
Magical realism is hard to define (or rather, there are multiple vague definitions), but the points of interest to us are these: magical realism takes place in a normal, modern world, which Mysterious Girlfriend X certainly does (if slightly lagging behind by a couple of decades). As per the “magical” part, the supernatural is also present, but it is treated in the story as normal, everyday occurrence. This we also see, with Mikoto insisting that all of this is just a part of who she is.
And perhaps most importantly, the magical elements in a work of magical realism are natural but surreal, ever-present yet enigmatic. We see this with Ogata, who has no abnormal reaction to Mikoto’s drool. As far as we the viewers know, there is no systematic approach to exactly how her saliva works.
Which of course, serves to illustrate the fact that Akira is somehow special. It couldn’t have just been anybody who tasted the drool from her desk, not even somebody like Ogata, who’s always had feelings for her. The more we learn, the more mysterious it gets…
While it’s easy to focus on the drool, underwear has also played a large role throughout the series. To put it shortly, panties are power, both in the show and for us viewers.
As anime viewers (and manga readers), we’re trained to pay attention to the glimpses of underwear we see; whether you’re all for this kind of visual titillation or against it, it’s something you notice immediately. And how could you not? The decision to show a flash of panties is deliberate, as is the decision to very noticeably omit a panty shot where the viewer expects one.
And so, with a self-awareness of the dominance that panties hold, Mysterious Girlfriend X has Mikoto’s panties hide her panty scissors, a tangible representation of said power. Scissors, as a tool that can cut off certain body parts, becomes a symbol of emasculation.
With this mind, the end of episode 3 becomes one of the most significant moments of the series so far. It’s not just Mikoto giving her panties to Akira; it’s a symbolic gesture, willingly giving up a bit of control in a relationship where, up to now, she had been making all of the calls. What would have been a fearsome attack with her scissors becomes a playful tap on the head. And I, for one, am all for a relationship where the two are on more equal footing.