So, post’s a bit early this week…
Self-deprecating jokes aside, I’m finishing up Mysterious Girlfriend X with this final post. I imagine that there’s still plenty of topics to be covered from the series, even in my own little corner of esoteric minutiae; however, for the sake of brevity, this post will be about as long as the other ones, instead of five times as long. For other aspects of the show, as always, I suggest Kritik der Animationskraft and We Remember Love‘s series of posts. With that, let’s get started!
Can you believe that I haven’t talked about scissors this entire season? It’s true!
The most obvious imagery the scissors bring up is that of an X, as in the title card in the opening sequence. The title Mysterious Girlfriend X suggests that the X represents the unknown; however, it could also be an X representing what is impossible or futile, from its familiar use as a marker for incorrect answers on school assignments.
The shot of scissors with their blades open also suggests the image of a woman’s legs spread apart, and the element of danger brings to mind the vagina dentata, myths of teeth on the… lower mouth, as it were. In Japan, Ainu folklore tells of the island of Menokokotan, inhabited by female warriors who have teeth growing from their genitals which shed every winter (much like antlers). It is said that the explorer Tokunai Mogami visited Menokokotan and tested the strength of these lower teeth with the sheath of his dagger, resulting in visible teeth marks.
While the connection with scissors and vagina dentata is perhaps tenuous, it is clear that scissors at least play a similar role in representing the male fear of castration, as is evident in the many shots of Mikoto wielding her scissors menacingly.
Mysterious Cherry Blossoms
The final episode of Mysterious Girlfriend X ends the series on a bit of a sobering note, forgoing the usual antics for a more reserved look at Akira and Mikoto’s relationship, with Akira’s family, including his deceased mother.
So perhaps it’s little surprise that the cherry blossom (or sakura) features prominently in the episode, from the establishing shot:
The cherry tree is a fairly common visual shorthand in anime (to the point of cliché), so I’ll keep it short. The blooming of cherry trees is inextricably linked with the coming of spring in Japan, and symbolically carries many of the same connotations that spring itself does, including hope for the future, or optimism. However, it also has its own meaning not tied to spring: the cherry blossom also represents female dominance, beauty, sensuality, and love―all familiar themes in MGX.
But the thematic significance of the cherry blossom that most viewers are familiar with is that of mono no aware: beauty in transience. The cherry tree blossoms splendidly, but never for long before its petals are shed unto the wind. The idea is reflected in Youko’s story of her high school romance, which ended not in a tearful breakup, but with distance and time: a love lost in the streams of life.
So on this slightly melancholic note, I bid Mysterious Girlfriend X farewell. Here’s to hoping for a second season! And of course, thank you all for following the show with me.