I quite honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from the anime adaptation of Mysterious Girlfriend X (Nazo no Kanojo X), even though I had read the original manga. Just what do you get when you combine a studio that’s only produced shows about breasts, a director that’s only worked on kids’ shows (this season, he’s also helming Space Brothers), and a lead actress who’s only acted in live-action works, all working on a show about, of all things, tasting drool?
Fortunately, the answer is a show that surprisingly has a lot to say! So strap in, boys and girls, it’s time to get mysterious! (Episode spoilers after the break.)
The first thing to tackle here is the concept: your average high-school boy, Akira Tsubaki, falls in love with Mikoto Urabe after tasting her saliva. Soon, they develop a relationship that literally centers around swapping spit, and I don’t mean by making out. So what’s the deal?
Let’s go back to last season for a second, to Nisemonogatari, episode eight. Koyomi Araragi explains, “Psychologically, you have to be fairly close to someone before you’d allow them to touch your hair.” The same goes for brushing someone else’s teeth; the inside of one’s mouth is a personal place, and saliva is an extension of that. Would you let just anybody taste your spit?
The ending sequence expands on this idea: it features the main girls of the show all sleeping, with drool coming out of their mouth. The idea of psychologically opening up while asleep, when one’s most vulnerable, is tied to spit. In this way, spit becomes a strong symbol of intimacy.
Spit is a very personal thing… but is it sexy? One would think not, but Mysterious Girlfriend X begs to differ. The first episode is very much about sex, and yet, it’s nowhere as explicit as, say, the new Lupin III. In fact, outside of the ED (which admittedly is made up solely of cheesecake shots), there’s almost none of what you would call “traditional” fanservice, with only a single panty shot and some faceless naked girls in the cold open.
I’d go so far as to say that the scenes centering around saliva are the most erotically charged in the episode. Of course, there’s a very obvious reason for this on a visual level:
But there’s also more to it than just that. Take the idea of the “indirect kiss,” often seen in manga and anime, where one drinks out of a cup that somebody’s just used or puts his or her mouth to someone else’s mouthpiece. It’s less about the actual deed than the feeling of being connected to the other person, even through the smallest means. In Mysterious Girlfriend X, saliva serves the same purpose, by which Akira can connect to Mikoto.
Maybe all of this is a bit of a juvenile take on sexuality, but that’s what this show is: two teenagers, both inexperienced in the ways of sex, slowly exploring these boundaries in the only way they know how. And who’s to say that’s not just as hot as a gigantic pair of breasts flopping in the viewer’s face?
On a brief final note, let’s talk about the retro feel the show has. The sci-fi posters in Akira’s room (referencing Star Wars, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and 2001: A Space Odyssey) and the character design, reminiscent of older manga, are easy examples. But even Mikoto’s voice, in its almost natural delivery, harks back to anime from days long gone, a far cry from the childish, unrealistic anigoe, or “anime voice” so popular today.
Heck, even the idea of a romantic comedy focusing on a single, actual boyfriend-girlfriend relationship feels refreshingly old-fashioned at this point.
But it’s something I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing more of. See you next week!
30 responses to “Mysterious Girlfriend X Episode 1”
Glad to see someone else blogging MGX as well. I’ve always enjoyed the manga, and have looked forward to this for awhile. What’s great about the indirect kiss is that there is no mention of it by the characters. No inner dialogue about it, no awkward embarrassment. It just happens. As for the posters in the background, it was great see all of the Sci-Fi references. Did you also notice, like Scamp, that there were characters from Big O? They’ve tried so hard to make the boy seem like any typical teenage kids. I think it helps to contrast against the oddity that is Urabe. Anyways, I look forward to reading your week to week impressions!
One of the first things I personally noticed in this episode was Dorothy. ^ ^ Glad to see that others saw that as well, haha.
I think R-Dorothy is there to make a contrast with real girls.
R-Dorothy is a very tsundere robot girl who never consummates her romance.
Real girls, by contrast, tend to be a lot more touchy-feely, like the romantic lead of this show.
By the way, who is the cat figure? It’s got to be important. It may represent the lead male.
Oh damn, that’s a good point…
Pretty sure that BAD CAT (the eyepatched cat logo that shows up on his wallet, the hotel in his dreams, and his lunch bag) is original, although I can’t say it hasn’t shown up in some of Riichi Ueshiba’s other manga! (On that note, check out Yume Tsukai if you’re interested; it’s completely bonkers)
@bitmap-Thanks, I will try to find the anime version – it looks like it got shown in 2006.
@Vucub – Thanks.
Oh god, I’m reading Yume Tsukai right now.
It IS bonkers. So, so incredibly bonkers. And sick. And brilliant! I’m not sure whether this guy is an Ikuhara-level genius or a remarkably disturbed mangaka with really strange fetishes. Do you know if any of his other stuff has been translated?
I know that Discommunication, which takes place in a parallel world to Yume Tsukai, has the first few chapters translated! Other than that, I don’t think so.
But yeah, the 2006 anime, from what I can tell, does absolutely no justice to the manga.
I think that bad cat is simply the authors own creation for his amusement. I don’t think it has any particular meaning, but I could be wrong.
Yeah, if anything, it’s the closest thing the author has to a self-insert (although the author insert is usually a two-eyed cat, black in MGX and white in Yume Tsukai)
It pains me to say this, but I’ve never seen The Big O! Actually, what I’m more interested in are the fictional brands (Bad Cat, Tuesday Cola), because I find their logos to be absolutely charming.
And yeah, Tsubaki’s as normal as they come, but I think it works a lot better here than in your typical shonen! Not quite sure why, yet.
I think you need to rectify the fact you’ve never seen Big O. Anyway, what struck me about this episode was that the Big O references aside, this series could have looked the exact same had it been made any time in the last 3 decades.
Bah, probably, but there’s so much good stuff to see that I haven’t yet!
Man, I dunno, I wonder if they could have pulled off that 3D sequence even a decade ago. Also, the actual animation style feels very modern, I think. But heck if I’m right or anything.
The best thing about the robot references in this show: I read somewhere that the writer of Mysterious Girlfriend X intended the story to be a take on the giant robot story, where girls were the giant robot. Which is, of course, as accurate a depiction of the attitude of a sixteen-year-old high school boy towards girls that I can think of. I guess they’re playing it right on the nose!
I was worried that Hood would turn this production into yet another ridiculously over-the-top piece of fanservice, but thankfully it looks like the director and co. managed to preserve the feel of the manga while adding their own twist to the material. I do find the range of opinions expressed by ANN’s staff in their Season Preview on the show pretty hilarious, though. They range from 4.5 (most promising first episode of the season so far!) to 2.5 (neat romance, but too much drool!) to eeewwww (drool drool drool drool arrrghghh). Looks like this is the season of polarizing shows–we have the new Lupin, Mysterious Girlfriend X…who’s betting that Tsuritama is going to be a base-breaker?
Girls are the giant robot, eh? That’s… something else!
Man, if there’s one thing I think Hoods has learned from their fanservice shows, it’s the little details. It’s just that now, they can pay attention to things that aren’t rendering nipples perfectly! (But that’s another, much more NSFW post altogether, heh)
Oh man, yeah, I’m looking forward to Tsuritama so much; I think Kids on the Slope/Sakamichi no Apollon is going to be great enough to match everybody’s expectations, but it just doesn’t get me as excited as the promise of SF+fishing.
Suddenly torn between a desire to watch this and a desire to not completely freak my roommate out. Will probably have to wait until May.
Bah, be proud! Proud to watch anime about spit whilst being all too aware of your mouth generating saliva at the very moment. Well, try not to think about that last part so much. At the very least, it makes writing posts an absolute pain.
Two things: saliva exchange puts the indirect kiss to shame, and I wouldn’t say drool is a juvenile take on sexuality; I would suggest it is a refined fetish (subjectively classy). But the method is quite bizarre when kissing would be an acceptable substitute, especially if Akira and Urabe will proceed romantically.
While I don’t find drool repulsive, I’m not sure I can follow the story mechanics if they don’t turn to kissing. Hell, they can have a drool juice honeysuckle slip-n-slide featuring undersized sukumizu for all I care, but the current saliva exchange comes off as vacant sensationalism when a more common method exists.
…God, that’s a lovely image. I hope that at least one doujin can get close to capturing the eroticism of that.
But that aside, sensationalism, eh? I think I can accept that as part of Urabe’s character, as per the exchange in episode 1 about “approaching” her.
Well, I suppose I’ll just have to see how the anime plays it out…
I buy this. And I don’t want to get into cultural things of which I’m mostly ignorant (lol japan look how repressed), it’s something I feel like we see a lot of in anime. It’s tangentially but almost definitely related to IKnight’s old post about panties. How do you evoke the feeling of sexuality without actually pulling back the curtains, so to speak (ew)?
The most recent example I can think of is obviously the Nisemonogatari toothbrush incident. I guess I’d call it proxy sexual activity.
Proxy sexual activity is a good way to put it. One step above the suggestive cut-away to the flower petal falling off, but below actually getting on base, as it were.
But whereas tooth brushing acts as a proxy for sexual activity for both the viewers and the characters in Nise, is that true in MGX? The former, surely, but the latter I’m not so sure. It could go either way, I think, depending on how the anime treats it.
Well, all food for thought for future episodes, I guess!
Do you know the story of Lysistrata? The women of Greece ended a bitter war by withholding sex from their husbands until they negotiated peace.
That has its problems in modern-day discussions of gender and sexuality, of course. But it’s interesting that Akira is basically a slave to Mikoto’s intimate fluids. He’s just lucky she’s nice.
I had never heard of it! Always happy to learn of new things, though.
And of course, sexuality as a powerful force is right in line with what I’ve read of Riichi Ueshiba’s works. Well, not that this doesn’t show up in anime often enough, but his take on it is something else!
This ep followed th one shot wonderfully.
The manga was great. Sexy and innocent (at the same time) without being explicit. I hope the studio can keep up the quality.
Yeah, it did! And I can see why they cut out the scissors segment for a second-episode reveal, too (the only significant alteration I can think of off the top of my head, except maybe that shot of the nectar in the opening?)
And yeah, here’s to hoping for the rest of the season, may it be as good as the first episode!
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Nazo no Kanojo X caught me by surprise when I was looking for a “refreshing” anime to watch… An old-school-themed anime with old-school design and a very “sexy” feel… If I may so go to the extent of asking for another season, I’d do so since I really feel some of it is lacking… However, the finish is quite fitting as of yet and if it doesn’t get another season, I’m very proud to say I loved the ‘ride’ given by Nazo no Kanojo X…
Yeah, I have to say I enjoyed it as a whole as well. Did you check out the OVA as well? I thought that was pretty nice, too, especially with its shout-outs to the mangaka’s earlier works!