Mysterious Girlfriend X Episodes 7-8

See how they smile, like pigs in a sty; see how they snide.

Hey all, it’s me, the mysteriously-absent Mysterious Girlfriend X episodic blogger! But no, I do apologize: I’ve been busy with real-life things and am recovering from a slight case of writer’s block! Anyway, I’ll keep this part short; this week’s (these weeks’?) post is on pigs in all shapes and forms! Yeah, really! Check it out after the break:

Mysterious Boars

The first part of this post comes from straight from animekritik, who was musing about the strange imagery at the beginning of episode 8, of eight pigs spinning around, with Chinese characters (outdated in Japanese) for 1-8 on them.

The pigs in question.

As far as I can tell, this is a reference to Journey of the West. Zhu Bajie, or Cho Hakkai in the Japanese,  is one of the three disciples of Xuanzang. Part pig, his name is written with the characters for “pig” and “the Eight Precepts.” The latter is a Buddhist code of ethics based around abstinence, perhaps most relevantly here from sexual activity. Eight pigs for eight precepts!

Actually, Zhu Bajie’s name is written with the character for “boar,” a catch-all term for hogs, but nonetheless different from the modern Japanese character for domesticated pigs. Wild boars are characterized as hotheaded and courageous to the point of foolishness. A fitting description of Akira in episode 8?

On a final boar-related note, boar meat is referred to as botan, or “peony,” after the flower, harkening back to the Edo period, when Buddhists would eat boar meat while almost adhering to vegetarianism (not really). In hanakotoba, or the language of flowers, peonies represent wealth and nobility, but also shyness. Incidentally, the camellia (tsubaki) represents both modesty and ideal love.

Going back to the spinning pigs, I think there’s a visual double meaning to the scene as well: if you watch the very beginning of the fade-in, the pig’s legs, for that first brief second, resembles erect nipples on female breasts. Stay classy, Hoods Entertainment!

Mysterious Bacon

Of course, this isn’t the first place you’ve seen pigs in Mysterious Girlfriend X: they’ve made quite frequent appearances in the form of none other than bacon. In fact, Ayuko seems to live off of the stuff.

Bacon came to Japan after the end of the Edo period, and was regarded as food for foreigners and elites until after World War II. Today, it’s a common food product, although I dare say that in general, Oka’s bacon-packed lunches are not reflective of a general Japanese diet in regards to bacon consumption.

Curiously enough, bacon is a bit different in Japan than in some other Western countries. In the United States, while bacon is usually cured, it is sold as raw (uncooked) meat, and must be thoroughly cooked before consumption (trichinosis is no joke, folks!). In Japan, however, bacon is usually smoked through and precooked, resulting in a product closer to ham that is edible right out of the package (although apparently it tastes like limp cardboard). And because it’s precooked, the Japanese usually prepare it with a much lighter cooking method, a far cry from the American method of frying bacon to a beautiful, burnt crisp.

So if you’ve ever wondered why bacon in anime always looks raw, now you know!

That’s it from me this week! Tune in next time for another “kind of” mysterious post!

10 Comments

Filed under Episodics, Mysterious Girlfriend X

10 responses to “Mysterious Girlfriend X Episodes 7-8

  1. If only the United States can make bacon look raw but yet it’s cooked. We’re not THAT advanced yet. XD

  2. animekritik

    I figured you’d come to the rescue. The pigs make much more sense now.
    As for bacon, I love it in any way, shape or form.

    • I was just about to give up on my research and say “hey, it’s about boobs,” too!

      And I love bacon, but the “fully cooked” variant I’ve seen at supermarkets looks off a bit. On a related note, botan nabe looks absolutely delicious!

  3. Ah, I was trying to figure out that mysterious first scene, but it makes sense now with your help. Thanks so much for explaining! This show does such a fantastic job of inserting these sorts of references subtly here and there and it makes it even more enjoyable and fun to watch.

    • The pleasure is all mine! I’m pretty sure I would have missed half of the references I write about were I not writing this series of posts, really.

  4. skyhack

    Sitting on a cornflake.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s