The high school genre is one I have professed indifference to in the past but I started Mysterious Girlfriend X because it was one of the few titles from the winter 2012 crop that interested me. I was attracted by its short length, character design and art. At only 13 episodes and easily available on Crunchyroll, I figured I would spend a short sojourn with a weird tale peopled with characters that reminded me of anime from the 90’s.
The anime is based on Riichi Ueshiba’s manga and follows Akira Tsubaki who is your relatively normal high school kid (normal in anime terms).
He has a burgeoning interest in girls. He manages to keep things contained until he meets a strange transfer student named Mikoto Urabe. She is genuinely strange since she likes to sleep during class breaks and carries scissors hidden in her underwear.
Late one afternoon, Akira catches Mikoto asleep after class. He tries to wake her up and catches sight of her drool on the desk in the afternoon sun… and he tastes her drool… and he becomes addicted to it… and he develops something of a psychic connection with her… and this leads to Akira going out with her and discovering more about her. And this is how the strange story begins…
With a main female protagonist who keeps scissors in her panties and a main male protagonist who is a complete wimp with a fetish for girl’s drool I was hardly expecting psychological realism but with its strange drool-based premise it seemed like it could echo something like J.G. Ballard’s Rushing to Paradise where a twisted tale of psycho-sexual mind-games could make an interesting story full of power-plays between characters with weird psychologies and not just another fan-service show. Alas no. I was being foolish thinking such a thing…
It started quite well. Mikoto is genuinely a mysterious and strange girl. She is different from the anime girls we are used to. She can be rude and unfriendly, confrontational and she has mean scissor skills. She has a great design where her bangs cover up her eye and we cannot read her. This has a menacing aspect coupled with her bad attitude. So, not the cutesy moé types or the sex dolls I hate. In comparison Akira has a wide open face and his expressions reveal everything he is thinking, which is usually him obsessing and fetishizing some aspect of the girls around him and struggling not to be a pervert as he fumbles towards expressing his sexual desires. Typical fan-service protagonist.
When Mikoto’s drool is added to the mix it is the start of something interesting since it leads to the development of a symbiotic relationship between the two characters. Akira finds himself having to ingest this drool once a day or else he becomes sick. This sounds like deadly stuff! This drool has magic properties as Mikoto uses it to communicate feelings, reveal dreams and even transfer physical injuries!
The drool also sparks off hallucinatory dreams for Akira which take place in surreal fractured landscapes drawn from his everyday life with mechanical pigs flying about sushi stands and waterways and Akira and Makoto at the centre enjoying themselves. Outside of the dreams Akira finds he is lead into an offbeat romance with dark psycho-sexual chemistry being dictated by the fearsome Mikoto who uses her drool to manipulate him. At first…
How the drool works is never explained. I was hoping it was going to be something supernatural where she uses her drool to ensnare different people in her school and she does to a certain extent but it is to bring more people into a show that sacrifices its spikiness and edges as the female protagonist loses her flavour. It wanders aimlessly into stories surrounding little obsessions that Akira has about Mikoto which reveal him to be an insecure protagonist and this insecurity and the way Mikoto responds kills the whole thing.
An episode usually revolves around Akira who is always (always!) put off by some aspect of Mikoto like her changing hairstyles or her burgeoning athletics career and the attention it may bring. He then reveals he is jealous of any attention and pretty much does a bad job covering his resentment for the rest of the episode. Mikoto will respond by abdicating her position of power giving in to Akira’s demands and then the episode ends. What the hell?
Pretty soon she sheds all of her personality quirks and desires whenever Akira shows his displeasure. Granted, she wants to have a relationship with Akira and is fumbling towards expressing her own desires but what made the show was her control in the early stages of the relationship and her difference. After this disappears the anime just descends into becoming just another fan-service title which turned me off and really made me feel my age. It is surely aimed at high school boys who find girls a terrifying foreign country. I know enough about women to see through this. Why am I wasting my time watching it?
I am just not the audience it is aimed at. This is definitely not my cup of tea. Thankfully there were only 13 episodes. I’m going to watch Heat After Dark again…
8 thoughts on “Mysterious Girlfriend X”
eeuuh…tasting her drool? When I read that I was like what the heck…and then as I read more, it got stranger and drool played big part in the story. I will remember not to buy this DVD if I see this around.
Ha…you really like that after that movie 😉
I found it harmless and dull. The anime is heavy with symbolism but the main draw, the mysterious girlfriend, becomes dull.
It’s a pity that the girl had to change in that way. I admit this doesn’t sound like one for me – all that talk about drool was actually making me feel queasy! WTF. Anyway, I won’t be watching so thanks for the heads up.
Oh there are even weirder stories in this Spring season of anime! Murderous hair dressers with cursed tools and a girl whose hair cannot be cut who is the target of said hair dressers!
I actually prefer the sound of the murderous hair dressers to the drool loving school boy – although it doesn’t exactly make me want to rush out and get a hair cut any time soon!
Having looked into the hair dressing anime… Not as interesting as I first thought it might be so it didn’t make my Spring Viewing Picks.