April 10, 2012

Mysterious Girlfriend X Ep. 01

A lot of people read the various fall preview Synopses and upon reading the bit about the drool, said "Ugh, not for me." I can totally understand that. But for some reason I decided to give it a try (The anime, not the drool), and I'm actually kind of glad I did. (Although since it's the HorribleSubs translation, I'm curious what I'm going to miss). As usual here, I'm NOT going to hide spoilers, since I'm often talking about shows nobody else intends to see.

Our Hero is Tsubake Akira, who has been having strange dreams lately, being of that age where he's learned about sex, but hasn't had any experiences. He is about as ordinary a high-schooler as you can get. Things get interesting, as they do in most Anime, when a new transfer student is introduced. Urabe Mikoto is clearly an odd bird, so odd that the true depths of her oddness are probably yet to be plumbed. She is definitely withdrawn and in her own little world, and mildly amused by the rest of us, when she can be bothered to pay attention. Right from her introduction you can tell how apart she is, from the funny little martial Left Face she does upon entering, to the way her face is hidden behind her bangs, to her traditional introduction speech, which consists only of the word "Yoroshiku."

Naturally the only open desk is next to Akira, and being the bright innocent soul he is, he offers to give her any help she needs.

What she really needs is a course in how to be Japanese, because throughout the rest of the day she demonstrates how she is completely the opposite of every behavior trait the Japanese have been taught since birth. At lunch, she rudely blows off the girls who try to welcome her to the class so that she can continue to sleep face down on her desk. And in the middle of Algebra, she bursts out laughing so hysterically she falls to the floor.

But you know, that moment is actually what won me over. There was something charming about it. Also, her voice actress has a very unique voice, totally atypical for anime girls, but appealing.

Then comes the infamous drool scene, which many critics jump on saying "Why would he do that?" Well, aside from flashing back on that oddly prophetic sex dream, Akira too suddenly exclaims "Why am I licking her drool?!" and runs home. But that night, he starts thinking about her, and soon, she's appearing in his dreams.

And at this point, I should mention that there are a lot of visual metaphors in this show. You need to pay attention to what you're seeing, whether it's echoes of shapes in pools of various liquids, or the far more telling one of Mikoto's hair. Those bangs represent her barrier to the rest of the world. When Akira wakes her up to tell her school is over, he suddenly gets a look at her whole face, and that glimpse resonates with something in him, even though it takes him a while to realize it.

A couple weeks later Akira is so sick, he starts missing school. Mikoto comes to visit him, totally unexpectedly, and begins explaining things to him. She is remarkably blunt and straightforward, and so un-Japanese, her weirdness manifests even more manifestly (:-) as she tells him why he is sick. Somehow she knows what he did after she left the classroom. Somehow she knows things she couldn't. But on the other hand, it's not so easy to take her word for it. Unlike some say, sorceress or demoness explaining how things are going to be from now on like you'd get anywhere else, when she starts telling him he's going through withdrawal he rightly doesn't believe it. But she denies there's anything special about her saliva (nobody seems to notice its thick, honey-like consistency), and that he's just lovesick for her and that's why he's feeling withdrawal.

It's a very peculiar scene, especially once you notice how her hair works, and because of how matter-of-factly she says he must be in love with her, but she doesn't really seem to react to it. It's oddly dispassionate, but there's something behind it, a mystery that will take time to work out. You really do begin to wonder if she's maybe an alien, or something occult, or really, just a very strange little girl who is leading him into her strange little world.

That gets you about halfway through the episode. The remainder is the beginning of their relationship, which is as others have said, very quirky. You find out why she was holding back earlier, and Akira finds himself getting drawn in more and more. And frankly, I'm very curious how this is going to turn out.

Now I do have to say, this is definitely a show for which the TV Tropes definition of Author Appeal was written.  Yes, clearly someone involved in the creation of this has a near spiritual obsession with drool, or more specifically, women sleeping and drooling.  This is especially evident in the end credits where most of the female cast gets the treatment.  But if you can put that aside for the moment, it's really just a vehicle for this story about a very strange girl and a very ordinary guy who end up getting together, and I think it will become a remarkably unusual, but strangely charming love story.

Posted by: Mauser at 01:27 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Post contains 922 words, total size 5 kb.

1 When she broke out laughing in the middle of class, something about the scene just made me go "Ugh" and I turned it off.  I always intended to go back, but haven't had a reason to yet...

Mind you, this is coming from someone who enjoyed the first episode of Upotte!, so take it for what it's worth.

Posted by: Wonderduck at April 12, 2012 05:36 PM (PVVuW)

2 Well, if you get to the end of the episode, she explains what it was that made her laugh.

Posted by: Mauser at April 13, 2012 12:13 AM (cZPoz)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
24kb generated in CPU 0.0386, elapsed 0.0672 seconds.
33 queries taking 0.0609 seconds, 189 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.