May 14, 2012

Mysterious Girlfriend X Ep. 05

Oh boy! A Beach episode! You all know how this goes. For some reason the whole gang gets together and goes to the beach, Hijinks Ensue, they do traditional things like smash a watermelon, and relax in Yukata while fireworks go off in the distance, having sorted out various relationship things before they get back to fighting in giant robots or whatever they were doing before, at least until the Onsen episode.

Not this time.

This series continues to be unconventional without making a big deal about it.

In the teaser, we see Urabe going for a swim on a deserted beach. It's not a big touristy public beach, and we find out later that this is actually out of sequence. But I have to say, The girl does have a commitment to going armed - something I like in a woman. She goes swimming with her scissors tucked into her bikini bottom.

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Hover over this and other large images to see if you can "Click to Embiggen"

One OP later, and it's not summer vacation yet. The segregated gym classes continue, with the boys practicing Soccer, and the girls doing Swimming. But even though the soccer field and the swimming pool are adjoining, they are blocked off by tall shrubs. The boys have come up with an inventive way of defeating this obstruction to their view by deliberately flubbing their kicks at the goal, sending the ball off into the trees, so that they have to go retrieve it. Getting a brief look at the girls and coming back, they report back to their fellows what they've seen, compiling a list of the girls' chest sizes.

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Seriously, he looks like Megane from Urusei Yatsura. "This one's for you, Chibi, Pamu!"

Ueno lucks out and catches a glimpse of Oka in her school swimsuit, and he's in heaven, reporting back "Very Big". Urabe is the only one not on the list (since she was swimming a lap at the time and clearly creaming every other girl).  When it's Tsubaki's turn, he catches a glimpse of her toweling off and flubs his kick. A shame, because he really really wanted to see her in a swimsuit. (Oka got a good look at her though. Depending on the translation, she either looks cute in a swimsuit, or she has cute armpits. My vocabulary and tiny Japanese dictionary fail me.)

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On the way home, eating popsicles (Let's NOT discuss the visual metaphor this time) and discussing the heat and swim classes, they stop briefly in the park. Tsubaki notices the drop of sweat on the nape of Urabe's neck, and then notices her smell. Very interested in that, he begins sniffing and gets a little TOO close, prompting a scissor attack that gets called due to rain.

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"What do you think you're doing?
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Waiting for the next Neko-Bus.

Taking shelter under a tree, when her spot is under a drip, Urabe leans close to Tsubaki, and he starts sniffing again (or else he's looking at her cleavage...). Now one big problem this couple seems to have is communication. In spite of the Pheromone thing, Urabe is a closed book most of the time, and Tsubaki is terribly terribly inhibited about expressing his feelings. I think though that her obstinateness is slowly training him to tell the truth slightly more often, but he's not very good it it. It's a Japanese thing I guess. He finally asks her if she's wearing perfume. She says she's never used the stuff and asks why he's asking. He says it's because she smells very nice today, and she sniffs herself and says, "It's just the smell of sweat. I'm sweaty right now."

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But then it really goes off script when she licks her forearm and remarks on how it's salty. Then she adds, it wipes out the other flavor, the flavor of the sea. But it does give Tsubaki a conversational In, and he asks her if she likes the sea. Finally we get a little background. She loves the sea, and goes to the ocean every summer, since she was little, and she loves swimming (which explains why she's such a fast swimmer). When she turns the question around on him, he gives a weak "I guess I like it" kind of response. So she offers him her arm to lick, so it might remind him of the ocean. He licks, and blam, white-out, followed by a vision of her in a white swimsuit.

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"Duuude, it's better than Mushrooms!"
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He's astonished that her sweat, as well as her saliva will show him the images in her head, but he also wonders if instead it was just his own fantasy. But for once he is infused with enough courage to stammer out a proposal that they go to the beach together during their summer break. And amazingly, after a long moment's consideration, she agrees.

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Yay!

But, when summer break comes around, it's like she's forgotten. She meets him daily for his dose, but doesn't stick around long enough for him to even say a word, until finally he's had enough and makes the bold move to grab her bike before she rides away, which shocks her incredibly. Shocked at himself, he manages to stammer out about their proposed date. But when he suggests tomorrow, she declines, saying that she's going away to visit her father's family. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel, she suggests next week, and on the spot he makes plans (way to think ahead, buster.) and so, next week they'll meet at the station and go to a nearby beach.

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Seriously, she freaked. Kudos to Ayako Yoshitani for getting it across.

Oh, as long as we're mentioning family, I should point out that Tsubaki lives alone in a house with his older sister. There hasn't been much reason to show her picture before, because so far she's had zero impact on the story. No mention has been made of their parents, she just acts like a surrogate mom, and doesn't even seem to have a job. But when Tsubaki comes home that day, she points out that he's grinning like an idiot. And he is.

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That night he starts dreaming about going to the beach with Urabe. In his dream they are running along the beach, and then she leaps into the air, becoming a mermaid (a topless one at that!).

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If someone can look up where Kazamidai Station is, we could locate where this series takes place. There's probably a nod to Railfans in here too. Anyway, on the appointed day, he rushes there to meet her. Much to his shock, she's already thoroughly tanned. Now personally, I like the look, but I understand that in Japan, the whitest possible skin is the sign of beauty, so Tsubaki is a bit thrown off by this. He asks "Y-your skin..." and she mentions that there's a beach near her dad's house and she went swimming and tanned yesterday. This probably refers to the opening scene. On the train he gives her a looking over and thinks to himself how new and unfamiliar it is to him to see her like this. She notices him staring and gives him the hairy eyeball, and he nervously laughs it off saying "Oh, nothing." Obviously training him in honest communication is going to take a while. I mean, seriously, she's told him about what a strong bond they have, but he is always afraid of how she might react to what he thinks.

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"It's this amazing new thing called a Tan."
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Upon arrival at the beach, he spends a brief time gawking at all the skimpy swimsuits, until Urabe arrives in hers, as seen in the preview last time. She looks really good so let me just spam you with screenshots for a bit. Tsubaki comes to the realization that it's not just "New" but "Naughty" to see her like that. Not entirely sure what he means by that....(HorribleSubs translates it as "Different" and "Hot". But the word is Ecchi, so who's to say.)

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I'd go with "Hot".
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Just... DAYMN!

Now the funny thing is, she suggests that they get something to eat before they swim. She says one needs energy to swim. So unlike the rule we have about waiting an hour before swimming after eating. So they trot over to the Yakisoba stand, where he overhears one girl demand her boyfriend buy her food, but his attempt to be chivalrous is cut off by Urabe's paying before he thinks to act. She is a little strange in her food choices, asking for hers with no meat or cabbage, but extra ginger. When he remarks on how strangely she ordered it, she's never heard this before. But to compound the strangeness, she says that normally she'd like it with some Mayo on it too. She feeds him a little (hey, wasn't that Ueno's dream?) and she ask if it's bad, and of course he says no. Wimp.

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"Snap!"
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Finally they go swimming. Not playing in the water, but full-bore freestyle through the water. Tsubaki begs her to stop because he can't keep up. She promises to slow down. Lucky boy, this gives him a chance to dive and take a look at her, although he wishes she'd ditch the skirt. However, gawking too long, he gets caught in a compromising position. "I thought your skirt has a really interesting pattern!" Nice save! She takes it honestly, and says she doesn't normally wear a skirt while swimming, but she accidentally got some unfortunate tan lines, and shows him. Cue the nosebleed.

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(Sorry for the color correction fail on this one)
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"Busted."
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"Where I'm from, the Camels are the size of Pekingese."
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This looks really bad...

On the train ride home, she tells him she had a lot of fun. She asks if he had fun too, and while he stammers, she sneaks in a finger to get a taste of him. (Clearly her boundary issues are one-way.) Cue the nosebleed again. She stares at him asking "Why is my nose bleeding?" And he has to admit that he got a nosebleed when he saw her scissor tan lines.

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Clearly he's not quite as good as her at transmitting images, since she has to ask why.

What comes next is pure evil "Tsubaki-kun, would you like to see my tan lines again?" He stammers out a yes grunt. "Next summer, when we go to the beach again, I'll show you."

Sorry this one is running behind. I have a lot of Pans to de-pan (and it looks like my color profiles don't match between machines). Episode 6 is already out, and it answers one of my big questions.

I have one other observation. I remember one blogger critiquing the old style of the show, but I think it's actually deliberate. I may be proven wrong in the future, but I think the throwback to old, almost Rumiko Takahashi/Urusei Yatsura character designs - minus the modern techniques like the textures and gradients - sets the show in the 80's, or maybe the '90's. The biggest clue to me? Nobody has a cell phone. That and in the next episode he's running around with a polaroid-type camera. (In the opposite direction, one of the action figures in his room is R. Dorothy Wayneright from Big O, but that could just be some kind of shout-out.) The "Expo '70" poster in his room isn't exactly proof. 1970 seems early. But Showa dating stops at 64.

Bonus Image, Click to Embiggen.
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Posted by: Mauser at 12:59 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 1937 words, total size 16 kb.

1 Nice artwork, but still steering clear of this one due to the content.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at May 17, 2012 08:43 PM (PiXy!)

2 It's really not quite as bad as some might think.

But for some reason I am reminded of a wonderful comic called "Halo and Sprocket" where a woman frequently finds herself forced to explain human foibles to the avenging angel and the naive robot living with her, and one of the more amusing stories involved her trying to explain why saliva is fine when it's in your mouth and disgusting when it gets out.  (It got started with a discussion about whether it was more appropriate to say one was drinking a lollipop rather than eating it).  The robot, not comprehending the semantic change for inside and outside the mouth saliva even went so far to suggest that maybe the difference was that it cooled off, and that maybe it would be okay if it were heated back up.  I know, ew.

Most of those discussions ended up in her just giving up trying to make sense of the things her guests observed in her.

Posted by: Mauser at May 18, 2012 01:31 AM (cZPoz)

3 Expo 70 may be a reference to a comic convention like Comiket (the next Comiket is 82).


Posted by: The Brickmuppet at May 19, 2012 11:01 PM (EJaOX)

4 If someone can look up where Kazamidai Station is, we could locate where this series takes place.

Looking up "Kazamidai Station, Japan" returns no hits (other than this post), but does provide a clue: "Tabatake".  A quick search on that provides us with a couple of locations, but the first hit (and likely the best, all things considered) is Toyama City, on the Sea of Japan.

Posted by: Wonderduck at May 28, 2012 09:15 PM (q2lfL)

5 Yeah, I tried Google Maps, and that area looked rather flat and undeveloped.

Posted by: Mauser at May 29, 2012 12:45 PM (cZPoz)

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