On MYSTERIOUS GIRLFRIEND X

by jh

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Mysterious Girlfriend X is a show that’s pretty icky. There’s no getting around it. As a viewer, one always has options, one can always make decisions. So, if you’re planning on watching this show, you have to get past the hurdle that is the synopsis. A high school student one day discovers the new transfer student asleep at her desk after school. After she hurriedly leaves, he sees a small pool of her drool on the desk, and for some unfathomable reason, he puts his finger in said drool, and takes this finger into his mouth. He licks her drool.

Without getting into the other bizarre things about this anime (the main character’s proclivity for randomly laughing, the scissors she keeps in her panties, etc.), the drool issue is the most major one to contend with. Part of this piece will be about hopefully putting “the drool issue” into a larger context regarding what this show’s actually doing. It’s fairly obvious that the show is on some level about how love, at one point or another, must lead to intimacy. The protagonists, because they’re weird, don’t take the usual path in these matters. They’re inching toward intimacy, but they do it in their own particular way. Mysterious Girlfriend X, in its own weird way, celebrates the time of our lives where we groped and felt around and decided what worked and didn’t work for us, what felt right; it’s a show about our sexual exploration, and how it’s a necessary aspect of relationships.

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After Tsubaki, our male protagonist, tastes Urabe’s drool, he just knows he has to be with her. It’s not a question of psychology or of motivation; his body dictates it. After not tasting her drool for a couple of weeks, he’s actually bedridden and sick. It’s only after Urabe shows up and gives him her drool that he recovers. So he asks her out. She says yes. The reason behind this is simple – he had a reaction to her drool, and to her that means he’s special. Every day after school, in order to stave off sickness, Urabe sticks a finger in her mouth and lets Tsubaki suck on it for a bit. It’s a moment of an awkward physical intimacy; and, I think, an undeniably erotic moment for both of them. Later on, we find out that Urabe’s drool can also serve as a communication tool (Urabe can find out about Tsubaki’s dreams and they can even find out what the other is feeling because of it). This daily ritual is no different than kissing before saying goodbye.
If the drool itself were animated in a more tasteful way there wouldn’t be as much resistance to this show. Hoods Entertainment, the company who made it, do the series no favors when they choose to animate the drool, as being not at all dissimilar to other bodily fluids. The drool lingers, drips from fingers, forms puddles; in the opening theme animation, it even splashes like we’re suddenly in a hentai or something. It’s distracting. In Mysterious Girlfriend X, the exchange of drool comes to represent other possible exchanges of bodily fluids. The act is both literal and metaphorical. This is really what we are talking about, isn’t it?

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Tsubaki and Urabe both understand where their relationship will end up. Every time they exchange drool, they come to realize the fact of it. This is where we’re heading, this is what’s going to happen. But many of the 13 episodes are about the slow crawl toward that goal (in this series, that goal is unfulfilled). One episode finds Urabe going over to visit Tsubaki wearing nothing but a coat, because apparently this is a normal remedy for the common cold. Like Junko Nakano’s Chisa x Pon (though nowhere near as explicit), the series maps out how over time, they become more comfortable with each other. Whereas in the first few episodes, Urabe almost kills Tsubaki when he tries to hug her; near the end, it’s Urabe who demands that she be hugged.  There’s even a moment later on where in a fit of blind passion, Tsubaki licks Urabe’s ear, and she’s completely overwhelmed by the sensation. Although this sense of experimentation and play is lighthearted in the show, I believe the show takes absolutely serious the drives of the main characters. Tsubaki has nightly dreams about Urabe where they dance in some strange circus-like town (not hard to understand what’s happening there), and Urabe herself often finds herself blushing and testing her own limits regarding what she’ll do (one episode finds her stripping completely down and letting Tsubaki lick her drool while his eyes are closed). The way they approach the issue is unorthodox, sure, but everyone’s different. The show even provides a foil couple to accentuate how different they are.

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Although the show is relatively straightforward in its depiction of teenage confusion, hormones and love, there’s one really interesting strand that I haven’t mentioned. Tsubaki and his friend, Ueno, both get girlfriends during the show, but they insist on keeping this a secret. Whereas in other shows, there’d usually be a scene where everyone whispers about the new couple, in this show our main characters never acknowledge their girlfriends in any special way while they’re at school. While I don’t think this is done for any real reason by the characters, it betrays an uneasiness about their own sexual development. I couldn’t help thinking that they were hiding their relationships because it meant that they were growing up, that they were embarrassed by their sexual curiosity/progress/etc. And, yeah, it’s completely embarrassing. During this time in their lives, we have no idea what we’re doing. Tsubake and Urabe may understand the mechanics of where this is all going, but it doesn’t mean that they have any idea of what it means, of what it looks like, of what it feels like; and not knowing, looking foolish while you figure it out, is completely embarrassing. It’s easier to pretend you don’t have a girlfriend, because then you can keep that side of yourself completely separate from people’s image of you. The only one who can see you at your most vulnerable, most ridiculous, state is your Mysterious Girlfriend; and only she knows how much her drool turns you on.

How To Find It

Sentai Filmworks currently has the license for this series in North America. The show is available to stream on Crunchyroll.

Mysterious Girlfriend X (2012)

13 episodes

Hoods Entertainment

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