Question: What do scissors, high school and saliva have in common?
Ha ha ha ha ha.
Oh, you poor deluded fools.
Mysterious Girlfriend X is a story about young love, through the power of drool.
That might be a bit much to swallow, so I’ll explain.
Akira Tsubaki is just an average high schooler: he has an average life, average grades, average friends – so far, so predictable. One day a student, Mikoto Urabe, transfers to his school. She’s a bit weird.
She falls asleep at her desk, has fits of laughter for no reason, and generally makes herself a social outcast within five minutes of her arrival. And she wields scissors (which she keeps in her panties) with deadly accuracy.
Hmm, a basket case high school student with long bangs that often cover her eyes? That sounds kind of familiar…
One day, Urabe sleeps past the end of school, and is woken by Tsubaki. She leaves, but something gets left behind – a puddle of saliva.
For whatever reason, Tsubaki thinks it’s a great idea to lick her spit.
For the next few days he becomes bedridden with a fever, until Urabe visits him, revealing that he is suffering from withdrawal from consuming her saliva, and that he must ingest some of it every day from that point forward. Not only that, but by tasting each other’s drool they can transfer their emotions and thoughts to one another.
Naturally, they become boyfriend and girlfriend, because why wouldn’t they?
Thus begins a kind of gross romance, though I have to say: this romance ain’t half bad. Surprisingly, the dialogue and situations are quite well written, despite the odd setup for the series, and it is genuinely sweet and funny at times. Sure, it never really stops being uncomfortable, but the writing is still solid. Reminds me of another series…
However, there are some things about this series that bother me. Firstly, the series makes a big song and dance about Tsubaki and Urabe keeping their relationship secret from everyone without really giving any satisfactory reason other than “She’s the weird girl…?” I can understand not sharing the whole “I lick her spit every day” thing, but why doesn’t Tsubaki tell his best friend? His girlfriend figures it out easily and even shares the drool bond (another thing which isn’t really explained, but I’m willing to accept ‘magic’ as a reason for this), so why bother keeping it a secret? There are so many situations in the series (like some of the other guys in Tsubaki’s class skeeving on Urabe) that could easily be solved by Tsubaki saying “That’s my girlfriend, guys. Not cool.”
But then I guess we wouldn’t have a series, so what do I know?
Another annoying thing is that the relationship, while reasonably compelling to watch, never actually progresses much. You would think that the big climax of the series would be their first kiss, but guess what? It never happens. I looked up the manga. It ran for ten years. They never kiss. Not once. Lame.
Still, as I’ve already said, there’s a lot to like in this series if you simply live in the moment and let it happen. The voice acting is predictably good, with lead performances from veterans Josh Grelle, Greg Ayres and Brittney Karbowski. They’re maybe a little overused in anime these days, but talent is as talent does. You won’t hear me complaining.
Familiar faces Carli Mosier and Cynthia Martinez also fill in as side characters, but I wasn’t a big fan of their work in this particular series – they both sounded alike, and it wasn’t a good likeness to begin with: strained-high pitched, frail voices as if a pixie was trying to hold a conversation in a wind tunnel.
However, Genevieve Simmons, a relatively unknown actress (to me, I’m aware she’s been in a bunch of stuff), steals the show as Urabe. She provides just the right amount of dry, emotionless dialogue, but can also pull off more humorous, quirky and emotional scenes. A particular highlight of mine is a scene in which Tsubaki accidentally makes her cry – the writing and both Simmons and Grelle’s performances are really striking.
Visually, Mysterious Girlfriend X is clearly attempting to harken back to a more nostalgic style of animation, similar to that of the anime industry of the 1990s. While I’m openly not a huge fan of the style used in older animes, I think the overall tone of this series fits the old-school aesthetic tremendously. The animation itself isn’t anything startling, but it isn’t offensive to the eyes either.
The music of the series follows a similar path – it’s not amazing, but still pleasant. The incidental music reminds me a bit of old Miyazaki films, or Animal Crossing – lots of horns and acoustic guitars. The opening and closing themes work – they don’t make me overly hyped up to see the episode, but they also don’t make me want to stop watching. Again, the key word here is pleasant.
Overall, I’d have to say I enjoyed Mysterious Girlfriend X. It might not have the best ending in the world, or the most astonishing art style, but it’s a unique concept, and what the hell else do I watch anime for if not that?
A sweet, if a bit gross, romance tale, Mysterious Girlfriend X is well worth your time if you don’t mind a bit of drool. It’s not exactly Attack on Titan, but it walks its own path and won’t let you down for an afternoon of pleasant viewing.