Tuesday, 04 September 2012 20:35
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I can understand the appeal of the mysterious transfer student - been there, fallen for her, done the awkward relationship thing (a long time ago). But when said mysterious transfer student has a strange thing for drool and carries a pair of very sharp scissors tucked into her underwear, maybe she's just a little too strange to mess with..?
High-school student Tsubaki Akira is strangely drawn to lick the saliva of Urabe Mikoto, the mysterious girl who's just transferred into his class. The next day, Tsubaki is bed-ridden with a inexplicable fever that won't break. Five days later, Urabe makes an unexpected visit to his room and tells him to lick her saliva again, after which his fever immediately breaks. It seems that his first contact with her bodily fluids has left him with a bad case of addiction...
First I've heard that saliva is addictive, but there you go - one of the wonderful things about entertainment is that it can make things up as it goes along. Strangely, Urabe doesn't seem at all put out by Tsubaki's illicit tasting of her bodily fluids - in fact, there's the promise of more of it once Urabe realises that he's acquired quite the taste for it. On the other hand, when it comes to public displays of affection, Urabe takes a much more hardline approach - while she hold outs the promise of eventual sex (Tsubaki will be the first person she sleep with, she openly declares in the first episode), until the time is right there'll be no unauthorised touching - which is where those scissors come in, ready to be wielded with frightening skill should he step out of line.
This is most definitely not your regular teenage relationship.
Added to this already-complex mix are further complications in the forms of Oka - the girlfriend of Tsubaki's best friend, who grows ever more curious about Urabe as time goes on; and Hayakawa, a girl that Tsubaki used to have a crush on who's returned as a blast from the past to put some temptation in his path. Oka, I have to say, is probably the best character in the series - with a highly-developed sense of mischief and a knack at unsettling Urabe (probably the only person who's able to do that to her), she acts as the wooden spoon who's constantly stirring things up between Urabe and Tsubaki - never in a bad way, more in the way of prodding her classmates on to developing their relationship at a quicker pace than would happen naturally. She's also a top-class tease, and some of that nature eventually rubs off on Urabe - to the enjoyment of both Tsubaki and the audience.
Hayakawa is less interesting - on the rebound from her last boyfriend, she remembers Tsubaki and latches onto him as someone she knows won't push her away, but she's a lot less developed than Oka and really not up to challenging Urabe's status. But she does prove the catalyst for one or two memorable scenes where Urabe does her best to make sure that both Hayakawa and Tsubaki know who's boss, which makes her inclusion worthwhile.
As for Tsubaki and Urabe... Really, they're just two typical teenagers going through all the awkwardness and uncertainty that surrounds relationships when you're that age. I was there once, and it's familiar territory. The drool thing, while quite gross in some ways (the way it's animated is almost deliberately squick), is just a gimmick, a way of giving the series a unique selling point and providing a communications channel, for want of a better description, between Urabe, Tsubaki and Oka that shortcuts their inability to actually talk openly about their feelings. Taken that way, it's actually quite clever - if you can get past the feelings of revulsion that the drool naturally produces.
I got more out of Mysterious Girlfriend X than I was expecting to. Like many shows these days, the summary you get up-front emphasises the shocking USP ("THEY DRINK EACH OTHERS' DROOL!!"), when the show itself is really more restrained and, believe it or not, quite intelligent, with the general awkwardness of the relationships being relatable. Once you get past the drool, it's actually surprisingly enjoyable. Worth a look.