36 CommentsMetablogging / By Scamp /

Anicorpse First Impressions: Mysterious Girlfriend X

How far can curiosity take us? What does a single, absent-minded moment weigh? The decisions we wear can alter our lives in ways we can’t imagine. Bringing us to locales we never fathomed, consequences we never considered, love we never expected. Just a single moment, just a puddle of spit, and your life, too, could change, just like that. Tempted?

Well, maybe not quite. But for Akira Tsubaki, your average high school student who’s a bit of a sci-fi movie nerd, it’s not surprising that he decides to go for it. The mystery that Mikoto Urabe has to offer provides us a number of options to consider. Is she the source of the substance dependency? Or is it all in Tsubaki’s virgin psyche? Let us rule out the latter because, well as boys we’ve all been there… virgins and we didn’t turn into saliva junkies after our first kiss.

So in a sense, Mysterious Girlfriend X takes place in an idealized world. The elevation of not just sexual but emotional attraction to a unique physical response seems to speak to the uncertainty which can accompany a first love. This plays into the work’s larger themes regarding the ritualization of the taboo into the mundane. What society sees as strange behavior is realized in a sort of microculture containing just a few people, but is it valid to dismiss a culture merely out of an argument of numbers? As ritual becomes culture it becomes what society expects from normal humans.

Dutch anthropologist Johan Huizinga once wrote that our modern institutions are born out of a ritualization of basic human behavior. The centrality of drool in NazoKano deconstructs romance as standardized ritual, and, by association the standard notions of stereotyped romantic relationships in media in general are a target for critique. The general media perception is that anything beyond normal must come from characters who defy social norms. No normal person could be in that kind of twisted relationship. Here, we have a normal teenage boy entering into the most important relationship of his life in the most abnormal of beginnings. Urabe’s declaration of sexual intent jars the audience in its straightforward ripeness, as does Tsubaki’s ripping of his old crush’s photograph.

Both actions teem with an eccentric dramatic flair – and yet, seem natural in their own strange right. They over-brim with the budding sincerity of young love, the kind look that shone through Urabe’s eyes as the safety scissors stab-… No just kidding that didn’t really happen. But that does bring up largest mystery in my mind right now: what is with those scissors? Past the lol erodrool aspect the first ep of nazokano is actually pretty normal, and yet stands out from its genre peers with its bizarre and rather gut-turning use of metaphor.

Not that metaphors aren’t a staple of anime romcoms, the most obvious case being the nosebleed symbolising the rushing of blood to somewhere else. But the gushing of saliva to represent ‘extreme happiness’ is perhaps too obvious a metaphor for sexual excitement, but it’s not like the show is going for subtlety anyway. It reminds me of FLCL and KareKano which beat us over the head with their metaphors and ended up better thanks to it.

I suppose the old school aesthetic dovetails nicely with the occasionally seedy mood of the show, but said mood is often nullified by the extraneous amounts of sexual innuendos mainly perpetrated by the female lead. Most risque of all these situations has got to be, of course, Akira’s constant drinking of Mikoto’s drool is being played off as some kind of glorious, heart-fluttering moment in Akira’s life, reinforced by the recurrence of the subtle-like-a-badger-to-the-face flower and nectar imagery. Mysterious Girlfriend X’s grasp of subtlety is tenuous at best, and the drool-licking is a little icky, but its first episode is excellent.

*******************************************************

Confused? This is actually a group post compiled by 8C with writing from processr, SeHNNG, lvlln, emperorj, bitmap, Kylaran, bobbierob, R1CK_D0M, ghostlightningvucubcaquix, uncreativecat and of course myself, where we only knew the last 10 words of what the previous author wrote. First person to pick out the 50 words in this that are mine gets a cookie.

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33 Comments

  1. Posted April 13, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I just know that you didn’t say the thing about Kare Kano, since you didn’t watch that show.

  2. Posted April 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the stuff about society? It reminds me of your Arakawa posts. I could also see you writing this one:
    >No just kid­ding that didn’t really hap­pen.
    Ah, I’m going to be wrong anyways. It’s fun guessing, though. (Luffy’s probably going to get it right.)

    • luffyluffy
      Posted April 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

      I actually don’t have a single clue. I’m smart and all, but I’m rubbish at analyzing text.

  3. Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Damn, I guess I’m disqualified from the cookie due to my privileged information. I actually don’t think I could’ve guessed that that was your section.

  4. gw_kimmy
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    last paragraph

    *wild guess*

  5. Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    The third paragraph. The one Leah-san decided to go for could also be the right one.

    • Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      The stuff about society is the third paragraph… and I guess I’m sticking with that. It’s going to be wrong anyways, I know my luck

      • luffyluffy
        Posted April 13, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        okay i’ll cast my vote for three too, reading through it now it does seem like your kinda paragraph scamp-kun

  6. Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I would also rule out the parts around the two instances that are calling it by it’s weeaboo name, as NazoKano. (But that’s not sure, maybe you just had to play the wordcount?)

    The first of these also uses the word “deconstruction”, in a sense that you dismissed as it’s possible meaning in the Desu ex Machina comments, three month and four days ago.

  7. G.S
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I’d say the last paragraph, “the old school aesthetic” is what struck me. I remember you talking about the art style in the review, so it seems natural that you’d be the only one to bring it up again here. Or I could be very wrong and the “karekano” reference is actually from you, though not very likely. lol

    • G.S
      Posted April 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      Oh….and the sarcasm kind of rings a bell too. I mean “by the recurrence of the subtle-like-a-badger-to-the-face flower and nectar imagery”….hmmm

  8. 3242
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    >reading random post about mysterious girlfriend x
    >closes tab when done
    >comes here
    >why is this the same
    >sees end section
    >your 50 words is obviously “in a sense, Mys¬ter¬i¬ous Girl¬friend X takes place in an ideal¬ized world. The elev¬a¬tion of not just sexual but emo¬tional attrac¬tion to a unique phys¬ical response seems to speak to the uncer¬tainty which can accom¬pany a first love. This plays into the work’s lar¬ger themes regard¬ing the ritu¬al¬iz¬a-tion of the ”
    …Ithink

  9. Scamp
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Nope, none of you are right so far

    • 3242
      Posted April 13, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

      I knew it wasn’t the last one!
      Last part sounded sommat like you,
      but that would make you a liar
      the last part was only 42 words
      First part?

  10. Anonymous
    Posted April 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    The last paragraph, I guess.

  11. TheG4Be
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 12:09 am | Permalink

    I was going to say fifth paragraph… but then I realised, it refers to the show as “Nazokano”, which would by your definition be a so called “weeabo” name.

    So now I have no bloody clue.

    • 3242
      Posted April 14, 2012 at 12:55 am | Permalink

      Its every fifty words, not every paragraph that they switched.
      Fifth paragraph had 3 people writing in it,
      the first one running on from the 4th paragraph
      the last one running into the 6th paragraph.

      • G.S
        Posted April 14, 2012 at 3:30 am | Permalink

        *facepalm*…Obviously someone (me) didn’t read the instructions. I was under the assumption that it was divided by paragraphs. Okay, well…that makes more sense.

      • 3242
        Posted April 14, 2012 at 4:05 am | Permalink

        I am tempted to just go guess every section that hasn’t been guessed before scamp said we were all wrong since I really want that cookie
        Even if it isn’t real.

        Yep~
        I am surprised this post doesn’t jump off its line of thought much with all the writer switching they did though..

  12. G.S
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Darn it, I was so sure it would be the last one. So the Dutch Anthropologist one? If not, then I would feel very trolled.

  13. Posted April 14, 2012 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    That Dutch anthropologist did not go far enough in his assertion that ritualization is the basis of modern behavior. It is precisely the “scapegoat” mechanism that arises from a conflict between desiring parties. When the conflict turns into a contagion, society becomes at risk, and a person is singled out as a scapegoat for that society’s problems. He/she is expelled in order to solve the problem, and the cycle continues. This is clearly manifest in modern society in our mass media’s sensationalist coverage.

    Oh yeah, Mysterious Girlfriend X passes the acid test. :)

  14. Posted April 14, 2012 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    This was a fun read. This is also tough. In the end I’m going with:

    The gen­eral media per­cep­tion is that any­thing bey­ond nor­mal must come from char­ac­ters who defy social norms. No nor­mal per­son could be in that kind of twis­ted rela­tion­ship. Here, we have a nor­mal teen­age boy enter­ing into the most import­ant rela­tion­ship of his life in the most abnor­mal of begin­nings.

  15. Ian K
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    The fifth paragraph.

    Duh. I think y’all need to work on yer reading comprehension.

    • Ian K
      Posted April 14, 2012 at 1:47 am | Permalink

      Which is hilarious in light of the fact that I missed that someone had already guessed that paragraph.

  16. b
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    “declaration of sexual intent jars the audience in its straightforward ripeness, as does Tsubaki’s ripping of his old crush’s photograph. Both actions teem with an eccentric dramatic flair – and yet, seem natural in their own strange right. They over-brim with the budding sincerity of young love, the kind look that” ?

  17. Philippe
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    second paragraph ?

    ” vir­gins and we didn’t turn into saliva junkies after our first kiss. “

  18. Scamp
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Nope, still nobody has gotten in right

  19. bucuv
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I’ve got it! You wrote that really beautiful intro paragraph, didn’t you?

  20. OneDollar
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I vomit saliva when I’m happy.

  21. Posted April 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Lets see…..given the number of participants I’d say you haven’t written a whole paragraph each.

    I’m going to go with the stuff about symbolism so either the nosebleeds or nectar sections – they sound most like your writing style.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      WE HAVE A WINNER LADIES AND MENTLEGEN!!!

      Yup, the bit about the nosebleeds is my part

  22. Posted April 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Interesting take on a series that I’m still unwilling to watch. Despite going to places I shouldn’t have, this still struck me as unwatchable, for the time being. I’d want to guess, but 1) I don’t know your writing style well enough, and 2) the winner has been found.

    In light of this post though, I’m more likely to watch this now, since this got me thinking.

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