Urabe: When something makes me really happy, saliva overflows from my mouth.
… Wrong hole girl.
Mysterious Girlfriend X belongs to one of those ecchi shows that attempts to lure people in with a fetish. We have one about peeping toms of pantsu (Colorful), one about clubbing girls to the head, to the point they pee themselves (Fight Ippatsu! Juuden-Chan), one about necrophilia (Sankarea), and now one about licking other people’s drool. Yes, sounds disgusting as hell but supposed there is an anime for all tastes and these are supposed to cover those reeeeeally particular ones. The problem of course lies in the fact they are soooo specific at what they are about, they are extremely hard to be enjoyed by anyone who is not into that sort of fetish. And surely, you must have some really sick mind to enjoy licking other people’s spit. YUUUUUCK!
Ok, the truth is that there is reasoning behind all this deviance and if you somehow manage to get into its insane mindset you may even appreciate the show for what it’s all about. In this case it is pure sexual frustration to the point you find stimulation with substitutes rather that the actual thing. The rest of the paragraph is psychological mambo jumbo so skip it if you feel bored. When you believe you are incapable to please a woman in bed (something commonplace amongst virgins, people with low esteem, those who are mocked and bullied a lot, or simply all Japanese people, lol) you may end up feeling incapable of being horny at all so you find pleasure in fantasizing you are great in bed with several sex toys. And to help that illusion to work better you need some of her personal belongings that have her scent on them. The most usual fetishes are underwear and shoes but in this particular show it is body fluids, and more specifically saliva. Since intercourse involves the exchange of body fluids, in the mind of the subject licking them is a fine way to fantasize they are doing a deep tongue technique to the owner of those fluids.
Now about the actual anime, it starts in a most direct way by telling you the main characters are weird. Nothing unexpected from teenagers (especially Japanese characters) but these definitely have a few more loose screws than most. The lead boy has that low esteem virgins do and the lead girl is a plain psycho, so they end up in a weird relationship where he gets addicted to her drool and she is more than willing to provide him with it because … um, she is weird; the end. The premise is indeed out there and I guess that is what would attract most people to give it a shot. It sure sounds more interesting than some run of the mill ecchi or romance anime, that’s for sure.
The above of course counts for the premise of a show and not about the plot. Although the initial hook of ecchis and romances is usually very strong, their fishing lines tend to break up easily after a few episodes, since almost always there isn’t any progress in the initial idea of the story. They lay it out, they promise you great things to come out of it, they excite you to watch further, and then … nothing happens. Typical to ecchis and harems the relationships go nowhere and they sure as hell don’t show sex, something of which was even promised in the end of the first episode. That’s how it is with typical anime, they are so polarized to either hentai where you get non-stop sex scenes or a long winded story of romance where you get nothing but blushing and a few kisses at best. In this case you get neither, since the drool ends up being the substitute for both sex AND kisses. That’s right, sucking up fingers full of saliva is all you get. Supposed because kissing too simple and boring so there is no reason to do it.
So basically you will be enjoying this show for as long as the drooling jokes are still funny to you and you are not bothered by the complete lack of actual progress. Because that is the only thing that makes the main couple to feel a little bit different than pretty much any standard romance out there. Furthermore they are constantly trying to present Urabe as a mysterious girl that needs to be studied and see what she thinks of the lead guy. Sometimes she will be acting like an alien, others like a black ops agent, others as crazy, and others as simply a girl with a crush on him. You are never given a clear picture and because of the non-existent development any hints that are offered mean absolutely nothing. They are there to keep you guessing but never really offer anything. As soon as the feeling of deza vu starts to kick in though, you will start to like it progressively less and chances are you will lose interest before you even get to the second half.
Of course if you try to find some deeper meanings you might find out how the show’s main focus is not deviance but rather a slow procedure towards understanding one another. Subtle hints about the saliva making you see the thoughts of the other one, or the reasons behind Urabe’s weirdness seem to weight a lot more than waiting for them to kiss. But as I said it is all way too basic and even disgusting for most to bother looking for those deeper meanings. Do you think there will be many who will consider this an unorthodox show around two lovers trying to communicate? They will see saliva, a promise for sex that will never come, otaku baits, and that’s it. The hook of the show ends up overshadowing its attempt to be anything more than sick entertainment. Take for example Kare Kano, a show with much similar themes that doesn’t try to lure you in with deviance. Its appeal was purely artistic and despite its simplicity in plot and eventual degradation in the second half, it is still a far more likable and interesting show to this one.
Other than that, the production values have a very retro feeling to them, as if the original manga was made in the 80’s. This seems to fit with the style of the director, since Watanabe Ayumu has only made old style shows, such as Doraemon movies and Space Brothers. The characters are drawn in a simple way and the backgrounds have basic outlay but colored in a way to feel almost elegiac and fitting to the theme of the show. The music themes are following a similar feeling by being soft and nostalgic. It looks nice to look at coming from a minor animation studio such as Gansis. I also liked Urabe’s voice actress; this is her debut work and she sounds really special and fresh compared to the tired rehashes we get from the so called veterans.
In all, it is definitely not your average ecchi comedy or school romance but it fails to keep you interested for more than a few episodes, and the whole drool thing can easily turn you off. A distinctive show thanks to its hidden themes but far from great for messing up its priorities. The themes end up being more important than both the characters and the story, thus it is very easy to be bored and drop it midway.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 1/2 (basic)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (nice colouring to make it look elegiac)
SOUND SECTION: 6/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 2/4 (typical)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (very loose)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (doesn’t exist)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (none)
Catharsis 0/2 (none)
VALUE SECTION: 3/10
Historical Value 0/2 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 2/4 (the drool thing makes it a bit memorable but otherwise nothing much)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 1/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical)
Sound 0/2 (sounds typical)
Story 1/3 (an interesting premise that heads nowhere)
Characters 0/4 (they are typical and don’t develop)