Nazo no Kanojo X – 03

Don’t ask me why they’re using English measurements or why the tick marks are at those specific points.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Mine was quite busy but in a good way, getting the chance to hang out with some of my fellow Metanorn bloggers on Skype, as well as a cold and rainy hike on Sunday. And hey, I still had enough time to find out the latest developments in the budding relationship between Akira and Mikoto, so can’t complain!

Enter the beta couple!

One day after school, Akira catches his friend Ueno (whose advice he sought last episode) kissing blank, who has secretly been his girlfriend since last year. He is still too embarrassed to let everyone know, so he has Akira promise to keep the secret. But seeing these 2 gets Akira’s mind on kissing, and when he’s going home with Mikoto the next day, he lets the secret out to her unsolicited. As if psychic, Mikoto asks him if he wants to kiss her, to which Akira eventually but confidently answers yes. That’s when she takes out the test tube.

Could it possibly be… a plot relevant panty shot!?

After a quick twirling dance – during which she flashes him her panties – she drools into the test tube and tells him to drink it before bed. Akira is confused but eager to try it out, going to bed extra early. He dreams of walking with Mikoto as he usually does, and she ends up nonchalantly kissing him while sharing a candy. He’s struck by having just shared his first kiss with her, telling her that he thought it should only come when they were properly connected. The next day, he mentions to Mikoto that he had a strange dream, and she pulls him aside and asks him again if he wants to kiss her. This time, he tells her the same thing as in the dream, and that he doesn’t feel that they’re there yet. Mikoto is happy, saying that she feels the same way.

Akira is now thinking of how to get closer to Mikoto. He’s still thinking during school chores the next day, when Ogata gets Mikoto alone to ask her out. She tells Akira this during their walk home, and she also tells him that she didn’t turn him down and had him wait a day for her answer. Akira wants to tell Ogata himself to back off, but Mikoto demands that he stay out of it. This turns on Akira’s jealousy full blast, and he spends all night worried that Mikoto might be thinking of dumping him.

Nice to see the boy act all insecure and “girly” for once.

Ogata pulls Mikoto aside again the next day, and she tells him to close his eyes. She sticks her saliva inside his mouth, which makes him surprised and confused but otherwise elicits no abnormal reaction. Seeing this, Mikoto briskly tells him no, that he has no shot with her. During their walk home, she tells Akira that she turned Ogata down, and though Akira is relieved, he finds his nose bleeding when he sucks on her saliva, much like in the abandoned building in the previous episode. She hands him her panties which she admits not to having worn all day, which has made her feel strange, explaining the extra strength of her saliva. That Ogata had no reaction to this told her that he wasn’t for her – only Akira is. Akira instinctively tries to embrace her, but Mikoto jumps out of his grasp again, reaching down to… remember that she didn’t holster her scissors today due to the lack of panties. Instead she just takes them out of her bag and taps him on the face, reminding him not to hug her without her permission.

How much funnier was this gag thanks to the silhouette use?

Nothing quite as beautiful as a girl in love

Mikoto is cool, but she’s not cold. Even she can blush.

She can even channel Kuronuma Sawako and summon those bubbles and sparkles too!

After watching this, I’m reminded of the line from The Tatami Galaxy, “Nothing else is as boring to tell as the story of successful love.” To this, Mysterious Girlfriend X responds, “well, not quite.” This very much appears to be a story of successful love, yet it is a fascinating watch. And though it certainly has its unique twists to help it out, the fun comes from the way it tells this story of successful love from Akira’s perspective.

It was cute to see Akira be so jealous upon hearing of Ogata’s confession. It’s funny to think, he has done so little with her as her boyfriend – not even having kissed, as this episode emphasized – but he values having her as his girlfriend so much that he’s losing sleep over what amounted in the end to nothing. Not unexpected from an adolescent boy like him, to whom love is still an enigma, something precious and enviable but also the source of such embarrassment that he keeps it a secret, even from Ueno after discovering his own secret love. There’s something mystical about this sort of relationship to him, sacred almost, as shown by his fascination with the first kiss that came with no fanfare in his dream.

It’s Mikoto’s role then to ground their relationship in reality by taking away the mystique. That first kiss isn’t something to hold on a pedestal or a goal to rush toward, it’s something that they do when they both feel comfortable. Love is about doing things at the pace that works for both of you, not about meeting some set of expectations. This was exemplified also in this episode with how Mikoto handled the confession. By all appearances, Ogata is a much better catch than Akira is, but he doesn’t find Mikoto’s saliva sweet, so he’s not the right fit for her.

A couple points of concern for me now that we are 3 episodes in are the way it handles the saliva exchanges and the pacing. The show has not let up at all in how it depicts the exchanges, lingering on each scene just as much as the first time, with the exaggerated sound effects and all. It’s starting to feel a little excessive. The toothbrush scene from Nisemonogatari was incredible because of how it celebrated its own absurdity, but it would have become disturbing if it had been featured in every single episode, you know? We’re not to the level that this is disturbing yet, but we’re getting close.

As for the pacing, I’m concerned it may be taking things a bit too slowly, but it’s nothing to knock the show about yet. The way Mikoto slowly hands out to Akira little steps in their relationship feels like part of a meta game the show is playing with us. It’s deliberate, asking us to celebrate first love through its awkward minutiae, not through the idealized images we might have of what it should be. Like Mikoto, this show refuses to fall for the magic. But that makes it all the more magical somehow, doesn’t it?

Preview

Mysterious Girl Meets Girl. Could we possibly be headed towards yuri territory? (spoiler: no)

About

A math/science geek and a self-dubbed cynical optimist. I don't care if it's deep, if it can make me feel something or laugh, it's fine in my book. @lvlln
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10 Responses to “Nazo no Kanojo X – 03”

  1. RABUJOI says:

    I’m loving this series and this was yet another excellent episode. A possible triangle with Ogata could have been excruciating (a la Kimi ni todoke), but things were kept very simple and wrapped up quickly: the saliva never lies.

    While Mokoto may seem a bit cool at times, the cheeky risks she’s taken to prove there’s a bond between them proves otherwise. This series is definitely making ‘successful love’ fun, novel, and exciting to watch.

    • lvlln says:

      Yeah, a love triangle can be good if handled well, but I don’t think that would fit in with this show’s main focus. It’s an exploration of the little steps beginning couples have to take in learning each other, and throwing a 3rd party into the mix would’ve made things too messy.

  2. Hime says:

    I love this show. It’s so awkward and weird but yet strangely makes sense…

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Seeing Mikoto actually blush is a good sign. For a while I thought she was just going to keep that ice cold facade of hers. It’s interesting the way she puts her emotions into her drool before giving it to Akira. But it was careless and risky what she did with Ogata and going commando all day which could’ve turned into big problems.

    This show continues to be slightly out of the ordinary. It’s pretty obvious Mikoto has the upper hand with Akira. The author has made her as mysterious to us as to him. I really like this since it has aspects to it that you don’t see very often!

    • lvlln says:

      The going commando bit reminded me of B Gata H Kei, another great anime about the awkwardness of first love, when Yamada decides to do the same thing also to get more turned on. Very funny, and I liked the foreshadowing in this episode with Mikoto in the bath, followed by all the shots of the wind threatening to blow up her skirt.

  4. Metalsnakezero says:

    I’m still wondering why she has a test tube in her bag. It like she knew Tsubaki was going to ask about kissing.
    Also epic slo-mo nosebleed.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Maybe before she transferred to her current school, Mikoto met boys like Akira who along the line had really close similarities and the test tube was just something she trying out.

    • lvlln says:

      There’s a lot that Mikoto seems to know, be prepared for, and be capable of, without any explanation. I think that’s just part of the package when it comes to this story. It’s a way of depicting the magic of first love. I don’t expect the show will go into explaining the mechanics. The magic is just there to serve the story.

      Much like how, for example, neither The Tatami Galaxy nor Groundhog Day bothered to explain why the time loops were happening.

  5. MYM says:

    It seems to be surprised that Urabe share with someone else other than tsubaki, XD means that some have not seen the manga, but let me say that if there was another person I could share a “loop” by Urabe also not dismiss that for her “with a person well enough” hehe I will understand what I mean when you see the episode 4 XD XD … Urabe I loveeeeeee youuu

  6. Bob from Accounting says:

    This show is so adorable! It’s been a while since I’ve felt so compelled to cheer on a fictional couple so much. Best of luck to you both, you little weirdos! :)

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