Sometimes the strangest things prove to be the biggest attraction. Including someone else’s drool?
What They Say:
When the oddly peculiar Mikoto Urabe transfers into Akira Tsubaki’s class, he finds that life has thrown him the weirdest curve ball ever. While Urabe may be an anti-social loner who sleeps on her desk, carries a pair of scissors in her underwear, and breaks out in sudden fits of insane laughter, there’s something about her that Tsubaki just can’t quite put his finger on. …Until he accidentally puts his finger in it, and suddenly the phrase “sharing spit with a girl” takes on an entirely new meaning!
Before he can wipe her drool off his face, Tsubaki is mysteriously addicted to Urabe, which isn’t half as strange as the fact that she not only finds this normal, but already seems to have plans for her new drooling boyfriend. So, can a girl spitting in your face ever be a GOOD thing? Is this relationship bound for disaster or great expectorations? Find out as Urabe puts a spittle love in Tsubaki’s heart and things get REALLY bizarre!
Contains episodes 1-13.
The audio presentation for this release brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo along with a new English language dub, both of which are encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is one that is essentially all dialogue driven so it doesn’t get to flex itself all that much, but a few of the music cues and some of the minor action pieces with the scissors and the like gives it a bit of a fun feeling with the clarity of it all and the whooshing sounds. The dialogue is where all the fun is and it handles it well with some good placement and a few areas of depth here and there. But by and large its a straightforward center screen mix and it does it well by keeping it easy, clean and clear throughout with no problems such as distortions or dropouts during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2012, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The thirteen episodes is spread across two discs with nine on the first and four on the second, which also has the minor extras. The series, animated by Hoods Entertainment, has a really great look about it with its color palette and overall design. The transfer here is one that comes across very clean and problem free with only a minimal amount of noise in some of the backgrounds. With most of the show taking place during the day and only a few areas of atmospheric scenes, it’s got a great look that that is just beautiful in high definition. The show works with some very clean character designs, especially in their faces, and it definitely pays off here. The vibrancy of the colors is great and the detail shines through well throughout.
The packaging for Mysterious Girlfriend X comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that holds both discs against the interior walls. The front cover goes for moody and mysterious as it has Urabe and Tsubaki together with some dark oranges that sets the urban background. The show is actually a lot lighter and more appealing with its color design than you get from this here, but the cover plays up the mysterious side of it pretty well. The back cover uses some of the same colors in general but in a different way so we get a good mix of black, white and orange as it shows off some cute shots from the show and a good look at Oka. The premise is covered well and the discs extras and episode count is made clear. There’s a lot of text for the premise but it covers things well. The production credits are clean and clear and the technical grid lays things out accurately. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this series is a lot of fun as it keeps things pretty in theme, which can be a little creepy in some ways. The navigation is where it’s all kept along the right where the strip is done as a piece of drool sliding down, which looks great when you access it during regular playback. The main colors used work surprisingly well with the orange, black and white within the drool and the way that selecting things causes the scissors to appear suddenly. The main screens are static and they definitely play up the fanservice where on the first volume it has Oka and Urabe together in their gym uniforms in the classroom playing up the physique side. It’s rather adorable in its own way but it also goes for sexy as best as it can.
The extras for this release are all on the second disc where we get the always welcome standards in the clean opening and closings as well as the original Japanese promos and previews for the series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga by Riichi Ueseba, Mysterious Girlfriend X is a thirteen episode series that aired in the spring season of 2012. I had missed the show during its simulcast run as someone else reviewed it, but it was a pretty polarizing show by all appearances because of its premise and how it played out. The show got me interested early on because of the design style of it and the animation by Hoods Entertainment. With a softer approach to the character designs and more rounded faces in general, it stands out against most of the designs being used these days and it just adds to a certain innocent feeling to them all. Between that and the color palette, I really found myself just enjoying the animation and look of the show from the get go.
The series gives us another high school world but one where it keeps the cast relatively small but weird. We’re introduced to the decent kid Akira Tsubaki, a second year student who is generally liked but isn’t a standout. He lives with his older sister who is in her early twenties and basically takes care of him, filling in for the mother role that’s empty since she had died when Tsubaki was young. They both live with their father as well, but he only makes a minor appearance in the last episode. Tsubaki’s home life isn’t given a lot of time spent on it, but it’s one that feels like it’s pretty stable and loving but not with any kind of overdone material or creepy factor. Which is more common than it should be in shows today which is getting a little draining.
Where his life goes in an unexpected direction is with the arrival of a new transfer student, an attractive if dark young woman named Mikoto Urabe. With her bangs hanging low and a dark attitude to her that’s very off balance for everyone else, such as sleeping through her lunches, talking little to anyone and just laughing out loud at nothing that anyone else can her, she makes quite an impression over the first few weeks. Where things get really intriguing – and disturbing – though is when Tsubaki comes into the classroom and finds her asleep there after school is over. After waking her and sending her on her way, he is drawn to the drool she left on her desk and actually takes a lick of it, discovering that it’s very, very sweet. It’s a strange sequence and yes, it’s hard to imagine why he’d do it. But the result of it says a lot as he ends up quite sick for the next several days, leaving him in a bad place at home.
What’s discovered is that the drool has created a bond between Tsubaki and Urabe where he’s been in a withdrawal over not getting more. That doesn’t factor into the show much after the initial aspect since the two of them end up coming into a strange little relationship because of it. Urabe views that because he felt that way, went into withdrawal, that there must be something there between the two of them. And that has them slowly developing… something. They technically start up as boyfriend and girlfriend, but it’s kept on the down low since she doesn’t want it out there as Urabe is a very private person. And because of that, there’s a lot of slow exploration about just how odd Urabe has, something that is never truly gone into as to why. Which is of course a whole lot of the mysterious part of the title.
The series works in a fairly episodic manner overall as we get the relationship explored bit by bit and that has them coping with all sorts of situations, but mostly ones that keep them in close proximity with each other or with some interesting temptations that come Tsubaki’s way. He finds himself uncertain about Urabe at first, but the more time he spends with her, the more drawn he is to her. And the more they share the drool, odd as it is, the more they understand each others emotions and feelings and that shifts the dynamic between the two in very different ways. Urabe’s definitely a challenge for a lot of it since she wants things to be on her terms, and he believes it’s mutual, but there’s a distance that comes between them physically. It’s interesting to see how she keeps him at arms lengthy, literally a lot of the time, but they have such closeness because of the drool that she regular puts in his mouth on her finger.
One of the things that plays heavily to my enjoyment of this series, beyond the way the story works and that it does keep it pretty close and with interesting characters, is the style of animation. It may be cliche, but with the softer features and rounder faces, and especially how the two leads look, it feels like a show that harkens back to the 80’s but with all the production qualities of today. That blend has been appealing for several years now and with what it does here, it softens the “disturbing” nature of how the two interact at times with something friendly and more accessible. It also helps that outside of a few dramatic scenes with heightened atmosphere, it’s kept to a pretty ordinary daytime palette with bright skies and the usual school colors. The visuals for the series are simply hugely appealing, and it’s made all the more so when the fanservice hits on those occasions where it stands out more because of it, rather than being a constant staple.
Mysterious Girlfriend X is the kind of show where everything came together in a way that simply clicked perfectly for me, even if the premise is one that makes you cringe and write it off as another absurd Japanese idea given too much free reign. While it does have that initial awkwardness of “why?” to it, once it gets rolling it just drew me in more and more as we had a pair of characters, and another couple along the way, that dealt with the unusual romance and relationship that exists with all the quirks that come with it. When you look at the kinds of distances that were imposed that run in contrast to the heightened intimacy of sharing drool, yeah, it sounds weird as hell, but there’s a rich character story here that thankfully never gets bogged down with so many of the cliches of the characters pasts. We get the here and now, who they are, and what they’re feeling towards each other brought to the surface. I wasn’t sure what to expect here but I came away absolutely loving the show and very, very hopeful we can get another season out of it sometime to see more of the whole cast.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Japanese Preview, Japanese Promos
Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.