|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Nazo no Kanojo X
I've been following MGX manga for a couple of years now and was glad to see an anime version come out. But I have to admit that it doesn't translate as well to anime as I'd hoped, the sights and sounds associated with Tsubaki's "daily dose" were somewhat shocking even though I knew what was coming. The strange but warm relationship between the couple comes through, however, as Tsubaki and Urabe build their trust in each other, yet never quite get to first name or hand-holding stage. If you enjoy the anime I recommend you go read the manga, 13 episodes just scratches the surface.
Last updated Sunday, September 23 2012. Created Sunday, September 23 2012.
Nazo no Kanojo X
(Buy- or Rent+)|
(All episodes watched):
This was a show which left me with lots of questions after episode one. Why did Tsubaki think he ought to taste a stranger's drool? How did Mikoto know he had done so? Is this going to be a fanciful show, in which the saliva/love formula is left unexplained as a metaphor (like, was it really 'sweet', like sugar, or just 'pleasurable'?)? Or will this show attempt to offer some sort of plausible explanation (and what could that possibly be?)? Where could such a strange story go from here? So, I was left more bewildered than intrigued; but I must watch some more in order to get a grip on what's really going on. Mikoto seems a likeable character, since she is not outright crazy or anti-social, just zoned out and in her own little world most of the time. Otherwise, about the only thought that sprang to mind during episode one was that the character designs looked like something from a couple of decades ago, somehow.
In episode two I had an idea what to expect and rather than asking questions could enjoy the weirdness. No explanations presented themselves, but the show was entertaining anyway. Mikoto's behavior was amusing; the things she will and will not do with her boyfriend send mixed signals. But the sum total really does seem kind of sweet and touching. The show seemed to settle into a comfortable routine: strange things happen, but for the most part not impossible things, and Mikoto's behavior is good for a laugh. Tsubaki's quest to make sense of his mysterious girlfriend (and keep her secret from his friends) is interesting. I, too, want to know the answers behind her. This story may never be plausible, but it seems like fun. Sometimes odd behavior is a breath of fresh air. In order to be convincing, like Mikoto is, a character that's extremely unconventional has to not just do strange things but also have an original personality. It makes you wonder what makes them tick and why they think and act the way that they do. On the one hand there's inexplicable, 'magical' stuff going on here, like Mikoto's test of whether another guy would be a loyal boyfriend; on the other she clearly has feelings, and in a way the manner in which she acts makes her far more realistic and believable than the vast majority of 'normal' people who we meet in anime.
This show just has more to it than most. A pleasantly wacky character who just does and says strange things would be one thing, and, if done well, would be enough to carry a series to success. But, for better or worse, Nazo X goes even farther and the inexplicable, miracle-like things that happen here are something else. I just wish I understood this second aspect better, especially after the new character, Oka, appears and gets involved in it. The show seems to be going somewhere, I just don't know where that is. I might mention that I like both the OP and ED songs. Episode five, which involved a trip to the beach for Mikoto and Tsubaki, seemed to take a break from the main plot and have a different tone; a simple, whimsical one. Nothing radical happens, but we have gotten to know the two well enough that we can just enjoy them enjoying themselves. Episode six gets back on the track of developing Mikoto and Akira's romance, though it is moving at a crawl. Pretty much an entire episode is used to set up one meaningful and revealing comment by Mikoto. I'm not bored, this was worthwhile, but I wouldn't mind if things sped up a little.
If I were to describe this show to a newcomer who was curious about it, I guess I would say that it's about the romance between a pretty average guy and a strange girl who has mystic-like abilities to send and recieve emotions in unlikely ways. She can sort of read your mind by tasting your saliva. Maybe 99.999% of us simply aren't capable of this because we lack the necessary wisdom (or whatever) but something as innocuous as drool really does contain accurate indicators of emotions--that's my reasoning in order to suspend disbelief. It's unclear to what extent her abilities are supposed to be taken seriously. Mikoto doesn't seem to be a prophet or anything, just an odd girl with bizarre capabilities. But she's definitely not an airhead either. It makes me feel good to see her smile as she slowly opens up.
I still don't know how to describe this show, but it was without doubt the best series of the Spring 2012 season.
Last updated Thursday, September 27 2012. Created Saturday, April 14 2012.
|Buy 4||7||8||8||8||9||10||Devil Doll||[series:2203#752]|
Nazo no Kanojo X
[Score: 83% = minimum "Buy-"; other recommended non-fantasy teen romances: Suzuka, Kareshi Kanojo no Jijoo]|
A shy slice-of-life romance with many symbolic elements and weird fetishes, speeding up during the second half of the series, and certainly an interesting experience - once you get over the drool issue, that is. As in Tsubaki's dream this whole show is a slow dance with small steps forwards, so don't expect a lot of development but prepare for an exciting ride during the last third of the season.
This mysterious romantic comedy is so very different from the myriads of boobs-in-your-face shows that I am flabbergasted. Right when I thought there were no new stories to be told in anime, I found one. Ultimately, this is about communication, not unlike Shin Seiki Evangelion, and as such I'm the target group.
The story did have a chance to become a complete fail: The saliva issue aside (and the ending of episode 1 was not for the faint of heart), my biggest worry for the storyline was that it might use supernatural elements to provide a detailed explanation for Urabe's astounding abilities, thus following a path we had too many times in anime already, sacrificing all credibility at the altar of Fantasy. Knowing most of the manga now, fortunately this isn't going to happen.
The way this series combines assorted manga chapters (from different volumes even) and creates consistent episodes from these, eliminating some repetitive elements and occasionally even putting a story to a more plausible position within the time line, makes this anime an improvement over the already interesting manga (skipping only a few stories of minor importance).
Then again, the presentation of the drool scenes with both visual and aural elements make them harder to endure than in the manga which may put off a part of the audience. This core subject of licking a girl's drool is certainly not a tasteful one, and even more so as it isn't just a one-time event but becomes the groundwork of the bond between the two leads; it is far from being in KissXSis (TV) territory though. It may work best for the audience to take both key elements (drool and scissors) metaphorically (for strong mutual empathy and haphephobia), and focus on the character relations instead.
What made me commit to this series (and read 9 manga volumes during the first weeks of this show) is Urabe, the lead girl. Mysterious as she is, she's an interesting character with a powerful voice, anything but a damsel in distress, instead she's the one setting the pace of the story with ever new surprising actions. Her seiyuu YOSHITANI Ayako has her first appearance in anime (but has been a TV actress since elementary school), and she gives a lot of life to this girl. Her boyfriend Tsubaki-kun may be one of those clueless males at first but he's sincere about his feelings, bears with Urabe's eccentric behavior and learns his lessons the hard way during the later episodes of this series.
The childish character design reminds me of Aa! Megami-sama! OVA (that being a 19 years old release), making it difficult to take the characters serious, as they're supposed to be high-schoolers at the age of 17. I also dislike the jazzy ED song but got gradually used to the OP. On the other hand, the drama development gets an almost perfect selection of manga chapters including a beautiful yet anime-like ending. In the end, there's enough substance to make up for the technical elements, and thus the show conquered a top ranking within my anime romance list.
Last updated Sunday, February 17 2013. Created Tuesday, April 10 2012.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/nazokano_x/story/|