「謎の彼女”」 (Nazo no Kanojo)
If you can wipe the drool away, what’s left is a 90s-throwback anime that bypasses 26 episodes of flirting. This is Nazo no Kanojo X.
Within the first few minutes of watching the first episode, the time period this anime pays homage to is clear. The art style features a more rough, scribbly, angular feel, filled with slightly washed-out colors. The pupils of characters dilate themselves without indicating mad rampage, the body proportions not of ridiculous ratios. The music features no electronic sounds; it’s all either computer generated sounds of actual instruments or the real deal. Especially of note is the ED, which says to me, “I’m cute, but I’m not overflowing with it.” I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but the pop-jazz-funk tune helps me cool down. I actually didn’t like the song the first time I heard it, but after the second or third playthrough, the song started to grow on me, as did Ayako’s singing voice. Collectively, this anime is a great throwback to the past that reminds me of the tone Kare Kano (English: His and Her Circumstances) brought almost 13 years ago.
However, the 90s side of this show is only the artful half of this anime. The other half is partly why most of you came to watch this first episode, partly why VA fans should continue to watch this show, and partly why ALL of us should continue to watch.
VA fans, the weirdness hooked you in, but Urabe Mikoto’s seiyuu, Yoshiani Ayako, will keep you in place. It was when I first heard her laugh that I first fell in love with her voice. It was a breath of fresh air being uncanned, a voice that had something not overused to bring to the table. VA fans, I am taking a bet: this is a seiyuu you should be looking forward to, of whom you should give your support. This is her first role in anime EVER (beforehand, she had some minor roles in dramas), and…wow…she sure did choose an interesting place to start. Her voice isn’t something classified into the cute or the cool: it’s different. She conveys that dulled, yet not dull image of Urabe quite well. Her laughing? Fantastic. Her bluntness? Sharp. Cute? In her own weird way…yes. To be quite honest, I am not one who follows VAs most of the time, but her voice struck a chord with me. Personally, it’s a refreshing sound to hear, and I personally cheer her on as the first VA I’ve ever really paid attention to.
But what about if you don’t really care for the VAs? Easy: you can stay for the story that just bypassed into the stories of actual girlfriends and boyfriends in ONE episode.
I could use this post to talk about just how dreamy, how bizarre, and how outright gross the series can be, but if you’ve seen the screens or watched the show, anything I say you probably thought as well. This show is weirdness not for the faint. I’m not saying if you can’t tolerate Higurashi you can’t tolerate this, but it’s definitely something that people have told me have made them squirm or go “wtf”. However, that’s not the interesting part.
What’s really interesting is the refreshing ground that Girlfriend X is focusing on: the dynamics of the boyfriend and girlfriend AFTER confession. Yes, Ano Natsu de Matteru may have brought a mighty insight in the immediate events before and after a confession, but Girlfriend X bypasses that stage in one episode, leaving 12 more episodes to focus on an area that is, in my opinion, highly neglected.
The last anime I can remember that actually spent a majority of its airtime focusing on relationship dynamics was…you guessed it: Kare Kano. Both get the buildup toward the relationship over with. Both spend the majority of their time actually examining how a relationship buds over time. Both spend the time highlighting the struggles one faces in a relationship. I could go on for a whole post why this dynamic is overlooked in anime, but I’ll keep it brief and the rest for another post. So much romantic anime nowadays focuses way too much on the flirting and the hints, often making the resolution vague so there can be room for MORE flirting! If you’re looking for a romance that doesn’t focus on that for once and/or Ano Natsu has left you in relapse, this show is for you.
Weird overtones? Yes. Panty scissors? Oh yes. Plenty of spit to go around? Mmmhm. However, we will also have lots of character dynamics to examine, lots of symbolism to see. Lots of things for us to discover after we wipe the drool from our vision. Girlfriend X hopes to provide some important details on what exactly does happen after two people come together in love, even if that coupling is pretty darn weird.
As always, check the alt-text! Hover your mouse over those pictures! ^_^
ED: 「放課後の約束」 (Hōkago no Yakusoku) by 吉谷 彩子 (Yoshitani Ayako)