So, this marks my first foray into episodic blogging. Scary stuff. I don’t know how far I’ll be able to provide deep philosophical insights into each episode I blog, or whatever it is you guys usually look for in episodic blog posts, as I tend to be quite oblivious to hidden messages. I’m just gonna do what comes natural. I’m sure everything’ll all slot into place once I gain a little bit of experience!
So, the reason I chose to blog Nazo no Kanojo X over everything else this season is because, right from the start, I had a good feeling about it. It’s pretty much a given that Sakamichi no Appolon and Tsuritama are gonna be this season’s big winners but, I reckon this is gonna be one of the hidden gems, one of the shows nobody expected much from but, turned out to be amazing, and the first episode only reinforced this idea. I didn’t want to be blogging and hyping up something that’s already got tons of support but, one of the littler guys- far more satisfying don’t’cha think?
So, the long and short of it is, this is basically just a coming-of-age story, which sounds a little cliché but, the approach this show takes to exploring this is anything but. Instead of Tsubaki going on a big journey or, I dunno, becoming the Hokage, this show is basically the prelude to him losing his virginity. Definitely a more down-to-Earth take on the coming-of-age story. Which is fine. Makes the whole story more relatable. But, instead of going about this in a stereotypical, make-a-perverted-play-for-a-ton-of-girls-in-the-hope-one-of-them-is-insecure-or-slutty-enough-to-sleep-with-me -fashion, Nazo no Kanojo tells us the tale of a boy’s first love, in a way that’s pretty unconventional. The way in which Tsubaki begins to feel for Urabe, tasting her drool, and Urabe’s claims that his fever was actually withdrawal symptoms for the stuff is pretty strange. So much so that Tsubaki’s ridiculous theory there’s some kind of virus or bacteria in her drool actually seems more believable but, I really enjoyed this spin on first love. I compared this concept to Arakawa in my season preview, and I think that comparison still fits, as this show is about how love can deconstruct your sense of what’s logical, fitting, given the whole coming-of-age story largely involves having the way in which you see the world altered.
But, the show’s not just bizarre- it’s clever too! This episode really surprised me in that it was positively dripping in visual metaphors. They were everywhere! Some were more obvious, e.g. the flowers oozing with nectar, (think back to Biology guys, what is nectar?) symbolising their blossoming sexuality, (cringe, can’t believe I just said that!) whereas, some were more subtle, e.g. the shots to Urabe’s UFO pen and key-ring and the sci-fi movie posters dotted around Tsubaki’s wall, symbolising how strange and unfamiliar all this icky love business is. And the way Urabe’s eyes were covered most of the time is a technique Nichibros also used to emphasise the male view that girls are so far removed from them they seem almost inhuman, alien even. This whole other-worldly theme was even reinforced by the music which, for want of a better word, felt very space-y. Oh, it was all very clever.
Now for our two main characters. Thankfully, (as the show focuses on their relationship) the pair’s personalities complement each other. Tsubaki is a typical, awkward-around-girls teen however, Urabe’s so forward and blunt it leaves little room for his dilly-dallying. Her personality actively encourages him to be more open himself, it’s really sweet actually. The scene where he tore that other girl’s photo did make me “Aw” a little before the romantic atmosphere was promptly ruined by Urabe drooling everywhere. God, she’s weird. Which is brilliant- I love quirky characters! These two are sure gonna be interesting to watch, I just know it!
So, yeah, a good introductory episode. Now, I’m not gonna gripe about the old-fashioned character designs ‘cause I honestly couldn’t care less- didn’t impact on my enjoyment of the first episode in the slightest! Seriously, if you hadn’t planned to watch this because of that, (I know there are some who chose not to watch it for that very reason) more fool you! I seriously have this pegged as a strong contender for this season’s best show! And, you know, it’s not often I have such a good feeling about a show, my sixth-sense when it comes to anime is often far more damning. I don’t know about you but, I definitely take that as a good sign!