Boy am I grateful this episode was an improvement on last’s- after all that hyping I did of the show during my first two posts on it, it would have been terribly embarrassing for it to have churned out another let-down. This week’s episode, as with the ones before it, contained plenty of symbolism but, I was particularly impressed by what was being eluded to this week, stigmata.
I was surprised to see this week’s episode try something completely new. Instead of focusing on the development of Urabe and Tsubaki’s relationship, it focused on the development of the friendship of Oka, a character whose only purpose up until this point was to make Tsubaki all wistful about a more physical relationship with his girlfriend, and Urabe. This turn of events inspired many interesting trains of thought.
Up until this episode I hadn’t given much thought to Urabe’s preference to isolate herself. Strange, given that this show, for the most part, seems to have a reason behind the inclusion of the smallest detail. But, Urabe’s insistence that she doesn’t need friends made me consider the above point for the first time. Perhaps something happened to her, or her friends, in the past? That would certainly explain it. This idea is consolidated by the revelation that sharing her drool with another can also cause the recipient to develop the same wounds as her, which brings me to my main point.
I have a vague recollection of hearing others seeing a religious subtext in Nazo no Kanojo but, never have I witnessed such a thing myself, until this episode. I may just be reading too much into this but, the first thing which sprang to mind when Oka suddenly developed the same wounds as Urabe was ‘stigmata’. That is, when those who share a great sympathy with Christ develop wounds, marks or sensations of pain in the same locations as Christ’s crucifixion wounds. In the same way believers develop the same wounds as Christ due to the bond they share with Him, Oka and Tsubaki share many of Urabe’s wounds due to the bond they share with her. At first I was sceptical whether such a thing was even possible, Oka and Tsubaki developing the same wounds as Urabe simply by tasting her drool, that is, but, when you think of it in this religious light, it seems a little more plausible, and just goes to show just how strong a connection both Oka and Tsubaki have with Urabe.
I’m not sure what to think of Oka though, I can’t quite pin her down! She claims to want to be friends with Urabe because she is fascinated by her, which is fair enough but, everything she does for her, including feeding her, sharing drinks with her, letting her lick drool off of her finger; it all seems a little suggestive. This combined with several choice sweeps of the camera, such as those pans across Oka’s glossy lips and the shot of the droplets merging on the water bottle, made their interactions seem almost sensual. I, for one, am not convinced friendship is all she wants but, at the same time, I don’t see this show pursuing a yuri route either so I, again, could just be reading a little too much into this… *shrug*
An extremely interesting episode, a vast improvement on last week’s!