‘Skeptical’ is the word which best sums up my feelings when I sat down in front of my laptop and prepared myself to watch the Nazo no Kanojo X OVA. I’ve had a less than savoury experience with OVAs in the past, finding they do little to add to the show, existing mainly to provide fans with the excessive fanservice forbidden by the show either due to the time it airs on TV or by the fact they had to stay suitable for their target audience- and considering Nazo no Kanojo’s pushed boundaries within its TV show (which are always, comparatively, more reserved)… well, can you understand my cause for concern? I was also worried it wouldn’t make up for the slightly boring finale of the show, but stupid me, I should’ve learnt from experience that it’s pointless making any kind of pre-conceived assumptions when about to watch Nazo no Kanojo- ‘cause it will always end up doing something completely out of the left field! Still, there was fanservice… But that’s almost a given in OVAs today, isn’t it?
But the fanservice actually wasn’t that bad! It wasn’t flagrant and all in your face like in, say, the Highschool of the Dead OVA, or any of the Code Geass picture specials. There were a few lingering shots of Urabe’s butt, an almost nude shot of Tsubaki’s sister, a scene where Urabe was tied up (it works for some) and the fact Urabe wasn’t wearing panties underneath her yukata, but that was about it. It was about the same level of ‘ecchi-ness’ as in the TV show, and there wasn’t any of that sleazy saxophone music playing in the background during any of these moments, as if to say “Yeah, fyi, this is supposed to be sexy!”, so you barely noticed it really, it certainly didn’t hamper upon my overall enjoyment of the OVA. As I always say, fanservice is OK, so long as it’s not excessive and distracts away from story.
As for the story… Well, it started off a little dull, but things really started to pick up about 10 minutes through when Urabe was held hostage by two, very strange, individuals who force Tsubaki to complete a test in order to save her. The test itself (which I originally perceived to be simply fanservice) was, in typical NNK style, a metaphor! Yay!! When he first attempts to save her Urabe wards Tsubaki off, telling him not to come to close to her, which, ironically, is exactly what Tsubaki must do if he’s to save her, come close to her, not physically, but emotionally. If he’s to pick the correct string to free her, he’s going to need to tap into that mystical ‘couple sense’ where you just know what to do to help the one you love. At this point I was almost frothing at the mouth in excitement- yes, that’s something they struggled with throughout the entire show: Urabe always kept Tsubaki at arm’s length, rarely sharing how she felt, something which I felt held them back, but this was something she needed to overcome to save herself! I was hoping Urabe’d say that it was OK for Tsubaki to come close to her, that she needed him, that he ought to climb up the structure and let her down, maybe then the structure would start to collapse and they’d fall together and he’d cushion the blow and it’d be all romantic, or something!! But then all that happened was more “Hey, remember our bond?” and mystical drool nonsense… I just couldn’t help but feel more dramatic, not to mention symbolic, possibilities could have been explored here- they resolved the situation the same way they resolved all situation in the show, by placing faith in their bond and in drool and it felt as though no progress in the relationship was made… Nevertheless, an interesting diversion from the usual summer fest antics.
The two individuals who forced the pair into completing the task where interesting also. I originally believed that Hell’s museum and its unusual curators was something the pair dreamt up- they’d shared dreams before, right? But Urabe felt pain from her short fall, not to mention we were shown a conversation that took place between the strange duo shortly afterwards, so they must not have been dreamt up. Perhaps they really were the mischievous spirits they claimed to be? Well, I wasn’t far off. Matsubuya and Togawa are actually the main characters in Riichi Ueshiba’s (the mangaka of NNK) other publication Discommunication- Spirit World, a story where several characters have the ability to control the content of dreams, which explains a lot. So whilst their inclusion, and specifically their inclusion, was merely fanservice for those familiar with the numerous works of Ueshiba, I still appreciated the message they left us with: that by unlocking the mysteries of the one you love, you can learn something about yourself in the process.
So whilst the OVA didn’t add to the show, as such, it was still vaguely interesting at points. Definitely worth a watch if you’re more than satisfied with more of the same or you’re a fan of Discommunication- Spirit World.