Nazo no Kanojo X – OVA

Tsubaki and Urabe double-date with Ueno and Oka at the Kazami Shrine’s Summer Festival. Oka drags Ueno away to let Urabe be alone with Tsubaki, but when the signal for the fireworks goes up, they are separated. While searching, Tsubaki comes across a strange “freak show” tent; inside he finds Urabe tied to a string high above the ground. A boy and girl in fox masks warn him he can only pull one of the pile of strings on the ground to save her. Urabe sucks on the string, and her saliva lights it up for Tsubaki, thanks to their bond. The fox kids thank them, and the tent disappears. They turn out to be fox spirits, a boy and girl in love, who exchange the bottle and cup on Urabe’s yukata in exchange for a love charm bracelet she puts on Tsubaki.

This was a pleasant revisiting to our favorite series of the Spring, which serves to further validate Tsubaki and Urabe’s bond as they come afoul of supernatural beings who give Tsubaki a test of sorts. Ueno remains unaware that Tsubaki and Urabe are an item, but it doesn’t matter, as he has his own designs on “scoring” with Oka this night. Tsubaki and Urabe are a little shy with each other at first when faced with the prospect of being alone on a date, but after the fox spirits put them through their paces, there’s no doubt that they were meant for each other, and will be back at the festival next year – just the two of them.


Rating: 8 (Great)

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Nazo no Kanojo X – 13 (Fin)

Urabe bumps into Tsubaki’s sister Youko and has coffee with her, learning that their mother died. Tsubaki, his sister and his father visit and tend to her grave. When Tsubaki tells her more about his mom, she wants to go with him to her grave. That day, she arrives in her Sunday best, with flowers and an offering of food she made herself. Tsubaki insists he doesn’t really remember his mom, and thus doesn’t miss her that much, but when he and Urabe exchange saliva while he’s touching her gravestone, tears well up in both. Urabe wanted to “meet” his mother and seek her approval, and wants to continue being part of Tsubaki’s life.

While it’s certainly not an absolute necessity, most people seek the approval of their significant others’ family. As unconventional and mysterious a girlfriend as Urabe Mikoto is, she’s no different in this regard. Learning about Tsubaki’s family draws her closer towards eventually becoming part of that family. So Urabe surprises Tsubaki by not only meeting and chatting with his sister, but expressing a desire to visit his mother’s grave. He sees it as an unexpected but touching gesture on her part, but it’s more than that. In her mind, knowing where Tsubaki came and who shaped his life up to this point, is another step in their relationship. This is a pretty good way to end the series, if it has to end with thirteen episodes (we’ve heard nothing about a sequel, though we’d welcome one).

No major drama; no second girl or second guy; no Oka or Ueno side-story; no panty scissors or nudity. Just Urabe, Tsubaki, and his family. It’s a calm, mature finale. It was an interesting choice for Urabe to not admit to Youko that she’s dating her brother, but we suppose Youko will figure that out eventually, and in any case, it’s something Urabe would need to discus with Tsubaki first, so they could coordinate such an announcement. Instead, Urabe is content that his sister likes her and she got to “meet” his mother. As the cherry trees start to blossom and spring arrives, Tsubaki and Urabe keep steadily, believably moving forward in their romance, one we’re sad to see go. Romance series this good don’t come around every season.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 12

Tsubaki can’t get the image of Urabe naked out of his head, to the point where he’s starting to hallucinate. He gives in an grabs her, activating her panty scissor, but she accidentally cuts his head and brings him to her house to treat the wound. Upon testing the scissors on a picture frame, she realizes she’s lost her acccuracy, likely because of a dream she had about Tsubaki. When he trips and changes direction to avoid landing on her, he hits his head again, but Urabe hugs him anyway. The next day, when Tsubaki’s bandage is replaced by another girl, he asks for the one Urabe gave him back. That earns him another hug from Urabe.

And so, Tsubaki has finally worn Urabe down to permitting hugs…under certain circumstances. Or rather than caving, Urabe realized that embracing her lover was something she needed too. She can’t undo the fact that he’s seen her naked and that he is horny, nor can she deny anymore that she is also horny. For all of her scolding and menacing use of panty scissors, the last thing in the world Urabe wants to do is hurt Tsubaki. To the series’ credit, Tsubaki doesn’t just fall on Urabe and cushion his fall with her boob; another example of a creative spin on archetypal rom-com tropes.

The episode is probably  the most animated, clumsy, and outwardly expressive we’ve even seen Urabe, starting with how she reacts to Oka revealing she has a photo of her naked. That incident culminates in Oka trying to duplicate Urabe’s hip-mounted scissor routine, almost to the ruin of Ueno, in a hilarious scene of someone trying to run before she can walk. We also loved the dream sequence, prefaced by a loud march arrangement of the main “circus” theme, and some creepy Urabe dough-dolls she beats out of that gooey rice stuff…in a bunny suit. It’s extremely whimsical, weird, and dream-like…nicely done.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 11

Tsubaki attends Hayakawa’s school festival pretending to be her boyfriend, but is quickly spotted by Oka, who is there with Ueno. She follows them to an unused classroom where Hayakawa gives Tsubaki leave to hug her and taste her drool. He hesitates, and Urabe arrives wearing a cardboard robot suit and nothing else. She proposes a rock-paper-scissors duel, which she wins, so Tsubaki tastes her drool first and has a nosebleed. Hayakawa strips down, but tears well up before she gives Tsubaki her drool, indicating her heart is wavering. Urabe tastes her drool instead, and tells her she’ll find someone eventually. Urabe forgives a contrite Tsubaki.

All’s well  that ends well in Tsubaki’s Hayakawa Adventure Part 2, as he and Urabe clear another hurdle in a relationship that’s still full of firsts. This constituted his first – and hopefully last – big deception. To his credit, when the time comes to remember his loyalty, he stands his ground against Hayakawa’s advances. He also proves through and through that he is an incurable Guy; someone who can’t fight off a big gaping grin at the sudden sight of two naked girls before him, or the  thought of a first kiss with Urabe, or for that matter, allowing himself to be led along by a former unrequited crush, almost to his doom.

Of course, this episode wasn’t perfect. We have no problems with sustained nudity, but felt there was too much of it on a show that isn’t allowed to show it. They had to compromise with goofy, awkward shadows that made no sense from a lighting perspective. Oka’s presence wasn’t all that consequential, as Urabe was tailing Hayakawa and Tsubaki all along. We’re also not quite sure why Hayakawa invited Urabe at all – all she did was increase the chances of her gambit with Tsubaki being interrupted or foiled by 100%. In the end though, Urabe’s forgiveness makes sense and fits her character – now there’s no doubt that next time Tsubaki has the choice to do something that may hurt her, he’ll think about how he’d feel if she did that  to him.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

P.S. In their Rock-Paper-Scissors game, Urabe amazingly doesn’t choose Scissors…you’d think she’d ALWAYS choose Scissors!

Nazo no Kanojo X – 10

While buying another Imai Momoka magazine, Tsubaki bumps into his old crush Hayakawa, who has been recently dumped by her boyfriend. He tells her at first he doesn’t have a girlfriend, but confesses after stopping himself from licking her drool. He tells her his girlfriend’s name, and she intercepts Urabe and tells her about her cultural festival. She then calls Tsubaki late at night to ask if he’ll pretend to be her boyfriend at the festival. He agrees. Urabe learns Tsubaki’s alibi was a lie. Hayakawa shows up to the festival dressed in her junior high uniform and a long wig.

This week Tsubaki shows he didn’t learn his lesson about buying magazines of an idol that looks like Urabe, but that isn’t his biggest blunder this week by far. We’re a little disappointed with his behavior throughout the episode, and we would have liked to see more Urabe, but we still enjoyed the tension as Tsubaki walked the tightrope. As for his former crush Hayakawa, she’s a dangerous and kinda scary new threat to Team Saliva, hatching a dastardly scheme to break Tsubaki and Urabe up. Tsubaki can’t help but let himself be played like a fiddle. It’s a very old and well-worn story, but also a well-executed one. Hayakawa is crazy, but  believably so; not too over-the-top psycho.

Tsubaki at least stops himself from tasting Hayakawa’s drool, and comes clean about having a girlfriend, but it doesn’t faze her. She comes to him with a (fake) bruise on her face, and Tsubaki can’t turn her down. The episode is pretty clear that it isn’t chivalry and good intentions alone that motivate Tsubaki; a part of him still likes her, and when presented with an excuse to be with her, he takes it. He knew what he was doing was wrong, and he did it anyway. Then he lied to Urabe, and she found out from Oka. Tsubaki has dug quite the hole for himself, and we’re curious to see how he’ll get out of it – since we assume he will.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 09

When Urabe comes to school with horrible bed-head, she styles it with hair bands. Everyone at school instantly notices the change, and they like what they see. Tsubaki doesn’t like all the attention she’s getting from the boys, so asks her not to do it. She has him muss up her hair, which feels good. Tsubaki is initially upset that photos of his girlfriend are circulating, but lets it go, fearing he’s being too possessive. The boys start to agree she bares a close resemblance to a pop idol; Tsubaki buys her photo collection to confirm it. Urabe finds out and destroys it.

Possessiveness between lovers in moderation is a normal, harmless thing, but it can be insidious, and before you know it, you’re trying to control every aspect of your lover’s life, because in your mind he/she belongs to you, and vice-versa. Tsubaki actually gets a whiff of this in his own feelings of anger towards his classmates, now that they’ve seen Urabe’s face and even end up buying and selling it as a product. It becomes a choice of whether he wants to put his foot down (which will result in everyone knowing he’s dating her), or keep quiet and “share” her with them through the photos. He rightly decides stopping them isn’t worth it. Not that the school finding out about them would be the end of the world; but he’d end up losing even more of his cherished privacy if he told them; the opposite of what he wants. For her part Urabe prefers having her hair mussed by Tsubaki to being styled by Oka.

But the door of possessiveness swings both ways. Is it harmless for Tsubaki to have a book full of pictures of an idol who happens to look like Urabe? Well, is it harmless for Tsubaki’s classmates to buy candid photos of Urabe? The answer is, neither is harmless to the other. But Urabe had no hand in having pics taken of her, nor does she have pics of a boy who looks like Tsubaki, so she’s pretty justified in destroying the book with her panty scissors (if a bit rash; it cost $38!). We’ll just say also that we’re glad Urabe and Imai Momoka aren’t the same person (i.e., she’s not secretly an idol; the boob sizes seem to rule that out). That sudden bombshell would be out of place in an otherwise subtle and down-to-earth show. On that note, Urabe sleeps in the nude. Of course she does.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 08

Tsubaki dreams of touching Urabe’s breast, and can’t get the feeling out of his head after waking up. While wandering around of a Sunday, he happens to stop in front of her apartment building, and encounters her returning from the store. She invites him up for tea. A big storm brews, and lightning strikes as Urabe gets up to turn on the lights, startling her. Falling into Tsubaki’s arms, he tells her about his dream, and she lets him touch her breast. He pushes her down and nibbles her ear, then snaps out of it and leaves, ashamed of his behavior.

The next day, at school, after recieivng her very enlightening saliva, Oka advises Urabe that changes in her body are normal during a romantic relationship. After school, Tsubaki apologizes more, and insists on being slapped before getting his saliva for the day. She obliges, but then reveals how she now tears up every time he or she touches her ear, thanks to him, but isn’t mad about it, and actually likes it. She tastes his drool and wears the same bruise she gave him, since she was responsible for letting him touch her breast in the first place.

Tsubaki and Urabe have different ways of expressing sudden moments of intense happiness. Urabe suddenly coughs up a abnormally large amount of saliva, while Tsubaki tries to give her a big affectionate hug. He’s never succeeded, though, thanks to Urabe’s catlike reflexes. She always tells him “not without my permission.” She isn’t ruling out physical contact altogether; she just wants a little bit of warning, is all. When the stars align and Tsubaki ends up alone in Urabe’s room in the dark, in prime position to touch her breast like he did in his dream. But he doesn’t ask permission, and before he knows it, he has scissors at his throat. Urabe is particularly menacing in a form-fitting black turtleneck sweater, which makes her resemble an assassin.

Once Tsubaki calmly and honestly tells her what’s on his mind, she actually allows him to touch her breast. And then something else happens: something comes over Tsubaki and he makes more moves, but even with superior strength and speed and her scissors in reach, she doesn’t stop him, because he makes her feel something “she never felt before”, and learns later from Oka that Tsubaki is changing how her body reacts to things, and he’s changing hers. The episode is a very touching (no pun intended), slightly kinky, and above all an earnest, relatable exploration of the biology and psychology of physcial contact.

With eight straight episodes of quirky, creative, refreshing excellence, we’re ready to elevate Nazo no Kanojo X to our esteemed favorites list.


Rating: 9 (Superior) ~series elevated to favorites ~

Nazo no Kanojo X – 07

Track captain Yajima discover’s Urabe’s natural running prowess, and though Urabe refuses to join the track team, she agrees to run with her in a relay on Field Day. She practices during lunch so she can still walk home with Tsubaki. When he gets a cold, she takes advice from Oka and visits him while wearing a bikini, which nearly cures him despite her being covered by a coat. Tsubaki’s cheering her on is the difference in the relay, and she wins. Tsubaki tells her he’d still be happy if she joined the team, but when he tastes her drool when she’s wearing his nametag on her leg, it reveals he’d prefer she didn’t, so she won’t.

With all her panty-scissoring and hug-dodging skills on display almost weekly, it was only a matter of time before the school’s jocks noticed her innate athleticism. That she is almost as fast a a champion runner who’s bigger than her despite not practicing makes that ability all the more mysterious, and mystery is what Urabe is all about. She can’t quite keep all her secrets from her quasi-fiend Oka, though. While Oka is totally fine flaunting around Ueno in her bikini, Urabe is too embarrased to do the same for Tsubaki, but her drool proves just as effective.

The issue of whether she should join the track team doesn’t remain a controversy for wrong, as Urabe is devoted to Tsubaki and will do or not do whatever his feelings indicate. She sees through his attempt to express support for her joining the team; the drool reveals he would indeed not be as happy making compromises for her sake. One would say relationships are full of these comrpomises, but in a way, they already have one in the drool system, which overrides Tsubaki’s more, ahem, direct physical method. In any case, Urabe would prefer to walk home with Tsubaki too. She doesn’t feel like her talent is being wasted, because she doesn’t let those talents to dictate who she is.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 06

Oka bumps into Tsubaki downtown, and they discuss first names over ice cream. Oka mentions it to Urabe, who blushingly tells her it’s not her business. While taking a break in a park, Tsubaki tries it out, calling Urabe “Mikoto” in her ear while she’s dozing; she wakes up blushing again and smiling. Tsubaki hesitates when trying to call her Mikoto while she’s awake. Tsubaki dreams of snapping picture of her smiling, but the next day, though she agrees to having her picture taken, she won’t give him a fake smile.

While Tsubaki is waiting for a late Urabe, his junior high crush Hayakawa passes by, and invites him to have coffee with her. He politely declines, and after she leaves, discovers Urabe was hiding behind a column. When he asks her if she’d be angry if he’d ditched her to have coffee, she gives him saliva that makes him shed tears, indicating she’d be sad, not angry. Tsubaki promises that while Hayakawa’s offer was tempting, Urabe is who he likes now. That makes her smile again, but when Tsubaki whips out the camera, she sticks out her tongue instead. He says he’ll treasure the photo anyway, making her even happier.

There are many mysterious things about Urabe Mikoto, but one thing that’s no mystery is that she’s about as shy and innocent as they come. Oh sure, she’ll flash you with her panties, but that’s only a physical symptom of her elaborate scissors-wielding routine. She’ll also say with certainty that Tsubaki Akira is the first guy she’s going to have sex with…but provide no further information about how and when that’s going to happen. Her role has been the passive one, while Tsubaki has been responsible for every step forward, starting with tasting her drool in the beginning. That she’s passive doesn’t mean she’s not interested pursuing a relationship and progressing in it; it’s just that for the most part she’s left Tsubaki in charge of how and when things happen.

In doing so, each step has been a lesson and a test for Tsubaki, most recently his being faced with the girl whose picture he tore up. Rather than show up and create a confrontation, Urabe hides and observes. And like the time she disrobed in front of him while his eyes stayed closed, he performs admirably, like a loyal boyfriend should. Tsubaki knows an old crush could never compare to what he has here and now: a cute, sweet, innocent, and eccentric girl who likes him as much as he likes her, if not more. The adorable Oka’s interventions in their relationship deserves mention too; she’s proving an interesting supporting character.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 05

Tsubaki learns that Urabe’s sweat also conjures images of her in his head; specifically of her in a swimsuit. She chalks it up to sweat being similar to seawater. When summer vacation arrives, he suggest they go to the beach for a day; she agrees. When they meet up at the station on the promised day, he finds her extremely tanned. He also learns why she’s wearing a skirt over her bikini bottoms: wearing scissors on the beach by her dad’s house gave her a scissors-shaped tanline.

Tsubaki seems to learn something new about Urabe every day he’s with her. He’s learning, for instance that sudden movements, especially those close to her, put her on edge. She also likes her yakisoba with lots of ginger and no meat, and mayo if she can get it. She’s also a fast swimmer with a great body, and isn’t above leaning on him if the circumstances are right. But even knowing all these new things about her, she remains, on the whole, the titular mysterious girlfriend. But there’s nothing wrong with that. When we saw the fanservice-heavy preview for this episode, we were expecting the first non-4 outing for Nazo no Kanojo X. However, we were plesantly surprised.

This episode maintained the quality of its predecessors, while moving Tsubaki and Urabe’s relationship further along by having them finally go on an honest-to-goodness date, which Urabe is happy to agree to, as she likes the ocean. Her sudden, extreme tanness was fittingly odd, while the scissor tanline (aside from being an awesome name for a band) was a priceless “reward of the week” for Tsubaki. Her genuine surprise at getting a nosebleed after tasting his saliva reinforces the fact she’s not yet fully cognizant of how her actions, gestures, and habits turn him on, which is nice, because it means she’s not intentionally messing with him. And we should also mention that nearly half of the episode wasn’t about the date at all, but Tsubaki’s anticipation – including a goofy grin that took over his face.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 04

As Ueno waxes about the imminent joy of seeing his girlfriend Oka in her summer P.E. uniform, Oka shares her lunch with Urabe. Surprised she’s interacting with another girl, Tsubaki tells her he’s happy, but she maintains she needs no friends as long as she has him. When running in a relay, Urabe scrapes her knee, and Oka takes her to the nurse’s office to bandage it. After they share a drink, Oka’s knee becomes cut. Urabe confirms it by cutting her palm; her drool transferred the wounds to Oka, who knows about her and Tsubaki. Urabe declines the offer of friendship, but Oka still wants to get along. The next day she gives Urabe her drool, and learns Urabe and Tsubaki have not yet kissed.

We’re fans of economical casts; series that belt out dozens of people to keep track of can be overwhelming. Which is why we’re glad Nazo no Kanojo X is focusing on a relatively small cast. This week formally introduces Oka, who is immediately a more interesting and dynamic character than her boyfriend Ueno, who’s your pretty standard horny school chum hanging on Tsubaki’s shoulder. Like Tsubaki, and the other guy last week (we already forgot his name), Oka is simply fascinated by Urabe, and wants to be her friend; after having seen her and Tsubaki together, and knowing approaching Tsubaki would be “troublesome”.

Urabe’s refrain is “I don’t need friends”, but after what happens in P.E., perhaps a better way to phrase it is “it’s best if I don’t have too many friends,” after Oka gets her wounds. Being friends means sometimes sharing feelings and sometimes pain; in this case, literal physical ailments – which is a crazy supernatural power that the series presents in a surprisingly low-key manner. Both Urabe and Oka (and Tsubaki for that matter) simply accept that this is how drool works. What surprised us most of all was Oka using a drool test to determine how far Urabe’s gotten with Tsubaki, proving that Urabe isn’t the only one who can administer such a test.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 03

When Tsubaki walks in on his friend Ueno kissing his previously-secret girlfriend Oka, the subject comes up with Urabe, and she gives him specially prepared saliva to take before bed. That night, Tsubaki dreams of Urabe kissing him by surprise, and the next day he tells her their first kiss shouldn’t happen until they’re emotionally connected, echoing the “dream” him; Urabe is pleased and agrees.

Classmate Ogata asks Urabe out one day, and Urabe makes him wait a day for her decision, which irks Tsubaki. The next day, Urabe goes commando, making her saliva especially intense. It has no effect on Ogata, and she rejects him. When performing the same test on Tsubaki, his nose bleeds on cue, proving the strength of their emotional connection.

Another excellent, moving, hilarious, seductive, very odd episode of what is officially our favorite series of the Spring so far. Tsubaki is catching on that where his mysterious girlfriend is concerned, nothing is going to be done the normal or expected way. He’s understandably jealous when he sees his friend kissing a girl, but rather than refuse, Urabe gives him some special dream-spit that helps him come around to her way of thinking. Is her power to affect his dreams supernatural, or merely a placebo effect brought on by Tsubaki’s affections for her? Like so many things about her, it remains a mystery, which we like.

Tsubaki gets even more jealous when a classmate Ogata – a popular, athletic, handsome guy – asks out Urabe. Up until now no one else has uttered a word to Urabe, so it’s understandable Tsubaki is possessive. That, and since it’s not obvious or apparent that they’re a couple when in class. Urabe’s test for both Ogata and Tsubaki is another masterpiece of effective fanservice done right, and the fact that it just happened to be a windy day when Urabe decided to go commando was a little karmic justice for giving Tsubaki a sleepless night.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 02

Tsubaki seeks advice from his friend Ueno on the first step with a girlfriend. Urabe shoots nearly all of them down, but reveals her hobby of cutting shapes out of paper with scissors she keeps in her panties. Tsubaki gets frustrated by their lack of outward appearance of being a couple, so Urabe takes him to an isolated place, makes him promise to keep his eyes closed as she gives him her saliva from when she’s nude in front of him. He keeps his promise, and the saliva makes his heart pound. When has a dream that night, and doesn’t reveal the details to Urabe, but she learns them by tasting his drool.

This is one of those rare series we find ourselves wishing all we could have all memory of it wiped, just so we can experience the awesomeness all over again. The first episode was the best of the season, but the second took everything to the next level, only further raising our expectations for the future, which at this point we have no doubt will be met or exceeded. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a romance this good and strong and bizarre. It’s just so well done on every level. Tsubaki learns this week that he’s not going to be doing the things boys normally do with their girlfriends. Whatever book he has on relationships, he can throw it out.

It’s not going to go that way with Urabe Mikoto. In many ways, it’s going to be better. We were blown out of the water by the episode’s smart and hilarious step-by-step subversion of high school romantic conventions. Forget hand-holding, movies, and discussing hobbies. Bring on the (really-nicely animated) panty scissors and drool that transmits excitement and reveals dreams…and the compelling, alluring enigma that is Urabe Mikoto. Her manner of  proving she and Tsubaki were lovers was a masterpiece of mood and timing that had chills going down our backs. We want more.


Rating: 9 (Superior)