Hundred – 03

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Don’t get me wrong; I knew I was playing with fire by sticking with a show that was clearly billed as not only action sci-fi, but ecchi harem – not to mention watching this after Kabaneri. So if I had a bad time watching this very overtly tone-setting episode of Hundred, it’s my own fault.

The thing is, while this was often goofy and rambling and cliched and patently ridiculous, and I probably don’t need to watch anymore, rather than punch my screen I embraced the silliness for an episode, and mostly just had fun, as Zane did when I handed Recon in G to him. Maybe he’ll take this off my hands too?

I guess I’ll summarize the plot, such as it is: When a bigger Savage than expected shows up, Claire says no way to letting Hayato and Emile tag along, but a midget and a computer immediately convince her to let them tag along. Sortieing involves jumping out of a plane and activating their Hundreds, which made me think: what if for some reason your Hundred doesn’t turn on? I guess you’re dead.

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That aside, Claire, Liddy and Erica have no trouble with one of the small fry, but the larger Trenta-class Savage is too much, and the three are all taken out. I guess it was a good thing they brought two inexperienced rookies with them, or they’d be dead, right?

Hayato plucks Claire out of the air, and he and Emile have at the Trenta, but while Emile is protecting his would-be dueling partner Liddy, the Savage cuts open the front of his shirt, exposing her boobs. When Hayato sees the scar between them, it all comes back to him: this was the silver-haired girl he tried to save back in that flashback. Obviously.

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To defeat the Savage, Hayato suddenly transforms into Overdrive mode, donning full-body armor and almost going too far. He is saved from that by Emilia, who snaps him out of his berserk trance the way you usually snap people out of berserk trances: by french-kissing them.

With that, Hayato refocuses and cleaves the Savage in two with his mighty giant sword of many shapes and sizes. Thank goodness a man was here to save all these defenseless women who were brought down and nearly taken out so easily by a robotic beast thing whose design is so forgettable, I’d have forgotten they’d fought anything if I didn’t have screencaps of it.

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With that, Claire does her tsundere act with the pointing out that Emile has boobs and kissed Hayato and such, and everyone flies back to the Little Garden, safe and sound.

While in the air, Hayato notices a throng of Zwei Islanders holding up a huge sign that reads Thanks a lot with no punctuation, which I actually couldn’t stop laughing at because it read as sarcastic to me. I mean, he did blow up a lot of property in the battle, not to mention the side of a mountain. Those forest fires aren’t going to put themselves out.

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But more than that, the battle itself was very random and all over the place, as the foe took out the supposed veterans far too easily to ever take them seriously again, then the foe turned into a pushover when Hayato stepped in.

But the show was clearly worried I would still take it seriously after that battle with boob grabs and kisses, so the final scene puts the final nails in its coffin. Hayato and Emilia, you see, are “variants”, which is to say they have the Savage “virus” in them, but because they’re special they didn’t die, and instead are really good at killing Savages. It’s a lot like the half-Kabane Kanaberi, Ikoma and Mumei. Only far far worse.

There’s also the matter of how this show will continue to integrate french kissing in its milieu: the exchange of “non-activated” virus DNA with berserk virus DNA—i.e. the exchange of bodily fluids like saliva—are how Emilia is able to keep Hayato from losing himself. Sure, why not?

Just to cap things off, Claire barges into their room to make sure “Emile” has moved out, to find the two making out. Naturally, Hayato trips and falls onto Claire, grabbing her boobs and locking lips. Sigh. And with that, the spell is broken.

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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 – 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 – 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 – 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)

Nazo no Kanojo X – 01

One day, a girl named Urabe Mikoto transfers to Tsubaki Akira’s class. She’s a strange girl who’s branded a weirdo her first day for laughing out loud in the middle of a lesson and sleeping through breaks. One day after waking her up to leave, Akira tastes the drool she left on the desk. The next day he gets sick. Mikoto visits him at home and gives him more of her saliva, which cures him. It turns out, he’s lovesick. She continues ‘supplying’ him until he confesses to her and asks her out; she agrees.

Ah, now this is more like it: a romance series we don’t have to make any excuses for. It’s the best of its genre we’ve yet seen this Spring season. There always seems to be a series we hadn’t originally planned to watch, but give a shot anyway – that’s how we came upon Penguindrum, and it’s how we ran into this. Just an innocent taste of the proverbial drool on the desk. And we found it sweet. So what makes it good? Well, beyond all the glistening saliva, it’s a beautifully presented, sincere, unpretentious story. Efficient too: not a line of dialogue is wasted. The retro character design is also pretty sweet.

The chemistry between Akira and Mikoto is effortless and watching them interact is sheer joy. They’re the only two characters in this episode; everyone else is in the background (which makes sense, since they only have eyes for one another). The quirky but warm Mikoto (very well-voiced by rookie Yoshitani Ayako) is so lovably weird, you have to root for Akira to try to win her, and he does – in the first episode, without any silly games. Hell, we were half-expecting him to offer her his own finger drenched in spit, but a torn-up photo of an old crush suffices. If this all sounds very odd…it is. But it’s good odd. Like Akira, it will have to continue to prove itself, but it’s off to a fine start.


Rating: 9 (Superior)