Note: -blacksheep’s and my posts on Sakamichi will be delayed until Monday, the same with her opinions on Tsuritama. Sankarea will be posted soon.
Nazo no Kanojo X has been a very enjoyable series. It is the first series in a long time where I honestly was surprised – and a little grossed out – by the premise and first episode. But what followed was a very simple tale of a high school romance, complete with misunderstandings and a brief love triangle. Yet this show loves to mess around with cliches and does things unexpectedly, and that will be why I’ll remember this show fondly.
At it’s best, NazoKano is a show that either plays around with or completely avoids cliches. A memorable one when Tsubaki tries to hold Urabe’s hand walking home, Urabe says “Just because everyone else does it, doesn’t mean we have to.”. Moments like those are a breath of fresh air when a series avoids a lot of typical cliches and trying to its own thing is a great thing in my eyes. But this show isn’t cliche-free, but at the same time when there is a cliche this show loves to really play around with them like when the love triangle emerged and this show proposed a very…interesting way to solve it: Have Tsubaki blindfolded and taste both girls’ spit to figure out which is his girlfriend…and they both happened to be completely nude. I felt that could have been handled better and the blindfold coming off and Tsubaki getting slapped was one of this shows’ not-so-good moments.
But this was a really enjoyable episode: we got some details on Tsubaki’s family and his sister almost seemed to steal the show reminiscing about her boyfriend when he took a picture of her drooling while she was asleep. It was nice to get to see a nice chat with Tsubaki’s sister and Urabe, though she doesn’t know she’s Tsubaki’s girlfriend. The ending was very sweet, especially Urabe’s first genuine smile. These characters have grown tremendously, like last episode Urabe finally hugged Tsubaki though before it meant bringing out the scissors. These two were really fun to watch, they’re just a normal high school couple if you take out the spit stuff. But even with the spit, this show still succeeds in delivering a romance that has truly blossomed, much like the flower in this episode when they exchange their saliva. Sure it sounds gross, but if you’re still grossed out by that at this point, why are you still watching? In short, this is a must watch for anyone who enjoys romance series but be warned that the spit is an integral part of the series. You’ll get used to it as these characters will take the spotlight away from that and onto themselves. Oka is one of those characters: she’s a bit annoying, but you can’t argue that she’s clearly intrigued by Urabe. She later grows on you, and her antics become the real comedy in this show. Nazo no Kanojo X deserves a watch, and you’ll really enjoy how different this show tries to be, and excels at doing just that.
Animation – 8.5/10: The 80’s art style works wonders here. The animators’ past shows include Doraemon, which is probably why the show looks retro.The eyecatches are a real visual treat.
Story – 12/15: Take any romance series and you’ll get NazoKano. But this show really loves to either play around with cliches or avoid them completely. The love triangle could have been handled better.
Sound – 8.5/10: Newcomer Ayako Yoshitani nails it as Urabe: her voice isn’t polished at all but it’s refreshing to hear such a voice in this day and age. ANOTHER awesome role from Miyu Irino (dude’s in every series nowadays) as Tsubaki, I just love how polite he can be. Everyone else is great too. The OP and ED are sung by Urabe’s seiyuu and I really enjoyed listening to both, a rarity nowadays.
Characters – 16/20: Urabe is a complete mystery: What is she really? I’m sure we’ll never find out but that’s fine with me. She’s a scene stealer when she’s taking out her scissors from her panties and when she’s going against traditional romance cliches. Tsubaki is basically your average high school kid (He’s seventeen???! I thought he was 14 or 15..)
Enjoyment – 36/45: The ick factor lasted a few episodes, but after that I got quite used to it and even looked forward to it. This is a really interesting series that takes the usual romance genre formula and turns it upside down. You have to see this, just deal with the spit and you’ll be rewarded.
Overall Score – 81/100: