A Rough Hug; Nazo No Kanojo X Episode 12

It’s a shame MGX isn’t getting another season- anime needs more fanservice shows like it around.

This episode was probably the cutest episode of the series. Whereas the rest of the show has been aiming for the odd, but emotional aspects and deconstructing the typical fanservice and romantic tropes we see in usual anime and romcom, this episode was exclusively sweet- just like the aftertaste of a bitter lemon, or the taste of someone’s spit you love.

Today it’s not jealousy that’s the center of the budding relationship between Urabe and Tsubaki. Instead, it comes to a more serious topic: hurting the ones you love in the ways you least expect. For Urabe, it only takes a scratch; for Tsubaki, it’s only a few words. Tsubaki’s been having trouble walking and talking with his girlfriend ever since he saw her naked at the school festival, and boy, does he have a poor poker face about it. Urabe probably wouldn’t have noticed it herself if her friend pointed it out, or if she hadn’t tasted Tsubaki’s spit. For Tsubaki, it’s too much to handle and he tries the forbidden act of hugging Urabe. Urabe of course, draws out her scissors, and cuts Tsubaki’s poor handkerchief to pieces, but also lands a scratch on his forehead. It’s here we really see Urabe’s vulnerability. While stoic in most matters (and emotional under the surface), Urabe cannot bear the idea of hurting someone she loves, and panics. For the first time, we see a flustered, emotionally compromised Urabe apologizing to Tsubaki, and while it’s a fleeting scene, boy does it hit you in the kokoro. Urabe offers to bandage Tsubaki’s cut up at his house, and he agrees.

Both lovers (though not really lovers) are dizzy and can’t think straight because of their sexual ‘horny’ feelings for one another. For Tsubaki, it’s the fact that he can’t look at Urabe straight in the eye, and for Urabe, it’s the fact that she can’t perform her scissor technique properly (and also the fact that she’s been having strange…erotic dreams, similar to Tsubaki’s). Both end up in one way hurting the other; Tsubaki’s fear of being found out puts him on the defensive and pushes Urabe away, only to fall (nearly) on her and direct himself to fall on the bedstead instead. Which results in him being more injured than before and hurting Urabe again. But it’s not all bad; for the second time this episode, Urabe is the one to take the emotional stance and hugs Tsubaki, telling him that he’s allowed to hug her if he’s going to get hurt. And really, that’s the sort of scene that makes Nazo no Kanojo X worth watching despite all of its oddities. It’s incredibly heartwarming and manages to tackle struggles of a relationship in a very unordinary way. In the end though, the message is clear and as universal as anything. Relationships can only progress as much as the two people involved want it to. If one side is struggling with a problem and the other doesn’t confront it, that relationship becomes stagnant and unhealthy. That’s not to say a confrontation isn’t good- on the contrary, it tends to really push things forward (if done in the right way). So far, despite being adolescents, Tsubaki and Urabe have managed to confront their fears and doubts toward each other not just through the medium of spit (which is a big help of course) but also in their desire to really know and work with one another. In the root of a romantic relationship is friendship, and while Tsubaki and Urabe’s is an awkward one, it is still there nevertheless.

Where does this come from in this episode? At the very end, when Urabe finally does “initiate” a hug and lets Tsubaki hold her close. She may not be comfortable with it- or maybe she does, as seen when she says that in letting Tsubaki hug her, the dizziness and headaches had gone away. But even then, relationships are about treading rocky ground. While it has always been on Tsubaki’s side for this show, this episode goes back to Urabe’s side, and it’s a treat to watch. In the end, the two really do make a good couple, and that’s probably why I love this show so much. It’s a romcom that subverts romcom, mixed in with bizarrely executed commentary about relationships and a slice of life twist somewhere in between. Who couldn’t resist such an interesting creation?

*Off topic, but I loved the Ghibli style of Urabe’s hair going out (as seen) when she was highly embarrassed about Oka having a picture of her being naked by the way. Nice touch.

Enjoyment Level: 10/10

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