An ongoing romance manga by Riichi Ueshiba, started in 2004. Mysterious Girlfriend X (謎の彼女X, Nazo no Kanojo X) describes the budding romantic relationship between Mikoto Urabe, an unusual girl with some awesome scissors, and Akira Tsubaki, the guy who's addicted to her drool. Seriously.Due to their special connection, Urabe and Tsubaki have the ability to share their emotions and physical conditions through saliva - which Tsubaki is addicted to, and must taste some frequently to avoid going into withdrawal again. And that's just the start of the weirdness. The manga showcases the two as they progress in their relationship.An anime adaptation aired from April to June 2012 as part of the Spring 2012 Anime season. It can be watched subbed in English on Crunchyroll and is currently licensed for release by Sentai Filmworks. An OVA was released along with the 9th volume of the manga in August 2012. It has also been dubbed in English by Sentai Filmworks.
To elaborate, in Chapter 33, Akira has a risqué thought which he shakes his head to get rid of, causing his blindfold to fall off. The sight of the two very nude women in front of him (long story) stuns him long enough to get double-megaton slapped for his trouble.
Adaptation Distillation: The anime has 13 episodes while the manga has over 60 chapters, and the anime covers up to volume 5 of the manga's current 9. As adaptations go it's mostly faithful, while often combining chapters for episodes and avoiding the occasional repetitive situations due to the manga's floating timeline. It also expands upon the surreal dream/imagination sequences from the earlier chapters. (And it ends just before the Idol arc.)
An Aesop: The author's thesis: "Teenagers these days are too quick to have sex, and are missing out on all the fun that a not-quite-sexual relationship can be."
Armor-Piercing Slap: Tsubaki receives a couple from Urabe, and one from both her and Hayakawa in episode 11 after he sees both of them naked.
Art Evolution: The characters gradually look older as the chapters go by, despite not aging (they're perpetually 17). Also Urabe's hair is longer in the first chapter, which was originally a self-contained work.
Author Appeal: Or maybe more accurately, Animator or Storyboarder appeal. Whoever is reponsible for the closing sequence really has a thing for sleeping females, as it consists entirely of loving shots of Urabe, Oka, and even Tsubaki's older sister sleeping (and drooling, of course).
Definitely Author Appeal. The end of every volume has a page with a sketch of Urabe and the catch phrase "Don't you think a girl who's drooling in her sleep is kind of cute? Well, this is a manga about just such a girl." in the author's personal font.
Urabe loves Tsubaki, but she will not let him pressure her in any way. His attempts to hug her are the main cause of panty-scissors incidents.
Don't try to kiss Tsubaki in front of Urabe. Justdon't. Tsubaki doesn't take other guys noticing Urabe well either.
Also Urabe seems to dislike Tsubaki liking an idol singer-model, despite the fact he only likes her because she looks just like Urabe.
Beta Couple: Oka and Ueno, their classmates. About a third of the story lines are caused by Tsubaki listening to Ueno talk about trying something with Oka, another third are caused by Urabe and Oka talking.
The characters remark on their upcoming anime in a recent omake sequence.
In Chapter 21 of the manga where Tsubaki gets to feel Urabe's breasts for the first time, Tsubaki's feeling some hesitation to act on how he's feeling, but Urabe advises him that if he doesn't do it by the time she counts to 3, there won't be a story for that day.
Cat Girl: In behaviour and preferences, Urabe is quite cat-like. This is lampshaded with eyes, which are drawn in a very feline way. There's also a chapter that explores the previously unknown fetish of catgirls eating raw bacon.
There are actually two versions: 今日の分 "your daily dose" and いつもの日課 "our regular routine" often with emphasis on "routine" since it's thought of as equivalent to their "bond." The second version almost completely replaced the first, but it has made a comeback lately.
Character Development: Urabe and Akira are the main examples. Oka also qualifies, though in an odd way. When she's introduced, she's very similar to Urabe in her quiet personality, but as the manga went on she became noticeably more cheerful and mischievous. Odd in that there's no real reason for the change, except maybe to make her personality different from Urabe's.
It's probably because she got a boyfriend around a similar time Urabe did.
Or the fact that she reacts to Urabe's saliva just like Tsubaki.
The "villainous" Hayakawa gets this as well, with a pretty good justification for her actions in Chapter 33 — Since Akira had a crush on her in middle school, she decides to settle for him, because she has had so many unrequited crushes of her own.
Covert Pervert: On multiple occasions, Urabe's used Tsubaki's saliva to detect dirty thoughts, and later admitted to herself that her imagination isn't exactly squeaky-clean either. For example, she can no longer sleep in the nude after Tsubaki slept in her bed, causing her to have dirty thoughts whenever she tries.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Urabe, in several ways — Oka's refusal to leave her alone gets her to start doing things (like eating) at lunch, which she becomes accustomed to; Akira's presence is (slowly) getting her to open up to him.
Demoted to Extra: Suwano in the anime, though only because it didn't adapt the later chapters where she has a larger role, teased as a rival love interest.
Distracted by the Sexy: In episode 5, the boys are deliberately kicking the soccer balls during gym class a bit too far, and having to go retrieve them. They are doing it so they can sneak a peek at the girls in the swimming pool nearby. When Tsubaki's turn comes up however, he sees Urabe drying herself with a towel, misses the ball, and lands rather awkwardly. To make things worse for him, the towel hides her figure, so he's unable to see her in a swimsuit.
And later she does it intentionally so she can lick the blood off his cheek, in order to prove a point about cat ear cosplay and raw bacon. Her intent: Scare him into not trying to get her to cosplay again. Reality: Yet another new kink discovered.
In one of the earliest chapters she gives him candy mouth-to-mouth, but neither think it counts - and it's All Just a Dream.
The TV show does end with simultaneous, mutual drool finger-sucking, going further than the manga version of the scene. The way they react, they're practically kissing.
Flash Step: Urabe does this when Tsubaki attempts to hug her.
Foregone Conclusion: A very odd in-universe example - Urabe is mildly psychic, and she knows for a fact that she will lose her virginity to Tsubaki. This is an accepted fact of the setting. In addition, both Tsubaki and (most definitely) Urabe are the type that wouldn't go that far before marriage — Tsubaki, in some of his inner monologues, mentions that he can see the day quickly approaching that his "Mysterious Girlfriend" becomes his "Mysterious Wife."
Genre Savvy: Oka is able to figure out the drool ritual pretty quickly after she introduces herself to Urabe. She then tastes the latter's drool from time to time to get an idea of what the former and Tsubaki are doing in their relationship.
The Gloves Come Off: Or in Urabe's case, shoes. Anytime during sports when she gets serious she goes barefoot.
Hadaka Apron: Subverted in chapter 54. Then played straight. "Male Dream" indeed.
Hoist By Her Own Petard: Hayakawa's attempt to break up Tsubaki and Urabe so she could then date him in episode 11 fails partly because he was Above the Influence, and also because Urabe suspected what the former was attempting to do, and came prepared to counter Hayakawa's attempt to have him taste her drool.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Oka and her boyfriend, although it's more of a case of NormalGuyExtremelyTinyGirl.
Identical Stranger: Urabe and Imai Momoka look very much alike, which was why Tsubaki bought magazines of her. Chapter 37 shows that, with a little bit of hair-dye, they're practically indistinguishable, if not for (other than their personalities) the fact that Momoka prefers high-kicks to panty scissors. Observe.
And breast size. Can't forget that.
Idiot Ball: The story is progressed by Akira learning how to be a boyfriend, as well as being phenomenally stupid at times, especially during the idol storyline.
Chapter 37 in particular has Momoka practically being a case study in how not to impersonate someone. He never stops to think about why"Urabe" would be acting so weird. And by "weird" I don't mean the usual, I mean like asking what her own first name was. Granted, some of this may just be ordinary Genre Blindness.
Actually, one of the following chapters covers that, Tsubaki thought with how Momoka kept coming up and the way (who he thought was) Urabe was acting, she was trying to be more like Momoka for his sake. He probably just brushed off her not responding to her name (and a few other weird things) as her being weird. She has done weirder after all.
In-Joke: The characters shown on the movie ticket for "Science Boy and Magic Girl" are two of Riichi Ueshiba's characters from his earlier manga Discommunication.
Which leads to a Crossover in the OVA, as the two leads of Discommunication are supporting characters.
Insecure Love Interest: Both Tsubaki and Urabe towards each other. He goes into Crazy Jealous Guy mode when other boys start talking about her. Conversely, she goes into Clingy Jealous Girl mode when he first gets a magazine of another girl who strongly resembles her, and later when Hayakawa, the girl he used to like in middle school, shows up in his life again.
Intergenerational Friendship: (Not literally, but the vibe is there.) Urabe becomes fairly chummy with Tsubaki's older sister after they keep running into each other in public. She's only been to their house a few times, but Tsubaki's sister recognizes her and they always end up spending time together whenever they meet. This eventually leads to Urabe telling her that she's her brother's girlfriend... while they're in the same public bath.
Also Momoka, whose only punishment for pulling identity theft on Urabe was getting hit by a thrown bag, and some pride lost. Nothing also happens to her managers who kidnap Urabe and force her to pretend to be Momoka.
Last Name Basis: After months of dating Tsubaki and Urabe still call each other by their family names.
Lightning Reveal: How Tsubaki sees Urabe naked for the first time (though he denies seeing anything when she asks).
Love Hurts: While waiting for Urabe in episode 6, Tsubaki runs into Hayakawa, the girl he used to have a crush on. Although he manages to brush her off while waiting, he later finds out she was hiding nearby while he was talking to his old crush. After he asks a theoretical question about Hayakawa, Urabe makes him taste her drool, and tears begin to stream from his eyes, giving him an idea of how she would feel if he started talking to her again.
Love Is A Drug: The obvious metaphor for Tsubaki's addiction to Urabe's saliva.
Male Gaze: All the time. For example. The ending of the anime also slowly pans over several of the girls in the show, particularly while they're wearing revealing outfits.
Manipulative Bitch: Hayakawa, Tsubaki's old crush from middle school. After being dumped by her boyfriend, she tries to hook up with him, despite knowing that he's already dating someone else. She tells both of them separately to attend her school's festival, and attempts to seduce Tsubaki by wearing her middle school uniform, as well as a wig to complete the look. Fortunately for him, he manages to stave off her advances, and Urabe also came prepared.
Meganekko: Oka, Urabe's only female friend, who also has the ability to exchange emotions with Urabe through saliva. Like Tsubaki, Urabe and Oka even share physiological differences — Oka gains Urabe's knee scrape after sharing her spit.
Tsubaki, since Urabe dominates him, Momoka falls for him, and, well, he folds like paper for the most part.
Mindlink Mates: Tsubaki and Urabe have a variant of this — they can swap emotions and some thoughts via spit. Urabe, being more attuned to things than Tsubaki, can outright read his mind, Tsubaki gets an Empathy thing from it but not outright thoughts.
Also Urabe and Oka. And Hayakawa and her boyfriend.
Mistaken Identity: Momoka does this deliberately. It then escalates when her manager mistakes Urabe for Momoka as Urabe's running after Momoka in her (stolen) uniform, pulls her into his car and drives off.
Moral Dissonance: Urabe shreds Tsubaki's magazines simply because she disapproves of them. There's also the case of the public property she desecrates by cutting it to pieces...
Motifs: The one-eyed "Bad Cat" brand or its staring eye appears on the female character's various outfits and uniforms as a sort of Author Avatar. Carried over to the anime.
Mundane Made Awesome: Urabe tends to do this occasionally, particularly when utilizing her scissors.
My God, What Have I Done?: Tsubaki feels this way when he lunges at Urabe after she allows him to feel her breast in episode 8. While she continually tells him she's not mad, the tears from her eyes makes him believe he assaulted her.
Near-Rape Experience: Not technically, but Tsubaki sure acts like this trope after going a bit overboard when Urabe let him touch her breast seen here, and in episode 8.
Ditto when Urabe comes upon Imai trying to sneak a kiss from Tsubaki. Urabe goes absolutely ballistic — pointing out that not even Urabe and Tsubaki have gone that far yet. This is enough to make Imai go away peacefully and on good terms — she had thought they had gone much further already.
Operation Jealousy: At the end of episode 11, Urabe tells Tsubaki that she used to like a boy before transferring to his school. She tells him that if that boy suddenly wanted to meet up with her in secret, she probably would have done so, just like he had done with Hayakawa, which shocks him a little. She then immediately confesses that it was a lie, and that she didn't like boys prior to him. She then says that if her story made him a bit upset, he should remember the Golden Rule, or "do unto others what you would do for yourself." In other words, she was quite angry that he lied to her and met up with Hayakawa secretly, despite ultimately staying loyal to her in the end.
Panty Shot: Nearly always when Urabe is getting out her scissors.
Parental Abandonment: Of the "absent/out-of-focus parents" kind. Tsubaki's mother is deceased, but his father is rarely mentioned and seen (appearing once in the anime, when his family visits his mother's grave). His older sister most often serves as a Parental Substitute. Urabe's parents are similarly rarely mentioned and never seen.
Porn Stash: Which Urabe shreds—in her distinctive way—upon discovery.
And safety scissors at that! Though considering where she stores them, that's probably a good idea.
Secret Keeper: The only people to know about Tsubaki and Urabe's relatioship are (in order) Oka, Momoka, Suwano and most recently Tsubaki's sister. Oka was quickly established as Urabe's secret-keeper but it takes a good while for the others to find out in turn.
Justified as she has a potentially very dangerous reflexive superpower and has to use focus to keep from chopping people up.
However, she bursts out laughing in the middle of class in the first chapter of the manga/first episode of the anime, ending up on the floor. This helps peg her as a weirdo.
Tareme Eyes: Suwano. The difference in eyes between her and Urabe is actually a plot point in a small story line.
Thanks for the Mammary: A very rare aversion: Akira trips and is about to land on Urabe, and in order to specifically avoid this trope, he throws himself off to the side — and into the corner of her bedpost, seriously injuring himself. Further subverting the tropes, he actually discusses what he was thinking openly and honestly with her; she flat out tells him that she wouldn't want him hurt just to avoid something like that.
Invoked for a scene for a movie they were shooting that Tsubaki walks in and catches the main female actor like this.
Troll: Suwano teases at having feelings for Tsubaki and when Tsubaki confesses that he's taken, she says she doesn't mind being the "other woman". She seems to like to tease Urabe after she finds out more about their relationship, but oddly it feels like she's egging them on also.
Tsundere: Urabe, much more dere than tsun, but definitely tsun sometimes, just to cover up just how happy Tsubaki sometimes makes her.
Tsurime Eyes: Urabe. Invoked as one of the reasons why Tsubaki isn't that aggressive in furthering their relationship, at least in the physical aspect. He's intimidated by her eyes, which often make her look stern and irritated - though she really isn't.
Unmoving Plaid: The school uniforms in the anime have a static pencil-style crosshatching underlying the coloured areas.
Unrequited Love: In episode 11, Hayakawa laments this, stating that every boy she's ever loved always loved someone else, from Tsubaki to her old boyfriend. Urabe tries to reassure her that she'll find someone someday who would truly love her.
Wardrobe Malfunction: Identical Stranger Momoka, posing as Urabe and wearing her clothes, accidentally gives Tsubaki (and us) a free show when she bends down because her breasts are two to three sizes too small for Urabe's bra and blouse. When she realises this after he asked her to do it again - boot to the head.
What Does He See in Her?: Hayakawa in episode 10. After Tsubaki accidentally slips out the drool ritual he does with Urabe, she attempts to woo him anyway, and tries to do the drool thing with him as well twice.
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: In episode 10, Hayakawa, the girl Tsubaki used to like in middle school, runs into him again. After becoming interested in his ritual with Urabe and tasting her drool, she meets up with him again at night, and claims that the bruise on her face is due to her ex-boyfriend hitting her. She then asks him to go to her school festival and pretend to be her boyfriend to scare off her ex. Shortly after he agrees, she then rubs off the "bruise" at a nearby park fountain.
Your Cheating Heart: Urabe accuses Tsubaki of this in episode 11, after the latter secretly meets up with Hayakawa at her school festival. While he does ultimately stay loyal to her, Urabe is upset at him because not only did he lie to her, but he went to see Hayakawa behind her back.