Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Nazo no Kanojo X – OVA

[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_07.58_[2012.08.28_20.37.07] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_22.23_[2012.08.28_20.53.05] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_24.50_[2012.08.28_20.56.03]

An OVA from a series you loved is always a little bittersweet.

For me, Nazo no Kanojo X was a series that got pretty much everything right.  It took an extremely smart and interesting manga by Ueshiba Richi and made it even better.  Director Watanabe Ayumu and writer Akao Deko made brilliant decisions in terms of what to adapt and in what order, the soundtrack was one of the best of the season and the look was fabulously retro.  And the casting of the central couple – the peerless Miyu Irino and virtual unknown Yoshitani Ayako – provided incredible chemistry and a non-stop supply of charm.  It may have been somewhat overshadowed in one of the best anime seasons of the past half-decade, but MGX was without doubt one of the finest anime romance series ever.

Ueshiba-sensei’s manga is an undeniably surrealist story.  Much like FLCL, by embracing the bizarre it managed to enlighten reality in a very profound way, to the extent very few manga or anime have been able to match.  So it’s fitting that for this OVA project Hoods has chosen to deliver the most surreal episode of the series, a summer festival tale that embraces the occult and the magical even more overtly than the TV series did.  At the same time it loses none of the more Earthy magic the series has always achieved in portraying the relationship between Akira Tsubaki and Mikoto Urabe, one of my favorite anime couples ever.  There was a bit too much Ueno and Oka – or maybe they were just a bit more annoying than usual – but apart from that, it does what every great episode of the series did – take Tsubabki and Urabe’s relationship to a new place in a way that’s utterly believable in spite of absurd circumstances.

The underrated relationship in this series is the one between Tsubaki and his big sister Youko, played by the always winning Fukuen Misato.  It really flowered in the TV finale, which explored Tsubaki’s memories of the passing of his mother, and that added some additional poignancy to the scene at the beginning where she remembered their childhood days attending the summer festival together and encouraged him to wear a yukata, just like the old days.  Rather than attending together as they had then, though, she encourages him to go with a girl he likes, reasoning that girls and boys always see their crush 209differently when they’re wearing yukata.  Youko may not be a mother but she’s a very sharp woman, and her supportive and loving but not smothering approach to being Tsubaki’s guardian is a model of good judgment and balance.

The conceit of the episode surrounds a pair of Kitsune, Matsubuya (Yuuki Hiro) and Togawa (Hayashibara Megumi, “All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku-Nuku”  - and Ayanami Rei, and a jillion other legendary performances - herself) who take the form of human teenagers and provide a sort of Shinto alter-ego to Akira and Mikoto (instead of saliva, Matsubuya tastes Togawa’s tears).  They lead the pair on a mischievous chase, “capturing” Urabe and forcing Tsubaki to come to her rescue and to prove the red string of fate that connects them is strong.  It’s all in the service of a love charm that when placed on the wrist of a boy by a girl, cements their love.  And it’s their reward for putting on an entertaining show – and for the sake and cup that Matsubuya steals off the derrière portion of Urabe’s yukata.

“Why did I fall in love with you?  if I unlock your mysteries… Then I’m sure to unlock my own mysteries.  That’s what I believe.   When we fall in love, everyone embraces mystery.”  Togawa’s summation of the timeless relationship she shares with Matsubuya could serve as a wonderful summation of what Nazo no Kanojo X is all about.  No show I know captures the frightening and thrilling duality of romantic love the way MGX does, embracing the purely physical and the spiritual in equal measure.  As great as that last scene between the two Kami at the shrine is, I like the one that follows even better.  I could watch Tsubaki and Urabe for hours and never get tired of them, because there’s a seemingly endless amount of discovery and emotional honesty in their relationship.  That’s the essence of this series, and what makes it the rare gem that it is.

[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_09.06_[2012.08.28_20.38.15] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_11.18_[2012.08.28_20.40.27] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_12.42_[2012.08.28_20.41.51]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_12.58_[2012.08.28_20.42.07] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_14.06_[2012.08.28_20.43.15] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_14.44_[2012.08.28_20.43.53]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_15.22_[2012.08.28_20.44.31] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_15.38_[2012.08.28_20.44.46] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_15.51_[2012.08.28_20.44.59]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_16.01_[2012.08.28_20.45.10] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_17.07_[2012.08.28_20.46.15] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_17.31_[2012.08.28_20.46.40]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_17.36_[2012.08.28_20.46.45] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_18.18_[2012.08.28_20.47.27] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_18.45_[2012.08.28_20.47.54]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_18.49_[2012.08.28_20.47.58] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_19.15_[2012.08.28_20.48.51] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_19.49_[2012.08.28_20.49.24]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_19.59_[2012.08.28_20.49.58] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_20.36_[2012.08.28_20.50.35] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_20.48_[2012.08.28_20.50.47]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_21.07_[2012.08.28_20.51.06] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_21.18_[2012.08.28_20.51.17] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_22.27_[2012.08.28_21.31.47]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_22.50_[2012.08.28_20.54.03] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_23.37_[2012.08.28_20.54.49] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_23.57_[2012.08.28_20.55.10]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_24.06_[2012.08.28_20.55.19] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_24.10_[2012.08.28_20.55.23] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_24.26_[2012.08.28_20.55.39]
[SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_24.43_[2012.08.28_20.55.56] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_26.37_[2012.08.28_20.57.50] [SubDESU] Nazo no Kanojo X OVA (720x480 x264 AAC) [91326351].mkv_snapshot_26.39_[2012.08.28_20.58.11]


12 comments:

  1. not my favorite episode of KNK, but it was great seeing them again. Any speculations on the possibility of a second season?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very hard to say. BD/DVD sales are right in the gray area - just under 4K, which is just above the Manabi line. I think that's solid for a series like this, but is it enough to convince Hoods to air a second season? I'd say it's possible but far from a sure thing. The positive is that there does seem to be enough material should they choose to go ahead.

      Delete
  2. that Oka.... pure mischief herself..... but still happy to get my fix nonetheless... any idea on when there will be an officially subbed version available for us Yanks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How official do you need it to be? ;-) I found one that was official enough for me, though it would obviously have been nice to have a HD version.

      Delete
    2. wow, didn't realize it was already licensed and available, been watching too much adult swim I guess!

      Delete
  3. ohhh and good luck to Makoto in Saimoe '12 (although she is a decided underdog)....

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, lord. I bet you could bounce a quarter off of Urabe's ass. And then there was some stuff about love and mysteries too. Good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Matsubuya and Togawa are characters from the Discommunication mangas. She's human, and he's at the very least a human with strong spiritual power, like the Yume Tsukai Mishima sisters. They could be used as Kitsune here, or maybe their usual selves out for a bit of fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's interesting, I know of the manga's existence but I haven't read any of it. In this context, they sure didn't seem like humans to me...

      Delete
    2. It's hard to tell about Matsubue from the small amount that has been translated. His reference here to the Edo period implies that he's a few hundred years old. It's my initial impression that he was not originally a supernatural being, and might still be human (but I could be way off). Togawa falls for him "out of the blue" and they begin to explore the meaning of love. She's a regular high school girl, but does have some spiritual power (which may explain her quick and strong bond with Matsubue). Matsubue often makes "odd" requests of Togawa, and him tasting her tears is directly from the first chapter of the first series. Their interaction with Tsubaki and Urabe might be a further exploration. As far as the fox masks go, Matsubue has a lot of them, but I don't recall Togawa ever wearing one. Kitsune or not, it would be a trivial matter for Matsubue to pull off the illusion in the OVA. I guess it works either way.

      Delete
  6. Just realized how much I missed MGX after watching this OVA.
    DAT BGM is already inducing waves of nostalgia, despite it having been only 4 months.
    I really liked how Urabe and Tsubaki's relationship continues to grow, even though this an OVA. The continuity and consistency of the two main leads really makes this one of my favourites from Spring. Here's hoping for a 2nd season.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, this was nostalgic. After months it reminded me how this series can make me borderline cringe, move, laugh and go 'awww <3 ' sometimes all at once like no other.
    Dat glowing red string saliva coating! Urabe's enticing voice! The not-panties scissors (totally saw that coming for once. Ahah)! The sisterly love! The romantic young love (and those facial expressions... and the bright eyes and the blushes and hurting butts mixing with sublime revelations XD)! The music! Yukatas <3
    There's an earnest quality to all of it that just pulls you in. Eh. EEEEH :D <--- yes, that's my face since watching the episode. I'm such a fangirl.

    ReplyDelete