Working through my backlog, I’ve been watching Mysterious Girlfriend X. The character of Urabe was confusing to me-her strange behavior puzzled me. That was, until I realized she was the opposite of the stereotype of the ideal girlfriend shown in anime.
The typical girlfriend in anime is usually presented as the one of the love interests of a main character. The girl is nice, emotional, open with her feelings, often clingy and physically affectionate. She is submissive to her male love interest, and allows him to take the lead. With other girls, the ideal love interest is friendly and popular. Finally, she is pure, never being crude or gross.
Urabe is not any of this. She is the opposite of it.
She is a stoic character, who struggles with expressing her emotions and feelings, more often then not relying on her spit do the talking. Urabe is uncomfortable with physical affections, requiring that Tsubaki warn her when he wants to touch her, and attacking him if he doesn’t. She is also her own independent person, who does her own thing, and doesn’t go along with all of Tsubaki’s idea. She doesn’t want friends and doesn’t socialize with the other girls at school. Rather then being nice, Urabe is honest and blunt.
Urabe is also far from pure. While Tsubaki is her first, she’s interested in experimenting with her sexuality. She’s also gross, and doesn’t shy away from it. I mean, her main physical contact with Tsubaki is putting a glob of spit on her finger and sticking it in his mouth. That’s not something most people are going to find appealing.
But the appeal comes from the fact that Tsubaki is crazy about her anyway. It’s reassuring, because frankly, as a women, I relate a lot more to Urabe then I can to the hordes of ideal girls anime produces, even if I don’t stick my spit in someone else’s mouth. Learning to be open with another person and communicate with them is hard as shit and it’s even harder to let someone see how flawed you are. The ideal girl is an impossible standard that’s also toted in Western culture, and I, like most girls, are far from it.
Because of Urabe’s flaws, the relationship between her and Tsubaki feels more of what a relatonship is actually going to be like. The two appear to be two individual people trying to figure out how to have a relationship together rather then the typical guy with a girl all over it. It feels good to see a girl presented as being so far from perfect and that a guy likes her anyway. It’s also feel good to see an anime which shows us that relationships more often then not are easy, and more awkward then anything else. It reminds me of something important–no one in a happy relationship expects their boyfriend or girlfriend to be perfect or the relationship itself to be perfect. Instead, they accept and sometimes embrace the flaws.
After all, if there’s one thing to be learned from Mysterious Girlfriend X, it’s that perfection is boring, and that imperfection can be a lot of fun.