Mysterious Girlfriend X 11
Once again I came into the episode thinking it’d be a boring, conventional one and I was proved wrong. I had seen screenshots of it before I started and believe me, I was rolling my eyes, but this show has a way of defying my expectations and making me feel humble as a viewer.
Is there real conflict in this show or isn’t there? Last episode set up Hayakawa as the great schemer. Things looked so menacing! Then in this episode as soon as the schemer moves in for the kill and we expect tension to rise to a climax, it collapses because Oka has been watching all along and Tsubaki is saying just enough to make it clear to any eavesdropper that he is more or less an innocent party here (idiotic, yes, but more or less innocent). So this means that whatever happens, Oka will be able to report the truth to Urabe…therefore the show is telling us right off the bat “Don’t worry, we won’t let this get too dramatic, too twisted. Tsubaki and Urabe will steer clear of any real trouble.”
The best way to understand the amazingly subversive writing this show engages in (vis-a-vis your standard melodramas, shojo etc) is the use of Oka in this scene. She comforts us, but why? Because Oka is an ally! Think about that for a minute!! Oka herself was portrayed as a scheming menace early on in the show, but it turned out she was the nicest girl there could be and she ended up being naturally incorporated into the Urabe Army/Fan Club. In any other show, Oka would be a rival to Urabe, and then Oka’s presence in this scene would have heightened the tension, because even if she had understood that Tsubaki was not really two-timing his girlfriend, she would have misinformed Urabe and told her exactly that. These tangled threads are what dramas are based on, and Mysterious Girlfriend X will have none of it.
To highlight this difference the show has Urabe join in with her robot disguise. So now we don’t even need the reassurance of Oka’s presence, since the girlfriend herself is on scene. The end result is what we’ve come to expect from the series: Hayakawa folds and, instead of being bitter, seems to consider Urabe a great personage, which, let’s admit, she totally is. Hayakawa has joined the Army.
I see the author Ueshiba sitting in his workroom saying to himself: “I like these characters, I’ll put in a bit of conflict but I won’t let them suffer too much. Why let them suffer when they’re destined for each other as I made them to be?” Now I interrupt Ueshiba’s thoughts and tell him: “Ueshiba, this will only make for a successful show if you are truly inventive and can somehow make up for the pain that viewers have come to yearn for with some wonder and awe. You must be truly original if you can dispense with these melodramatic tropes.” And Ueshiba nods and, guess what, he succeeds. Kudos to him~