The Bizarre adolescent romance manga that is Mysterious Girlfriend X

Seinen Romance

Sometimes I’m just in the mood for a teen romance, despite my own life being devoid of it. That’s why I decided to read through “Mysterious Girlfriend X“, or “Nazo no Kanojo X” after seeing the anime pop up on good ol’ Crunchyroll

Written by Ueshiba, Riichi from 2004 to 2014, it’s that typical adolescent teen romance between two high-schoolers, Urabe & Tsubaki. Here, the two explore being in a relationship for the first time. With their friends Oka and Ueno, they’ll figure out what it means to be in love and the challenges that come with it.

Except… it’s far from typical. In fact, rather strange. Our heroine, Urabe, is mysterious, hence the title. Her shaggy charcoal hair covers her eyes (very moe), and she carries around scissors. But that’s not the weird part. No….

The Bizarre parts of Mysterious Girlfriend X 

Mysterious Girlfriend X is bizarre. You see, Urabe has powers. Like legit super powers. But we’re not talking about just any typical power like flight or invincibility. No….

She drools… Come again? 

That’s right. She drools. All over her desk at school, on the floor. And on her finger, which she shoves into her boyfriend’s mouth literally every day on the way home from class. I probably just lost a lot of you, and believe me it lost me too, yet I was sickened but curious. So I pushed on, to figure out what the hell I was reading.

Urabe can somehow convey her emotions and create mental images through her drool. In order to get her airhead Tsubaki to understand a fragment of her feelings, she lets him taste her drool. “Why don’t they just kiss?” you ask, well… love is a strange, practically foreign concept to teenagers. And this story is about a fresh couple exploring what it means to be in a relationship for the very first time. Add in the odd supernatural plot points to the cliché romcom tropes, and you certainly got a unique manga here.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Scissors, Scissors

Besides the psychedelic drool Urabe seems to conjure up every day, she also carries around a pair of scissors she holds in her garter belt. “How exactly is that a power?” you ask. Well… she does this fancy spinny thing and with her scissors thrust forth with lightning speed, she makes kirigami (paper craft) look like child’s play. 

The scissors don’t serve much of a purpose besides threatening her dumb boyfriend Tsubaki when he gets perverted thoughts about her. Which is often. It’s understandable though, since, well… he is a hormonal high school boy just discovering girls. So I guess the scissors do serve their purpose, though more a romance gag relating to that “bickering old couple” eastern trope. 

Doppelgangers and Rivalries

Along Urabe and Tsubaki’s journey, they come across a number of obstacles. Both seemingly randomly placed and interesting. You have the typical rivals (yes that’s plural) of Urabe that are overly interested in Tsubaki despite him being a most typical and uninteresting main lead. The most prominent rival is Suwano, whom Tsubaki had a crush on in middle school and even kept a photo of her in his wallet… which is most certainly creepy and hopefully uncommon in his school. Being in a relationship now, however, brings on the tension when the villainess suddenly becomes interested in him. I’ve seen this trope so many times, but it isn’t necessarily unrealistic; people are seen as more attractive when they’re with someone, ironically.May be an illustration of text

Another rival that seems annoying to the plot at first but is actually fairly creative later on, on the author’s part is Imai. She’s an idol that looks very much like Urabe except that she uses her feet instead of scissors, and, well… some portions of her are smaller *sigh*. Things get interesting when the doppelganger swaps places, though Tsubaki is too stupid to notice.

The Neat Parts of Mysterious Girlfriend X

There are some fairly unique and fun parts of the manga that may have taken notes from past manga before the 2000s and may have inspired future stories as well. For one, you cannot deny the premise is bizarre and original. A girl with shaggy hair and unusual powers gives boyfriend her drool as a pact for their romantic relationship. It certainly caught my attention. And the author finds strange ways to make use of these daily occurrences. One time Tsubaki is feeling cold, and Urabe wears something ‘steamy’ under her school uniform and this somehow allows her drool to warm him right up. Most commonly though her drool is used to convey her feelings to Tsubaki, literally, like whether she’s feeling happy or angry. Strange indeed.

A few of the situations Urabe and Tsubaki find themselves in out there as well. One time there’s a Halloween party on campus and Urabe goes as a robot, but with the power of her scissors she shreds right through it in hundreds of tiny pieces. She also shreds posters and signs behind Tsubaki when he pisses her off, which is sorta funny. Basically Urabe does some creative things with her powers, even posing as a stand-in idol at one point.

The real intriguing part of Mysterious Girlfriend X is how Ueshiba portrays an adolescent teen romance. Urabe and Tsubaki have no idea what they’re doing or how relationships are supposed to work. They strike a fine balance between keeping their emotions in check and not hurting the other’s feelings. Urabe and Tsubaki are protective of each other, and yet they keep their relationship a secret, afraid of some mysterious consequences. Urabe does something cute, and Tsubaki blushes. Tsubaki has perverted thoughts, and Urabe whips out her scissors on him. Urabe even gets close to Tsubaki’s sister without her realizing she’s his girlfriend for the longest time.

Minor Gripes

Now I do have some minor gripes about Mysterious Girlfriend X. Besides the numerous random girls that show up and try to seduce Tsubaki. It seems like Urabe is always the one to save him. I mean he does defend his relationship, but he’s still a guy and naive to these girls’ advances. Speaking of being a guy, its funny and probably realistic but annoying how often Tsubaki gets perverted thoughts. I get that he’s overcoming puberty and the hormones are all over the place. But it’s so difficult for him to have tact and understand his girlfriend, which I guess is why it’s called Mysterious Girlfriend X.

I was also bummed that Urabe and Tsubaki’s relationship doesn’t progress much beyond their daily routine of swapping spit (or rather Urabe shoving her saliva covered finger in his mouth). I mean, ok… they do grow as a couple, and it helps to realize that they’re moving along at their own pace. But like… they never actually kiss. Maybe between a piece of paper, or the drool I suppose, but they keep their relationship very tame. At one point Tsubaki almost takes it too far, but despite the ecchi tag, the manga keeps the couples’ relationship fairly innocent. They also keep their relationship a secret (pretty sure from everyone, maybe except their two friends).

Also, Urabe becomes an idol in a few days, as well as plays the villain in a school play clearly about her and Tsubaki’s unusual relationship. But besides the things you only see in manga and anime, the rest plays out fairly realistic. Its even got the friends whose relationship seems ahead of the protagonists’ own, and the pressure of conforming to be like them. There are also a great many repeated panels of the couple doing their “daily routine” on the road home from school. The weirdest part for me was when Tsubaki gets Urabe to eat raw bacon while wearing cat ears. Do people eat bacon raw?

The Author’s Intentions

Interestly enough, in the back of one of the manga volumes is a note from the author expressing concern about a rather grim topic. Apparently in Ueshiba’s youth (or perhaps in the 1950s-70s), there were numerous reported cases of underage s#x in Eastern schools. Like, elementary schoolers were having s#x. The note is brief and doesn’t go into detail on why it was happening besides it being a literal epidemic, but we could assume the reasons were from sheer curiosity by the adolescents, as well as pressure from peers to go so far. A very taboo topic indeed.

It is very strange and even jarring to think about, and perhaps these incidents inspired the writing for Mysterious Girlfriend X. Now, it’s not an x-rated manga by any means, but I can definitely see where Ueshiba’s writing comes from, even briefly exploring such a controversial topic. In this case, its simply high schoolers exploring the meaning of relationships. Not sure if Urabe’s drooling has any significant meaning in relation to this, or if it’s just the authors’ secret fet#sh. 

My Overall Take On Mysterious Girlfriend X

Overall, I didn’t mind Mysterious Girlfriend X. My first reaction was… “damn I wasted my time”, but then I slapped myself and realized “the manga is actually not bad”. Because when you realize relationships aren’t about the kissing and the flirting and getting into your birthday suits in your parents’ basement… it becomes clear that it’s the experiences we share that are the most meaningful. To objectify others, to see them as mere tools for your own ends and pleasures… Is a meaningless and degrading cause, as instant gratification is short-lived. What does this have to do with the manga?


Ueshiba wrote a teen romance about a first-time couple and their trials and errors of making their relationship work. None of us have an instruction booklet in our minds telling us what to expect when in a relationship. Numerous themes are explored and the pair finds out what the other likes and doesn’t like. So if you can realize this story is a slow burn despite Urabe and Tsubaki getting into a relationship very early on, I think you will enjoy it. It’s funny. It can be witty. There are many cute moments and a number of chapters I found enjoyable to read. And Urabe holds a special place in my heart.

Thank you for reading and I hope you found some entertainment in my writing. Years later after starting this blog, I’m still working on finding my voice. Until next time!

P.S. When someone asks me if I’ll ever outgrow manga…

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