I never fully understood fanservice until I watched Mysterious Girlfriend X episode nine.
Mysterious Girlfriend X has a persistent theme of fetish. The show starts with a fetish for saliva, as everyone knows by now. It doesn’t stop there, though. The show explores exhibitionism, secret love, clothes fetishes, some light BDSM themes, sweat, and tan lines. Episode 9 is about hair. That’s what finally got me.
Bedhead is beautiful.
First, let’s back way up and talk about my hair fetish. This is a hereditary trait. I know this because my father was obsessed with hair, I am obsessed with hair, and my son shows every sign of having the same obsession. Watching him zone out when he runs his fingers through a woman’s hair is like looking in a mirror.
I will save you most of the details about my particular fetish, suffice to say that it is the hair on a woman’s head that I love. There are different fetishes for body hair, or short hair, or hairlessness. I don’t have those.
In episode nine of MGX Urabe arrives at school with her hair tousled. This leads to a scene where Oka fixes Urabe’s hair and gives her a new look. Tsubaki doesn’t like the look and asks Urabe to change it. Urabe’s response is to ask Tsubaki to use his hands to mess her hair again. Later in the episode Oka asks Ueno to do the same to her.
The animation during these scenes is clunky at best. That doesn’t mean they fail to capture the essence of fanservice. The episode starts with lace curtains casting a shadow on bare skin, then Urabe hastily stops her alarm and rises, with a wonderful head of ruffled hair. This imagery is very evocative, for reasons that should be somewhat obvious.
Dig a little deeper and it says much more. We are seeing Urabe in an extremely intimate state. It’s not that she’s undressed, but that she’s unkempt. We’re trained from a young age that we are to get dressed and clean up before we leave the house. An intimate relationship does not merely involve sex, but rather to break down the barriers that we’ve put up for those around us. MGX invited the viewer into Urabe’s most intimate moments with the mere viewing of her head.
Oka knows how to tease.
Once at school, we see how Urabe’s decision not to fix her hair puts her immediately out of place. Though few people have hair that stays in great shape without any effort, everyone will take notice of a person walking around in public with disheveled hair. Oka comes to the rescue and the next fanservice moment arrives. We see a toss of her hair with a brush, the gentle flicking of a blow drier, and Oka’s hands delicately moving Urabe’s hair into to place. Playful, light, and fun. Coincidentally, I think those are good descriptors for Urabe’s resulting hairstyle.
After a day with her new hairstyle Tsubaki can stand no more, and we arrive at the main event of the episode. He asks her to change her hair back to normal. Urabe’s response comes after a short pause, she walks over and places his hands in her hair. We see his hands at the side of her head, with her hair strewn about his fingers. Cut to his face, flush. She asks him to use his hands to mess up her hair. Not enough. Harder. We’re shown an incredibly intimate moment between two young lovers, without the undue need for blatant imagery.
Later we see Oka play the copycat, as she is wont to do. Also, the next episode contains some hair fetish moments involving the saving of hair and again with the more typical fanservice of changing hairstyles.
Now let’s return to my newfound understanding of fanservice. What does this do to one with a hair fetish?
It was exhilarating. For those brief moments it felt like I was watching something made just for me. I would love to go back to the days before my incessant touching of my wife’s hair became an annoyance. However, I can’t say that my level of arousal was all that high. It was the sort of platonic feeling when you find someone who gets you, rather than the erotic feeling of a new sexual experience. Still, it was special, and I don’t think I can quite look at MGX the same again.