Names in Mysterious Girlfriend X
[Mikoto Urabe (卜部 美琴—Urabe Mikoto)]
Mikoto Urabe is the female lead. Urabe (卜部; her family name) means “seacoast”. Urabe states at one point that she likes the ocean and likes to swim. The seacoast is where the water and the land meet. The concept of drool, as Mysterious Girlfriend X uses it, acts as a bridge between emotions, allowing one person to fully experience another’s emotions. Thus, you could say that their emotions and understanding “meet” like the water and land meet at the seacoast, and that this is introduced to Tsubaki by Urabe, whose family name literally embodies this meeting of wet (Urabe, who already has knowledge and understanding of the drool-bond) and dry (Tsubaki, for whom all of this is new).
The kanji 卜(ura) in her family name means “divination” or “fortune-telling”, and could be a reference to the voice Urabe heard in the first episode telling her that Tsubaki would be her first sexual partner. It could also be a reference to the drool in general, as it allows one person to directly experience the emotions of another, “divining” a better understanding of that person as a result. The other kanji in her family name, 部 (be), can be read as “bu”, which means “part”. This, taken as a whole with卜, underscores that she is a part of the event that was foretold by the voice she heard.
Her given name, Mikoto (美琴), could be interpreted a number of different ways. The kanji 美 (mi) means “beautiful”, and 琴 (koto) is a Japanese string instrument. In this sense, it could highlight her physical attractiveness, particularly when her bangs aren’t obstructing her face. Miko means “shrine maiden” or “child of the emperor”. This reading highlights her femininity, as well as implies a high status. This high status could be in the sense of purity, as she is a virgin. It could also simply be in the more general sense of placing a lot of importance on her as ideal (she’s not like “normal” girls, but she’s not completely unattainable either), as different in a positive, special way. Miko also means “sorceress”, which could be yet another reference to the mysterious powers of saliva that Urabe brings to the series. “To”, when written with different kanji, can mean “door” (戸) or “way” (途), highlighting the fact that, through her, Tsubaki was introduced to the drool-bond, as well as to the experience of a reciprocal romantic relationship.
[Akira Tsubaki (椿 明—Tsubaki Akira)]
Akira Tsubaki is the male lead. Tsubaki (椿; his family name) is the Japanese name for the camellia flower, which is the flower shown in the dream sequence at the very beginning of the first episode. In that dream, the flower is pollinated by a butterfly and overflows with nectar/honey. This could be foreshadowing the new and wonderful experiences that he has after meeting and starting his relationship with Urabe. Also, nectar/honey is sweet. When Tsubaki tastes Urabe’s saliva in the classroom (which he is prompted to do by recalling his dream), it tastes sweet. Tsubaki can also be written with the kanji 唾, which means “spit” or “saliva”.
[Ayuko Oka (丘 歩子—Oka Ayuko)]
Ayuko Oka becomes Urabe’s friend and confidant, and helps her to understand various things about relationships that are new to her. She is also Kouhei’s girlfriend. Oka (丘; her family name) means “hill”. When written using different kanji, it means “food for thought, especially in the context of conversation or material for assisting arousal during masturbation” (御数; okazu) and “to invade/raid/intrude/trespass/infringe/encroach/etc.” (侵す; okasu). These could be references to her large breasts and her nosiness regarding Urabe’s and Tsubaki’s relationship, respectively. 御数 could also be a reference to how Urabe and Oka often talk about these things over lunch (food for thought).
The two kanji that make up her given name (歩 (ayu) and 子 (ko)) mean “to walk” and “child/young woman”, respectively. This could be a reference to the fact that she’s very short.
[Kouhei Ueno (上野 公平—Ueno Kouhei)]
Kouhei Ueno is Tsubaki’s friend and Oka’s boyfriend. The kanji 上 (ue, meaning “up”, or indicating superiority) and 野 (no, meaning “plain” or “field”) in his family name could refer to how he had a girlfriend before Tsubaki and has more experience with relationships as a result. Relatively speaking, his relationship experience is “far afield” of what Tsubaki knows.
The kanji 公 (kou) in his given name can also be read as “kimi”, which is a term of endearment. This could refer to how he is Tsubaki’s friend. The other kanji in his given name, 平 (hei), can also be read as “hira”, which means “common” or “ordinary” (there is nothing like Urabe and Tsubaki’s drool-bond between Oka and Ueno).
Thus, Kouhei is Tsubaki’s ordinary friend who has more relationship experience.
[Aika Hayakawa (早川 愛香—Hayakawa Aika)]
Aika Hayakawa is a girl who Tsubaki had a huge crush on in middle school. The kanji 愛 (ai) in her given name means “love”. Along with the kanji 早 (haya) in her family name which means “early” or “already/now/by this time” this underscores that she had been Tsubaki’s love interest before Urabe. It could also highlight the fact that she is implied to have much more experience with relationships than any of the main characters.
When written with different kanji, 囃す (hayasu) is a verb that means “to play accompaniment” or “to jeer at”. This refers to how Hayakawa becomes second fiddle in Tsubaki’s mind after he starts a relationship with Urabe and how she’s jealous of Urabe because of Urabe’s requited feelings. When written with the kanji 皮, kawa means masking one’s true nature, and could refer to how she tricks Tsubaki and Urabe with the intention of getting between them and breaking them up.
When written using different kanji, her given name means “lament with song/dirge” (哀歌; aika) and “partner” (相方; aikata), which could underscore that all of her loves thus far have been unrequited.
[Youko Tsubaki (椿 陽子—Tsubaki Youko)]
Read as “youshi”, her given name means “proton”, which highlights the fact that she has been the core, the nucleus, of the Tsubaki household since her and Tsubaki’s mother passed away. The kanji 陽 (you) in her given name refers to the sun and sunlight, as well as yang (the positive part of the yin yang symbol). It also means “cheerful” or “merry”. All of this strongly underscores her disposition.
When written using different kanji, “you” can also mean “task/business/use/duty/service” (用) and “cornerstone/main point/keystone” (要). These highlight what she tells her brother about how she sees it as her duty to take care of him until he is able to do so for himself, and so restricts herself from going out and meeting people, and further underscores how she is the core of the Tsubaki household, respectively.
Ogata is Urabe and Tsubaki’s classmate. He is interested in Urabe, and asks her out. However, she turns him down after he fails to show a reaction to her drool. The kanji 緒 (o) in his family name can be read as 緒戦 (shosen), which means “beginning of hostilities or competition”. This highlights how, initially, Tsubaki perceives him to be a rival in his affections for Urabe. Read as “hou”, the kanji 方(gata) in his family name indicates one side of a comparison, underscoring his role as Urabe’s guinea pig for testing her connection with Tsubaki.