“and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.” Bible, Mark 10:8, New International Version (©1984)
There is an almost subtle message about the routine of the drool exchange. It comes to represent the act of sex. Penetration from one person to the next, with an exchange of fluid. An emotional connection that come with that act. The act resulting in an emotional and physical bond shared between the two. If you begin to look at things that way, than instead of being a conservative story about two kids working out their feelings for one another, then it’s actually a story about a girl and boy working out their sexuality with themselves, and others. Our two protagonists end up being in a promiscuous relationship, learning about sex and emotions.
The directing of this story has really brought out and focused certain themes in this story. The camera focus and off character cut scenes work to enhance a particular set of images. While most of these images are set around the liquid reference of the drool, there is also a focus on the act of the drool exchange. The drool is much more than unhygienic habit between two teenagers. It represents an emotional exchange and bond between the two individuals. The physical act is much like sex; a penetration of one individual by another, with an deposit of fluids. It’s hard not to see that the physical and emotional characteristics of this exchange as being anything less than equating to sex.
But this sex is not monogamous. Early in the story, we see a rival for Urabe’s attention. Rather than turn him a way, she decides to test her physical and emotional compatibility with him. She gets herself ready, changes her routine to do something different with this suitor. They “have sex”, but because there is no emotion in the act, she returns to Tsubaki. In the context of sex, this could be seen as an act of cheating by Urabe. She ‘slept’ with another man while in an existing relationship.
And now, another has become curious about Urabe. But this time, it’s not a man. Oka, a short, glasses wearing girl in the same class, secretly saw the routine between Urabe and Tsubaki. Not knowing who to approach, she decides to approach Urabe. She begins a courtship with Urabe; bringing her lunch, helping her when she’s injured. This leads to not one, but two exchanges. In the first, the exchange just happens by accident, but they realize there is an emotional connection. In the second, Oka purposefully corners Urabe with the intent to exchange drool. And in the end, a third is added into the Urabe-Tsubaki relationship.
But is all this fair to Tsubaki? I can understand that a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship isn’t a marriage. But no matter where you’re at, you don’t do things that may compromise that relationship. I can see how this would be considered cheating when taken on a more symbolic level. Tsubaki has a normal view on relationships, and not only is she an opposite, she trounces on it. What is going to happen if another girl approaches Tsubaki and he decides to test their bond? Will the panty scissors tear him to shreds? We’re only four episodes in, and this show has the implicit drama sexual tension of an HBO special.