For me this has been a long time coming, or at least it's felt that way. Like a lot of people, I only began to read the MGX manga after watching the anime; I needed more of the very sweet and honest relationship I'd become obsessed with in the day it took me to marathon the series.
I've never cried before while reading or watching anything until I read MGX. I have never been as emotionally invested as I have in a piece of media before.
I picked it up at a weird time. The second (and final) major arc had just ended, allowing me to steam through this and the other arc without the mental and emotional anguish involved in waiting YEARS for plot points to conclude.
Everything that occurs right up to the first major arc is basically perfect. We have the mysterious and fully three-dimensional girlfriend Mikoto Urabe's adventures with main protagonist Akira Tsubaki as they explore their unique relationship, subverting a lot of usual Japanese media tropes. Their relationship advances at a steady pace, confronting their feelings and dealing with them.
This is aided by the special bond they share via drool. She licks her finger, he sucks it. It's a definite hurdle to get over for any reader, but after the first few chapters it's very much downplayed. They can use it to share feelings, a great communication tool as the two are generally unable to open up to each other.
It's all very sweet, lovely and most of all it's honest. The only real mystery is a teenage boy trying to figure out the feelings and desires of his slightly odd teenage girlfriend. She's a human being with her own wants and needs and insecurities, and by the first third of the manga we begin to understand her just that little bit more.
Then the first arc happens and a lot of her character and development is changed or just thrown out the window. A preposterous beginning that suspends all disbelief results in an ill-advised plot which changes the dynamic and nature of the relationship almost irreversibly.
It took a long time for the manga to recover (it seems like the release of the anime kicked the author Riichi into gear), and even the return of the single chapter storys had changed in the process. The relationship felt more like a battle between the two than a shared experience, save for a few genuinely excellent chapters that captured the feel of the pre-arc series.
Pushing through this down period is in some ways worth it though - having re-read the entire run so I could finish it properly, it seems like Riichi had been thinking about wrapping up the story for about two years before it ended. Switching from weird fetish of the week back to actual relationship development began to save it towards the end, with the last six months building up to a fairly monumental moment.
Unfortunately, in a lot of ways the finale doesn't deliver. It seems a little rushed, especially after how much it seemed Riichi had been milking the series at one point. Perhaps there were outside forces beyond his control on the series' cancellation but at the very least he left it in a way that implied their relationship would go on past what the reader was aware of.
It does leave a sense of lack of closure though, wistful and a bit sad, which aren't really the right emotions to have when leaving a wonderful romance story behind.
I've given it a high score but I feel it's... difficult to recommend. First of all there's the whole drool aspect. It does take a bit of getting used to. If you manage to get past that hurdle, there's the problem that it's only up to chapter 36 that I truly recommend reading to. Unfortunately, by that point you'll probably have the urge to read more. The anime does a good job of taking the very best parts of these 36 chapters, changing a couple small things for the better and leaving out some of the less interesting plot points, so watching that may be a better idea, as it also has an 'ending' to stop at as well.
Now I have to go and try and forget about this series so I can go back to living a normal life.