Woo! Here we are taking a look at the Anime, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko or Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl. Which may or may not sound familiar to a lot of you. Given that a lot of the Anime I talk about on here follow similar genres and concepts to one another, then you probably would have thought to yourself “Maybe he’s going to talk about this Anime today.” if you did say to yourself that (I know that isn’t the case but if you did), then here you go!
As per usual, let me hit you with a nice synopsis of the Anime!
Makoto Niwa meticulously tallies the amount of positive and negative youthful experiences he engages in as if to grade his own life. When his parents go overseas, he moves to a new town to live with his aunt, welcoming the change and ready for a fresh start. However, as ordinary as he had imagined his adolescence to be, he could never have taken the existence of an enigmatic long-lost cousin into account.
Upon moving into his aunt’s house, he discovers the cousin he never knew about: Erio Touwa. Despite being Makoto’s age, she couldn’t be more different: Erio chooses to wrap herself in a futon all day rather than to go to school. She even claims to be an alien, and with a speech pattern and personality to back it up, any chance of Makoto’s dreamt-of normal life is instantly tossed out the window.
As he meets a string of other eccentric girls in town, Makoto must face the possibility of seeing his youth points in the red. However, he might be surprised by how thrilling an abnormal youth can be. – MyAnimeList
Wonderful, wonderful artwork. I’m a stickler for art, having dropped numerous series simply because I couldn’t stand the way they were drawn, and Denpa Onna definitely wins in this category. SHAFT has outdone itself, the lively scenery, vibrant, multi-toned characters, and, in general, great color schemes, compositions, and dynamism in each frame.
I usually neglect this category, as I find it to be a relatively minor component to my viewing experience. However, Denpa Onna does provide some melancholic piano keys and nice ambience music that complement the pacing well. Can’t say I’m a fan of the OP or ED, but, then again, I was never into the high-pitched squeals that permeate much of anime and the music picked for their openings or endings.
As many reviewers iterated before me, eccentricities abound in this motley crew of a cast. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see a show invent new personalities instead of rehashing the standard anime prototypes. (I especially enjoyed how Erio Touwa [E.T.] sat in Makoto’s bicycle basket as he pedalled her into the sky).
Development is admittedly slow, but it’s definitely there. This is something I feel many reviewers don’t emphasize enough. Denpa Onna is a show about the gentle adolescence of our halcyon days, and, to that end, I think it’s nice that events and developments aren’t explosive or convoluted. The subtleties and gradual changes are meant to mirror the normalcy of our teenage years and, thus, offer a stark but welcome contrast to the eccentric personalities – that is, while the characters are themselves bizarre, their growth is relatable and meaningful.
Denpa Onna opened with an explosive start. Bracketing the rest of the show, I think the first 3 episodes could operate as a short, standalone OVA series. Really, I was hooked after watching a prologue so rife with meaning and mystery. Erio’s personality is fully emphasized here, and here, too, is where the show probes most philosophically at the deeper themes of life. Makoto’s rejection of Erio’s delusions is a deeper rejection of ontological relativism as a legitimate means to happiness – his actions nuance his convictions well, and we really get a sense of Makoto’s take on what it means to be human.
Sadly, I feel many casual viewers gloss over this last point and take Denpa Onna to be yet another mindless harem. Let me emphasize that it is not. Its insight is subtle, but present, and acutely profound.
So, what about the rest of the show, you ask? Well, I can say that the first three episodes are somewhat anomalous when compared to the slow pace and slice-of-life themed events of the last 9 episodes. Critics charge that Denpa Onna lacks plot or hooks to keep viewers interested, and I’m not unsympathetic to this criticism. However, as mentioned above, I think the slow pacing works well with what this show takes itself to be: a chronicle of a boy’s adolescence.
I find it far more realistic that schoolgirl crushes don’t blow up into soap operas and baseball games don’t become matters of life and death. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like the series never scratches the surface – it really does, but, often, it does so almost imperceptibly. Take episode 8 (Tsiolkovsky’s Prayer), for example. It centres around Meme’s daily routine over a week, but the conclusion of the episode is nothing short of powerful, poignant, and profound, letting us really glimpse the depth beneath her skin. People are unique, change slowly, and offer interesting and poignant stories. This, I think Denpa Onna emphasizes very profoundly.
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