Nice review. I think I'll check this anime. I really love the character designs <3
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko tv Review
Story & Characters
Alien gets all the love. There are thousands of alien shows, but how many are there wander in the slice-of-life library? Okay, so there are all of those shows about Martians invading Earth with giant robots that blast people leaving nothing behind but clothes, a number of kiddy shows, plus the more space opera parts of the Star Wars empire - but other than that, how many? Rather than actually engage in the supernatural and sci-fi, though, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko takes the opposite approach: it totally grounds itself in reality and shows its characters as breaking themselves out of their shells. Throw in some wacky alien references (including the bevy of E.T. references), and you've got a good recipe for a hidden gem.
Makoto is the new kid in town. His parents has gone overseas for works, requiring him to move in with his cute aunt Meme, who is outlandishly childish and prone to seduce Makoto. The problem is that he initially thought his aunt was living alone until he sees something odd at the lobby, his aunt's daughter Erio, who always rolls up inside a futon and her presence is unacknowledged. Oh, and she's a self-proclaimed alien. Hence the reason she normally speaks in an alien manners by saying that the Earth is being targeted, and actively tries to draw her cousin into her fantasies. Fed up with her delusion, Makoto undoes the futon, only to discovers that Erio is a cute girl who radiates sparkles. Despite her resistance, Makoto attempts to prove that she is not an alien, and tries to help her reintegrate back into a judgmental society, meanwhile befriending two other gals who are slight misfits in their own way.
The influence of E.T. in particular is evident, even pervasive, in almost every aspect of its production; even the basic story structure – a normal everyday high school boy wants to have a fresh start has his plan rent apart by his involvement with a cute but whacked-out girl and the oddballs who gather around them – is essentially the same. Things get off to a pretty corny, cliche setup. Who loves stories about girls thinking they are aliens rather than stories about real alien themselves? It's easy to unfairly dismiss Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko as nonsensical fluff. However, give it two episodes and it's quickly apparent that this series has a serious and tender side.
Sure, it overall plays out as a pure, raucous comedy, that changes beginning with episode 3, when Makoto decides to wake Erio from her delusion. While the comedy element remains,but it's defined by the moments the characters try to solve their dilemmas, and also to move forward with their lives. It has a decided preference for emotional, as Meme's recalling memories can attest, but never forgets the soft underbelly that makes it so alluring. The premise's greatest is the way it shows how Erio transforms, but it also does a good job with the other characters who make appearances, each with their own personal problems and insecurities. None of it is exactly fresh, but it's plenty fun, and best of all, it's unfettered by romantic entanglements. My only gripe is that not all episodes are great - there's an episode that explains Erio's strange behaviors, but it only covers minor details and never got any further into it. While it's understandable the premise would be too far-fetched, it's a step down to quality.
But the series has much more than just that going for it. Erio is adorably airheaded as the clumsy and not overly bright
but still immensely creative female lead, it's a great treat to see how she comes out of her shell; we quickly see that
she's just a hikikomori who has trouble fitting in socially and feels safer when she's shielded from the outside world
by her futon. Her mother Meme is the cheerfully bumbiling mom one, which the producers make sure that viewers understand
by giving an "eternal youth" look to her, she may act one way in public but her flashback and tendency to be
serious when thinking about her little girl give impression that she's wiser than how she usually acts, while Makoto is
more like just a nice guy in his apparent resistance to getting dragged into things but basic tolerance of all of the
craziness despite that. Ryuko is, so far a comic relief with her running gag, while tall classmate Maekawa is the drama
queen. The only major supporting characters are Meme's grandmother and a girl named Yashiro, turn out to be just as
screwed-up enough as Erio, are also enjoyable in their own ways.
If Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko can claim any artistic distinction, it would be for its lovely character designs (by Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai's Buriki) and love of cheeky E.T. references. Character designs beyond Erio may not be the most original but are appealing and consistently drawn well; Erio, with her long hair, childish build, and seifuku-themed flavors as normal apparel, is more distinctive but also heavily moe-flavored in the series' only nod to that style.
SHAFT doesn't exactly have the greatest reputation for turning out sharp visual productions, but they make a solid
effort here. The visual quality is par for the course for their high standards; it never looks cheap, though has its
share of simplified backgrounds and a bright color scheme. The series also deserves credit for what it doesn't do. It studiously avoids using fierce fanservice despite innumerable good
opportunities to do so; the content is good enough that it hardly needs a fanservice crutch; although it does show
Maekawa in multiple costumes to show off her generous legs, and then there's Erio, who occupies the shows with her charm
and parts of the ending visual but only features a very small and tame doses of her fanservice that it is largely
The musical score stands out much more: whimsical, rousing if necessary, and does an excellent job fitting with the comedy elements. The signature theme songs, OP "Os-Uchuujin" is an upbeat, energetic number featuring a bell set and vocals sung a syllable at a time, while ED "Ruru" is a quieter, sleepier, and without much in the way of imagination - which sung by a sleepy voice and tends to indulge moe elements especially in the scenes where Erio goes for a walk and hugs her pillow in the animation. There's also a bonus drama CD and character image songs, the latter which consists of random, often stylized music. Although Erio's song might give you seizures.
The voice acting also shines, especially relative Oogame Asuka's effort as Erio. Her performance makes Erio sound a bit
kiddish and quite cutesy, which adds the moe effect and does make her convincing when speaking in a "Take me to
your leader" speech. Other casting choices are perfectly fine, with Irino Miyu and Nonaka Ai being dead-on as
Makoto and Meme respectively.
Overall, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko is a very good series which falls short of being a great series primarily because
it tends to be nothing more than just a fun frolic about a pretty girl claims to be an alien. Yeah, there might actually
be real aliens near the end. It never gets into any deeper into that side, or maybe it doesn't have to for inserting
such content in would have interfered with the pleasant charm that the series develops. It gets off to a nonsensical
start with its tone-setting first episode but wraps up with a satisfying good finish, though the stories in between also
have their moments. The end result is a series that, through its planned 13 episode run (12 TV episodes and one OVA next
year), is one warmth, funny, and touching story.
+Well-conceived and well-written individual stories.
+Nothing about Erio is ever explained.
+Moe elements seem needlessly forced in.
7.33 (above average)
Reviewed by Weskalia, May 04, 2013
Blue-Latte May 30, 2013
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