A thoughtful response to current anime.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – Episode 9

It’s technically July 1 now, even if it doesn’t seem like it because of my shattered sleep schedule, and I really need to be thinking about starting Summer Anime Season 2011 soon. Unfortunately, I’ve been following GotWoot for Denpa Onna, and they’ve been pretty slow at putting out subs. I dunno if I should keep blogging it even simultaneously with summer shows, or I should just give up and finish it alone, because nobody wants to read about the middle of a show they’ve already seen the end of. I guess blogging is as much for my benefit as for anybody’s, so maybe I’ll keep blogging it and pretend anyone cares. “Dance like someone’s watching”, they say. Speaking of watching, let’s watch episode 9 of Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko.

…thirty minutes pass…

I didn't realize this was a horror anime.

Solid enough episode.  Denpa Onna eps can pretty much be categorized in terms of quality by how much the various heroines appear in them: if Ryuushi shows up a lot, that’s great, same goes for Meme, but if Erio is the focus the episode suffers heavily.  Maekawa is a neutral indicator, although she was charming in this episode.  Maybe she’s turned positive now that we’ve had a chance to look inside her head and get a better feel for her character.  I’m guessing that this new chick they introduced is going to be bad like Erio, for much the same reasons.  This show does great at having deep, engaging characters, I dunno that I’ve ever seen a cute genki type character with as much depth as Ryuushi, but for some reason they didn’t bother trying with the titular Denpa Onna?  She’s just an incredibly naive childish character, lacking the subtlety of Maekawa, the scheming of Ryuushi, or the conscious irony of Meme.  There’s no hook to her.  Maybe they’re trying to make a point, trying to set her up as the simple and therefore pure and good character, but she’s simple and therefore boring.  And now they’re introducing this fake astronaut, and all it’s going to do is trigger Erio in the worst freaking way, undo all everyone’s hard work over the past episodes, and return the focus to her craziness instead of the blossoming romance between the protagonist and Ryuushi.

I thought the commentary about the modernized half of town vs. the old-fashioned shopping-district half was interesting.  Especially the way they set up Ryuushi and Maekawa as dueling champions of the two sides.  Ryuushi is full of complexities and airy charms and advertising, marketing, focus groups, polished products, all calculated to have maximum impact on the customer, while Maekawa takes the high road, the mature road, the road sensitive to the protagonist’s individual needs, not causing a scene or getting jealous, but gently teasing him about his email-wars with Ryuushi.  “Gentle” is a good word for it, or “laid back” in contrast to Ryuushi’s pushy approach.  Personally, I’m a city boy, and modernization is appealing to me, but I can understand the feelings of those who would support Maekawa.  But in all this, where does Erio fit in?  She doesn’t fit in anywhere, that’s almost the point of the character.  She’s an underserved outsider.  The hikkikomori class cannot find comfort in the crowded bustle of modernized life or in the warm, friendly, social old-fashioned life.  There’s no place for them in any society, and the ultimate message of this show seems to be one of sympathy for the plight of these people with nowhere to belong.


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