Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko – Episode 1

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, as adapted from Hitoma Iruma’s light novel series of the same name by Shaft, has shown to be an interesting series with quite a bit of potential. I don’t know much about the light novels themselves, so I won’t really be able to discuss the anime’s plot and character development in relation to the novels. That said, let’s jump into an analysis of the show’s episode.

First: the opening. I posted some ramblings about the opening song, and how I thought it would relate to the anime itself. I still have to admit, I don’t quite get that opening-ish feel from the song, even after seeing the actual opening. Shaft, however, has clearly been hard at work on this opening, which complements the unusual nature of the song. If you’ve seen some of Shaft’s other works, you’ll probably be familiar with the bizarre nature of this opening. The opening is here for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

I’m fairly used to this type of opening from Shaft now, and this particular one is very interesting to me since it’s actually tied in rather well to the show itself. The opening starts with a flurry of lightning bolts, probably referencing to the “Denpa” (meaning electric wave) in the title. Next we have some scenes of Erio doing weird and cute stuff, all of which I presume will be in the show in some way. They showed some other characters, which is to be expected. The girl dressed as the lobster/shellfish thing sort of caught me off guard, but that was probably just Shaft having a bit of fun. One thing I noticed was the consistent references to radio towers. This definitely ties in to the denpa thing again, as well as Erio’s claim that she’s an alien agent. Other than that, there isn’t much to say since the show hasn’t implied if it’s going in any sort of direction yet.

The story itself starts off in a rather clichéd manner, with a boy from the country moving to the city to stay with some relatives to go to high school. The boy in question, Niwa Mikoto, is a 16 year old going into what I presume is 11th grade. Makoto is to go live with his aunt, Tōwa Meme, in the city, and embraces this as a chance to experience the ideal adolescent life. His aunt, Tōwa Meme, lives alone in the city, and arrives to pick him up. She may be 39 years old, but that won’t prevent her from looking and acting like a teenager. Not that she can’t be responsible, since she’s 39 and living alone. On the way home, Meme makes an offhand remark about how the city frequently encounters UFO sightings, to which Makoto responds dubiously. Once they get home, Makoto is greeted with the surprise that his aunt actually isn’t living alone. Tōwa Erio, Meme’s supposed daughter (this was the tone I got from how she was presented, but it’s just as likely she actually is her daughter) is living there as well.

This takes being hung over to a whole new level.

As you can guess, Erio isn’t your typical human being. For one thing, she lives day to day wrapped up in a futon. In fact, the first time we see her she’s lying in the entrance hall, probably asleep. We skip forward to dinner, and some unfortunate incidents occur, with Erio getting thrown through a screen door.

A classic example of how to prevent an alien attack.

The next morning, Makoto sees Erio’s room, and walks in out of curiosity. This scene actually provides us with some actual personality for Erio, and her obsession with aliens. We see a map of some kind, which I’m hesitant to try and identify since I’m not really familiar with any kind of astronomy.

Some sort of map. It looks sort of like Central Asia.

Also present are a bunch of science/astronomy/physics books.

A rather diverse spectrum of topics for an alien...

Makoto then prepares to go to school, where we’re greeted by the typical transfer student routine. One thing I noticed was that the seat he’s sitting in isn’t at the back of the class, by the window. The episode didn’t show any interactions at school, so we’ll have to wait before we can get an idea of the other characters.

Here we see the futon wrapped alien preparing to strike at its prey.

When Makoto returns from school, Erio is happily watching the static on TV, supposedly receiving a transmission. The doorbell rings, and Erio is interrupted by the pizza delivery guy. Makoto pays him, and Erio pays him back in what Makoto describes as a rudimentary understanding of social interaction. Amusingly, Erio tosses up half the pizza and gulps it down in midair, while still wrapped in her futon. The rest of the episode basically shows the interactions between Makoto and Erio, which I believe will be a central theme in future episodes.

Makoto rides the bike to a convenience store, which, judging from the tracing of their path, doesn’t seem too convenient. After finally getting there, Makoto loses his patience, and decides to just get the futon off. Surprisingly, Erio doesn’t get too upset by this, and the two just talk a bit before the first episode concludes.

The ending, “Ruru”, is sung by Yakushimaru Etsuko. I like this ending a lot, mostly because of the singer. The nearly unaccompanied vocals at the beginning really give a nice touch, and evokes the feeling of a cold and lonely night. The music coming in later brings in a warmness that feels extremely welcome, as if one was entering a warm and bright room. Especially nice is the soft and gentle tone of the singer, which captures the general feeling I get from this show.

On a closing note, I though that the animation this episode was incredibly well done. Most of the scenes were animated extremely fluidly, and there was a lot of detail in the backgrounds of the more scenic sequences. I’m not sure exactly what standard Shaft will set for the later episodes, as this is the first episode and it helps to make a good impression, but if even a good part of the quality present in this episode makes it into the others, then we should be in for a treat. Since this post is already long enough, I won’t do much analysis of the characters and how the details presented reflect on them. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity in future posts.

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