「今年の夏はバスケと超能力と布団と天体観測と祭りと野球と女々たんと」 (Kotoshi no Natsu wa Basuke to Chōnōryoku to Futon to Tentai Kansoku to Matsuri to Yakyū to Meme-tan to)
“This Summer is about Basketball and Espers and Futons and Astronomical Observations and Festivals and Baseball and Meme and…”
「秒速0.00000000198センチメートル」 (Byōsoku 0.00000000198 Senchimētoru)
“0.00000000198 Centimeters Per Second”
I was expecting a more extravagant two-episode finale, which would include the festival that was supposed to come after the baseball game, but it didn’t happen. Instead, what gave the appearance of “closure” that finales typically ensemble was a focus on Niwa, our romantically indecisive protagonist. While the obvious better choice would’ve been a return to Touwa Erio, I presume they stuck with the light novel adaptation faithfully, which would explain the lack of closure on everything else.
Niwa Makoto is suddenly given a backstory of a time when he played soccer, but due to failure, he realizes he has unconsciously accepted his inability to do great things and lets that become the motto of his life. The exception of such a thing is Erio, whom he could not give up on to help her come to reality, and although I see the significance behind that connection, you’d be hard pressed to see it emphasized in the show. This “problem” that Niwa has felt like an abrupt development tacked on to his blank slate of a persona simply so the whole plot can come together and work. On the other hand, it does fit his persona, the slightly depressing one we got to see in the first three episodes, but little done with it for the next seven. That’s not a problem, since most of the focus was shifted towards other characters, but it inevitably makes any new development with Niwa, especially one stringed with so many others, feel a little… *puts sunglasses on* …out of the left field. (YEAAAAAHHHHH)
It’s a bit more impressive to see the other characters bounce off metaphors of the concept of “not giving up” in their own unique ways, which eventually leads Niwa to pick up his balls and reach home base, and I don’t mean literally. Yashiro with her esper metaphor, which parallels the rocket metaphor Maekawa’s co-worker made, is a little clever, and it makes me wonder if people really can get esp powers in this Denpa world due to a glimpse of Yashiro’s possible power in episode 10. That would be interesting, but it is not realized this season, so it does not matter. Maekawa’s father having the same exact problems Niwa does seemed like a important thing, though still feeling like a cheap one, but Niwa makes no connection with him on that point. I like that he brings up the first arc with helping Erio fly, but the lesson that’s taught here is either improperly executed, or just too naive for my tastes.
“But my game console only has two controllers…”
Niwa, why so dense?
The main problem with Denpa is the dissipating overarching goal after episode 3. It severely hurt this series in terms of keeping my interest, and only had its barely developed characters for the rest of the show. A common problem with adapting novels, really, in which I assume most of the meat of the plot occurs sometime later. Then when you get a writer who is trying to mimic Nisio Isin, who is a deviant in storytelling, it’s just hard to come out with something that even closely resembles a beginning, middle, and an end, especially when the writer is attempting to trash such rules to get that “super hip innovative storytelling” every light novel in Japan is trying so hard to do these days (may or may not apply to Denpa at this point).
So okay, Denpa had a lack of plot. Let’s interpret it in a way where that doesn’t matter. The characters were cute. That’s apparently a plus when you’re talking about anime, and I won’t lie, I did enjoy Erio and Maekawa’s antics a lot, which were essentially just them trying to be as cute/awesome as possible. There were some cleverly written dialogues, such as the hospital scene way back in episode 4, but it receded as the episodes wore on. And uh.. humor..? I guess? Yeah okay, what’s left isn’t that strong either. After episode 3, Denpa started to teach little life lessons here and there because if it didn’t do it otherwise, it would have become a harem comedy. Too bad those life lessons came out largely muddled under everything else.
I can’t say that the series is a disappointment, because the story is still unfinished, but I am pretty disappointed at the complete drop of Erio’s plot even within 12 episodes. I honestly would rather they had done an original ending to close up her “integration with society” issues, because this series desperately needed some substance. It’s a funny thing, because despite all the arcs that were supposed to have much more importance, all I can remember is Ryuushi’s damn failed romance. I swear her scenes consisted of at least 50% of Denpa, and she’s a freaking support character. That probably says a lot more about what’s wrong with this show.
I mildly enjoyed Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. Blogging it was a pain in the ass, because like most people, I only watched it for certain characters, the moe, and the clever dialogue, where your mileage for all may vary. Not for character development, not for story, because I knew those were dead ends from episode 5, but I can’t keep talking about how differently cute and what sort of seduction methods were psychologically in action to cause heart-attacks from Erio every week, right? Even so, the critique still stands. This is a painfully mediocre series that goes nowhere, and unless you hold cuteness in your anime characters at a fetishistic level, I wouldn’t recommend this series to anyone. Unless you know, you’re more lenient than me, then go ahead, try it out, just don’t let episodes 1-3 fool you. Someone should just cut out all of Erio and Maekawa’s scenes and put it as one whole clip, and pass it around on the internet as “Denpa Onna batched”.