Ah, Maekawa-san, my beautiful Maekawa-san – why did you leave? Don’t clear the field – enter the fray, and win. Fight-o! Fight-o!
I’ve pretty much decided to just accept Denpa Onna for what it is at this point. It’s a show with likable characters dealing with some serious issues. You’ve got a 16 year-old girl dealing with a personality disorder and neuroses while being ostracized by her community. You’ve got a 16 year-old boy with no male friends or father figure trying to piece together what it means to grow up. Those could easily be the subject of a semi-serious shoujo manga.
This show’s problem is that it’s really too charming for it’s own good. The characters are gorgeously designed, a pleasure to look at. The seiyuu are spot-on. The animation is stylish and lush, the writing clever. But SHAFT isn’t willing to turn down the charm, even for a minute – it’s a non-stop onslaught of moe and madcap comedy.
But then – I did say I was going to give up and just accept it, as is, didn’t I? If it doesn’t want me to take it seriously, I won’t. I can’t deny this episode was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Maekawa is the best part of any episode for me. She’s an island of regal bearing and deadpan wit in this sea of fluffy insanity – though she’s damn cute, too. The scene in Makoto’s room was excellent – you could really feel Makoto’s sense of panic – already at “10” from having three girls in his room – crank up to 11 as Erio and Ryuushi got progressively more out of control. But the best part of that scene was Maekawa – after searching shamelessly for Makoto’s (apparently) non-existent porn stash (though we did discover he’s a tropical fish otaku), she took that sexy pose on Makoto’s chair and calmly observed the lunacy with that shit-eating grin… Damn, I was a goner right then.
If there was a serious side to the ep, it was Ryuushi’s behavior. She’s – and please forgive me, but it’s true – a moeblob. But she showed a pretty dark side here, too. Looking above and beyond her jealousy, she told Makoto that associating with a someone who was viewed so badly as Erio would be bad for his reputation. Then she deliberately fed Erio’s panic attack in Makoto’s room by saying how it was “wrong to be different”. She has her claws into Makoto, and she’s showing she’s not afraid to use them as weapons in order to win him. In another series, that might be the beginnings of a fairly tense situation – but tension just seems to melt away in the fluffiness here.
As for Auntie Meme, she had a quiet week by her standards. She briefly met with Ryuushi outside the shop and referred to herself as “Clear-skinned Sensei”. Then she showed up briefly at the house, but left as soon as she saw the budding situation with Makoto and the girls – naughty Auntie that she is. I’m surprised that she didn’t warn them not to deflower Makoto, as she wanted to do that herself. I feel bad for him sometimes, but -13 puberty points? Kiddo, I think you’re being way too tough on yourself – that scene in your room was way more charged with erotic potential than your limited experience can understand…