Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko

May 5, 2012

I’m still in the midst of figuring out what in the world the plot of Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko is. Let me see if I get this right. Boy from countryside transfer to the big city. Lives with his crazy aunt. Finds out he has an equally crazy cousin who thinks she is an alien. Tries to dispel that fact and make her realize that she is human by doing something equally crazy. Tries to integrate her back into society like an ordinary human. Just as things are getting back to normal, another crazy girl who thinks she’s a real alien shows up. Yeah, I think that is how I should summarize this show.

So yeah. The said kid is Makoto Niwa who is supposed to live with his cheerful (in an odd sense) aunt, Meme Touwa. You would expect this aunty to act her age but unfortunately, she’s the kind that drives you nuts if you can’t accept her character. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t look 39 years old… I guess girls in animes can only look younger than they are. As usual, Makoto’s parents are posted overseas due to their job. Since you can’t leave a young lad behind, what else a better way than to put him in the care of his aunt, right? Makoto is looking forward to his single life in the big city till he finds out Meme had a daughter that no one in his family knew. What the? There goes his dream life. What’s more, Makoto’s cousin, Erio Touwa thinks she is an alien and it’s a bloody wonder how she goes on with her daily life with the futon covering her entire body, leaving only her legs visible. Yes, you read that right. What’s a kid like Makoto got to do? Either you live with it or you do something about it. If the former doesn’t work, then what option is left?

Episode 1
Makoto arrives in the big city via train and is being picked up by Meme. He experiences first hand Meme’s eccentric behaviour as she welcomes him to the city aliens watch over because they get lots of UFO sightings. Uhm, yeah. Whatever. Upon entering his second home, Makoto is surprised to see a girl wrapped in a futon lying on the floor. Meme seems to be oblivious but really, a girl in futon on the floor. That sight is just very bugging and disturbing. So ignoring the futon girl and after resting in his room, he goes down for dinner. The futon girl is there with them. If Meme can’t see her, is she a ghost? So during the havoc conversation, futon girl ‘attacks’ Makoto with her feet. Learning this girl is her daughter, Erio, I guess this is where he puts his foot down. He wants Meme to explain her lie that she lives alone and as far as he was concerned, she is single. Never married. How can she just ignore her daughter so outright? However Meme must be talking in circles because Makoto can’t seem to comprehend what she says. Because Erio girl continues to kick, Makoto grabs her feet and pushes her off. In retaliation, she starts throwing things with her feet, causing a mess at the table so Meme starts throwing her around like a wrestling match. So this is going to be his life? Next day Makoto wakes up to go to school. He stops by Erio’s room to see it like a mini planetarium. Then off he goes to school with his trusty rusty old bike. Luckily the brakes are still working. With nothing much happening in school, he comes home to see Erio watching TV. How the heck can she see a thing with a futon wrapped over? He goes talk to her and another round of odd conversation. Earth is being targeted? Is he her cousin? Is she Meme’s daughter? Are you okay in the head? Are you getting the flow of this conversation? So the so called material transmission she is waiting from the universe turns out to be a pizza delivery… I don’t really know how she eats the pizza with her futon on but amazingly she does and shares some with Makoto. Then he picks up a call from Meme checking on him and prefers him to just ignore Erio. Since he can’t do that, I guess she’ll leave her to his care. Haha. Some mother. Makoto suggests going out for dinner. Erio loves riding in the front basket so hopefully they won’t bump into any policeman and get arrested. Outside the convenience store, I’m sure Makoto isn’t going to let Erio going in with that futon. Erio says that revealing her appearance of an investigation of the second kind may affect the impartiality of the investigation. However being a first class investigator, one must have the ability to adapt to the environment. I guess that’s just her way of saying she’s going to take off her futon. With Makoto helping out, he finally gets to see this beautiful girl beneath the futon. A girl that looked almost like she wasn’t from Earth. Oh, there are pizza stains over her face. Erio decides to reveal her true self to Makoto by declaring she’s a half-alien mediating observer and her mission to assess the people using this city as a sample of all Earthlings. Uh, yeah. What she says.

Episode 2
So Erio explains some subject experiment, losing its sanity and disappearing, monitoring patterns of human souls, reactions of humans when given a second life, bounds of human understanding, some battle royale for some reward, etc. F*CK! I DON’T GET IT ALL! I’m not sure if Makoto is trying to reason with her or just playing along. I don’t know. I still don’t get it. It’s not like he really believes aliens do exist. Next day when he is about to leave school, he meets his spunky classmate, Ryuuko Mifune. Another weird girl as they peddle home together. Back home, Makoto once again meets Erio in a futon. Not amused. She has an important mission for him. Not interested. Next day he enters class early and talks to tall girl Maekawa. Then during recess, he has lunch together with Ryuuko and learns that everyone calls her Ryuushi. A mistake that everyone made due to her kanji writing. I don’t know how and why, everyone finds it easier to call her Ryuushi instead of her real name. Including Makoto. Then they talk about Erio who stopped coming to school by requesting to drop out. Makoto meets Maekawa and they both walk home. He is happy that he gets to walk home with 2 different girls in 2 days in a row. Guess what he sees when he comes home? You guessed it. Erio in a futon lying at the doorstep. Feel like kicking her like a football? So I guess even if he is annoyed with her, he still is curious enough to know what alien activity she’s talking about seeing she allows him to accompany her on a mission. Yeah, read: She just loves the bike ride. So that night the duo head out to the shore with Erio as usual sitting in the basket. When Erio walks into the sea, Makoto gets frantic and thinks she’s trying to kill herself! He rushes in to grab hold of her as she reveals she usually comes here to investigate. Something about how she can fly. Yeah, this is pushing it. So her logic is that she can free herself from drowning at any point by just flying. Huh? Makoto rides back and along the way meets Maekawa doing her late part time job wearing an odd costume. Is that a sandwich outfit? Noting Erio with her, she explains Erio is famous around here because her original claim was that she’d been abducted by aliens but halfway through she suddenly changed her story that she is an alien sent to observe Earth. People soon avoided her and subsequently she dropped out of school. Maekawa is surprised to hear both of them living together. Well, they’re cousins. Makoto returns home to see Meme enjoying Erio’s pizza. He asks her about Erio’s disappearance about a year ago. Was it due to kidnap? Nope. Not that the police could find anything conclusive. All she knows is that Erio doesn’t have memories of what happened during that half year. So her being an alien is somewhat her way to fill in her missing memories seeing she was always infatuated with space. To show proof that she was an alien, she rode the bike off a bridge over a river but failed. Though she fell into a shallow part of the river, she broke her leg and got hospitalized. Ever since, she wrapped a futon around herself.

Episode 3
Makoto and Ryuuko are talking about deep sea creatures. His life seems pretty routinized. Every 3 days he takes Erio out on his bike to the beach looking for signs of aliens. Sometimes they meet Maekawa in her different cosplay outfit. This time they talk about existence of aliens which is something like one’s belief in religion. On another day, Ryuuko takes Makoto out and shows him around the city. They talk about failure is the mother of success (?!), the tricks she can do (planting a wrong flower?) and the meaning of mystery. On another outing with Erio, he tells her she wanted to believe her memories are somewhere out there, that there were aliens who had stolen them. She can’t fly, wrapped herself with a futon and ignored her own feelings and making excuses. The thing he didn’t like was using aliens as an excuse. That night Makoto talks to Meme to find out more about Erio, but that aunt is just fooling around wanting to play with him. So he agrees to play a card game with her and amazingly he lost 13 times straight! So back to serious talking, first thing Meme did is to suddenly hug him. Then she whispers if he’s getting himself involved because Erio is pretty, he should give up. Why is he so concerned about her? Aren’t there other girls he is interested in? Erio wants to be alone so he’s better off keeping his distance. When Meme was pregnant with Erio, she didn’t even know she was. It was too sudden that Erio became part of the family. She hid it from the rest because she didn’t want everyone to talk bad about her. Rumours of her father would spread. With that, Meme suggests sleeping together but was kicked out. Makoto dives his face into the pillow to smell it but was caught by Meme. She didn’t put any makeup so it won’t smell like her. I guess Makoto is ready to explode into insanity. In school, Makoto is summarizing what happened to Erio so far. So much so he isn’t concentrating in class. In short of what he plans to do, he is going to smash the illusion and her notion that aliens exist. He rushes home and tells Erio that they’re going to fly now. If she can’t then she’s an Earthling. After fixing up his bike, he starts peddling. He thought of playing chicken with her but as they ride downhill, he finds it impossible to back out now at this speed. Heck, the brakes aren’t working! Better start praying! Then they break through the guard rail and for that short moment they were like flying. Till they start falling into the sea. Though they are both okay, Erio panics upon realizing that she is human since she can’t fly. Even if they did for just 3 miles. Makoto says he just wants to be friends with the beauty who just came back down to Earth. He won’t mind hearing her out if she’s worried over her lost memories. That’s why they had this fun today so that they could get to know each other closer. With her coming to terms as a human, in tears she introduces her real self.

Episode 4
Though the bike has sunk to the bottom of the sea, Makoto is lucky to have escaped with a fractured arm. He could’ve broke more at the speed and rate he slammed into the water. I guess he will need more time to recover seeing Meme is trying to fool around in his bed in hospital. Then the usual dramatic story by Meme and the one whereby she reveals her husband’s name is Elliot, a foreigner. So that’s how Erio got her name from? She also says they broke up due to their huge different in values and it’s best to live like this now. After Meme leaves, Ryuuko comes visiting. She’s wearing a hat not to mess up her hair. Makoto mentions she is cute and this flusters her to deny it and reveals she was turned down by 2 guys during her first year. Uh? Ryuuko asks if he was trying to commit suicide with that stunt. He denies it when Maekawa comes in (in an eggplant costume?). Ryuuko seems jealous with the appearance of another woman. Imagine her horror when she misheard about them spending a night together. What she meant was all the evenings they met would probably add up to 1 night. Huh? With that, Ryuuko runs away and it’s Maekawa’s turn to take her seat. Guess what she asks? Is he trying to be part of the fish kingdom with that stunt? No, he was trying to fly but couldn’t produce enough power and fell. Yeah, that seems more feasible. So he’s trying to be part of the bird kingdom? Haha. Maekawa suggests that they go to the beach this summer. She is interrupted with Ryuuko returning. More misinterpretation that Makoto may be ‘past’ the beach stage as Maekawa reveals Makoto and Erio to be cousins. After 2 weeks, Makoto is discharged and when he returns home, he makes a shocking discovery that Meme has stuffed herself inside the fridge! WTF?! Her plan for him to warm her up? Not working. To celebrate his release, she invites him to go out and have lunch and has him call Erio since it’s his job. Erio may be gradually trying to be normal but she’s still weird overall. You can’t blame her since she’s afraid that she doesn’t have her memories and Makoto ‘killed’ her dream. She thanks him for clearing up a few things and gives him her panties as reward. Told you she’s still weird. So how are 3 people going to fit on a bicycle? Honestly, how the heck is Makoto going to ride with just 1 hand? With Erio in the basket and Meme as the pillion, it does look like a circus act. Oh my. It’s heavier than usual. At least they won’t fly at this rate.

Episode 5
Erio and Makoto find another futon girl in their house. A twin? They do what they usually do. Ignore. Turns out to be Meme and the reason she’s gone insane (she has always been one since the start) is because she just turned 40. Oh, the dreaded four-o. Anyway the kids have brought her a birthday present: Dangos. Because Meme remembers she forgot to celebrate Erio’s birthday last year, she thinks of making tomorrow her birthday. In class, Makoto seeks Ryuuko’s advice on what to get for Erio’s birthday. That’s the last thing you should ask a girl who has a crush on you but I guess he doesn’t know that. Yeah, so is it a surprise her mood just turned sour? Yeah, she has no time to spend with him. Makoto meets Maekawa and back at the store she is working part time, she hands him Erio’s birthday present: Warabi mochi. Outside, they see a plastic bottle rocket being launched quite a distance away as Maekawa explains a middle aged man with weird ear things launching them from the old school grounds. Makoto returns home and manages to fend off Meme’s smooch attack. He sees mother and daughter tying up the same twintail hairstyle. I guess some people just don’t want to accept reality and grow up. Makoto gives the mochi present to Erio in his room and she tells him something important: She’s coming back to society. That’s a good sign, right? First up as advised, they went to a barber, Toue Oi to give Erio a little haircut and the Toue starts teasing Makoto being the kid who looks at his aunt with complete pervertness. Imagine what kind of rumours Meme has spread, eh? But the biggest challenge is trying to get Erio integrate back into society. Everywhere they went for job interview, it seems she is rejected. I guess she was famous before, right? What would that say about you if you hired her? So Erio, welcome to the realities of society. Returning home, Makoto relays Erio’s failed interviews so she says she thinks it’ll take money for her to start going back to school. She starts sleeping on his lap and feels she knows a place where she could work. If he asks Erio, she may know where it is. When Erio comes in, Meme grabs her and they start rolling on the floor together. WTF?! Mother weirder than daughter?! Next morning, the kids go to Tamura Market and see the owner of the store, Tamura the granny. She recognizes Erio as Meme and Elliot’s daughter. She knows Elliot because that kid is a complete opposite of Meme and loves animals more than humans. Now, Tamura is another weirdo so it’s no surprise that she accepts Erio working at her shop. See, she’s talking about cattle mutilation and the animals in this city disappearing. She thinks she will be the next subject of cattle mutilation! It’s safe to say these ladies can click with each other.

Episode 6
Ryuuko’s friend, Mikki teases her if she has a boyfriend. Her blundering reactions are so obvious. They go visit granny and guess who Ryuuko didn’t expect to see working there? Ooohh… So much so Mikki thinks of stopping to come here but Ryuuko can’t help stop taking a peek at Makoto and Erio inside. Because of that, she spies on them with an excuse to keep an eye. She plans to bump into Makoto but I guess Meme did it first. Meme can tell the friend she is waiting, she is worried about being more than just friends. This startles Ryuuko and speaking of spy, there’s a creepy guy spying over them behind the post. Yeah, Meme could even say he’s a fan of hers. With Makoto coming by, Ryuuko excuses herself. Inside the store, perhaps Ryuuko is trying to use purchasing stuff as an excuse to talk to Makoto. Then she goes see Tamura. Since Ryuuko couldn’t answer straight if they’re friends, granny isn’t pleased of their romantic comedies and wants them to stop flirting in other people’s home! As Ryuuko leaves, she tries to hint to Makoto that Erio doesn’t have a good reputation especially in their school. So if people see them getting along well, he might get shunned. She tells him about Mikki’s opinion and thinks Makoto hates her now. But he doesn’t. Then she rushes off in the rain. Makoto notes that even if Erio has stopped going to school, her influence is still firmly embedded. Makoto talks to Tamura about everyone shunning Erio. She gives her earnest opinion that he should think about it himself first. If he doesn’t count gains and losses, idiots usually make the right decisions because they can see one thing. People can live without friends because it’s a luxury, not oxygen or water. He doesn’t need to care about other people’s friends because they can be your enemies later. If you’re afraid to be alone, then don’t live long. Take her case as an example. All her friends and husband are dead. Every night she can’t help thinking that it may be her turn next. Later Makoto talks to Maekawa about her opinion on Erio. She just ponders if there is a right time and place for everyone, where would Erio belong? In a futon? Not funny. Maekawa suggests that Ryuuko should also come a long to Makoto’s place and do lots of stuffs together. Oh, the way she says things… So first they tour Erio’s room followed by Makoto’s. Makoto has to put up with Erio trying to wrap herself with his futon and Ryuuko’s pouting because she’s jealous over something. So in the end, Makoto tired out because he had to juggle between Erio and Ryuuko 30 times! When Meme gets back, she gets this idea that the kids should make dinner together and hints to Ryuuko that it’s her chance to go after the boy in her heart. Guess who is the only boy around? Meme leaves with Maekawa and so Ryuuko starts to panic…

Episode 7
Maekawa finds several bottles of soda in front of her part time job store as reward. The store owner, Komaki doesn’t feel the need to report it to the police and instead have them stored in the fridge. While taking a break outside, they discuss about someone who has been launching those plastic bottle rockets recently. Komaki feels they’re aiming for space, trying to break free of gravity but could never do so. After her work, Maekawa cycles to the old school grounds to see a middle aged man, Ashiro making those rockets. He reveals launching them is his hobby. He drafts Maekawa to help him make those rockets and offers to pay 5000 Yen to per rocket! Say what?! $$$ *Ching*! *Ching*! So Maekawa brings Makoto, Erio and Ryuuko over to her place to make the rockets. While waiting for her, the nervous trio start passing tea around to each other. Dr Maekawa starts teaching them arts and crafts. Makoto and Ryuuko don’t have problems and they have to worry if Erio is up to the task. Don’t worry. With the support she gets, she’ll get by. After that, they each take turns to make each other a snack. Makoto gets a taste of Ryuuko’s pineapple dish and I guess he wanted to ‘save’ the rest from this taste and gobbles everything. I think he sent the wrong message to Ryuuko. Since it’s dark, Maekawa suggests they sleep over. Ryuuko doesn’t want to lose out so she’s in. That night Ryuuko and Makoto get some time to chat together since Erio and Maekawa got knocked out in the hot bath after less than a minute! Makoto mentions if he sees Erio getting into trouble with her ex-classmates, he’ll take her side even though he’d be an idiot for it but he can’t leave her. But Ryuuko mentions she can’t do the same if that happens. She signs off with a pretty smile. Next morning, the quartet arrive at the beach for their launch as Ashiro does the setting up.

Episode 8
This were the events that lead up to the launch in the previous episode. With today as Meme’s birthday, there is no way she is going to do any laundry. Then she wraps herself in a futon just for the heck of it. After she visits Komaki, she goes to see Tamura. After talking about animals disappearing and Meme’s turning 40 last week (oh, the horror), Meme requests for her to allow Erio to work here. Then Meme goes to the old school grounds because she is curious to see who is launching the rockets. We can see Ashiro has a crush on her but she clearly doesn’t remember him. Or his name. Who the heck is Yamamoto? He hints to her that he quit his job, returned to the city and is single. But Meme wasn’t listening. Meme gets excited when they launch one so he asks her reason for making a rocket. She says it’s to rid of the aliens. She promises to bring more and whispers a favour from him. Of course he’ll do it. Ashiro learns Elliot has left and overcomes his nervousness to ask Meme’s hand in marriage. This has her remember how she first met Elliot back when she was a kid at Tamura Market. It was love at first sight. Tamura was always mentioning she’s next or the cattle mutilation. Worried Meme didn’t want that and needs to do something. That’s when Elliot suggested to just get rid of them. Meme ran home right after Ashiro’s proposal. A week passed and she made sure she didn’t run into him by taking care of animals and watching Erio at work. Then she met Ryuuko outside and that fan-cum-spy was actually Ashiro. Meme further remembers Elliot telling her that the only way to make faith materialize is through ceremony and prayer. That’s the only way you can reach what you can’t see.

Meme returns to Ashiro not only for the rocket launch but to also turn him down. She doesn’t need his explanation but he rants on anyway. He always liked her as a kid. That’s all to it. Meme says she is happy living with her daughter and nephew and her family doesn’t need a husband or father. In fact she never married Elliot and would stay single for the rest of her life. Ashiro settles for being her friend. He adds that he was launching rockets for her daughter to see since he heard she likes space. Even the weird ear things are for that. However he thought she had no interest and had grown tall over 180cm. That was when Meme realized he mixed up the wrong girl (Maekawa) as her daughter. He thought he heard from people that her daughter walked around town looking weird. That is only true up to April. Ashiro returned in May and got the wrong girl. He tells Meme he even told her to make rockets for him and paid her for it. All part of his plan to get closer to Meme. She hugs him for doing a great job. That evening, she told Maekawa to have the rest make more plastic bottles. Then going to see Tamura, she persuades her to come with her to the beach tomorrow. Well, she thought nobody wants to see the body of a granny. Haha. Next morning as Meme and Tamura watch from above (granny could just recognize who and who by hearing their voice?), the rockets start launching. The initial ones didn’t reach as high but it gets better and better with the next wave. With the final one finally disappearing into the sky, Meme shouts to let it hit the aliens and suddenly BOOM! It exploded! Tamura is surprised that she stood up. As Meme explains, they got the aliens to let their guard down with the dummies and finally showed the real one at the end. Meme hopes the aliens and lethargy within her have died and that she is feeling pretty much alive. So now she doesn’t have to worry about the gods taking her away because soon she got rid of all of them thanks to Ashiro as the fireworks master. With that, Tamura assures she won’t be dying anytime soon and that there is no greater joy for her than to play with her grandchild.

Episode 9
It’s summer as Makoto exchanges email addresses with Ryuuko and Maekawa. Later Makoto gets an invitation from Maekawa to join an amateur baseball game. She’s only participating for the summer and hopes he can fill in the numbers they’re short with. Makoto and Maekawa (in a fish mascot?) are at the game between City and Shopping District as he notes a pitcher from their school, Hanazawa. Maekawa introduces Makoto to her dad and you can see the shock expression on his face. Makoto goes up to play and makes friends with Nakajima. We learn this city is split with half as the rapidly expanding city and the other half the older shopping streets and residence. Some of them are in an awkward position because like Maekawa lives in the city but her family’s bar is in the old shopping district. There seems to be a conflict between both sides so that’s why they’re settling out via baseball. The loser ends up cleaning the grounds and it seems Makoto’s team, Shopping District lost. Makoto eats Maekawa’s onigiris during the break and Hanazawa joins them. It tastes so good that Hanazawa even quips she wants to marry into her family. Makoto returns as Erio learns about him playing amateur baseball. Seems she is interested to join even if she’s denying having any. Inside, as usual Meme is up to her antics. Sprawled on the floor ranting she won first place in a popularity contest stealing all the men’s votes and that she is Makoto’s wife separated from birth! That night, Erio and Makoto do some stargazing. He is happy he got to see her smile as she requests to join the baseball game. Next day Makoto introduces Erio to the team. They also see a weird player in a space suit part of the team. Maekawa’s friend? Not that she knows of. Ryuuko passes by seeing she has basketball practice over in the next field. She is not happy seeing Erio and Maekawa with Makoto. It’s like she’s been left out. Upon seeing Nakajima, she starts acting awkwardly and leaves. During Erio’s turn as a batter, the ball hit the spaceman and that weirdo collapses. Oh Erio, it’s not your fault. Unless the vibration to the helmet was that great. Going over to see if that weirdo is better, suddenly she grabs Erio’s cheeks and starts talking in a weird way. Furthermore, she claims to be an esper. Just great.

Episode 10
As the game resumes, Makoto learns this ‘esper’, Yashiro Hoshimiya is a relative of one of the members in the team. Seems she caused trouble and ran away from home. I guess it’s another lost for Makoto’s team because he’s cleaning the grounds again. Maekawa in an Aliens’ cosplay? Yashiro starts chasing Erio around. Yashiro explains that fellow aliens should make friends. I thought she was an esper? Well, she’s an alien too? Yeah, she thinks she’s a real alien and that Erio is one too. Well, they may have clicked if it was several months back. That night as Makoto and Erio prepare to stargaze, they are shocked to see Yashiro crawling out from underneath the deck! Still in the space suit! So how? Erio returns wrapped in her futon. Oh, this is going to be one big odd battle. Yashiro got distracted by the telescope so Erio knocks her off. Her helmet flew off and we get to see Yashiro’s face for the first time. Haughty Yashiro still thinks she is the mighty alien and somewhat feels pity for Erio for having to put up with his rudeness. She realizes her blunder when she thought his name is Itoko (Cousin) because that is what Erio always calls him. The duo lock Yashiro outside of the house till she gives up. Ryuuko calls Makoto for the first time and wishes for him to come to her basketball game next week to cheer for her. She also lets him know about his baseball game in which the winner of the last game determines either City or Shopping District team to organize the festival. Makoto gets to know that Nakajima was the boy whom Ryuuko turned down when he confessed. Was she hoping a confession from him? Next morning, Makoto gets a bigger shock of his life. Why is Yashiro having breakfast with Meme in their house?! Maybe Yashiro called her onee-sama. Oh, she did. So why did she pick up yet another weirdo? Well, she reminds her of Elliot a long time ago and just had to take care of her. Makoto is tasked of sending Yashiro back. After dropping Erio off at Tamura Market, Yashiro gives him directions to her place while explaining about the universe and supernatural phenomenon source. Suddenly she has him stop dead in the tracks because she wants to go soak in the school’s pool. Makoto couldn’t believe this and plans on going home when suddenly a gush of water rains down on his head! OMG! Was that Yashiro’s doing?! Could she really be? Yashiro challenges him to cool his head down and to think that he doesn’t need to give up on things he can do. Makoto jumps into the pool and Yashiro feels choosing him was the right decision. After leaving her to rest at the shed, he goes to pick up Erio who is sitting outside the store to attract customers. Did it work? Well, she stopped Makoto, didn’t she? Learning Makoto has got wet because of the pool, she expresses her desire to go since she likes it better than the sea. She’ll bring him along next time.

Episode 11
Makoto narrates how he was once in the football team and because he was always benched, he quit and considers himself a failure. Thus started hesitating to reach for bigger things than himself. Makoto cycles out for food when he comes into Maekawa. I guess she wants to know what it’s like to sit in the basket like Erio, eh? She takes him back to her home (her parents are out working at the bar) and while she cooks for him, Makoto is yet again shocked to see Yashiro trying to steal the family’s tomatoes! He gets permission from Maekawa to get a couple of tomatoes to feed a ‘cat’ who is begging to have some. After tasting Maekawa’s delicious dish, they go up to her room to play video games. Maekawa notes how he is good at giving up because he always denies things before he starts. For instance, he gave up upon knowing he can’t return Hanazawa’s pitches. If they lose, they’re going to find it hard to participate in the festival. That night Ryuuko has another lovely chat with Makoto till she hears Erio. Mood swing time. Next day Makoto shows up at Ryuuko’s basketball game as promised. Mikki teases Ryuuko that her boyfriend came and tells everyone in the team. Guess who is also there to watch? Uh huh. Yashiro. He takes off her helmet. Then Nakajima and Hanazawa come by to watch the match. Makoto is surprised to know they are dating. As the game starts, Ryuuko is making lots of blunders (some really embarrassing). Hanazawa notes they can’t win no matter how hard they try or don’t give up since the team lacks the skill to score enough. Yashiro explains about some hidden potential especially in Ryuuko. Something about slow but making progress and that everyone is trying to reach their esper powers that will allow one to bloom. A few come close to touching it but most of them give up thinking it’s too far. Makoto wants her to demonstrate her powers and if she can, he’ll believe her. But she says she’ll do so when she feels like it. Nice excuse to run away? Ryuuko gets a free throw so Yashiro decides to show her esper powers. She wants Makoto to stand up and raise his voice. He’s going to do it? Well put it this way. If you will yourself to move, you move others since every human seeks to awaken their powers. Makoto realized that Ryuuko hasn’t given up yet. He stands up and gives a long speech of encouragement. It may be embarrassing for everyone turning their puzzled attention to but Makoto says what he has to say for Ryuuko to give it all her best. She gets enough confidence to land the free throws like it was nothing! Makoto felt good.

Episode 12
While watching Jupiter with Erio, Makoto gets a call from Maekawa about tomorrow’s final baseball game. Well, given their track record, she doesn’t think they can win. She’s saying like as though she’s so confident about that. Next morning, Makoto and Erio arrive early at the field and see Ryuuko at the bench and she is here to cheer him on. Even if she’s supposed to be on the City’s side, she gives the thumbs up that she’ll always be on his side. Maekawa comes by in a dugong outfit (?!) and with her calm tone, you could never guess they are facing a crisis. Her dad the pitcher has bowed to pressure and ran away. Dang. While the team have an emergency discussion, Meme comes by as the role of the beautiful young coach to give motivation to the team. Yeah, she even dresses the part of a baseball player! I’m not sure her advice is worth taking. Makoto asks if she really knows the rules and her reply is that she has no intention of losing to anybody in passion. Well, that’s that. Because of that, she has Makoto benched. Coach’s orders are absolute! Maekawa tells her about the pitcher problem so Meme picks Erio as replacement. Gosh. Will their chance of winning dip even further? It’s going to be tough because they’ve got the ace Hanazawa and even Yashiro (still in the full spacesuit) on the other team to deal with. But Meme doesn’t want Makoto to play ball and have him go in search of Maekawa’s dad instead. Yeah, she even has an idea of the places he would be. Repeat offender? Maekawa will take his place. Initially he refuses till Meme shouts aloud how Makoto loves smelling his aunt’s futon. Brings back horrible memories, eh? The umpire is asking what kind of throw Erio can do. She doesn’t understand and starts saying the other kinds of things she threw. TV remote? Pizza? Telescope?! As the match starts, Erio just finished reading a book on how to play baseball and throws a weak but high lobe. I guess the other elderly guy couldn’t estimate it very well and missed it. Strike one! Ah well. Erio will definitely be fine.

Makoto starts his search as he thinks about this reprieve Meme gave him because he doesn’t have to make a fool of himself with Hanazawa. But if he loses this chance, there won’t be any more opportunities for Ryuuko to come cheer for him. Makoto actually finds Maekawa’s dad. He’s still running. Makoto’s still chasing. They tire out. So they sit and chat as daddy says Hanazawa is too strong and when the team loses, the pitcher always takes the blame. He’s afraid of that again. But Makoto mentions that in school, Maekawa’s team always loses so it’s the case of there’s always someone stronger than you. Makoto’s speech felt somewhat like as though he isn’t a winner, but he plays an important role. This gives daddy his confidence back as he rides back with Makoto. He pesters him about his relationship with his daughter but didn’t believe they’re just friends and will grill him properly after the match. Dad’s confidence is fluctuating, wondering they can still win so Makoto tells him the heroes always arrive on the scene late. When they return, the City side is leading though Shopping District still maintains their ground. However Meme makes Makoto the batter and points to his heart, where the real battle is. Ryuushi yells out loud her encouragement for him to do his best right next to his ear. Pay back for the last time? Makoto is brimming with confidence as he steps up to the plate. Despite facing Hanazawa, he knows her pitching style and habit. He didn’t get struck out 20 times for nothing, you know. Hanazawa pitches as Makoto uses every ounce of strength to hit the ball. It flies so high up in the sky that it may seem to disappear. It might even be homerun! Makoto starts running but feels his hands numb after the hit. Then he sees Yashiro looking at the sky amazed, just like everyone else. Suddenly a gust of wind blows the ball further and it ends up in the river. Homerun! Miracle! Even if they have a couple of innings more to go, they think they can win it. Erio praises how cool Makoto was and Meme is going to give him a reward. I guess he was trying to figure out the hidden meaning of her words and took him a while to realize that Meme had landed a big kiss on his cheek! Eek!

Episode 13 (Special)
This series was meant to be scheduled for 13 episodes but the tsunami disaster on March 26 had the producers cancelled the airing of the final episode and instead released it along with the final release of the DVD and Blu-Ray discs. In this episode, Makoto meets Ryuuko at the festivals. She is in her cute yukata but the helmet makes her look out of place. Something to do with her hair I guess. After some small talk here and there, she asks why he didn’t come with Erio tonight. Apparently she’s out with Meme. Good news or what? Then they see Maekawa manning a family yakisoba stall. Oh, she’s in a weird eel outfit. More oddities from the ladies as Maekawa yells out loud while Ryuuko doing some basketball guard defensive move. Huh? Maekawa gives Makoto a free yakisoba on the house as congratulations for Erio’s new job. Makoto and Ryuuko move along as the latter thanks the former’s baseball heroics, otherwise they won’t be holding this festival now. Makoto feels uneasy being labelled a hero because he felt most of it was by fluke. Nevertheless he puts up an act accepting he is the MVP of this festival. Ryuuko wants them to visit more stalls but obviously Makoto had already made some promise. Though heartbroken, Ryuuko allows him to go but will have him pay back hundred times with interest. But she can’t hold it in and cries while running away. Makoto feels he is going to get divine retribution. Meeting Erio at the shrine top to watch the stars, after a little chit chat, Erio gets excited to see the meteor showers across the night sky. Makoto realizes Erio joined the baseball team to watch them from here tonight. With the festival spirit giving that feeling of release, she could escape her so called quasi-home arrest.

Suddenly they are interrupted with the appearance of Yashiro. Yes, she still wears the space helmet but now in a robe? She was starting to get annoyed and thought of dumping her job and leaving the city but decides to demonstrate her esper powers to him. After all that long-winded talk that includes a twisted version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf (something about screwing morals and that the important part is about the boy who believed in his lies that he really brought a wolf to the village), suddenly the sky is lit up with… Fireworks! Erm… Wasn’t this supposed to be on the programme? But wait! Suddenly something is coming down from the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Superman? IT IS A METEORITE!!! HOLY SHIIIIIIIIIT!!!!!!! It crashed into the shrine and if Makoto had not listened to Yashiro’s advice in stepping back a few steps, he could’ve been directly hit and probably dead! All he got was a scratch on his shoulder. Is this divine retribution? That’s when he starts thinking frantically. Is this really her power? Was she telling the truth all along? Is she really an esper? Is she really an alien? Fear and behold. Seeing is believing. Five days after the incident, Makoto continues to laze around while wondering his denial. Yashiro has disappeared and all that is left behind is her space helmet. He makes an assumption if she really was an alien on a mission and that mission was to save him from dying from that falling meteorite at that time of day, if she foresaw that and tried to prevent it, then that would explain everything. Even if Makoto did a little reading up to find Yashiro’s name was based on temple that meteorite falls frequently, he failed to disprove her argument. He lost. His common sense, reason and pride. The more he thinks, the more he gets confused about this escapism and the existence of aliens. He gets a call from Maekawa about an invitation for baseball practice to train for next year. He’ll think about it and send her a reply. He then asks if aliens exist and instantly she says no. Because for questions with a chance of being 50/50 correct, it’s best to go with your guts. So that’s how she aced her exams? That night, Makoto replies that he will join the training and joins Erio stargazing.

Hen Na Onna To Hen Na Otoko To Hen Na Minna…
So this is how it ends? It’s that what-the-hell feeling once more. I thought it could have ended better. But who am I kidding? What kind of ending would I want to see? Even if Erio has discarded the belief that she is an alien, she is still overall an oddball. The way she speaks and the way she acts, as if there were remnants of her peculiar alien characteristic. An outsider may view her acting to be just strange. It’s tough for a girl who has lost her memories, went round proclaiming to be an alien for a while, to be integrated back to society. After all, even if she won’t ever get back those missing memories, society won’t forget her weird stints. That’s how societal prejudice comes about. Would you want to risk your own reputation and be associated with a weirdo? Think not. But can you blame people for shunning Erio. Can you blame Erio for thinking she is an alien? However the series doesn’t seem to focus much on Erio except for the first quarter. As early as the third episode, her problem has already been solved by that bike flying incident and ever since I noticed she has been gradually being pushed to a minor role. Then we are diverted with Meme’s past via the plastic rocket bottle arc and finally concluding with the baseball arc and the mini nothing-much-happens festival single episode.

Makoto as a guy who starts out never believing in those unexplained stuffs like UFOs and the supernatural, I feel he may have not started to accept those myths but he learns to look at it at another positive way. He somewhat reflects on the things, the impact and effects of certain events. He learns not to give up so easily and just because something seems impossible, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your best even if you know it will end in failure. So can I say that the more he lives together with everybody, the weirder he also becomes? Looks like he is getting the hang of life. But after that mind boggling meteorite crash, his belief in the unexplained has become murkier than ever. To believe or not to believe? Is it really out there? Well, it’s up to you to believe. The most amusing character of the series goes to Meme. No doubt about it. She never acts her age and some may find her annoying. But I do find her funny. Because of her quirkiness, Makoto is constantly on his toes. You’d never know a 39, make that 40 years old aunty would hit you where you least expected it. Despite her eccentric and carefree attitude, she deeply cares for her daughter and of course Makoto. It might be hard to admit but the things she do may seem childish at first but actually ends up and seems a lot wiser. For instance, just ignoring Erio be herself as an alien, wrapped around a futon. Seems like a mother who doesn’t care, right? But if she were to be strict, use violence and force, what good would that do? It may even traumatize Erio even further and leave a mental and emotional damage that cannot be repaired. Besides, Erio already had a prior traumatic experience of trying to fly and failed so it’s no good to add to that. Whatever happened to Erio to make her lose her memories or that incident that caused Meme and Elliot to break up may never be shown but the most important thing is Erio is still around and alive with lots of people supporting her. Okay, maybe her family and close friends but that’s a good start.

I thought I was going to see a love polygon between Erio, Maekawa and Ryuuko later in the series but I guess it didn’t materialize. That final episode didn’t really help either. Heck, I was prepared to throw Meme into the fray but we all know she is just fooling around. The type that Makoto would rather stay far away from. It is obvious that Ryuuko do certainly have a crush on Makoto. Erio’s feelings for Makoto may just be gratefulness, someone she can rely on. So it’s unclear if those feelings would turn into anything romantic. Maekawa? She’s always playing it cool and loves teasing Ryuuko. Speaking of Ryuuko, it seems like a little running gag that everyone loves calling her Ryuushi and shortly the girl herself tries to remind them to call her by her real name. No one actually pays heed to that and continues to call her Ryuushi. Lucky I didn’t :). I wonder if she is tired of trying to correct people about her name because it really must have fallen on deaf ears. Maekawa’s cosplay definitely would make heads turn. She loves wearing weird outfits even if she’s not working part time. Just like in Ryuuko’s case, she too has a problem of remembering Makoto’s real name and continues to call him “Transfer Student” right till the end. Past the expiry date. So I guess he’ll always be a transfer student right till graduation, eh?

Just when you thought Erio is slowly coming back to society with her part time job at Tamura Market, then comes along another weirdo in the form of Yashiro. I actually was curious to really know who this white haired girl is. She may be another wacko case like the initial Erio though it was only mentioned that she ran away from home. It is also vaguely hinted that she might have esper powers but I won’t got as far as saying that she’s an alien. I’d be surprised if she ever did. She may be annoying but only in the eyes of Makoto because he’s like somewhat a non-believer in this sort of things. But if you spend a little more time with her, you’ll find the things she has to say are motivating and to a point true. For example, her lecture on every human has potential to use their esper powers. Often, it is that hidden determination and will within us that gives us that extra power to do what is seemingly impossible and when we are on the verge of giving up or at our limits. And when that ‘miracle’ is pulled off, it feels like magic. They may not happen very often in our lives but they do happen everywhere, now and then. So really, who is that Yashiro girl anyway? Was even that meteorite summoning just a big coincidence or is she really something more than meets the eye? We’ll never know that’s for sure. Just more questions. Ironically, why pick a human spacesuit if she considers herself an alien? I guess the townspeople have seen too many weird happenings lately so they’re not really bothered if another one shows up. But if you’re hoping to find any supernatural stuff like the electromagnetic girl as in the title, don’t be because it’s a term used in Japan to refer to a person who holds crazy and odd beliefs.

An amusing section at the end of the episode is Makoto’s Adolescent Points segment. Over the episode, he adds or subtracts points he deems good or bad as part of his experiences growing up. The maximum being 5 points and the minimum 1 point for both sides of the poles. I’m not sure of his purpose in doing so but I guess it is for him to reflect the satisfaction of his life during his high school years because he believes this is the culmination of his life is. So I can safely say that whenever he does something good and favourable with the girls, he adds them and vice versa when something unfavourable happens. It is definitely a minus when it involves Meme. Haha! There are good times and bad times so there may be times he has a positive total and on bad days he will end up with a negative figure. By the end of the series, his total adolescent points stands at +3. Yeah, the penultimate episode gave him lots of good adolescent points and raked up as high as +19. However here weren’t any Adolescent Points tally for the final episode so I’m not sure where or how the points went. But I’m sure that smooch attack by Meme in the final scenes would have taken away all his Adolescent Points. He may even break his own record. Seeing that the meteorite crash took a devastating -20 out of his tally, I guess that eat up lots of his hard earned points, eh? Though this Adolescent Points may serve like a short recap of important happenings during the episode, Makoto isn’t the only one who has those points. Meme and Erio too have theirs but only twice and once respectively. Meme as usual being the wacky one has her points in thousands and in the end, ends up with zero points because probably all those ‘good’ stuff she did to Makoto cancelled out the horrible fact she just turned 40. Haha!

The drawing and art style seems pretty familiar. Then I realized it’s from SHAFT. Those guys who brought you Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Pani Poni Dash, Arakawa Under The Bride, Maria+Holic and Bakemonogatari. Though their signature style may not be obvious, but there are some moments that you will recognize them. Something about the drawing of the female characters bugs me. They way I look at it, it’s as though they are drawn to a very cute manner that makes them look like living dolls. Especially Erio, Ryuuko and Meme. Maybe it’s their lips, cheeks and the smile. Sweet but a little creepily sweet.

I may not have heard Ai Nonaka very much recently but she is still recognizable as the eccentric Meme. Her voice definitely suites the crazy single mom. Something you can expect like Fuuko in Clannad and Fuura in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Asuka Oogame (Mikazuki in KissxSis, Liz in Omamori Himari) voices Erio and she does make her sound insecure and feeble after being brought down to Earth. Other casts include Miyu Irino as Makoto (Syaoran in Tsubasa Chronicle), Emiri Katou as Ryuuko (Kagami in Lucky Star), Mai Fuchigami as Maekawa (Hinako in Honto Ni Atta! Reibai Sensei), Yuka Iguchi as Yashiro (Index of To Aru Majutsu No Index) and of course Kana Hanazawa as Hanazawa (I feel when they introduced her character, it was supposed to be a joke referring to this real seiyuu herself). In keeping with the weird theme, I also find the opening theme and animation to be just weird. More like “WTF is it about” if you ask my opinion. Os-Uchuujin by Asuka Oogame and Shinsei Kamatte-chan feels like Erio trying to sing in her space alien voice which makes it sound odd. Then we have those background vocals that go “Lalala la lalala”, and it sounds like they are singing aliens. The ending theme is Ruru by Etsuko Yakushimaru. Yet another weird piece, it starts off with a soft and slow singing accompanied by a solo piano before it turns into a carnival or song fit for the circus. I thought there were going to be different ending animations for each episode but I guess it becomes fixed by the third episode. The first one has UFOs, the second one paying tribute to E.T. with that trademark bicycle flying across the moon before fixing it with a very Erio-focused animation.

Whether you believe in aliens and supernatural stuff, it is totally up to you. As we learn here, just because somebody believes in something so absurd and impossible in real life doesn’t mean it’s right for us to tell them it is wrong to believe in that ridiculous belief. Whether it’s to fly or being an alien. That belief works out as their hope. So how many Adolescent Points have I raked in for this series? Get to watch this series = +1; Half-assed ending = -3; Didn’t make it a habit to call Ryuushi = +1; Meme the amusing and bubbly aunty = +3; Meme the amusing and bubbly aunt which makes her an annoying person = -3; Finding Yashiro annoying = -2; Comical moments = +1; Ruru is a nice ending song = +2; Total Adolescent Points = +/- 0. Hah. That pretty sums it up. Okay everybody, start singing with me, “I believe I can fly… I believe I can touch the sky…”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: