Saturday, May 14, 2011

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko - 5

Oh - it's a dumpling!
Wow. That was just a 22-minute, relentless onslaught of Moe. I hardly know what to make of it, quite frankly. It's like there was a gas leak at SHAFT HQ and everyone went just a little nuts.

There's definitely something likeable about the random element this series brings to the table. SHAFT has an obvious affinity for these off-kilter slice-of-life adaptations - Soredemo and Natsu no Arashi certainly come to mind as offering some of the same quirky charm. But Denpa Onna seems to take it to another level, irreverence-wise. It's not as thought there isn't serious stuff happening to the characters, but even during a low-key episode the show never really takes itself seriously enough to let you feel anything too deeply. That's its blessing and its curse, seems to me. That wacky irreverence is a central component of the show's character and it's admirable how they see it through, but it limits the emotional connection you can feel to the characters.

About the most emotional thing in tonight's ep was Makoto's colorful "Pray for Japan" hoodie, the first I've seen in an anime since that terrible day. The rest of it was strange and somewhat charming start to finish, with one moment of extreme moe leading right into another. Meme, fretting over her 40th birthday, wraps herself in Erio's futon and gives herself twintails. She cuddles on Makoto's leg and licks his thigh. She wrestles Erio and sucks her neck. "Makkie" and Erio do the SHAFT head-bob about a dozen times each and smile shyly about as often, frequently at each other. Maekawa shows up dressed as a dumpling again, and Ryuushi mimes her basketball game and going shopping with Makoto.

All this is set up against a backdrop of Erio trying to get a job as part of her return to society, which Meme suggests may be because she's worried about how much it would cost to go back to school. No one in town will hire her because of her reputation. That's a fairly intense situation, but there's so much flippancy going on in the episode that it never packs any real weight. That all gets resolved when Meme gets her a lead at a dumpling shop, leading to a very bizarre (and SHAFT-y) encounter with the obaa-san who runs the place.

SHAFT-y...
So it doesn't look like Erio will be back at school, at least for now, which is a bit disappointing (I suspect she'll end up there sooner or later). Makoto actually seems to be wearing down in his resistance to Meme's affections, though Erio seemed to actually confess to him - an event which drew a surprisingly blase reaction from him. We got a few more subtle hints about alien involvement in the town, and Obaa-san confirmed that Erio's father was named Elliott (thanks for yet another ET reference) and that Makoto's Dad was better liked by animals than people, whatever that means. I just have three words as we get ready for episode six:

Needs more Maekawa-san.

2 comments:

  1. I find this episode very emotional. I feel sad and sorry for Erio, and half annoyed at Meme. I think this starts to become dramatic

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  2. I think there's some real dramatic potential here - I just think the show has to tone down the lunacy a bit and allow the drama to live.

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