There’s a lot of shows that feature a young, kinda awkward protagonist dealing with their life as a young, kinda awkward protagonist; along with a supporting cast of cute girls with various degrees of quirky personality. I’m not saying this is a bad generic show, a basic concept can be great if executed competently and has something to stand out. Like, one time I ate nothing but instant noodles for about 2 weeks (‘cause that’s what poor Uni students do), and one time I put some extra sauce in and it turned out pretty well. Sure it was just instant noodles, but it was pretty enjoyable instant noodles. That’s what Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl is. Pretty enjoyable instant noodles.
Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl is comedy drama anime based on the 8 volume light novel series Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. This adaptation being produced by Shaft and directed by Akiyuki Shinbo, known for his work on Madoka Magica and Bakemonogatari, though this is far more grounded in reality than those shows; being about characters, relationships, and personal narrative.
The central protagonist here is Makoto Niwa, a second year high school student obsessed with adolescence and how to live out this time in his life. He measures how he’s doing this with ‘adolescence points’, points he awards or detracts from himself after dealing with things like talking to girls or other sociable activities in order to put a numerical score on his adolescent life. He has a laid back personality but is also worrisome or unsure at times.
The show begins with Makoto moving to the city after transferring schools and moving in to live with his aunt Meme Towa. Despite being told that his aunt lives alone, Makoto finds that she lives with her daughter Erio, a young, eccentric girl who wears a futon wrapped around herself, who keeps to herself and is caught up in her own delusional world. After Makoto, Erio is the next most central character. It’s explained that Erio had gone missing for 6 months the year before and one day just turned up with no memories of the time she had been gone but explaining she had been abducted by aliens, later changing her story saying she is an alien. For a while it seems like the story might about whether Erio is actually an alien or not but it’s soon reviled that no, she isn’t. The whole alien story she was using was a way to deal with what happened to her and her amnesia. The story then focuses on her trying to reintegrate into society and to live normal life.
That’s the main theme of Psychoelectric Girl; growing up and fitting in. Makoto has a normal high schools coming of age story; developing relationships, becoming more out growing, leaving behind his unsure personality. Erio’s story and character development is more complex, also trying to be a well adjusted, functional person, but having to deal with her reputation as the crazy alien girl. The character development of these two is well done with both of them progressing over the series to get to where they want to be as people that age. Makoto is living the high school life he wanted and Erio has become a functional member of society with a firm grip on reality.
Psychoelectric Girl has a small but rather good cast of supporting characters. My favourite was Makoto’s class mate Ryuko Mifune, she’s energetic and playful and becomes Makoto’s sort of girlfriend as the series go on. There are a lot of great scenes between the two throughout the show, mostly of them talking and developing a relationship. These scenes were some of my favourite because they were nice and cute, and Ryuko and Makoto are the two most grounded and relatable characters. Another one of Makoto’s class mates is Maekawa, a calm, unusually tall girl who dresses up in food costumes all the time. She encourages Makoto to join the baseball team later in the latter half of the series. Both Ryuko and Maekawa dislike Erio when they are introduced due to her reputation, but end up becoming friends as the series continues. Other characters include Erio’s mother Meme, who seems eccentric and childlike but is really putting on an act as a way to deal with how her daughter is; and Yashiro, a young girl wearing a space suit introduced late into the series who also claims that she is an alien.
There’s no real major faults with Psychoelectric Girl, not too much to complain about though as a fan of more fast paced action orientated shows I found this to be pretty slow, now for fans of slice of life kinda things this might be right up their ally buy if you’re the sort of person who isn’t in to “people go about their lives” style shows you might find the more mundane elements of Psychoelectric Girl to be a little dull. And even though I went on about how I like the characters there wasn’t any that really stood out in any way to be a well know and memorable character amongst the genre and medium. I mentioned how much I like Ryuko but she doesn’t go any further than being another cute anime girl along with all the other cute anime girls. Makoto is a fine relatable protagonist but he’s just like all the other fine relatable protagonists that exist in so many other anime shows. Meme doesn’t have much story involvement and doesn’t contribute much besides teasing sexual advances and non sequitur humour, and Yashiro is kind of annoying some times, mainly because she’s a small child who yells a lot.
Despite those minor flaws, Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl is still a fun, enjoyable watch with plenty of great moments and lovable characters. Sure those moments and characters won’t really stick with you for years or leave you wanting more but they don’t need to, they make enough of an impact while you watch that you don’t need any more that. All it’s trying to do is be is a nice little show, that’s all it needs to be and yeah, it is a nice little show.
Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl is released by Hanabee here in Australia. The series retails for ~$50 and can be bought on the Hanabee Store. The review was completed on the DVD format. No BD format is available.