Friday, 1 July 2011

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko - Episodes 11-12 (Completed)

Oh SHAFT, how you love to tease and test our patience, as yet again we find ourselves waiting for a delayed airing of an episode, only to find that we're going to have to wait even longer for a "true" final episode to Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko.  Still, on the plus side that does mean a double helping of the series to enjoy here and now.

Starting out with episode eleven (because starting with episode twelve would just be weird), some musics by Niwa about his history of giving up on things quickly gives way to a chance to hang out with Maekawa at her empty house... a treat that enables Niwa to enjoy Maekawa's cooking, her games console and her thoughts on certain aspects of life, even if it does also mean catching a "begging cat" on the prowl for tomatoes in her garden.  Certainly, by the end of this visit, Maekawa seems pretty smitten with her favourite transfer student, making for adolescent points aplenty.  It is, however, Ryuuko that then dominates the second half of the episode as her big basketball game finally comes around.  Makoto naturally turns up to watch her, only to find her relegated to a stumbling substitute appearance late on.  However, her chance to shine via a free throw eventually appears, and with some coaxing from a spectating Yashiro, Niwa cheers her on more than a little enthusiastically in what turns into a big, ridiculous and ultimately successful monologue that grants Ryuuko her moment of glory.  In short, a good time is had by all, viewer included.

A big sports fixture also features in the show's finale, as we finally come to the big baseball match with everything that it has at stake.  Maekawa promises a surprise for the big game, and she isn't talking about her latest turn at cosplaying... instead, said surprise is that her father has run away in the hope of avoiding the game, leaving him to be replaced by a special guest coach.... Meme.  Although her lack of baseball knowledge is made up for by enthusiasm, her coaching decisions (having Erio perform as replacement pitcher while sending Niwa off to find Maekawa's dad) seem a little "off".  Still, eventually the errant pitcher is found, and himself and Niwa return just entire for the latter to deal an important strike towards victory, albeit with a little help from some freak weather conditions.  A reward for the endeavours of the human condition or what happens when you have a self-proclaimed esper on your team?  Who knows, but Niwa gets an "interesting" reward as a result as the series come to an end.

There's really only one thing to say about Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko the end of it all, and that is "this series is a lot of fun to watch".  While I tried to invest my interest in the whereabouts and truth regarding Erio's father, the possibilities of aliens and so on, all of this becomes secondary to the fact that the series delivers a fun bunch of characters and then does everything in its power to bounce them off one another in various amusing and entertaining ways.  This makes for a slightly muddled and vacuous show in terms of plot, but who cares when you have the season's best male lead (well, Steins;Gate's Okabe aside perhaps) and a number of female characters who are in turn crazy, adorable, funny, quirky, adorable some more, and just downright great to watch.  It's all about the various character dynamics, and almost to a man (and woman) they work perfectly - Meme can be a little over the top on occasion, but that aside I can't think of a series this spring that has made me laugh, smile and grin quite as much as Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko.  A gorgeously delivered show that won't be a long-lived classic, but one that nonetheless suited SHAFT's quirky style down to the ground while proving to be a bundle of fun and laughter, all wrapped up in a futon.

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