Denpa Teki na Kanojo

An adaptation of a light novel (itself an adaptation of an award-winning short story), Denpa Teki na Kanojo is a fatty little bite of entertainment, low in flavor and with little or no nutritional value. However there’s still some satisfaction in this OVA for those willing to dig for it (if you plan on watching the show you should do so before reading further).

I’ll start with the bad: calling Denpa Teki‘s character designs ‘homely’ would be being generous. The backgrounds are at least passable, but the characters just get more and more cartoonish as the drama thickens. And when the director tries to get a little abstract with two angles at once things really get silly:

The characters themselves are for the most part bland and familiar, a loner with an attitude, a bossy class rep, a Nagato clone with more hair, her whiny imouto, and a standard-issue yandere. More like yawndere.

The plot is also pretty plain. It’s serviceable but uninspiring, and unlikely to really blow your mind if you’ve ever seen Higurashi or School Days. E Minor claims he anticipated the identity of the second killer, but it’s only really possible through the process of elimination; although there are no real clues to make you think it’s her there are only so many other characters it could be. I really don’t understand how they expect to milk further episodes out of this one, the only suspense in this was wondering whether or not Ame was the killer and if Juu was going to die in the end. With those questions answered, what else does the plot have to offer?

That said, I did wring a little enjoyment out of watching Denpa Teki. One of the more annoying recurring characters in anime is the everyman Nipponjin male lead, whose sole defining attribute is generosity. It’s a flat, boring character meant to be projected on by a lazy, self-centered audience. Juuzawa Juu (what a name) doesn’t offer much depth himself, but he does turn the convention around. Initially he is self-centered and solitary, but when he reaches out it isn’t to save some passing female that catches his eye (think Araragi from Bakemonogatari, Jun from Kannagi, Touma from To aru Majutsu no Index). Instead, in a neat bit of role reversal, he yells for help and receives it from a girl who has offered her unconditional support.

Is the show really turning heteronormative gender roles on their head? Well no, because the girl in question has decided to serve him as her lord and master. Not a lot of liberation there. Still, after seeing a million scenes of helpless girls begging to be saved it is nice to see things changed up a little. On that note, the other really enjoyable part of the OVA was the confession gone horribly wrong scene. Just as you think the show is about to turn into a retarded love triangle comedy, the drug starts kicking in and the baseball bat comes out. Few things are as satisfying as watching anime conventions turned into scenes of horrific violence (a la School Days). Sick as it sounds, a few gruesome spurts of violence are really all the show has going for it. If that’s your thing then Denpa Teki makes for a filling, if unhealthy, little snack.

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3 thoughts on “Denpa Teki na Kanojo

  1. 2DT

    Nice observation re: reaching out.

    The interesting thing to me is that this is a show about crazy people that doesn’t rely on contrivance. No poisons, no gods, just people being as messed up as they can be.

    That said, the portrayal of mental illness wasn’t exactly sound, and if it turns out that the titular Electromagnetic Girlfriend is this way because Juuzawa gave her a book about Lemuria when they were kids, I’m going to be very annoyed.

    Reply
    1. The Fin Post author

      I think that the theme of this episode at least was about how relationships with other people can keep you sane. There were a lot of parallels drawn between Ame and uh I already forgot her name, but the yawndere. What distinguished them is that Ame reached out to Juu, the way he in a slightly less crazy way later reaches out to her. The other girl, as Juu complains in the final classroom scene, never told him, and held her trauma inside until it festered. Not a healthy portrayal, as you pointed out here and in your post about the show, but I guess the message about the need to seek help isn’t entirely awful, just kind of trite.

      And yeah the childhood friend meme was laaaaaaaaaaame. I read somewhere though that in the original novel the crazies are brought on by electromagnetic waves (what.), I can’t decide which explanation is worse.

      Reply

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