Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl [Anime Review]

Note: Review copy supplied by MVM Entertainment

Title: Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl
Anime Studio: Shaft
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Genre: Slice of Life
Released: July 20th, 2020
Classification: 12
Language: Japanese
Discs: 2

Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl complete collection contains episodes 1-13 of the anime directed by Akiyuki Simbo.

Makoto Niwa just moved to the city to live with his aunt Meme after his parents were reassigned to work overseas. He is perfectly fine with that, saying it will give him the chance to live the dream life of an adolescent boy. He keeps track of the things he does by assigning “points” to them – positive or negative – and adds them up on a regular basis to grade his adolescent life. And then he discovers Meme has a secret daughter (and self-proclaimed alien) named Erio.

He finds her rolling around by the front door of Meme’s house wrapped up in a futon. It is then he realizes that his dream adolescent life will not come true, and begins a life of experiences that are out of this world.

Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl, aka Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko is a strange show. The set up is certainly a quirky one, and it led me to expect this would be an off-the-wall comedy series. What I got instead was a slice of life show that offered a few surprises.

I generally enjoyed the way the core characters played off each other, especially as it pertained to Makoto’s interactions with Ryuoko and Maekawa. If anything, I’d say that Ryuko and Maekawa were the stars of the show for me. While the other core cast members weren’t entirely unlikable, these two tended to consistently shine in their scenes, and never strayed into negative territory for me.

The actual story goes through phases, and I will admit, I was surprised how quickly they made progress with Erio’s alien arc. In a way, with the short number of episodes, this was probably wise. It did essentially shift the focus away from what I expected to carry the series, but the individual arcs we saw instead of focussing solely on this were decent. The comedy too was mostly very good. From the way Erio was able to eat pizza while wrapped in a futon to Meme stating she’d never have turned 40 if that episode hadn’t happened, it’s good-natured stuff that lands more often than it doesn’t.

Visually – and audibly – the series is fine. It’s not particularly fancy in either realm, but the series is certainly competent.

This all being said, for everything the series does well, it does have some issues. While we do get to learn more about her and why she acts the way she does, Meme’s habit of hitting on her nephew was uncomfortable to watch. On top of that, the story plays out in an odd way. It does everything right in some regards, giving us character development and a satisfying conclusion that circles us back around to the sci-fi elements of the premise. But, somehow, it feels like it’s ‘just there’. I can’t figure out exactly what it is that makes me feel that way either. It just didn’t quite click the way I thought it should.

So, where do I sit on this overall? In a way, it feels like a show that starts off gentle but never really fully picks up steam. At the same time though, it does things well enough that it would be wrong not to recommend it. I think 3.5 out of 5 see6s fair here.

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