Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (電波女と青春男)
Hanabee Entertainment (Australia)
Nippon Ichi Software America (North America)
Light novel series of same name, written by Hitoma Iruma
Comedy, Drama, Science-Fiction
DVD + Blu-ray Combo (North America)
M for Sexual References and Themes
Hanabee Entertainment for providing a review copy of this title.
Australia: Hanabee Online Store
Rightstuf.com (Currently Out of Stock)
Title: Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl
Alternative Titles: 電波女と青春男 | Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Encompasses: Episodes 1-13
Published by: Nippon Ichi Software America (North America) | Hanabee Entertainment (Australia)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Classification: This title has been designated M for Sexual References and Themes
While Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl already walked away with second place in my North American Anime Release of the Year 2013 awards, you might be wondering why I have posted up this alternate review of the series. With Hanabee Entertainment this month launching the series on DVD in Australia and New Zealand, and my original review being based on the North American Premium Edition, I felt it only right to re-write this review to cover the readers in my own region. As with my other “Hanabee Edition” reviews based on titles they share with NIS America, the only content that has been amended from my original review will be changes in this new release and a few minor edits.
Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl follows Makoto Niwa, a student who has moved to the city to live with his aunt, Meme, after his parents had to move away for work. The only thing is…. his normal enjoyable adolescent life (Which he regulates by a positive/negative point tracking system) is thrown off track when he finds out that Meme has a secret daughter. While this might not sound like a massive shock, it turns out that Elio is convinced she is an alien and likes to spend her days wrapped in a futon. Throw in his new friends who are a bit out there and a flirtatious aunt and you have 13 very interesting episodes. While the first few episodes seeks to introduce the smaller character cast and dwells on Erio believing she is an alien, this is not the sole focus on this series. While there is the whole ‘alien’ angle in some degree all the way through, there is much more it it than that.
The true charm of Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl comes down to its characters and their development throughout the episodes. Erio does to an extent remain the focus of attention throughout the series, with the others having their development revolving around her to some degree – but given the smaller character cast and an interesting set of personalities they work well with the episode limit they have and all receive ample attention in the storyline. It is a series which uses characters and not so much storyline to deliver an entertaining experience – with the storyline itself at times lacking a direction and not really setting itself out from the crowd.
Having a male lead with an almost all-female cast is a cliché in the anime industry, and this situation has prevented its fair share of series from standing out amongst an ever growing crowd. With an interesting protagonist coupled with distinct secondary characters, their interactions is what makes Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl stand out as a great drama / slice of life series. While unfortunately the storyline could have been better in my opinion, the character development more than makes up for it and still led to an overall enjoyable experience.
Animation studio Shaft were behind this title, and given their previous works such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Bakemonogatari and Arakawa Under the Bridge I had high expectations when going in. Fortunately they were able to provide and this is a series that is worthy of receiving the blu-ray treatment in my opinion with strong animation and designs across the board. The character designs come with a good level of detail and a colourful design palette – especially in the designs of Erio and Yashiro. The environment designs were also solid, and complemented the character designs well – aided by good use of lighting effects.
Unfortunately when comparing the Australian DVD release against the original North American blu-ray release, I was left underwhelmed with the visual quality. While Australians should feel glad that a publisher even licensed Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl given its more niche appeal and the market only slowly embracing sub-only releases, DVD-only wasn’t the best way to represent SHAFT’s animation in this case.
Music / Voice Acting
The opening theme Os-Uchujin by “Erio wo Kamattechan” is an enjoyable track which when coupled with the animation highlights the standard I expect to see from an opening sequence – something that captures your attention, captures the theme of the series and sets itself apart from others. The ending sequence Ruru by Etsuko Yakushimaru tones itself down a bit but also boasts some solid animation. The rest of the music in this series is great and comes with a nice selection of tracks which are used well.
As with every other NIS America anime release aside from this months release of Toradora, there is no English dub included in this collection of Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl. Instead the original Japanese dub with English subtitles is the only option available, and proved to be a high quality dub. Miyu Irino and Asuka Ogame suit the intended tones of main characters Makoto and Erio well, while the other cast members also do solid performances for their respective characters. I will give a special mention this review to Ai Nonaka who voiced Meme in this series.
Only a small collection of on-disc extras is available in this collection, consisting of clean opening and ending sequences in addition to trailers for Medaka Box (Out now), Majestic Prince (Out in August 2014) and Devil Survivor 2 (Out in September 2014). Aside from a Japanese commercial for the series, there were no notable on-disc omissions in the Australian release.
Final Words on Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl
My opinion on Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl has not changed since awarding it during my last End of Year awards ceremony, and personally think it was a fantastic license for Hanabee Entertainment to pick up for Australian distribution, despite being a little bit out of the mainstream. While the storyline could have offered more, the small but interesting collection of characters when coupled with strong design and music helps this series stand out as an impressive anime.