Denpa Teki na Kanojo
Released Year : February 4, 2009 to December 4, 2009
No of Episodes : 2
Genre : Mystery,School,Thriller
Plot : Juuzawa Juu is a delinquent high school boy who just wants to be left alone. One day, he is approached by Ochibana Ame, who claims that she knew him in a previous life, and now wants to serve him as his "knight". At first Juu wants nothing to do with Ame, but after a classmate is murdered, he accepts her help as he looks for the killer. (Source: ANN)
Our Review : The first thing that should strike you is the unusual title: Denpa teki na Kanojo. It can be translated as “Electromagnetic Girlfriend”, but that can be a little misleading. This is not another sci-fi show like Cyborg She where a guy hooks up with a cyborg girlfriend. While the term “Denpa” means electric waves, it is also an urban slang used to describe people who look like they have a screw loose in their head. The title can be better explained as "Psychotic Girlfriend". Now that’s more appropriate for a psychological thriller.
Story – 7
As the title suggests, the story is about crazy girls. The protagonist, Juuzawa Juu, is a high school delinquent who gets involved in the strange happenings around him after being approached by a bizarre girl named Ochibana Ame. According to Ame, Juu was a king in his previous life and Ame, being his knight, swears her loyalty to him. Together, they attempt to find out the serial killer behind a spate of murders, which also claimed their friend’s life.
Overall, the story is pretty well-paced. There weren't any moments which I found boring or rushed. I wouldn't say the premise is very novel or creative, but the execution is good. A few twists in-between makes it more than a linear story. While it is not a really shocking development (in my opinion), it’s still a decent attempt nonetheless. Ame’s ability to correctly deduce the “criteria” of the killer did raise my eyebrow.
The second episode left a bigger impression on me than the first. After the murder case has been solved, the pair discovers a string of pranks that were happening around them. Ame, the super detective, again realizes that these pranks are more than meets the eye. The main topic in this episode is the way to obtain happiness. Does one obtain happiness by taking it away from others? This is not really a philosophical inquest but the events that follow leave you something to think about.
I like the fact that most loose ends are tied, though they never quite explain the reason behind Ame’s telepathic thoughts towards Juu. Is it really just a delusion or is it really their bonds from their previous lives as she claims? If they ever release more episodes, I hope more light can be shed on this.
Character – 8
I often grumble about the lack of meaningful development in the characters, especially for OVAs and movies due to their length. In Denpa, they did a reasonably good job in fleshing out the characters.
Juu is just your average punk who dyes his hair blond, gets into fights regularly, and acts like a bastard. He lives on his own and is bound by loneliness, as surmised by Ame. He seems to close himself off from other people, which is why he treats others rather badly and rejects the intrusion by Ame into his life violently. He does show a little sense of justice as he sets out to find the killer and slowly begin to accept Ame. A bit more emotional depth would have made him a better character though.
Ame is probably the most fascinating (and quirky) character here. She looks quite creepy most of the time with bangs covering her eyes completely. Her unwavering loyalty despite being rejected and suspected by Juu is truly remarkable. However, her dedication to her master makes her go beyond common sense. She’s like a bullet that charges straight towards her target without reservation, such as stalking Juu. To go to such great lengths based on a delusion makes her a “Denpa” girl without a doubt. Ame usually adopts a subservient attitude to Juu, but that’s not all to her. There are times where she sheds her bizarre self and behave like a normal girl. Whether she has a split personality remains a mystery to me. An unpredictable yet strangely interesting character.
I won’t comment too much about the supporting characters so as not to give out major spoilers. From girls who are sexually abused to people with twisted logic, there is no shortage of “Denpa” characters here. The character development is well-paced and the circumstances of the supporting characters are also properly explained. The characters are also realistic enough for you to empathize with them. Thumbs up for that.
Animation – 7
The animation is decent but I can’t say that I’m impressed. The backgrounds are generally well done and the subtle style provides a suitably gloomy and depressing atmosphere. The poster showing Ame holding an umbrella in the rain should give you a rough idea on what to expect. However, the designs of some characters (especially Juu) look a bit weird to me. Their motion and expressions lack a little fluidity to my liking. In some instances, the voices sound more agitated than the looks of the characters. I blame that on the art since the voice acting is pretty solid.
Sound – 8
First of all, I think the voice actors did a good job here as they are able to bring out the personalities of the characters really well. The background music is great as it complements the atmosphere perfectly. However, the instrumental pieces can get a little boring and are not really memorable.
Enjoyment – 9
Denpa is not a really ambitious attempt. Despite it being a thriller, I don’t find it intense or shocking enough. Perhaps my overexposure to this genre made my expectations a little too high. However, this doesn’t work against it as it doesn’t try to do too much. It doesn’t rely on the usual bloody, gory, or disturbing images. The characters are fairly realistic and not overblown maniacs. Denpa simply delivers what it sets out to do. Kudos to the overall direction.
Overall - 9
As you may have noticed, the scores I gave for each individual category are pretty modest even though I gave it an overall 9. While none of the story, characters, animation or art is particularly outstanding, they somehow seem to fit extremely well together in a neat package. This is probably a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I think this would be a good introductory piece for those who are fairly new to this genre. Denpa teki na Kanojo is definitely worth checking out.