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Ground Control To Psychoelectric Girl Premium Edition Blu-ray Anime Review

10 min read

Ground Control To Psychoelectric Girl
Ground Control To Psychoelectric Girl
When Makoto moves in with his aunt, he discovers a cousin he never knew about who believes that she’s an alien.

What They Say:
Makoto Niwa just moved to the city to live with his aunt Meme after his parents have been 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. 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.

Contains episodes 1-13 plus a full-color, 36-page hardcover art book full of character information, background illustrations, an episode guide, and personal interviews with the cast, director, character designer, and producer!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this release gives us the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded using the uncompressed PCM codec. The show is pretty much dialogue driven but it has a few outlandish moments here and there that uses the forward soundstage well. There’s usually just a few characters on screen at a time so placement isn’t much of an issue but it hits it fairly well when it needs to. The opening and closing sequences run things a bit bigger and richer since it”s all music based but the series as a whole has a decent mix and it comes across very cleanly and clearly here with how its presented.

Video:
Originally airing in 2011 with an OVA that was released in 2012, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The series is spread across two discs with nine episodes on the first and the remaining four on the second. With animation by Shaft, the series has a very strong visual look with lots of bold, vibrant colors that stand out beautifully with a solid feel and a lot of detail throughout, both in the character animation that flows well and the backgrounds themselves. The animation is very, very good throughout and the transfer just captures everything so well. There’s only some very mild noise in a few backgrounds which is barely noticeable overall and in the end we have a great looking release that lets the show shine just as it should.

Packaging:
The packaging for this release brings us a new limited edition title from NIS America and it works as the others have, albeit with some really bright and shiny material here after releasing several darker series. The front panel is a bit awkward as it gives us a full length shot of Erio as she leans back and looks upward while floating underwater. The angle is just a bit off when you take it in and I’m not too much of a fan of the characters face being mostly upside down. But with the good looking colors, the interesting logo and the darker background, it definitely stands out. The back side to the box goes in the opposite direction with lots of bright sky blues mixed with some clouds to lighten it even more. It has all the other women of the series in detailed and appealing clothes or costumes floating around which is very eye-catching overall.

Inside the box, we get the hardcover book and two clear thinpak cases. The book is bright and colorful with a pairing of Makoto and Erio on the front cover of the “story guide” that it’s designed as. The book has two pages for each episode that provides a number of good visuals from it and a look at the story within the episode as well. In between each of these segments, we also get character design material on one page and the other provides a variety of brief text interviews, either with the creative staff themselves or the voice actors talking about the characters. The book also provides several pages of really nicely done background shots that shows off the detail of the world they live in. The thinpak cases use the same kinds of blues as the front cover and the first disc uses the same artwork, just tightened up, of Erio. The second disc shows off more of the cast in a new image and the back covers are laid out the same where it has multiple shots from the show, a breakdown of episodes by number and titles and a clear look at the technical specs for both formats. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release is pretty active as it does some good lead-up animation bits where it’s set against the gray portion of the opening sequence with all the bolts flying around. It then draws in the main cast of characters individually with a bouncy piece of text with their name that’s cute. It all leads towards having the four principal characters together against the background with the logo in the upper right hand corner, giving it all a very bouncy and enjoyable feeling, definitely setting the mood just right. The navigation strip is very barebones with just a play all and episodes section as there is no language/subtitle selection due to the subtitles being locked on. The navigation is simple and easy to use and without any problems.

Extras:
The only extras included in this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences along with a brief selection of Japanese commercials.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series by Hitoma Iruma that’s known as Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko, which translates more directly to Electrowave Girl and Youthful Boy, Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl is a twelve episode series with an OVA done by animation studio Shaft. The series kicked off just as the light novels ended, though there’s still a slowly plodding along manga adaptation out there as well. When it comes to Shaft series, they continue to be works that I dread until I can actually get my hands on them to see what style they are. Thankfully, as quirky as this series does get at times, it’s very grounded in reality and doesn’t go for the heavy slapstick, quick cuts and and a skewed sense that definitely is an acquired taste.

The series revolves around high school student Makoto Niwa, a young man who narrates things in an amusing way at the start. It’s here that we get the reveal that he’s living the typical anime lead life as his parents really are working overseas now and he’s moving to a new city where he’s going to live with his aunt Meme. Visions of a blissful life with less supervision, new stories to be told and excitement abounds. His personality comes through well here and seeing the way he approaches a pretty ig change in his life says a lot about him. His aunt Meme is definitely an amusing person to meet as she’s just shy of forty, looks like she’s in college and has a very, very youthful personality that indicates someone that really loves to live life and is skirting becoming that really annoying person because of it.

While Makoto thinks that things will go well, the big problem hits him quickly as there’s someone else living in the house. Not that Meme acknowledges this person as we see a high school age girl that’s all wrapped up in a futon and just talks really strangely. It’s though this that we learn that she claims to be an alien, hence the odd speech, and treats everything as a bit of a mission. Meme’s point blank ignoring of her for the first part is interesting, Thankfully, it’s not a gag that goes on too long as eventually Makoto breaks through to the futon girl, who turns out to be Erio, Meme’s daughter with a man that didn’t stick around quite a long time ago. That’s not the crux of the problem though as what’s revealed is that Erio had an accident six months ago that caused her to lose her memory. That problem has her coping by pretending to be an alien, which made school difficult, hence quitting early on.

Because of the bit of a ruckus caused by Erio when she was in school, Makoto has to play it a little carefully so that he doesn’t get too associated with her. Erio’s gained a reputation in town as well since when she does go out, she wears the futon around her even then. There’s some creative bits early on as we see how she survives in the house, eating food and so forth, and watching how Makoto deals with it early on is a lot of fun. Especially since Meme messes with him constantly, which is borderline creepy at times but generally done in a way that’s absolutely hilarious and acceptable with family. She manages to call out Makoto in some really fun ways and she often stole the show for me. She even gets a whole episode to herself where we see what she’s been doing behind the scenes as other episodes play out.

While there’s a lot of fun to be had in the household situation, the series does move beyond that in a good way. Makoto makes some friends at school, though he tends to have just girls that spend time with him, two of which that are interested in him in good ways. The outgoing side comes from Ryuko, a bubbly type that really takes to him well and even has a scene involving a late night phone call that was utterly charming. Ryuko doesn’t have many friends but there’s something infectious about her personality that’s fun to watch. On the flip side, we get Maekawa, a taller than average quiet girl who works a lot and spends a lot of free time at school with him. She has her own similar scene when Makoto spends an afternoon with her playing videogames in her room and hanging out. The two girls definitely have a real interest in him over the initial period they get to know each other and unlike a lot of shows, I couldn’t really decide which one I felt was best for Makoto of the two.

With a series like this, there is in a way very little real story to be had here. It’s slice of life, but it has the quirky side to it. We get some exploration of Makoto trying to figure out what’s up with Erio and then drawing her own bit by bit. That doesn’t quite dominate the series though, as it blends in the other girls and some fun with Meme. The main thrust is to do the slice of life aspect with the drawing out, which gives us a good look at everyone involved. And honestly, it never felt like they were trying to bring Erio and Makoto together, which was a big plus since they’re cousins. There’s not big, overreaching storyline here when you get down to it, but I like what they did with it, at least outside of the introduction of a character named Yashiro that shows up more than halfway through wearing a spacesuit and proclaiming to be an esper. She felt rather out of place here and left me a bit miffed about her role overall.

In Summary:
Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl is one of the strangest titles I think I’ve head in some time, but I think it really does work pretty well. There are some pretty blatant quirks here, but I like how they’re used and the way that there are real reasons for it, even if Erio’s mother doesn’t exactly do what you should do in this situation to get her daughter some help. Still, looking at it as how Makoto is able to get into house and provide the catalyst for change that slowly helps Erio. The series has a really beautiful visual design to it and through the relaxed storytelling and the magic of youth, it comes across in a great way. Sometimes a series hits in just the right way that’s not easy to quantify, but this is a Shaft show that just drew me in from the start, made me smile and enjoy the way it was beautiful and enticing without being filled with overdone fanservice. I could easily go for another season to see what else is in store for these characters.

Features:
Japanese PCM 2.0 Language, English Subtitles (Locked), Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Japanese Commercials

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: NIS America
Release Date: January 8th, 2013
MSRP: $69.99
Running Time: 333 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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