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File:Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko light novel volume 1 cover 4194.jpg

16-year-old Makoto Niwa thinks he's about to live the dream life: with his parents conveniently away on business, he moves out to the big city to live with his 39-year-old aunt, Meme Touwa. Cue dreams of having the house all to himself, surrounded by pretty city girls and living out a normal adolescent life.

All that comes to a screeching halt the moment he steps into Meme's home to find a young girl -- Meme's hitherto unknown daughter and his cousin, Erio -- wrapped in a futon lying on the front step. Worse than that, she speaks strangely. And thinks she's an alien.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko is a series of light novels written by Hitoma Imura, which follow Makoto as he finds out more about his confused cousin and her strange beliefs about how their entire lives are nothing but a huge alien experiment.

An anime adaptation by Studio Shaft began airing in April 2011.

Tropes used in Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko include:


  • Baseball Episode: Not so much an episode, but Makoto and Erio join an amateur baseball team in later episodes.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Elliot, Meme and Erio have glittering hair.
  • Bland-Name Product: Amongst other examples, Episode 11 features a "Kingindo Superior Computer" with games such as "Father 2" and "Super Maruo Kart."
  • Broken Bird: Erio has shades of this. Just disappeared one day, showed up half a year later with nary a memory as to what happened during that time, retreated into her fond memories of space, tried to do an ET bike moment, broke her leg during that same moment, and retreated even deeper into her space fantasies, as well as a futon.
  • Bumbling Mom: Meme does love her little girl, and the only time she's ever been shown to be serious was when she's thinking about Erio. But that doesn't stop her from showing she has absolutely no idea on how to be a parent. At best, she's more like an emotionally stunted older sister. At worst, she's willing to fling her daughter around the house.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Ryuuko towards Makoto. At times she seems like she wants to, but then some Moment Killer happens or she goes into Clingy Jealous Girl mode.
    • Averted with Erio towards Makoto, although whether it's a romantic interest or just her being comfortable around him, due to her largely being a loner up until he shows up.
  • Catch Phrase: My Name Is Ryuuko. Becomes a Running Gag throughout the series.
  • Cat Smile: Ryuuko displays one from time to time.
  • Christmas Cake: Meme. She even makes a literal joke about it when Makoto comes home from the hospital, leaving a note that there's cake in the fridge to celebrate his discharge, and it's close to expiry date, so he needs to eat it quick. Guess what he sees when he opens the door...
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mother and daughter alike are pretty messed up in their heads.
    • All the girls Makoto meets could technically qualify.
  • Covert Pervert: Ryuuko tends to overthink situations with Makoto. Doesn't help that Maekawa likes to give misleading dialogue, such as doing This and That, but actually referring to playing video games and just chatting.
  • Cute but Cacophonic: Don't let Ryuuko cheer for you unless she's standing a good 20 or so feet away.
  • Cry Cute: Erio near the end of episode 3, after a reality check forced her to admit that she cannot fly.
  • The Danza: Hanazawa, a minor character on the shopping district baseball team, is voiced by Kana Hanazawa.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Makoto
  • Disappeared Dad: Elliot, Erio's father, who was apparently Scottish. Meme and him apparently have different world views, and "wouldn't do well living together."
  • Do-It-Yourself Theme Tune: Newcomer seiyuu Asuka Oogame (Erio) sings the opening theme.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Maekawa visits Makoto in the hospital dressed as an eggplant, explaining that she was trying to make a pun on "nurse" (the Japanese word for eggplant is "nasu"). Makoto responds by quoting this trope almost exactly.
  • Driving Question: Just what happened to Erio to make her lose a year's worth of memories?
  • Expressive Hair: Erio's seems to glitter when she's happy.
  • Expy: Meme looks like a certain baka-chihuahua.
  • Foot Focus/Does Not Like Shoes: Erio often goes barefoot, and there's quite a bit of shots to Erio's bare feet, at least in the anime. Most of the time, we can only see her legs and feet anyway -- her upper body is hidden in a futon.
  • First-Person Smartass: As per Studio Shaft tradition, Makoto frequently converses with himself.
  • Flying Saucer: A common motif of the series, and sightings are apparently common in Makoto's new hometown.
  • Genre Savvy: Makoto sees his move as an opportunity to pursue romance.
    • Makoto even tallies up the plot points of the series. The next episode teaser includes his tally sheet for the episode.
    • In the 3rd episode, Erio does the tally for him, representing the breakthrough in their relationship. "I Cannot Fly" is worth the most points out of the day's events, and they say it in unison.
    • In episode 8, Meme and Erio both total up their various scores, completely forgetting Makoto's until the end. His was +2 by the way.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Meme had some when she was a little girl. They help make her (more) adorable. Erio follows suit in some later appearances.
  • Gratuitous English: Multiple times, often by Meme as a way to avoid explaining something she said. In Episode 2, Makoto asks for directions when taking Erio on the bike, she responds with "Left Side", "Reright", and eventually "Sunny side up". She also dumbs down her Techno Babble to explain to Makoto that "I can fly". During the ending credits of Episode 3, her tallying up the event when Makoto forces her to face the fact that she actually can't is "I can't fly."
    • Maekawa responds to Ryuuko saying that she and Makoto can't go to the beach together with "Why?"
  • Hair Antennae: Erio. They even have a life of their own.
    • Also Meme.
  • Harem Genre: Makoto seems right on track to get a harem. After all, this is how he thinks his dream life in the city could become.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Inverted. Meme keeps trying to attract Makoto's attention, but it annoys him out more than anything else.
  • Hikikomori: As much as it's Played for Laughs, Erio is a textbook case, reacting to severe trauma by withdrawing from the world. The fact that Makoto looks confused and sasses her instead of pointedly ignoring her like everyone else in her life does -- her mother included -- is getting her to open up to him, slowly.
  • Hot Mom: Meme Touwa.
  • Huge Schoolgirl/Statuesque Stunner: Maekawa stands 179.9cm (around 6 feet). That's very tall for a woman in general, more so for a Japanese girl.
  • Ill Girl: Parodied in Maekawa's introduction. She isn't sick, just hilariously unfit such that she gets dizzy if she raises her hands above her head for a few seconds Makoto is enthralled.

 Makoto: "So dignified, yet so weak!"

  • Imagine Spot: Makoto has a lot of these. Hilariously played with during Episode 4 when he's in hospital and imagines seeing Ryuuko, then Maekawa appears under the bedsheets of his bed, and the third person he sees is Meme. At first it seems be another imagination, only to then have him wish it were the case when Meme really does turn out to be under his sheets.
  • Jerkass Facade: Despite constantly ignoring and abusing Erio, Meme does care about her little girl. Her less-than-motherly treatment stems from the fact that Erio prefers solitude, and Meme doesn't really remember how Erio came to be her daughter.
  • Kissing Cousins: Makoto finds Erio attractive, is unable to stop trying to help her despite Meme telling him otherwise, and is easily reminded of her even when socializing with other girls. Whether or not this will develop into a romance remains to be seen.
    • As of episode 4, Erio seems to have started reciprocating Makoto's interest in her, and in episode 5 she outright tells him that she likes him. Once again, it's currently ambiguous as to whether this is a romantic attraction or just a friendly one.
  • Lies to Children: Makoto comes to realize that ruining Erio's dreams of aliens is not much better than ruining a child's dreams of Santa Claus. He even (unintentionally) made Erio cry.
  • Likes Older Women: Zig Zagged in several different directions with Makoto. On one hand, he seems to be attracted to both girls his own age as well as Meme, who is 23 years his senior. On the other hand, he tends to ping-pong between attraction and repulsion towards Meme.
  • Magic Skirt: Considering how often the camera follows a low angle Male Gaze around her, Erio is lucky for this. There was a pretty unavoidable Panty Shot in the first episode, but it was censored with a flying saucer.
  • Male Gaze: Quite a bit of it with Erio, especially during the ending credits.
  • Meaningful Name: Erio Touwa's full name can be spelled out as E.T. No wonder she thinks she's an alien. On top of that, it turns out that her father's name was Elliot.
  • Moe: In-Universe application by Meme when referring to herself.
    • Makoto also questions whether Ryuuko/Ryuushi is also deliberately invoking the term to describe herself.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Meme. It's part of her complex about getting older and acting childish; she's constantly shamelessly flirting with Makoto (and everyone else).
  • My Name Is Not Ryuushi: Ryuuko, due to Alternate Character Reading she was given the name by a student in her first year (read: Erio) that quickly spread to everyone else.
  • Names to Know In Anime
  • New Transfer Student: One subverted case: Makoto was a new kid in town. The story is set in his second year there. Strictly or otherwise, everyone still refers to him as "Tenkousei", the Japanese name for this trope.
  • The Nicknamer: Maekawa seems to like giving people names that she's very comfortable with. To date, Ryuuko is "Ryuushi" (courtesy of Erio), Makoto is "Tenkousei" and that minor baseball player character is "Hanazawa".
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Erio fell off a bridge when attempting to recreate the famous "ET Flying Bike" scene, breaking her leg in the process. Makoto broke his arm when they did the same thing together.
  • Off-Model: Episode 4 is the first really bad episode. When the girls visit Makoto in the hospital, their faces rather blatantly distort. (In that scene, the same carelessness was applied to their feet.)
  • Older Than They Look: Meme is 39 years old. She looks -- and acts -- like she's in her late teens.
    • She turns 40 in episode 5. That's enough to make her copy Erio.
  • Parental Abandonment: Makoto's parents are away on business, so he has to live with his aunt and cousin.
  • POV Boy, Poster Girl
  • Rank Inflation: In Episode 7, the youth point tally at the end [1] gives "seeing Ryuushi and Maekawa in towels" 5-100-1000000 points until it ends up at 3 stars, which Makoto vocalizes with a sort of moaning sound.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Erio, due to not having cut it in years.
    • She gets it cut in episode 5. While it didn't make her hair any shorter, nevertheless she looks much neater after that.
    • Also Meme.
  • Really Gets Around: It's hinted that this is how Meme got Erio. At the very least, she said she figured out who her father was after working it out on a calculator.
    • Episode 8 seems to have debunked this, as it shows that Meme had fallen in love with Elliot many years before Erio was born.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Ryuuko, and unlike her seiyuu's previous role there is nothing to worry about, probably except her hyperactiveness.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Erio does this on occasion.
    • Also Ryuuko while exchanging numbers which Makoto.
  • Scenery Porn: Every now and then we are treated to a scene that is difficult to believe isn't a photograph.
  • Security Blanket: Erio's futon, which she wears under the justification that she cannot interact with the humans she's observing. In episode 2, she gets it swapped out for a smaller one that she cannot completely hide in. It's adorable.
    • Even after she comes to grips with reality, she still finds being wrapped in one very calming.
    • Meme also uses the futon, even as she tries to come to grips with the harsh truth that she just turned forty.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Gender-flipped -- Ryuuko's teammates constantly tease her about Makoto being her boyfriend, which she vehemently denies. Interestingly, he doesn't seem to be entirely against the idea...
  • Shrinking Violet: Erio comes off as one once she ditches her futon. Meme's teasing doesn't help.
  • Shout-Out: Meme's dialogue is full of anime memes and references to video games. For example, she quotes the intro to MOTHER 1 multiple times when having dinner with Makoto. (Later, in Episode 6, it's shown that Erio has a Mr. Saturn plushie in her room, continuing the MOTHER references.)
    • The ending has one for E.T. Erio ATTEMPTED to do the same. It... didn't work out, and is now the reason she wears that futon.
    • Makoto saying he'll destroy Erio's illusions before deciding he's not Hot Blooded enough. He does it anyway.
    • This in episode 5: Meme gives Makoto and Erio a map of how to get to a certain hair salon to get Erio's hair cut. Apparently Meme is a bit of a fan of Street Fighter.
    • "Stop, stop, stop, stop! I'm a Makoto, too! Stop it! Time, stop!"
    • "IIIIIIII KYAAAAAN'T FRYYYYYYYYYY!"
    • "How much of that was you acting cold? "99.7% real, 0.3% acting." "What about me?" "About 5 Centimeters Per Second!"
    • The last episode makes two more references to 5 Centimeters Per Second. The episode's title is "0.00000000198 Centimeters Per Second", and Makoto also says the words "One more time, one more chance", which is the title of the theme song of the aforementioned film. Another possible shout out is, perhaps, this series' protagonist sharing his first name with the director of 5 Centimeters Per Second, Makoto Shinkai.
    • Erio's bizarre, pokemon-like noises whilst in the futon are a shout out to Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu.
    • "Do you think I'd let a runaway who eats off fields in here?" Guess to whom this line is addressed to. Then think of a certain blue-haired character in a white nun's habit and remember how much of a glutton she is.
    • Episode 11 references the Yiddish folk song "Donna donna" about a calf being taken to slaughter. Difficult to say where this one comes from, since it's appeared in numerous anime, including Revolutionary Girl Utena and Ghost in the Shell: SAC.
    • Another one in Episode 11 when Makoto and Maekawa are playing a game on the television. It's Mario Kart with Different Colors.
    • In episode 10, after Makoto and Yashiro jump into the pool, she says "Take this, Kamehamaha!"
    • At the end of volume 3, Yashiro tries PK Starstorm on Makoto. The ensuing meteorite leaves quite a mark on him.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: If it did here, Erio would've been taken away a long time ago and given some psychiatric examinations.
  • Somebody Else's Problem: Most people's reaction to Erio, including her mother. Makoto is the exception.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Erio looks exactly like her mother except that her hair and eyes are light blue compared to her mother's dark blue.
  • Super-Deformed: Happens on a fairly regular basis.
  • Surreal Theme Tune: This is a Studio Shaft anime, after all.
  • There Are No Therapists: Rather than get her professional help for what appears to be a dangerous delusion (she even jumped off a bridge!), Meme allows her daughter to effectively shut herself up in her room and fall further into said dementia. Tragically, this is very much Truth in Television.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Makoto to Maekawa.
  • Unmoving Plaid: Erio's futon. Also, Meme's pants in Episode 3.
  • Unperson: Meme initially treats her daughter Erio like this, seemingly avoiding any kind of meaningful interaction, and tries to get Makoto to do the same, but thankfully this trope falls out of play as the series goes on, and they start spending some quality time together.
  • Unwanted Harem: Makoto is often caught juggling his attention between Erio and Ryuuko, thanks to the unspoken rivalry between them. Maekawa, surprisingly, is more laid back about the whole thing.
    • In the last couple of episodes, Maekawa starts to take it up a notch. She invites Makoto to her house, cooks a meal for him, and they generally spend some quality time together. She invites him back, and he seems to appreciate it...
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: A lot between Makoto and Ryuuko/Ryuushi
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Yashiro seems to invoke this trope on Makoto late in the season. Then some really coincidental stuff happens in Episode 13 to make him start questioning if all the stuff he did towards breaking Erio out of her "alien" shell was really a good thing or not.
  • You Gotta Have (Silvery) Blue Hair: Erio. Bonus points for it glittering.
    • Meme on the other hand just has a darker shade.
    • Erio got it from her dad, sparkles included. Though Meme shows that she can sparkle too in episode 8.

Notes

  1. which normally maxes out at 5 points per "event"
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