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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl (Blu-ray)
Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl (Blu-ray)
NIS America, Inc. // Unrated // January 8, 2013 // Region A
List Price: $69.99 [Buy now and save at Nisamerica]
Review by John Sinnott | posted January 18, 2013 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:
 
NIS America's latest anime offering is a nice, quirky, light comedy show:  Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl.  The story of a boy who travels from the country to the big city to live with his aunt is filled with fun characters that are slightly offbeat, and gentle stories that, while not laugh-out-loud funny and very amusing.  It's a good series and NIS' deluxe packaging makes it even better.
 


Makoto Niwa's parents have been transferred to America, so it's been decided that he's going to move in with his unmarried, childless aunt, Meme Towa, who lives in another city so he can attend high school in Japan.  As the story begins he gets on a train to travel to his new residence, nervous yet excited at the prospect of being in a big city and the prospect of meeting some girls.  Meme works a lot, so he should have the house to himself most of the time.
 
He meets his aunt without a hitch, and though she flirts with him a lot and is always fishing for compliments about her beauty and youthful appearance, she seems alright.  That is until the get to her house.  Laying in the entryway is a girl wrapped in a futon with only her legs showing.  Makoto doesn't want to be rude and ask about the inert person, so he waits for Meme to explain.  She doesn't.  At all.  At dinner Meme's going on about how excited she is to have Makoto living with her while the unexplained person, still wrapped in a futon, sits at the foot of the table.  Finally Makoto gets up his nerve and asks who the strange person is, and Meme tells him to just ignore her.  After a bit of a struggle, Meme reveals that the girl in the futon is Erio, who claims thinks she's an alien and only talks using scientific terms.
 


 Of course Makoto doesn't believe that Erio is from outerspace sent here to observe Earthlings, though the girl obviously does.  He soon learns that Erio is Meme's secret daughter (though Makoto's aunt claims that she can't remember being pregnant) and that she went missing a while back. She just disappeared for six months and when she returned she claimed that she was an alien.  Makoto makes it his job to reconnect his niece with reality. 
 
He also has school however. There he meets Ryuko Mifune, an energetic girl in her class that often misuses words and is the only one in the school to wear a helmet when biking.  She quickly develops a crush on Makoto, though she'll never admit it, and eats lunch with him every day.
 
Another girl in Makoto's life is Maekawa, an avid cosplayer who wanders around the city late at night in her costumes, and wears them to her part-time job too.  She seems to like Makoto too, but she's much cooler about it and plays her cards close to her chest.
 


The great thing about this show is that it doesn't play out according to the regular anime formulas.  After the first episode I was sure that it would center around Makoto coming to realize that Erio was an alien.  Nope, that plot line is wrapped up pretty quickly.   Then I was sure it was going to morph into a harem show, where the poor main character was pestered by a hoard of lovely ladies who are all very infatuated with him.  Nope, that didn't happen either.
 
The show is more of a slice-of-life show, though that doesn't really sum it up accurately either.  Most of the episodes have stand alone plots and deal with common high school problems.  In one installment Ryuko is afraid that Makoto will be ostrasized at school if it gets out that he's living with that weirdo Erio (who dropped out of school) and isn't sure what to do about it.  In another Makoto is in the hospital and all of his friends drop by.  They aren't Earth-shattering, but light and entertaining.
 
This show is really amusing because of the likeable cast of characters who inhabit the town (including a girl who wears a space suit and the pitch for the baseball team who runs away before every big game).  The cast really drives the show, even if there isn't a lot of action.  A fun program that goes wonderfully after watching a mecha series.
 
The Blu-ray:

 
I really like the way NIS America handles their Premium Edition releases.  This time the 13-episode show (12 broadcast episodes and the OVA) is presented both on DVD and Blu-ray, each format taking up two discs.  The discs come in a pair of double thinpak cases.  These are housed, not on top of each other, but side by side in a beautiful sturdy board case that's nearly 8 in X 11 in.  The case is attractively illustrated with characters from the show.  In a nice touch that shows a fine attention to detail, the UPC code in hidden inconspicuously on the side of the case so that the artwork isn't marred.  Included with the two DVDs and two Blu-ray discs is a very nice hardcover art book.  Scroll down to the extras section for more details on that.
 
Audio:
 
This release arrives with the original Japanese soundtrack in lossless LPCM stereo.  It sounded very good, with full range and some nice separation.  There are optional English subtitles, but there is not a dub track, which is fine with me.  I prefer watching anime in Japanese since that was the way it was created to be seen.
 
Video:
 
The 1.78:1 anamorphic image looks very good.  The colors are strong and solid and they're accurately reproduced and come through clearly.  The level of detail is very good and the lines are tight.  Digitally it also looked very good with aliasing, which often plagues anime, being nonexistent.
 
Extras:
 
The discs themselves include a clean opening and closing and some commercials used to promote the show.  The best extra isn't found on the discs however.  That award goes to the very nice hardcover book that is included with the set.  This attractive full-color book includes large images along with a synopsis from each episode, character design sheets, interviews with the creators and more.  It's printed on high quality glossy paper, and is really very striking.
 
Final Thoughts:
This is a fun show.  It's nice to watch a program that's more relaxing at times (which you'd never get from the title) and this one really fits the bill.  Funny, charming, and short, it's well worth picking up.  Recommended. 
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