Denpa-teki na Kanojo, episode 1 – tropes

Before we start let me say that this is not a review of Denpa-teki na Kanojo. If you want a review – we already have one written by Shaurya, you are welcome to read it. Here I want to discuss this OVA rather than to review it, so I’ll assume you’ve seen it. It is a good show by the way, and it is fairly short too, so if you haven’t seen it you can start watching it now and come back in 40 minutes =)

Ame Ochibana

I decided to write about Denpa-teki na Kanojo because it gives me a great opportunity to talk about certain recurring setups in anime. Before we start though I would ask you to try not to let any negative preconceptions about these tropes to guide you as you are reading.

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Otaku no Video

There are plenty of anime about specific groups of people. We have anime about school students, people who do competitive sports, detectives and policemen. Recently we started to get more anime about young adults who start their careers, working in all sorts of industries: game development, restaurants, anime production, manga magazines, to name a few. And this makes perfect sense, hobbies and occupation are a large part of one’s life, and people seem to like to see the stuff they care about.

Right, then what about the hobby most anime viewers share. I mean, watching anime, it is sort of a hobby, and anime fans are a target audience for anime, obviously. So why not make anime about them, the anime fans, or even better, about the passionate okatu who are at the core of this social group?

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Well, it is not as easy as it may sound. Think of any school anime. What does this anime spends its time on? Is it the particular classes the students take? Do you learn a lot about their curriculum? Do you see what kinds of problems they get for their homework, and how they solve them? How much time does the anime spend on listening to the teacher? My guess is, the anime you thought of would be more about school club activities, maybe sports, also very likely it would be about interactions between students, friendship, love, rivalry and what not. A lot of school anime I watched would have a plot that doesn’t even require the characters to be in a school, it is just a convenient setting.

So why is that? Well, cause listening to the teacher going through a class intended for middle school kids would be super boring, not to mention a single class should be longer than an entire episode. Same with the other real aspects of the school life. The anime needs to be exciting, so it only picks the cool parts of its setting. It is easy with schools and sports, there are plenty of exciting activities to show. Not so easy with quiet hobbies or professions that do not require interactions with other people or doing something physical. Notice how anime portray engineers or scientists. Engineers would always be drawing diagrams or assembling stuff, and scientists would always looks at fancy displays with flashing lights and play with equipment. Cause this is physical, that is easy to show and it is at least remotely exciting. The real science and engineering are much more than that through.

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Now, being an anime fan doesn’t even have that. You just watch anime, talk with your friends about it, and this is it. How’d you make an interesting show about that? And since your audience has first hand experience with it you can’t just get away with diagrams and flashing lights, you need to be real. Well, Otaku no Video tried to do that, so let’s look at it.

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