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Light Novel / Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl

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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.

Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl (Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko; lit. Electrical Wave Girl and Youthful Man) is a series of light novels written by Hitoma Imura and illustrated by Buriki, which were published from 2009 to 2011 with a total of eight volumes. The story follows 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 aired from April to July 2011.

Tropes in Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl include:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Meme, to Makoto. Consequently, all of the things she does that would normally give Makoto pluses in his adolescence point tallies are tallied as minuses
  • Accidental Misnaming: 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.
  • Balanced Harem: Makoto's harem is quite balanced and most of them get a lot of equal time. Erio, the title character, does get a little more than everyone else though.
  • Baseball Episode: Not so much an episode, but Makoto and Erio join an amateur baseball team in later episodes. Episode 12, dealing with the fateful baseball game that will determine which side of the town will host the summer festival, plays this trope the straightest.
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  • Bishie Sparkle: Elliot, Meme, Erio, Tamura (Erio and Makoto's great-grandmother), and Yashiro 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.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Most people's reaction to Erio, including her mother. Makoto is the exception.
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase: 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 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 its expiration date, so he needs to eat it quick. Guess what he sees when he opens the door...
  • Cloudcuckoolander: All characters are one in a certain way. Erio is a space-obsessed amnesiac who believes she's an alien, Meme is an Absurdly Youthful Mother obsessed with being moe and playing with Makoto, Ryuuko is often running simulations, Tamura (Granny) believes in aliens, conspiracies, and that she's got an upcoming date with cattle mutilation, Maekawa is always acting like a Cosplay Otaku Girl, Yashiro believes she's an alien as well and always wears a spacesuit, Ashiro spends his days shooting off plastic water bottle rockets, and even Makoto himself, as much as he tries to be the Only Sane Man, he's admittedly obsessed with adolescence and his points system.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Makoto for Erio, primarily.
  • Covert Pervert: Ryuuko tends to overthink situations with Makoto. Doesn't help that Maekawa likes to give misleading dialogue, such "this and that", a common Japanese Sexual Euphemism, but she's 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. Her "cheering" of Makoto involves her screaming into his ear at the top of her lungs
  • Cry Cute: Erio near the end of episode 3, after a reality check forced her to admit that she cannot fly.
  • 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: Erio's voice actress Asuka Oogame 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: Generally: do aliens exist? Also, more specifically: what happened to Erio when she disappeared for half a year, only to turn up floating in the ocean with no memory of the missing time?
  • Expressive Hair: If really happy or something special is happening, all the main girls' hair, but especially Erio's, will swarm with glitter.
  • 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 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?"
    • There's also Tamura-san's "CATAUW MUTILASHION!" and Yashiro's "HELLO AND GOODBYE!"
    • In episode 11, while Ryuuko talks to Makoto over the phone, Erio bursts into his room to take him out for some stargazing. Ryuuko gets annoyed by the sudden interruption, and says "Be quiet", followed by "Attention please."
  • 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.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Inverted. Meme keeps trying to attract Makoto's attention, but it annoys him out more than anything else.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Mikki teases Ryuuko about this in episode 11 when Makoto shows up to watch her game. She tries to deny it, but her friend sees right through it and teases her.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: 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.
  • 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.
    • 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. But in the anime it is also 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.
  • Male Gaze: Quite a bit of it with Erio, especially during the ending credits.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is established that Erio is not really an alien pretty early on, especially after the "I can't fly" stunt. Yashiro, on the other hand, falls into this trope especially in episode 13, where she may or may not have called down a meteor in order to demonstrate her powers
  • Meaningful Name: Erio Touwa's full name can be initalised 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.
  • New Transfer Student: Makoto transfers to the school at the beginning of the story, at the start of his second school year. He remarks that the timing should help to keep him from standing out too much because of it, although that doesn't seem to actually end up being the case. The title of "transfer student" should only really apply to him for the first term at most, but Strictly or otherwise, many characters still refer to him as "tenkousei" note  long after it's really appropriate.
  • 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".
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Erio and Meme tend to get a bit too close to Makoto at times.
  • 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.)
  • Oh, Crap!: Makoto is usually stoically skeptical on the topic of the supernatural but he looks positively a second away from having a heart attack in episode 13 when Hoshimiya's claims of giving a demonstration about her powers is followed by a freaking METEORITE falling down from space onto the exact spot he was standing in not a minute before. Even more so once he realizes her instructions about him taking a specified number of steps in a specified direction actually saved him from being hit dead-on by it.
  • 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.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In episode 11, Erio bursts into Makoto's room while he's chatting with Ryuuko. Some things are said, and Ryuuko overhears that he'll go out with her, meaning that he's dating his cousin. However, Makoto was just telling Erio that he'd go outside to go stargazing, but Ryuuko hangs up before he can explain.
  • Parental Abandonment: Makoto's parents are away on business, so he has to live with his aunt and cousin.
  • P.O.V. Boy, Poster Girl: Makoto and Erio, respectively, who provide the page image.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The shopping district baseball team which contains at one point or another pretty much all of the weirdos on the show except Yashiro, who plays for the other team.
  • Rank Inflation: In Episode 7, the youth point tally at the endnote  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.
  • 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.
  • Refrigerator Ambush: Played for Laughs when Meme leaves a note that there's cake in the fridge to celebrate Makoto's discharge from the hospital, and it's close to the expiration date, so he needs to eat it quick. It's an Overly Prepared Gagthe cake is herself.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Ryuuko when exchanging numbers with Makoto note , and later Makoto when congratulating Ryuuko for her clever play on words with "Not able to sleep / not having any dreams" note . Related is that Ryuuko rather abuses onomatopoeias in every conversation with Makoto, replacing various words in the middle of sentences with their sound effects instead. It's one of her primary charm points, although most of the instances don't really lend themselves to being easily depicted in translations.
    • Erio also does this on occasion, usually when in a really good mood, although half of the time she's not really vocalizing specific sound effects so much as just making random sounds for fun.
  • 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 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!"
    • "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, Pokémon-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.
    • You can also see a MOTHER 2- erm, sorry, "FATHER 2" cartridge.
    • 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.
    • Near the end of the 13th episode, there is a shout out to Evangelion - Makoto talks with himself by asking himself questions and aswering them, in two distinctly different voices. He also sits alone on a chair in the middle of a classroom. Of course, he's just imagining that.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: If it did here, Erio would've been taken away a long time ago and given some psychiatric examinations.
  • Soft Water: Subverted. Makoto hits a lake from very high up and seems fine, but in the next episode it's almost immediately revealed that he actually broke his arm in the process. Erio was apparently okay, though.
  • 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.
  • Un-person: 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.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Some between Makoto and Ryuuko/Ryuushi and even Makoto and Meme.
  • Wham Line: Meme gives one to Makoto in episode 3, when she tells him if he's only hanging out with Erio because she's pretty, he should stop right now. It comes as a complete shock to him because its probably the first time she speaks in a serious tone to him. Despite that, he continues to help Erio out as much as he can.
  • 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.
  • Yandere: Played for Laughs with Ryuuko on at least two occasions.
    • The first time is when she and Maekawa visit Makoto's house, and he's seen petting Erio's head as Ryuuko is making something for dinner. He looks over and sees Ryuuko with a creepy smile, and as he raises and lowers his hand from Erio's head, she does the same with the knife she's holding.
    • The second time is during episode 13 while Makoto and Ryuuko are at the festival. After she finds out he's going to be meeting his cousin Erio, she develops a strange look in her face, and tells him that he'd better pay her back a hundred times for ditching her. It creeps him out initially, but then she runs off shortly afterwards, claiming that it was just all an act.

Alternative Title(s): Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko