Ueno is a super science-genius schoolgirl, who every episode builds two remarkable inventions, that constantly break the laws of physics. There's filtration devices that can purify contaminated water. Life-bringing boards, that will animate any inanimate object. A vending machine that can summon and dispense anything the operator can think of.
And to what great purpose are all these devices put?
Attempting to seduce her schoolboy friend, Tanaka. No, really. Everything she ever builds has the surreptitious aim of getting Tanaka to confess his love for her, or to touch her innapropriately, or even just notice she exists. Honestly, he's a bit obtuse.
So the life-bringing board? Used to animate her tights, so that he has to touch them. The vending machine? It's secretly set to her knickers, so that he'll end up thinking they're his secret desire. And the water filtration? She wants him to drink her purified pee.
That's where this gets creepy. I love the premise, hate the execution.
People being bad at dealing with romantic entanglements is probably one of my favourite tropes. The current season's Kaguya-sama: Love is War has kept me glued because it is both cheery and hilarious. Other shows manage to nail the childish obsession with awkward topics with good grace, such as Mitsuboshi Colors' obsession with poop.
It's always important to find that balance between childhood and adult themes in a careful manner, with the kids' wide-eyed approach clashing with the new situations. It's often hard to express how that should be done, but it's always easy to point at when it's done wrong. I have done so much pointing while watching a few episodes of this.
Okay, so the creepy lewd child could be funny, as she tries to appeal to a boy who doesn't know she exists, and some of that does work. The various experiments can occasionally go impressively wrong, such as the robot duplicate who pulls an Ex Machina, or the swimsuit that lets you swim through the air having a bit of a problem with tides in the corridor. When these little disasters happen, it comes into its own and revels in the ridiculousness.
Unfortunately, the rest of the time, it loses that balance and lets some of the awkward lust sneak into the point of view of the "camera". There's a few too many (by which I mean literally any, seriously stop it) shots that are intended to centre child backsides. This show should not be using the male gaze.
It definitely spoils it. I keep coming back to it, hoping to enjoy their antics. The opening title helps sum up how cheery it can be, and the art style matches that nicely. It's very clean, heads simplistic and cartoonish, and isn't afraid to throw in a completely crazy element when needed to demonstrate the mad science. In particular, there was a neat element with animated censor bars, that hide everything during the inevitable nudity.
But every episode, without fail, there's something that makes me go "urgh". And that does ruin it. I'd love to enjoy it all, but I think I might have reached sufficiently uncomfortable to drop it.