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[Stardust Telepath]
AKA: 星屑テレパス (Hoshikuzu Telepath)
Genre: Slice-of-life high school comedy / drama
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently available streaming on crunchyroll
Content Rating: 7+ (nothing really objectionable)
Related Series: N/A
Also Recommended: Hitoribocchi no Marumaruseikatsu (for a better show about a girl with social anxiety), Rocket Girls (for a show about teenage girls actually IN space)
Notes: Based on the manga by Rasuko Oukuma, which is currently running in Houbunsha's seinen magazine Manga Time Kirara.

Stardust Telepath


Umika Konohoshi is a girl who loves outer space and aliens, and has been ridiculed in the past by her peers for them. Because of this, she's become introverted and shy, and believes that she can only communicate with aliens. She even dreams of traveling to space in a rocket to see them. But when a new student named Yuu Akeuchi arrives in her school and claims to be an alien, it seems her dream might have finally come true...or has it?


What a tease this series is.

If we were to judge Stardust Telepath on just its first two episodes, this would have been a strong four star anime. It has nice animation, an adorable art design, and two likable leads. We have the shy sweetheart Umika, who wants to make friends with aliens since she doesn't fit in with her classmates. And her soon close friend, Yuu, is an energetic, bubbly, fun-loving alien who can read people's minds by touching her forehead with theirs. It's a formula guaranteed for cute school-girl slice of life antics, albiet with a sci-fi twist.

Sadly, that was not to last.

For some reason, Stardust Telepath almost entirely abandons the whole "alien girl from space befriends a human girl who wants to go to space" plot for...bottle rockets. And the two main heroines, along with two other girls, attempting to form a club and enter a competition with their bottle rockets. And we're not going to mince words here; we weren't feeling it.

Tim: Animation can be a powerful thing, but not everything needs to be animated, or makes for good animation. This is why you don't see an anime series about, say, high school girls bowling; it'd be boring. And, well, I kinda feel that way about bottle rockets. As someone who did make his own bottle rockets back in junior high and high school, I can tell you they're fun to make and launch, both my own and watching others. But in animation it just isn't as fun; there's no spontaneity or surprises, since everything is made in advance.

Stig: I know we've complained about shows not being about their main theme - HaNaYaMaTa comes to mind - but Stardust Telepath kinda feels more like it's sidetracking its main topic with its own symbolism that it fell far too much in love with. It even comes at the detriment of the core issue of the show; that Umika's suffering from social anxiety and a pretty bad case of stage fright. Which in itself is nothing new in anime, as Hitori Bocchi comes to mind. But that was also a show that understood that you have to keep the characters in focus when it comes to core issues like social anxiety, rather than rally around a symbol with a competition in its center.

Far far far too much of Stardust Telepath is eaten up by this stupid bottle rocket competition. And as if several episodes revolving around it weren't enough, we then spend two episodes on the aftermath of their first competition. Out of 12. Whyyyyyyyy? By the time the series remembers "oh, Yuu IS an alien" and hints more at her outer space roots, the anime is pretty much over. Again what a tease.

And honestly, Yuu kind of becomes the problem here, as the show never flat out states that she's an alien. We only have some fairly mysterious circumstances centered around her as a takeaway. While her ability to read minds with her forehead would certainly be a big exhibit A here, that just makes her one rather severe action (or maybe inaction would be a better way to put it) even more of an absolute screaming headscratcher. We realize that even in gentle slice-of-life shows, problems probably shouldn't automatically solve themselves, but hoo boy, do we wish we could talk about what she did, had it not been such a major spoiler.

And while we appreciate that Stardust Telepath is aware that social anxiety isn't cured in a day, we still have to question the sheer recklessness that Umika's friends go about getting her to open up. Ever since getting them, she's literally thrown into every situation that only furthers her social anxiety. This includes her friends signing her up for class president without her consent, and then pushing her to speak up in a crowd of strangers, in what we can only describe as the "Heihachi Mishima's School of Just Do It, Or I'll Throw You Off a Cliff" method. Ironically, this is the exact opposite direction of where a bottle rocket is supposed to go, and is also an indicator of how well said speech went. (And she wasn't even the one who took that particular episode the worst.)

Not helping is that one of Umika's club members, Matataki Raimon, is unlikable for the grand majority of her screentime. Pompous, loud-mouthed, demanding, and VERY competitive about rockets, she makes a rather bad first impression. She is going to be the "make or break" character for a lot of people. Prickly character types in anime have been around for decades now, but Raimon seems to be perfectly content pushing her luck as often as she can. She's also the centerpiece of episode 11, whose second half - which is nearly ten straight minutes of crying and yelling - is one of the most irritating scenes of any anime either of us have watched in the over 20 years we've been part of THEM Anime. This is also the point where the otherwise natural dialogue of the show suddenly starts going hard on "motivational poster talk" with the things the girls say to each other.

Stig: I don't recall if I made the comparison in the synchro, but I found it very much like how people talk about food in anime, especially in Restaurant to Another World, and especially especially the kids in season two. It just feels rehearsed and weird, like the kind of thing you hear from people performing on a stage or in front of a camera, which is one of my definite pet peeves. That sort of thing can work when characters are monologuing, but absolutely not when they talk to each other, and doubly so when they're on an emotional high or low. I will never understand the appeal of this.

Tim: I was already on thin ice with my opinion on Stadust Telepath up to that point - to the point I wanted to give it ONE star - but hoo boy did I get sick of the Raimon crap reeeeeal fast. She's just so damn irritating, and her 180 in personality in episodes 10 and 11 from loud-mouthed, confident, and showoffy to a whimpering angst magnet makes her somehow even more annoying. She just swaps one crappy personality for another. Stig was unironically using the word "cringe" to describe the dialogue in the second half of episode 11, and I was right there with him. It was cringe.

Stardust Telepath is also not fun. At least in K-On!, with the girls goofing off and eating cakes and drinking tea, we could still feel, even with Azusa, that these girls were genuine friends who love each other's company and having fun. You get very little of that in Stardust Telepath, because

1.) Raimon dominates the bottle rocket stuff once she gets on board, so there's no team character building for well over half the series.
2.) The bottle rocket thing was just Umika preparing herself for going to actual space in the future...or at least that's what the show might've wanted us to believe, seeing as it is very much on board with Yuu being an actual alien rather than a girl with some delusions.

The bottle rocket stuff overall feels inorganic with the beginning of the show, and everything revolving around the aftermath of the first competition sucks. Self-discovery can be a nice thing to see happen on stage, but the only thing we think the show did right on that respect was when Umika watched the footage of her own speech and going "I need to work on that". (Stig: I know they're all teenagers - and boy, if there is anything adults like to point out, then it is that teenagers don't have their feelings figured out yet - but can we please stop with the whole "have the characters lecture each other" thing as the sole source of personal growth in anime? This is why I stopped watching Sakura Quest.)

Umika's last friend, Haruno, is the last bastion of what the show should have been like all the way to the end. When the friendship circle kinda blows up after the rocket competition, we finally learn a bit more about her, which serves as the only natural source of characterization and drama in the entire series. Granted, all the girls' issues are understandable to various degrees (even if the whole thing devolves into the aforementioned cringy dialogue), but Haruno seems to be the only one who functions as a regular human being with past regrets, rather than her problems being based on current events.

We also liked Umika's little sister Honami, even if she barely does anything in the show until the final episode. But she STEALS that final episode with her cuteness and kindness.

Stig: So yeah, we were not happy with Stardust Telepath. Only the first couple of episodes stick to the kind of atmosphere it was trying to sell, which is Umika making some friends and coming out of her shell, mostly thanks to the admittedly adorable actions of Yuu. We've already complained enough about the bottle rocket competition, but the fact that the series also seemed to want to follow that up by turning into Aoi Hana after said competition just made it more unpleasant and not nearly as inspirational as it wanted to be.

Tim: If you just want to see teenage girls go into outer space (and NOT in a mecha series mind you), please watch Rocket Girls. You'll have much more fun, trust me.

What could've been a fun, sweet slice-of-life series about a girl and an alien becomes something we really didn't care for at all. Maybe add a star if you like bottle rockets more than we do, and maaaybe another if you found the opening episode too darn nice and wholesome.Stig Høgset and Tim Jones

Recommended Audience: Stardust Telepath has no fanservice or violence to speak of (aside from some mild slapstick), but the show does deals with topics like social anxiety, loneliness, and fighting between friends. Nothing kids can't handle.

Version(s) Viewed: crunchyoll stream, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Stardust Telepath © 2023 Rasako Oukuma / Houbunsha / Stardust Telepath Production Committee
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