Chunibyo Demo Koi ga Shitai! (Chunibyo for short), is an interesting little anime in its own right. It fell into a season with a lot of other romantic comedies, but strangely enough that doesn’t hinder it, because you’d struggle to find one quite as crazy and amusing as this one is.
Our lead male character is Yuta Togashi, a seemingly normal enough guy just about to start his first year of high school. But then we’re shown that, strangely enough, Yuta has picked a high school which is as far away from his original school as you can get. Why has he done this? Well, because Yuta suffered from eighth-grader syndrome. Eighth-grader syndrome is where kids pretend they are something they actually aren’t, such as having magical or dark powers, and generally act really differently to everyone else, which in Yuta’s case amounted to him becoming the “Dark Flame Master” and thinking he had the powers of the dark flames. Needless to say, once you grow out of it this syndrome is embarrassing and we can’t really blame Yuta for wanting to make a fresh start away from all his old classmates. Of course, life isn’t simple and Yuta may think he’s escaped his past, but in truth he hasn’t, which quickly becomes apparent when he meets Rikka Takanashi who lives in the apartment above his own and will be attending the same high school. Oh, and she has yet to grow out of the eighth-grader syndrome.
The first few episodes go on to show the interaction between Yuta and Rikka as the two seemingly always end up together with Yuta embroiled in Rikka’s random delusions regardless of if he wanted to be involved or not. Add in the most popular girl in Yuta’s class, along with a couple of other characters and you have the base for a fun little comedy, especially once Rikka sets up a school club based around her delusions. That said, while the comedy is nice and all, after five or so episodes the series starts to lose its touch and you wonder just how it will spend the last of its episode when the middle is feeling so lacking. Thankfully, it’s here where the series begins to tone down the comedy and focus on the romantic interest between Yuta and Rikka, but the series also begins to explore Rikka’s backstory and the reasons why she’s the way she is.
The later episodes of this series really are the ones which shine. Once we learn about Rikka’s past its hard not to really become attached to her character and as the series goes on and we see the feelings between her and Yuta progress and you realize how right the two are together, you only want to see this series end on a high note and it doesn’t disappoint. The last episode didn’t feel as fulfilling as it could have, especially after the build-up the episode before it gave, but nevertheless I came away happy. It’s only looking back that, while the earlier episodes could feel pointless, the offered great character development for Yuta and Rikka which is what allowed the series to have such emotion for its final few episodes.
As far as the animation goes it was really nice throughout. When Rikka got really sucked into her delusions and did ‘battle’ with other characters we were treated to some really nice animation which made it feel as real to the viewer as Rikka found it. While the series kept up really nice quality throughout, it was undoubtedly the later episodes which offer us the prettiest of scenes which will have you not wanting to look away. The character designs were all really nice too, Rikka is suitably cute and Yuta looks like the older brother type who will happily look after her and you want him too.
As far as the soundtrack goes the are some really nice pieces of music here and there and it all seems to fit together nicely. It likely won’t be memorable for a long time to come, but it’s nice for what it is. The opening and ending themes are both really nice too, but again likely won’t be as memorable as other openings from the past few months.
As mentioned earlier, the character development given to Yuta and Rikka early on is very well done, but that isn’t to say the series hasn’t handled looking after the other characters in the series well, because it does and each gets enough focus where you care about them too, even if Yuta and Rikka are at the forefront of your thoughts.
Overall it’s a good series. It may start to lose its why in the middle while it decides if it wants to continue with the comedy or go down the more serious route, but once it makes up its mind it certainly is a special series and a nice watch for those looking for a fun romantic comedy.
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! is a great anime, especially for those who can't get enough of romantic comedies. I must admit, the romantic part of the anime doesn't really kick in until about episode 7 or 8, but enjoy the hilarious antics of our main cast up until then. Our main duo consist of Togashi Yuuta who used to suffer from Chuunibyou (8th Grade Syndrome) and Takanashi Rikka who still has it. The other main cast consist of Kumin Tsuyuri, Mikoto Isshiki, Shinka Nibutani and my favorite character Dekomori Sanae who also has Chuunibyou and calls Rikka her master. Before I can go into telling you what this anime is about, you must first understand what is Chuunibyou. Chuunibyou is sort of like playing pretend, you know back when you were younger and you used to play things like house, doctor or maybe cowboys and robbers. The only difference is that people with this syndrome are normally in the 8th grade and take their pretend world very seriously which is what lays down the comedy sketches in this show. Now for those who have forgotten this condition and moved on like Yuuta has, that time of their life is the most embarrassing moment of their entire life and it is something they would like to forget. When someone like Rikka comes along and begins to make Yuuta relive that embarrassing time over and over again, it's quite aggravating for him but is hilarious for us the viewer. As the show progresses we get to see how and why Rikka developed Chuunibyou and eventually her and Yuuta begin to fall in love as a result, but this blossoming romance brings another problem. As Rikka's Chuunibyou induced make believe world begins to collide with reality, this brings an ultimatum that produces a somewhat tragic scene that I don't want to spoil it for you so I will let you see for yourself. Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai is only funny for those who understand the art of randomness, but those who are looking for actual punchlines and such, go somewhere else. The characters are each unique in their own way and each play a role in the comedy that makes this anime so funny, and the overall plot is well put together, smoothly building up each episode until it creates a magnificent and beautiful climax that makes you want to stand up and start clapping as if you just got finished watching Titanic (not to say this anime is as good as Titanic).
When I watched this, I had this feeling, I saw something like this before... love story wasn't that complicated, but the plot was like from Toradora!
NOTICE: This review covers both seasons.
- Animated by Kyoto Animation, meaning very good production values around very typical stuff like SCHOOLS-MOE-AND CUTE STUFF BECAUSE THAT IS THE ONLY THING WE CAN DO.
- Directed by Ishihara Tatsuya, the one who pretty much did every major show of KyoAni. This guy knows well what emotional buttons to press.
- Based on light novels, so don’t expect much of a plot.
This is a school comedy around people with illusions of grandeur. I had no idea there was a term for children with vivid imaginations, even when I actually used to be one myself. I remember mixing my mother’s perfumes with shampoos trying to create some super magic potion like a mad scientist. Or using a back alley as my base, where I was creating armadas of spaceships out of dried up clay mud holes and controlling the galaxy. Man, this eighth-grade syndrome is one heck of an embarrassment when you finally get over it (or mocked by others for doing it). Anyways, the show basically has a running joke around how stupid it looks when you try to play it cool and special when you are otherwise a completely normal person.
With a silly premise such as this one, and with a studio that specializes in moe shows it was obvious to expect a goofy moe school comedy with lots of cute girls doing silly things, and nothing more. And that is what it is; don’t expect much of a plot. It basically has two sentences worth of it, and even those are deleted in the second season just for maintaining the status quo. For the same reason don’t expect it to take itself seriously or to even attempt to be cathartic, like in the case of Welcome to the NHK. This is made by the kings of escapism shows, remember? To the most part it’s just the random delusions of everyday people and the only goal they have is to make you laugh.
The big trap this show has is the final part of the first season where it tries to fool you into thinking there is development. It becomes far more dramatic as it tries to flesh out some of its characters; something it didn’t do up to that time, as everybody was busy being a comical caricature, defined by a single quirk. As soon as that event is over and the weak minded are meant to believe things are going to become far more serious and romantic in the second season, all they get is a reset of progress and the addition of extra girls who are completely needless to the theme, and possible love triangles and lesbian coupling, which just like everything else, head nowhere.
I had forseen all that of course, since I know who made the show. Most others apparently didn’t, even it the get-up was more than obviously playing out like a harem in its early stages. Or perhaps you didn’t notice how the cast is made up of one typical blunt dork protagonist, a dozen typically cute girls surrounding him in ways that feel like they dig him, and a minor male student who is there only to address the horny side of the protagonist? Those are trademarks of the formula.
Anyways, down to it the show is fun and games with no real conflict. The only case this doesn’t happen is a sloppy change in mood during the finale of the first season. The ending of both seasons doesn’t exactly offer any major changes or even closure, and the characters never become more than what they began as. Because DUH escapism shows need to maintain the status quo. You have to be blind not to have figured that out right away.
The characters are, as I said earlier, defined by a single and simple personality quirk, thus they never feel complicating or realistic. They all follow the exact same pattern of having some sort of delusion and abiding to it like it’s a religion. Some of them are trying to keep away from their delusions, as they feel very ashamed of doing them in the first place. That is supposed to make them somewhat self-aware and down to earth but even that means absolutely nothing, since the setting is equally unrealistic as they are. If you notice how everybody else around them reacts, you will realize THEY DON’T CARE! I mean, really, the main characters constantly do all sorts of crazy stuff and absolutely nobody in their families or schoolmates seems to laugh or shake their heads in contempt. They just look puzzled for a few seconds before going back to whatever they were doing and completely forgetting the whole thing. There is no reason to feel embarrassed if nobody cares; thus even the very theme of the show is there just for laughs. It has no depth and is barely looked into.
I am not fond of the generic looks and behaviors everybody has, or how they add silly eye-patches and long pigtails just for the sake of comedy. But at least they serve as part of the illusion of grandeur every girl has. Said illusions are very funny and elaborate, presenting it like a silly spar is in their minds an epic battle for the salvation of the universe or something; making them easily memorable as eccentric caricatures. But surely not as characters; since they lack depth and development.
Context aside, the show is made with lots of care. The direction is close to flawless, as you never feel like the flow of the scenes is too slow or too fast. Everything lasts exactly as much as it needs and it is usually accompanied by lots of silly jokes. The production values are amazing when it comes to smooth motions and slapstick. The characters talk appropriately for their roles and they never feel like they drag in whatever they do or say. The soundtrack is nothing special but at least feels perky and energetic as it should be in such a show.
There is no way to tell how long can running jokes and moe-moe keep you interested. I personally lost interest in 3 episodes since I am no fan of the style or the lack of a plot. I understand that the show is making fun of how most otakus feel like they are airheads or too weird for the rest of the “normals”, and that many will try to eventually appear normal to their society if they want to get a job or marry easier. It builds familiarity with the audience by dealing with a subject most fans experience all the time. I liked how it follows a theme but not how it doesn’t do anything with it. Just like all Kyo Ani shows, it’s a nice time-spender but nothing exceptional or that memorable outside its emotional manipulation gimmicks.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 8/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 2/2 (fluid)
Visual Effects 2/2 (those hallucination scenes rock)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 4/5 (silly but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/5 (average)
STORY SECTION: 3/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (practically episodic without continuity)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 0/2 (basically a reset of the plot, so no ending)
CHARACTER SECTION: 4/10
Presence 1/2 (moe-moe generic)
Personality 2/2 (eccentric)
Backdrop 1/2 (simplistic but it’s there)
Development 0/2 (practically none)
Catharsis 0/2 (practically none)
VALUE SECTION: 3/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot and context)
Memorability 2/4 (good ideas and jokes but nothing beyond that)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 0/1 (looks generic)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (good idea that is not going anywhere)
Characters 2/4 (they are eccentric to the point of liking them but remain generic and don’t develop)
Like Toradora but with a good ending where he actually fights for the woman he loves instead of spending 20 agonizing episodes blue balling us and then finally confessing to each other and gettnig married and then getting left in the lurch and just being like "welp, at least she's being responsible now!" Wait, this is a chunibyou review, not Toradora, right? Love the "moeblob" chara designs, and FINALLY I have a chara I can cosplay with Aimee - The Dark Flame Master!! VANISH INTO THE EMBRACE OF DARK FLAMES! Curious what the second season will be like, since this one wrapped up pretty nicely.