This is my very first review, please take it easy on my judgement ^v^ Heads up, this review is only for the first season.
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai, a light-hearted romantic comedy with its own fair share of drama. To me, although I may have been reading too far into it, it truly a great anime that I enjoyed watching. I used to have my own fair share of chuunibyou, and that's the thing you have to have to really relate to this story. You have to really share that childish imagination to see more of this story. Like a child, enjoy their whimsical fighting scenes and laugh like an adult would when they reveal the reality of it.
During my time as a chuunibyou, I experienced most of the same things. Magical creatures all around me, taking parts in imaginary battles with dragons or creatures of shadow, protecting a magical artifact that connected the real world to my "imaginary" one... and so on. Which is why I find it strange to really call it an illness, I simply consider it part of a child's gigantic imagination. To the main female lead, Rikka, it was an escape route from the boring, and quite harsh, reality. She's aware of it, that it's probably the wrong thing to do, but it's special, and interesting, and fun, so why does she have to stop? A continuous conflict. Same with the main male lead, Yuuta, who found himself different and so, isolated himself, although not entirely on purpose.
To start off, let's talk about the story.
Yuuta Togashi, a freshman, transfers to a new school with the hopes to completely forget about his "embarrassing" past as a chuunibyou. The night before the opening ceremony, he sees a rope hanging from outside his veranda. Curious, he looks out to see a girl climbing down. This girl, Rikka Takanashi, is an absolutely severe case of chuunibyou.
The premise is actually quite interesting, I don't think I've heard it before, or maybe I just haven't seen enough anime yet (which I doubt).
Rikka's backstory, which I will spoil a bit here so this is a warning, makes a lot of sense when it comes why she got chuunibyou. To put it complicatedly, the world denied her of her father and all fun after that. She never really hated anyone, she just found everything boring. Then she finds the Dark Flame Master, just doing what he wanted. In a random passerby's eyes, DFM would definitely have looked weird. But to Rikka, he looked like he was having fun, which sparked her creativity and imagination. She was inspired by his relentless indifference and his continuous doing-whatever-he-wants, and thus developed her own chuunibyou.
Their romance isn't half bad really, Yuuta cared enough for Rikka to chase after her multiple times throughout the series and even showed her what she's been wanting to see from the begginning, the Ethereal Horizon, which truly was beautiful.
The message of the series is quite beautiful in it's own right. To me, the message was: Don't be afraid to accept who you are, or who you were, no matter how shameful it can get. Some people don't have the courage to fully accept themselves, and are always afraid of acting how they want to in public. All of us, at some point, have thought of ourselves as special in some way. And so, we tried to be who we thought we were, special. It's shameful, and at some point you'll think back to it as embarrassing. But we'll always have those crazy fantasies, although hidden away, deep in our minds. We should hold it dear to us, because that, my friends, is called "self-consciousness." No matter how embarrassing it is, don't deny it, because it is part of yourself.
Moving on now, to animation.
The animation was pretty generic, the typical KyoAni cutesy animation for all your moe girl needs. It complemented the comedy part of the series. KyoAni was also the animation studio of one of my favourite anime, Kyoukai no Kanata, which is more of the dramatic side of things. But I don't think they really executed the dramatic scenes in Chuunibyou as well as they did in KnK. Still, I have to say that the animation really shined during the fighting scenes or any scene in the characters' imagination.
The scenes that I thought were actually pretty well animated was Rikka's fight with her sister when they get to the empty lot, the scenes when Dekomori were trying to convince Rikka to go back to how she was, and, the Ethereal Horizon. I have a weakness for beautiful starry skies, and if you've seen KnK, then you know how well KyoAni does beautiful starry skies (laugh).
Now, for the sound.
I'll be completely honest, I wasn't very comfortable with the music. Specifically, both the Opening and Ending. The sparkle noises were probably the only parts that I enjoyed in the opening. To me, it didn't quite fit, and always made me want to skip the opening. As for the ending, there's just something about the opening note for the lyrics "Inside identity" that just struck me the wrong way every single time. The last few verses of the ending was probably the only part I stuck around for.
BGM, I don't really have a problem with. It's pretty normal, really. I love when Rikka and Dekomori actually sing the BGM, I'm still not entirely sure why.
As for the voice acting, it was probably one of the best parts of series. It fit the light hearted tone, and, albeit not as good, the dramatic tone as well. But the series is mostly comedy, so it's mostly pretty good as well. Personally, I loved Yuuta's voice, especially when he's DFM. Rikka's voice pretty much fit as well. Isshiki is probably the only one whose voice I constantly flinched whenever I heard, but well, he's supposed to be a weird pervert, and it certainly sounded like a really weird pervert most of the time.
Lastly, the characters.
I won't go through all of them of course, I'll separate it into two categories: Main and Supporting.
As for the main, which are Rikka and Yuuta, I find little fault in their characters. At first, Yuuta complains a lot about his chuunibyou, and Rikka is so childish she could get a little annoying to some people. But you see them grow, to some a little to others quite a lot, throughout the series. You see the actual conflict in Rikka's feelings about being a chuunibyou, why she is one, why she wants to be one and, when she gives up on it, how much she wants to be one again. As for Yuuta, he's always been a nice guy, but you do see that his kindness towards Rikka does change a bit. His feelings towards chuunibyou as well. It's ironic actually, how I love Rikka's normal personality and Yuuta's chuunibyou personality.
The supporting cast are not as interesting as the main characters, but they're pretty enjoyable too. Isshiki and his, "I want to be loved" personality that really reminds me of the song, Anybody's fine, I just really want to date. (I'm cheering you on, Isshiki, gambatte.) Dekomori is sometimes annoying, but I found her constant "Des"-es cute after a while. I loved her when she gave up on Chuunibyou though, you do see that she had always had the potential to be normal. Nibutani is enjoyable, with her sort of tsundere personality. I found her desperation to hide her secret funny. Kumin is so laid back, so calm, but she was actually doing well when she was impersonating Rikka. Tooka is pretty awesome too, her relationship with the youngest Togashi was hilarious.
Overall, this anime was enjoyable, I laughed quite a bit at some parts, and other parts really made me think, "Hey, I know how that feels!" which made it even more enjoyable to watch. It pained me when Rikka was trying so hard to be normal, to be honest, I think her quirks are just part of her "true" personality. Her normal self was so forced that it sort of came off as that. It's a fun little anime with an interesting premise and pretty good comedy. The entire season is worth at least one viewing.
This review is for both seasons. Why I actually watched both seasons I'm not sure. I guess the first season had a decent enough ending I thought the second season would be better.
This is just my opinion and I am sure many would disagree, but I didn't like this anime much at all. The only decent part was the ending of the first season. Sure, I laughed once or twice, but I'm not sure if I laughed because it was funny or laughe because it was just so silly. No this isn't the worst anime I have ever seen. It wasn't painful to watch and it's a better love story than twilight (I say that way too much in my reviews, but it's true at least).
It's sort of a school club anime at least some of the time. It's sort of a romance although the couple never really do anything romantic per say. A lot of it is a bunch of high schoolers playing pretend and having imaginary battles. The battles might look a little cool, but none of it's actually happening. It's just in their heads. That kind of makes it pointless in my opinion and so I don't think it matters whether it looks cool or not. Then again I don't care for watching fake stuff. I don't like watching characters in video games and I don't like animes where most of the action isn't actually real it's imaginary. I have no problem with playing pretend even at 23, but I don't want to watch a show with people playing pretend.
Also, this anime kind of creepe me out. It reminded me way to much of myself and one of my friends back in elementary and middle school. That's just creepy. It's unsettling. I don't like or hate that about this anime, it's just weird.
Anyway, the characters are solid, the animation is average the sound is fine (although I hate the opening and ending themes for both seasons), and the story has a good ending for the first season at least. It's really just the content. It didn't impress me and I didn't really feel much for the characters or the situations. I guess in a way the story is unique but I would have liked it a lot better if at least some part of their imaginary self was real. If there was something that they thought was them being weird that actually had some truth to it, if it wasn't just a bunch of teens playing make believe, then it would have been a bit better.
Should you watch this show? Yes
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai (hereafter referred to as "the show") is a romantic comedy revolving around an ex-crazy who meets a currently crazy and the adventures that they have together. This show is essentially a cross of K-On and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. And it's a pleasant cross. It lacks the umph of Suzumiya, but it has the heart of K-On. If you haven't watched either of these shows, please do, they're both great
The story is interesting and though it does follow a standard romance storyline, it approaches it from a different angle and creates a story that tweaks at your heart strings without trying to break them. It looks like it will turn into a harem anime early on, but don't worry, it doesn't. With the standard school set up, such as the club and the club member that isn't really a part, we see a familiar scene that if you enjoy it, you'll like, and if you hate it, I'm sorry.
The animation is the worst part about this show. There were parts where I'm pretty sure that animators didn't even try, where there were probably close to 10 frames per second, which is really, really bad. That seems to be sort of standard with this studio, unforunately. On the opposite end, it doesn't detract from the story and the show doesn't feel any less because of the poor animation, since this is mostly a show about the dialogue. The fight scenes are awesome (yes, there are fight scenes) and honestly, they do a good job for covering for the poor animation the rest of the time.
The sound/music, was slightly better than studios that don't try. The music was touching when it needed to be, and it generally was a good soundtrack, though not quite excellent.
Characters. Oh boy. This show has some interesting ones. With a main character who is even more embarassed to think about his middle school experience than the rest of us (you know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, you will) another main character who decided to never grow out of the imagination games we used to play as children, a couple of characters who are in similar stages of lfe as these two, and two characters who are actually normal, we have an interesting group. All-in-all, the cast was enjoyable, while not being too over-the-top, except for the two crazies (uhhh... spoilers, there's more than one)
All in all, this show was a pleasant experience that I would recommend to anybody who is looking for a light hearted story that actually has some plot and character development to it. It's worth your time and you won't walk away from this show thinking that you wasted those four hours of your life.
The synopsis is a good one except that it doesn't indicate the high level of drama that is involved in the anime. While the premise can be quite funny for the first few episodes, the drama that develops between the two leads is very gooey and whether it should be considered seriously or not is open to intepretation. While I would understand what someone might mean when they say the anime provoked a strong emotional reacton and they were rather touched by it, I think the anime came close to being relatable, it came close to being a good drama but it fell short and just annoyed me. The reason behind this is because the characters were just too shallow for me to care about them and their problems might have been signiicant if the characters were given a bit more depth. Every character had relatively shallow desires, motivations and feelings and I dont feel like a strong message was delivered about anything.
Perhaps the messages delivered didn't resonate with me like they would others because of how extreme the example is (Rikka sacrificing her hope and joy for the sake of pleasing others) and more relevant examples might have had more impact, although rather than making a statement about something it may have been thought-provoking, I felt like this issue produced the few good scenes this anime had in it but it was not enough to redeem it as a whole.
Chuunibyou is a strange coming of age/group of friends story that could potentially be compared to the likes of Steins Gate, The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi and im sure a lot of others that fit into this genre. However I think the best comparison is Steins;Gate, which I also did a review on and I disliked both anime for the same reason, yet I finished both anime for the same reason. There's some comedy but only for the first few episodes and then it drifts off into a drama that never really seems to wake up from being a comedy. I understand the concept of Romantic Comedies but I don't understand the concept of Comedic Dramas, I feel the two genres undermine each other all the time. How are you supposed to take such clowny characters seriously enough to care about their problems? How can you use the same topics which made you laugh and then treat them as grave issues that the character must overcome? I couldn't and that's why I didn't really appreciate either anime as any real genre, it was just something I watched and took pretty much nothing away from. I did finish both animes because I felt like if they had strong and meaningful confrontations between characters (or reconciliations too) then it would be worthwhile and although Chuunibyou has much more meaningful confrontations and reconciliations than steins:gate, it didn't suffice imo.
I almost never give bad ratings for animation but Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! actually had really annoying animation, I felt like it undermined the drama and didn't in anyway augment the comedy. It becomes more difficult to empathize with, relate to or take seriously these stupidly big eye'd, cute characters. It doesn't mean ur characters can't look cool, or they can't be attractive but there's a fine line between being a character and a doll, and dolls don't have feelings or problems and it conflicts with my feelings about taking the character and his/her problems seriously.
The soundtrack never becomes more than background music, its almost always annoying when they are trying to be dramatic and it never augments the comedy. The seiryuu weren't good either, surprisingly emotionless considered japanese voice acting is usually at least pretty good. I don't feel that this is because the cast was untalented but all the same.
The main character Yuuta ia literally the most shallow and uninspiring lead I've had the displeasure of knowing, even awful animes like school days at least had leads that would make acceptable secondary characters but Yuuta rarely says anything meanginful and the few times he does he immediately regrets it. Rikka the female lead isnt much better despite having a rich background story, she has no virtuous traits and she didnt interest me as a character at all. However the secondary characters for Chuunibyou were all quite good I thought, they had good voice actors compared to the leads, they were more interesting and they had more substance than the leads somehow... I especially found Dakemori, Rikka's magical middle school servant to be both hilarious and interesting in both her comedic and drama scenes.
This concludes the most boring review I've ever written, if you don't feel like cute big eye'd characters undermines the respectability of a drama and you are a fan of the half-assed comedy and uninspiring drama genre then everything else about this anime is at least decent. I would have liked to see a lot more comedy and a lot less drama, and if Yuuta and Rikka had a A LOT more depth as characters and the story was a bit more relatable then this could have worked. However even though I actually suffered something similar in eight grade I still couldn't bring myself to care about anything except the comedy of which there wasn't enough or of good enough quality.
EDIT: After thinking about it, Chuunibyou does have a lot of messages, they just failed to resonate with me because I didn't appreciate their vessels
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, also known as Love, Life, and Chuunibyou, is the type of moe anime everybody likes. I liked it enough, but with a caveat; I hated some parts of it as I watched it. Having watched all its episodes, I feel comfortable giving a full review. There are major spoilers ahead, so wait to read this until you have seen the entirety of the story. Don't spoil your fun with my opinion just yet!
Let me start with what I did not like. First of all, the characters. Don't get me wrong; Rikka can be a fun character who lets her diseased imagination run wild, but her backstory is what is far more interesting about her. Anyway, I should mention the type of cute humor that Chuunibyou naturally causes is less of a cause of "~uwu~" moe humor to me than it is as just cringeworthy. There, I said it; even if Chuunibyou is a mental disease that is not simply aided, I disliked this imaginative style of comedy. Both Rikka and Sanae are completely overbearing and annoying, although Sanae is by far the worst. So when Rikka finally came around past halfway through the season, I breathed a breath of fresh air as I got to see a whole other side to her character development. Yuta and Nibutani's hard fought efforts to help Rikka where not in vain...or where they? Regardless, Rikka's character progression, especially as you near the finale, is fascinating and probably one of the biggest redeeming factors for me in this anime's fragile attempt at humor. As for the others, there was not too much room for improvement; Yuta and Nibutani have already curbed their chuunibyou long ago, which the anime reminds of us of constantly through flashbacks. Sanae is absolutely obsessed with Rikka's antics and is so immersed in the world of chuunibyou that she is pretty much insane. Kumin and Nibutani are potential love interests, but they pretty much end up being side characters once Rikka and Yuta's eventual relationship unfolds. Kumin and Makato's relationship that slowly develops was really quite aborable however; I couldn't help but to cheer for Makato as he attempted to romance the slothlike Kumin. Really TBH, Kumin is a pretty entertaining side character as the sleepyhead who ends up being pretty cool. Finally, the character with the least amount of progression in this story has got to be Nibutani, who sort of falls flat as a recovered chuunibyou patient who is like a tsundere. She barely did anything useful in the story, other than clobbering Sanae all the time. So to wrap up characters, most of the anime's plot revolves around Rikka (as it should), as she fights with her long past of love, hate, life, and of course chuunibyou. If you took Rikka out of the story, this would be a very boring anime.
With the matter of characters explained more thoroughly, the story as a romance/comedy/moe anime is rather substantial and is good to hang onto if you can look past all the regular day antics of Rikka and Sanae. Yuta and Rikka's relationship is very involved and complicated due to the chuunibyou, as well as being condominum friends and school buddies. Again, their romantic character arc is very important to this anime, ending up being the backbone of the story. Maybe besides Makato and Kumin's cute side relationship, Yuta and Rikka is where it is at. I enjoyed the story's progression as their relationship started off as lighthearted and for Yuta, a chance at bringing Rikka eventually back to reality. This ends up opening ugly doors in Rikka's history which add a new flavor to the moe fun of this anime: a dark and foreboding past for especially Rikka, but embarrassment for Yuta. That dichotomy makes Yuta and Rikka's love relationship highly intriguing to watch unfold, where Yuta is treated less like a therapist and ends up realistically caring for Rikka. Rikka on the other hand, completely opens up to Yuta and this creates all sorts of conflicts that really boost the story forward. Again, in terms of story this does not really happen until the last five or so episodes of the anime. Somehow however, the earlier episodes do not feel like filler miraculously. Every episode manages to fit in some serious anecdotes and important flashback-understandings that makes the triviality of the humor a little less hard to swallow. In other words, the story progression is well thought out and practical; there is not one episode that will leave you saying that the plot effectively went nowhere.
As for just production value, this anime does well. The sound quality, from sound effects with the characters and imagination-action scenes to music, is good and does not feel repetitive. The animation is top-notch and is really attractive to the eyes, and nowhere better than in the chuunibyou action scenes. This is not too say that the regular playout of the animation is not well-done either. The animators did a excellent job and not cutting corners or relying on gag animation too much. Also, the character's VA is pretty good in the English dub, which is something not all dubs can claim. Except for Sanae who has an insanely grating voice that is just awful, all the others have great voice acting, though none is more diverse than Rikka's. Someday I will have to rewatch it in subbed form for more evaluation on VA quality.
One major spoiler however: I hated the ending. All the good parts that came up to the finale where soured to me when the random narrator guy explained Rikka and Yuta's evolving relationship. The narrator's explaination was that chuunibyou, regardless of the progression in the story, was what Rikka and Yuta was and what they identified with. This is undeniably true, but it gives the story a chance to totally reverse gears to when Rikka was immersed in chuunibyou, again. It is agitating to me, because all of Yuta's hard work ending up being a flop if she is not fully resolved, and this makes the story arc fold on itself. By the end of the anime, I was upset becasue it was counteractive, not forward-thinking. That is not how you end a story people! Then the specials had the guts to just return things to the way they where before, with Rikka and Sanae being annoying, although Yuta now has muted feelings for Rikka that keeps him faithful to her. I hate it; it is blatant fanservice and it is a completely stupid way to resolve the immense conflicts Rikka had earlier. So, one of my biggest conflicts with this anime is its ending; it is unsatisfactory.
And I get it people - one of the most vacuum-seal draws to this anime is Rikka and Sanae's fun and stupid actions with each other. It is cute, it is action, it is dumb fun, and it is very moe. But to viewers like me that need a certain style of moe and/or a decent story, Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! fails spectacularly in the humor deptartment. If you like that for what it is, than don't let my opinion influence you otherwise. Just keep in mind that the humor is (at least to me) shallow and the ending is just terribly counteractive.