Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai is a twelve episode anime that has a hard time figuring out what it wants to be until about halfway through. The initial half of the show is uninteresting and generic while the last half is touching and romantic. It’s the kind of show I started off making fun of and hating completely, an obvious three or four out of ten. But past that initial slump, it manages to be an entertaining and sad romance that satiates the thirst for decency you’ll want after the first six episodes.
The generic start to the plot is probably the most painful part of the anime. A mysterious girl shows up in front of main male character Yuuta. Yuuta is the generic character of all romance related anime. He’s got one strange quirk and is otherwise cardboard. That quirk is he just got over a case of eighth-grade syndrome, which is when you become engulfed in delusions. He believed himself to be the Dark Flame Master and owned swords and guns and rolled around pretending to fight evil.
The girl shows up once, then disappears, then reappears in his high school class. She is just like the Yuuta from a few months before as she’s completely delusional and believes herself to possess the Tyrant’s Eye. She sees things differently from Yuuta, she sees the world as a magical place and when having silly fights with friends, they turn into epic battles in her mind. She’s totally delusional beyond anything. She even wears an eyepatch and has a yellow contact so she can pretend to have this special eye.
Yuuta gets wrapped up with her and meets a few friends along the way. Nibutani is the class representative and a really pretty girl who Yuuta has a thing for. She becomes a cheerleader and seems like a totally normal girl until she joins the club Yuuta creates to search for a Horizon, some mythical, magical place. Then she turns out to be just like everyone else having had an eighth grade syndrome where she blogged about being a powerful mage.
Kumin is an older girl who joins the club to nap. She’s not really that exciting, nor memorable.
Makoto is that stupid, silly friend that all main characters in all romance anime have to have. He’s in love with Kumin.
And Dekomori is the silly, stupid loli that all anime have to have. She is the servant to Rikka and uses her twintails as a weapon. She’s the reason I almost quit the show.
Like I said, the initial six episodes are forgettable. They’re all fairly generic and you’d assume the rest of the show manages to continue to be crap.
But the last half is actually very touching. The reason for why Rikka is the way she is becomes apparent, a budding romance develops amongst much tragedy, and the ending (while fairly typical of anime of this type) manages to still be emotional and pretty powerful.
Even if half the show is crap and the characters aren’t great, I can give the little character development credit for being well executed and the animation is definitely fantastic. Characters look really good and environments are pretty. The one downside is how awful the tears look. Good God, dramatic scenes become hilarious because of how stupidly huge the tears are.
At first this show appears to be nothing less than a failed attempt at comedy (seriously, I might have chuckled three times over the course of the show) but as it progresses and the characters start to develop, you see that this isn’t at all as generic as it seems. It manages to take a stupid concept like delusional weirdos having a club and makes that into a highly likeable romance that is both cute and touching at the same time.
Cute girls, cute romance, but an overall mediocre show. I’m hoping that the second season manages to stay in touch with the romantic and character-specific side rather than the stupid goofiness of having eighth-grade syndrome. Or even strike a balance between the two. Because the show only seems to shine when it does just that, gets that balance between dumb and decent.
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.
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.
Chuunibyou was one of those shows labelled as a high-school comedy, and I really had no cause to think otherwise until late on. It had a lovely cast, plenty of good humour in the right amount, and managed to somehow make something that should be cringe-worthy actually adorable. The chuunibyou syndrome is something a lot of people can relate to.
To what degree one's fantasies are pronounced varies. What's lovely about this show is that the cast wear their creativity on their sleeves without concern for who witnesses their antics. Those that try to scorn their past, like Nabutani and Yuuta, often react in hilarious ways to any suggestion of their embarrassing lives.
Despite this being a high-school show it has something that Toradora - one of my favourite shows - has: emotional depth. You won't see it until over half-way into the show, but when you do it renders everything previously into a new light. I felt like going back and watching it all again with this new knowledge in mind, picking apart the character's dialogue for hidden clues to their psyche.
One of the finest moments in the show is also one of the shortest. There is a sense of foreboding as Rikka travels back to her grandparents, her mood being noticeably suppressed throughout her stay, leading up to the reasoning for Rikka's obsessive delusion: her father's death. Suddenly, in this small scene, Rikka's chant of “reality be rent, banishment this world” becomes so much more meaningful than the throw-away phrase it initially appeared. There is her anguish and pain for reality in those words, her chuunibyou being the only defence against the truth. Shortly before, it occurred to me that the Unseen Horizon that Rikka talks of is actually a reference to the afterlife, and that her quest to search for it is all in an effort to hide behind her fiction.
The dialogue is cleverly constructed to hide double meaning within most of the obscure terminology. Rikka later refers to a singularity that has affected both her and Yuuta, which can be interpreted as the moment that Rikka started having feelings for him. Even mundane things like e-mail have their own idiosyncrasies which blend with the more important stuff, requiring an attentive ear – or eye – to the catch the subtleties being conveyed.
Rikka's sister, Touka, has more to her personality than at first appearances. The fight sequences between the siblings appeared merely to be an older sister tempering those youthful fantasies. I could have believed that she was allowing Rikka to play Tyrant Eye so the weight of what she was avoiding didn't come crashing down, had it not been for later scenes which felt like a contradiction.
That moment came in episode 8, while Yuuta had made his mind up to go along with Rikka's fantasy in what he thought would be helping her, Touka has a change of heart: Following the pair to the abandoned lot of their old residence, she confronts Rikka to force her to accept the truth of their father. Had Touka been content to allow Rikka to wallow in her chuunibyou, why would she suddenly push reality on her sister?
Then it hit me: Touka's tearful admonition wasn't simply so Rikka would face reality so she'd be easier to deal with, but because the full weight of it was going to crash down on Rikka soon enough anyway, and Touka was afraid she wouldn't be there for her sister when it did. Likewise, she told Yuuta that Rikka had to face up to reality not to play the antagonist, but so Yuuta would react and let Rikka hear how he truly felt. From there, Touka knew that she could trust Yuuta with her sister's well-being, which is why she decided not to pursue them back home, and later on she even pleads with Yuuta to help Rikka.
It is, perhaps, this event that acts as the catalyst for Rikka's crush on Yuuta. Was it too sudden after getting through more than half the show with no prior indicators? I personally don't think so; simply put, Rikka hadn't cause to think about love until Yuuta becomes someone who won't run away because of her chuunibyou, for she is acutely aware of how her syndrome alienates people.
I've focused mostly on these three but other members of the cast have their own moments, though some like Kanae and Kumin were never explored. Kanae provided many moments of comedy, beyond that she was a stand-in to provide Nabutani with most of her conflict as she tries to shed the persona of Mori Summers and be the noble student council president. I did actually dislike Nabutani at first, her hidden personality came as a shock, yes, but I couldn't bring myself to liking it until very late into the show.
I was fearful of Nabutani being the fake-beauty-queen hiding a loathsome alter-ego, and that's certainly how she was presented. I'm not incapable of adapting, however, and there are traits of Nabutani's that endeared me to her as more than the stereotype she initially appeared to be.
If there's one major flaw it's that the writers didn't spend enough time with the characters. Even Rikka and Yuuta could have benefited from a lot more attention to their personalities, because while the theme of the show strayed outside of the high-school comedy genre, the characters pretty much found roots in it, crossing to the side of emotional drama far too little to make much impact.
The core of the show is dealing with chuunibyou as a problem that one needs to grow out of. However, Rikka's particular case is dealt with in such a direct manner that she loses focus on the small beauties in life, consumed by her naivety for moderation. Her world was black and white, fact and fiction, and she couldn't live in both.
It was a relief that Yuuta realized the mistake he'd made and stopped trying to force Rikka to live by others' expectations. The show's ending monologue dares to tread the ground that we are all sufferers of our imaginations, but without this syndrome we'd be as Rikka was – unable to appreciate the beauty in life.
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.