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.
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)
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.
I just recently finished re-watching Chuunibyou Demo KOI ga Shitai!, and felt compelled to write a very favourable review.
Chuunibyou is an anime that attempts to open a lot of registers at once and how well they combine is the truest grade meter for a show that is both a romantic comedy and a drama series, with some crazy action scenes thrown in the mix.
Playing in and around high school, that tried and tested scenery of most all Japanese productions, the cast is made up of ex-fantsy world dweller Yuuta, his currently diseased neighbour girl Rikka and the Magic hobby club they draw around themselves. A lot of the show's humour is in how these figures, drawn to the club willingly or otherwise, interact; little feuds and budding loves abound in the close quarters of a club room.
Sometimes the feuds erupt into battle and these are portrayed as magical fantasy duels in which the animators have spared absolutely no effort. Many kudoes for the graphical representation of this bright and shining anime.
From a cute high school comedy the tone chages as the drama is introduced halfway the series in the reason why Rikka is holding on to her fantasy world, apparently common in middle school, well into high school.
Then the show gets a real romantic edge as Yuuta and Rikka gradually discover their feelings for each other, but are at a loss how to tell each other this, and they circle around each other like lost souls. The romance is as cute as the humour is, and really got to me some times.
This is one gem of a show and I am happily starting with season 2 now that I'm all refreshed on the plot.
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.