Originally I didn’t even consider watching Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! this season, but when it turned out to be one of my anime-watching-partner’s favorites, I succumbed. Even then I was all for dropping it after the first couple of episodes. Why? The unbelievably annoying main heroine and her similarly irritating servant would be the reason!
Nevertheless Chuunibyou turned out to be one of the two anime we watched on weekly basis this season, excluding those with three minutes per episode. The other one was the fourth season of Hidamari Sketch (in case you were wondering).
As this is more or less an end-of-the-season review, there are obviously going to be spoilers. With that warning out of the way, let us proceed towards my assessment.
The anime is based on a light novel series by a previously unknown author, who call themselves Torako. First two volumes have already been translated into English by ultimatemegax of ultimatemegax.wordpress.com. Also, while we are on the topic of translations, it might be useful to mention that the title means something along the lines of “Despite My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!” Chuunibyou has also been, perhaps more accurately, translated as the “Eighth-Grade Syndrome”. In essence it describes the brief episode many go through in their early teens, when they suddenly start believing to be special – feeling better than their peers, acting as know-it-all’s or, like in this anime’s case, pretending to have special powers.
Based on various bits and pieces of information the public had been provided since sometime in early summer, I expected a harem anime due to the quartet of female archetypes (a loli, a mysterious eye-patch girl, a perky well-endowed star and an innocent). “How unoriginal,” I thought to myself and busied myself with… whatever I was doing over the summer. The blurb taken from the back of the first volume of the light novel left me unimpressed. Likewise did the first of the PVs, which introduced some supernatural powers, mainly because they were exciting I presume, with shots of comedy mixed in. See for yourself if you wish:
When first character designs came to light, Rikka was labeled a Misaki Mei (main heroine of Another) clone for her eye-patch. Many asked why there were so many eye-patch characters (mostly female) this year. What is their appeal? My theory is that it suggests troublesome past or an unfortunate incident, rendering the character someone you would want to protect or save. As you most probably know by now, this is not exactly applicable with Rikka…
The characters are not who they seem. Rikka may look vulnerable (see above) and embarrassingly childish for her antics at first. Dekomori gives of the impression of an even more immature middle-schooler struck with chuunibyou. Nibutani seems the perfect class representative. Yuuta is the unremarkable main character of a harem anime, whose design has been recycled for the millionth time.
To my surprise, in reality they actually feel believable, almost human. Rikka has a reason (albeit not so common in real life) for her escapades. Dekomori is a reasonable girl and astonishingly at top of her class. Nibutani is nothing like the girl she pretends to be – she is not perfect, has a back story. Simply put she is plausible as well. As for Yuuta – I can’t say I liked him. He doesn’t show much character throughout the first half of the series. Thinking about it, he is actually rather boring.
I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised by the characters and KyoAni once again managed some breath-taking visuals, however it is time for my to pass my judgment on the plot.
Having not read the original work I can only parrot what others have written, but it seems the adaptation’s storyline leaves something to be desired compared to the original. We all understand not everything can make it onto the screen, but it is advisable to choose plot events wisely and structure the plot to gradually pick up pace while never losing the viewers’ interest.
Chuunibyou anime introduced its characters, gradually added several more and spent time acquainting us with them through setting up of a club, working against it being disbanded, Rikka’s aversion towards Mathematics and tomatoes et cetera. By the time Yuuta found out about Rikka’s trauma, we were halfway into the limiting 12 episodes. I find this a bit late for the main turning point of the story.
Followed the romance, that had been waiting to happen since, well, the first episode, then the school festival, where I would have loved to hear Yuuta convincing Rikka to leave her chuunibyou ways, but by now we are running out of time. We speed through the rest of the events in only two episodes and that is the end!
In the last two episodes we got to see Rikka lose her spark and succumb to her family’s wishes, Dekomori breaking down over it (thrice), several flashbacks, Rikka moving away and the whole mission to save her – the grand finale, which was blown over in less than 13 minutes.
Waving away the rushed final events I would have appreciated a better closure. So many questions were left unanswered and while that can be welcome in some cases, Chuunibyou is not one of those. My last hope can be the OVA, which is to be released on the seventh volume of the Blu-ray/DVD along with six more “Lite” episodes on June 19th 2013.
Question: Were/are you a victim of chuunibyou?