Everybody has had that stage in their life where they have thought themselves to be special, different from the masses of ordinary humans. They might go as far as seeing themselves capable of wielding mystical powers, or maybe even believe themselves to have descended from a fantasy realm. This "disease" is known as "chuunibyou" and is often the source of some of the most embarrassing moments of a person's life.
For Yuuta Togashi, the scars that his chuunibyou has left behind are still fresh. Having posed as the "Dark Flame Master" during his middle school years, he looks back at those times with extreme embarrassment, so much so that he decides to attend a high school far away where nobody will recognize him. Putting his dark history behind him, he longs to live a normal high school life.
Unfortunately, he hasn't escaped his past yet: enter Rikka Takanashi, Yuuta's new classmate and self-declared vessel of the "Wicked Eye." As this eccentric young girl crashes into Yuuta's life, his dream of an ordinary, chuunibyou-free life quickly crumbles away. In this hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy who just wants to leave his embarrassing memories behind, the delusions of old are far from a thing of the past.
Growing up is not an easy process, and there are always moments that one looks back upon with a sense of embarrassment and regret. One might ask what it is that truly marks the transition into adulthood: the ability to live independently, or maybe the conformity and adherence to social norms. Are the people who remain true to their childhood interests not grown up, then? Perhaps. But is there anything wrong with that? It's hard to say.
There's a strange term used in Japanese internet culture. "Chuunibyou", or more literally "Eighth-Grade Syndrome", refers to matured individuals with an absurd self-created persona. Remember the times as
a child when there was a TV character you found appealing and you pretended to possess their superhuman abilities in real-life? A chuunibyou is a teenage or adult form of that, but to such an extent that the fictional persona defines their entire lifestyle. Certainly, behaving this way in public would make for some embarrassment, and recovering from such a past even more so.
It's an experience that he knows all too well. After suffering from chuunibyou throughout middle school as the "Dark Flame Master", he makes the decision to move on from the past and attempt to live his highschool years as a normal student. To ensure victory and start anew, Yuuta applies to a high school where none of his middle school classmates are attending. It may have been a successful plan, too, if not for the unusual appearance of a beautiful girl on his balcony.
Her name is Takanashi Rikka, a current chuunibyou, representing everything that Yuuta used to be and desired to forget. Worse, she recently moved into the same apartment complex and overheard Yuuta's last days as the Dark Flame Master, ensuring that it is not a past he will escape so easily. He unwillingly gained Rikka's interest in him as a result, and his attempts to make a pleasant first impression at his new high school are interrupted by Rikka's chuunibyou provocations. The fact that Yuuta wants to forget and start anew is irrelevant, because for her their relationship is a destiny revealed through her "Wicked Eye". Perhaps she wasn't entirely false, either, occult terminology aside.
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, shortened to Chuu2-Byo, is a title that stands out for the interaction between these two characters. It's nostalgic (and often times embarrassing!) to see the characters act in silly ways reminiscent of childhood, though without the endearing cast of characters this would probably seem like little more than a neat gimmick. Yuuta and Rikka are what make the anime, and their interaction is nothing short of adorable and hilarious. Both of them have substance and play off of each other in creative ways, such as Yuuta using his abandoned Dark Flame Master persona in order to cheer Rikka up when she's feeling depressed, or her playing around in awe with his old gear. It's definitely cute, and cuteness is something that Chuu2-Byo has no shortage of.
An important addition to the character dynamic are the side characters who each fulfill their own role in the series. Sanae Dekomori, ace middle school student and proud chuunibyou, behaves as servant to Rikka and her Wicked Eye, possessing a weapon of considerable danger in the real world: her excessively long pigtails. Kumin, a senior with a fondness for napping, and Isshiki, Yuuta's jealous male friend and classmate, also highlight the cast. The most important of these characters, however, is Nibutani Shinka. Despite initially being the only character in the anime truly definable as 'normal', she is actually an ex-Chuunibyou herself, much like Yuuta. When her dreaded past is discovered by Yuuta, she throws away any notion of kindness in order to keep him from spilling the truth. As Rikka develops her own feelings for Yuuta, though, Nibutani begins to display a much more compassionate and benevolent side to her personality, even going as far as to use her old persona to help them progress.
Appearances often mislead, and Chuu2-Byo is exemplary of this. What seems to be a cute slice of life revolving around the chuunibyou lifestyle is actually structured as a love story. Comedy is predominate during the first six episodes, but hints of Rikka's feelings for Yuuta are consistently displayed as the series progresses. Love is an emotion that she is not familiar with, and amidst the confusion there is often an overlap between her sensitive side and her chuunibyou side, often using this persona to hide her embarrassment. It's very endearing to watch her feelings develop as she realizes that these are emotions not of respect, but genuine love. The romance is exceptionally subtle, while consequently there is no overbearing drama used to advance their relationship.
At least for the first half.
There's often a problem with drama in anime, especially since it tends to hit the viewer with all the subtlety of a speeding subway. Titles like Toradora and AnoHana are a couple examples of drama on overdrive, and occasionally Chuu2-Byo can feel a bit like those titles in the last six episodes. Is there anything inherently wrong with excessive drama in an anime? Certainly not. After all, it depends on the execution itself and other aspects such as the characterization and dialogue. But what when the drama comes from nowhere, undermining the appeal of the series and turning it into something else entirely? This is where problems occur in Chuu2-Byo. What starts out as a lighthearted comedy with subtle romance becomes an exhaustive high school drama in the second half, and it really hurts the series as a result.
Why change it, then? It's a question that I might never find the answer to. It's not as though the anime was lacking in substance before that point, or that it needed to make a sudden switch to develop the characters and their relationship. Yuuta and Rikka were steadily progressing, and there were still the occasional dramatic moments that felt natural to the show. While there isn't so much an issue with the execution of the second half (exaggerated crying and yelling aside), it is a problem when the anime feels like two entirely different shows in one. It might have been less of an issue if aspects of the first half still subsisted, but the comedy is unfortunately tossed aside in favor of drama. Which is disappointing, as the lighthearted character interaction is what made the first half of the anime so special.
There are also some other minor complaints if one were to nitpick, such as Kumin being a pointless character and adding nothing besides a few cute scenes of her sleeping, or the contrivances of some of the dramatic situations (receiving a letter written years ago at the most convenient time — really?), but on the whole it doesn't do much to detract from what is an otherwise well-written and heartwarming experience.
On a more positive note, the lavish production values customary of KyoAni do a solid job of enhancing the emotional value of each scene. Character designs are appropriately cute while the animation has an extraordinary level of polish and finesse, particularly during the faux action sequences often illustrated whenever Rikka has a confrontation with another character. More commendable, though, is the storyboarding of some scenes. There are a few moments in the anime that are truly breathtaking, such as Yuuta and Rikka quietly sitting together under a bridge and watching the lights of society shine and flicker along the river.
A fundamental piece to any good love story is the presence of an emotional soundtrack, and Chuu2-Byo does not disappoint with its music. Fitting tracks are used for both the lighthearted and dramatic moments, and there is a particular piano piece that will manage to pull your heartstrings a bit whenever it is used. The opening and ending sequences are also quirky and memorable, and these songs will most likely be glued to your head for quite a while afterwards. With that said, it's always a little amusing during the second half of the series when the upbeat ending song plays immediately after a dramatic scene. It really represents the disparity of the two halves.
Chuu2-Byo is certainly not a miraculous or flawless anime by any means, but it is easily above the vast majority of anime out there (the romance genre especially). Perhaps the drama won't upset you nearly as much as it did with me, or it could possibly enhance the experience for you, even if changing the entire tone of an anime midway through will no doubt cause some concern.
But if I'm to be rewarded with a genuinely heartwarming story, six episodes of unadulterated fun, and one of the best romantic pairings in the past few years— is it worth a little bit of frustration? Probably.
I like to laugh. Who doesn't? I like to smile. A smile always brightens the day. I like to watch some high school kids pretending who they are not and cosplaying as characters like the Dark Flame Master. Oh, I guess this is the right place then because Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! can do all three of those things. Killing three birds with one stone, awesome isn't it?
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date!) is an anime series based on the novel of the same name that is produced by Kyoto Animation. Some fans of
Kyoto Ani (Clannad, Hyouka, Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu) will definitely rejoice because the Japanese studio is already well known for its rich visuals and aesthetics. They have been involved with many series with the typical high school life being turned from normal to abnormal and they did it once again!
The series takes place at a typical high school setting. It involves a young boy named Yuuta Togashi who is suffering a case of...chuunibyou, or “Middle School 2nd Year Syndrome". In technical terms, it is a condition in which an individual deludes themselves as being a smartass and looks down on others. They also believe they have some sort of “special power” that excludes themselves from the normal society. It's actually quite common though. I don't know if you ever felt this way but a lot of people do weird things in high school. I mean, it's like how you used to believe yourself as a superhero like Batman or Superman when you were younger. Good days, good days.
And of course, high school has it all: drama, comedy, romance, delusions, cosplaying, and all that other good stuff. So without further ado, let's introduce the two main characters:
Rikka Takanashi – forget that eyepatch. This girl has that syndrome I'm talking about. She visions herself with the “wicked eye”. (which sadly is just some colored contacts) Unlike Yuuta however, she still has the chuunibyou. She is the girl who gets the most abuse but also the one that brings out the most laughter with her absurd yet comedic stances throughout the series. Take for example..that random scene when she bounces around like crazy during the pilot episode or those Lelouch-like poses.
Yuuta "Dark Flame Master" Togashi – he USED to have the chuunibyou syndrome. But now, it seems that his past is haunting him once again when he meets Rikka. He used to believe himself to be..the Dark Flame Master. I'm trying to envision myself exactly what is the Dark Flame Master. Does it have flames? Is it a master of the underworld? Or is just some villian who can emit cool flames. At any rate, his high school years becomes abnormal after meeting Rikka.
There's not too much of a story to be honest yet. The series is more about comedy and the events that surrounds the main characters. They live their high school days like normal teens although the majority are anything but normal. For example, Sanae and Rinka has this Tiger and Dragon rivalry. They fight in absurd ways that is beyond normal by the way they delude themselves. Yes you got it, they also have the chuunibyou as well, or at least used to. Later on though, the series takes some more emotional turns with a few insights into the past, especially those into our main female protagonist, Rikka-chan.
The artwork of the series is glorious like most of Kyoto Animation's other works. Its background settings of rich visuals are there and reflected upon every delusion, every action, every laughter, every chuunibyou-like behavior. Kazumi Ikeda who is involved with the character designs of the series brings out the M in moe from the characters like Rikka, Yumeha Togashi (Yuuta's cute little sister), and Kumin Tsuyuri.
The soundtrack is also quite lighthearted that reflects upon the comedic mood of settings and characters. When there are battle scenes though, it swiftly changes to a more fast paced rythym to make it looks like it's real despite the fact that it's just a delusion. Now as for the OP song..wow, just wow. "Sparkling Daydream" by ZAQ sure got their point through. The opening song of the series induces eye seizures. Every time I watch it (even upon now occasionally), the scenes flashes back into your head and makes your eyeballs follow them endlessly. Of which, the OP song is also catchy with the silly pose of Rikka-chan. The stance of “(σ O ω・)σ←↖↑↗→↘↓↙←↖↑↗→↘↓↙←↖↑↗→↘↓↙←↖↑↗→↘↓↙← “ is ridiculously catchy and there have been many parodies on the net to mimic it. On the other hand, the ED song "INSIDE IDENTITY" by Black Raison d'être seems ordinary with a nice melody.
Ultimately, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! is a very entertaining series to watch. It's not like the usual harem with a pathetic protagonist who can't make up his damn mind. But rather, it involves a kid who tried to escape from his past but ends up living it now with his new friends at high school. Entertainment is not so easy to bring these days especially with a lot of already used ideas but this one here is executed pretty well in my opinion. So, give it a shot.
First review. I just finished this so it's fresh on my mind and I absolutely must write about it.
What we have here is a typical story executed in a wonderfully original way. KyoAni blends the comedic and dramatic into a nostalgic exploration of adolescence topped with their particular charm. I found myself laughing, cringing, and tearing up multiple times throughout. It's an emotional roller-coaster, yet I feel it manages to avoid the realm of melodrama by contrasting drama with gags. It does what Toradora failed to do for me. That said, I feel the show could have used one or two more episodes to
ease into the drama. The shift comes fairly quick, but really, it wasn't much issue.
Overall, it's a nice balance. Juxtaposing comedy and drama--blending reality and fantasy--serves as an astute parallel to the theme of escapism and develops a touching story about growing up and the ambivalence toward leaving our younger selves behind.
Beautiful. The animation is absolutely fantastic. Action scenes are dynamic and larger-than-life. More relaxed scenes are nuanced and fluid. Character designs are seriously cute (even the guys). Atmosphere is used very well to complement scenes, whether it be a tender moment under a bridge or a restless heart trying to fall asleep. The only thing that knocks off a point is the occasional usage of fairly awkward-looking 3DCG. On top of a detailed background, it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Overall, it's stunning.
This is really just a matter of taste. I liked the opening much more than the ending. BGM was sweet and melancholic and complements scenes well. During romantic scenes, there are insert-songs which I thought were a little unnecessary.
KyoAni has turned up the moe to 11 with Chuunibyou, and even the "anti-moe" Nibutani has her own appeal. That aside, every character's motivations are believable. Their interactions are dynamic and the source of both silly comedy and powerful drama. It's also nice to see an MC who isn't completely clueless when it comes to romance. That said, he still isn't an expert.
Overall, there's a fair amount of depth to these characters, and for the ones without it they're nice to look at. I found myself getting sucked into these character's lives and relationships. Despite how exaggerated some of these characters actually are, they feel very real.
This is an amazing piece of work. It looks phenomenal. It reminds me of Haruhi (primarily Disappearance), FLCL, Kare Kano, and maybe a bit of Haibane Renmei (atmosphere, pacing, climax). It hits like Makoto Shinkai.
There's something sweet and familiar, but gripping, touching, and anxious at the same time. Watching this series is like a trip into the past--one that's exciting and glorified and fantastic, distorted by time, but one that feels real nonetheless. It's nostalgia.
More like a strong 9, but I'm going to round up. It's been quite a while since I've seen a series capture so many emotions so vivaciously and with such force. It builds from a very relatable theme and fully fledges into a compelling and imaginative comedy/drama about growing up. Coming-of-age stories are incredibly common, but Chuunibyou manages to establish a difficult balance between the tongue-in-cheek and the deeply sincere. The result is a piece that is as honest, real, and moving as it is funny. This is without a doubt one of the best things KyoAni has put out.
EDIT (1/1/13) : In the past, in advance and now I must express my greatest apology for creating spoilers of this series. I completely forgot somehow even though on my right and my right mind that it says to 'not write any spoilers', mental blank maybe or just my past acting up... But once again I must apologise and hope that you can forgive me. I will remove the spoilers for future readers and for current or past readers, I really do apologise. And without a further ado... I must add that there are some slight spoilers but not as much as before
of nostalgia was the first reaction I had, and what most people would. A past of imagination and fun. We laughed, cried, even danced for things that bring us joy. Being a high school student, we move on, banishing our past. Some say that our past allows us to move on and run away from it. Perhaps from fear? Embarrassment? Concern? Maybe Maturity. But, we can never run away as it is always a part of us, it makes us a special, unique individual.
That is how Chuunibyou in my opinion is portrayed. As a reflection on our past and how it shaped our future.
Chuunibyou is translated as “Eighth-Grade Syndrome.” An epidemic for people in the eight grade. A certain website states that it is a slang term depicting three different cases: The antisocial types, ones with the 'cool' factor, and ones who admire mystical powers and recreates them in reality through their imagination.
Story and Characters: (9)
Chuunibyou's main characters include: Togashi Yuuta, Takanashi Rikka, Nibutani Shinka, Dekomori Sanae, Tsuyuri Kumin and Isshiki Makoto (Uhh... Is he a main?)
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! depicts a newly enrolled high school student, Togashi Yuuta. A teenager whose past is what he thinks as banished from his mind, a few head bangs on his wall is an example. He enters high school with a clean slate, so he says. "Dark Flame Master" his faked ulterior personality due to having a different mindset of his friends.
Takanashi Rikka. A person with a rather serious case of Chuunibyou. And is expressed by rather peculiar movements and stances that the responders cannot help but laugh. But in future episodes she experiences development of mind, heart and soul.
Nibutani Shinka, the classmate of the two above and Isshiki, relates to Yuuta in the way of wanting to forget about her chuunibyou past. She is also the motherly type I suppose and expresses this love towards other characters giving her a rather lovable personality and character.
Dekomori... Smart... but just weird. Not saying she's a bad character but was one of the most strongest, bringing powerful scenes towards the end. But either way, she too has Chuunibyou, with twin tails which are... heavy. Yeah that would hurt, right Nibutani?
Isshiki, doesn't play much of a role but plays a good comedic role like a side character (referring to Clannad and Little Busters if you know what I'm talking about)
Kumin-senpai is an admirer of people with Chuunibyou. A rather peculiar, sleepy case who in turn plays a huge role towards the end.
Kyoto Animation presents stunning quality in their animation. Well I'm no expert but it was truly outstanding as always.
Atmospheric background music is best for bringing out character development and emotions towards the viewers. Kyoani successfully manipulated music to their advantage and used that initiative to have an awesome soundtrack.The timing of the music is what I'm speaking of. The dramatic music played at the right times, the foreshadowing, comedic etc. allows people to be drawn into the same environment of chuu2.
Everything from Chuunibyou was enjoyable. The comedy and romance both created and anime for everyone joy, happiness and some sad scenes had drawn my attention from the beginning. Chuu2 has this element that would make the haters of moe, romantic-comedic genres become entranced into this show. That element is for you, the viewers to find out.
And of course Overall (10). As MAL states it was just Outstanding. Everything about it is lovable. I'm out of words at the moment so I cannot explain how great this anime is. Viewers looking for a balanced romantic comedy with some drama, this is for you.
This is my first review. I had fun typing up this and being the first for this anime brings me great pleasure to do so. Please if it doesn't trouble you say if this was helpful or not, I'd like to continue reviewing if people like reading it. And please mind my English, never was good at it hehe. Thanks for reading and hope I didn't waste your time XD
EDIT: I appreciate the criticism people expressed to me. Granted some (one) of them were not constructive but I really do appreciate what people said to me. Thanks for the comments :)
And finally: Reality be rent. Synapse break. Banishment, this WORLD!!
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Don your wizard cape and grab your mystical staff of unmentionable powers! It's time to learn about the most fascinating chuunibyou characters in anime who suffer from "middle school 2nd year sickness."