The awkward lovebirds, Yuuta Togashi and Rikka Takanashi are now living together as they enter a new school year, but their adorable relationship remains stagnant. Yuuta struggles to adapt to having a chuuni girlfriend while the gang—Sanae Dekomori, Shinka Nibutani and Kumin Tsuyuri—are still keeping up with their quirks despite having advanced a grade. Making matters worse, another chuuni girl from Yuuta's middle school, Satone Shichimiya, appears...
With the various events revolving around Yuuta, will he be able to develop his relationship with Rikka?
Meet "Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren", Kyoto Animation's latest offering, the esteemed studio that once brought titles such as Haruhi, Clannad: After Story and Full Metal Panic: TSR to the anime industry. The KyoAni of 2014 is no such studio. Instead, we find rubbish like Free and Kyoukai no Kanata on an almost seasonal basis. The KyoAni of before is done and gone. They can't even seem to do sequels right any more.
It remains a mystery how KyoAni managed to mess the Chuunibyou franchise this badly. Granted, the first season wasn't anything particularly special, but
it was at least an enjoyable watch. The 'chuunibyou' syndrome made for a unique premise and, hey, the girls were cute. It had some failings of its own towards the end, but the endearing nature of Yuuta's and Rikka's relationship at least felt meaningful. Ren-- however-- has no purpose or meaning beyond providing lazy fanservice. It is as Ghostbusters II is to the original. Even if Ren never existed, there would be nobody to complain except the series' most die-hard fans. It accomplishes nothing and provides nothing that the first season didn't already. It is remarkable only in how unremarkable it is.
The romance between Yuuta and Rikka is at best cute, at worst, puerile. KyoAni has made it painfully clear that they have no intentions of creating a believable or realistic relationship. Six months into the relationship and they had not even held hands yet... really. Really. They blush and run away when they so much as see each other, and hearing the word 'kiss' might as well land them in their hospital's intensive care unit. They have the mental maturity of a five-year-old, and it makes me wonder, why? It's not as though it's difficult to portray a healthy relationship between two teenagers. Anything sexual is clearly beyond them, but at this point in the relationship you would at least expect them to be holding hands and kissing. Nope. The only explanation that comes to mind is that KyoAni is afraid of upsetting the otaku, because-- oh no-- how dare you defile their waifu by showing them in a happy relationship.
During the light-hearted episodes, things are generally okay. There's plenty of the same chemistry between the characters and it's always neat to see how Rikka and Dekomori will rationalise completely ordinary things as something fantastical. The episodes that focus on Dekomori and Nibutani are actually some of the series' strongest and, thankfully, they receive a lot more focus than they did in the first season.
That said, the comedy is definitely weaker than the first season. Some of the jokes fall completely flat and then there are episodes that involve such things as Kumin's 'napping contest' (I kid you not), which are absolutely asinine. Hell, Kumin in general has to be one of the worst characters in recent years. She has absolutely no depth, no personality or defining trait beyond 'sleeps a lot'. The show would be so much better if she wasn't stealing precious screen-time away from the characters that actually matter. Sorry, Ishiki.
The largest problem with Ren is that it lacks any sort of pacing or cohesion. There's an introduction, a climax-- but where is the middle? It changes from silly chuunibyou nonsense to sappy melodrama without warning. How is anyone supposed to care about the drama when no time is given to first prepare it? It's like the story started in media res, a few random chapters taken out of a larger novel. A new girl shows up, she falls in love with Yuuta, causes some trouble, and then, bam, it ends on the same footing as the first season. No resolution; nothing added to the characters.
And why is Shichimiya here in the first place, anyway? Her contrived introduction (conveniently moving to the same apartment complex as Yuuta, who she conveniently happens to be childhood friends with) is already enough to get the eyes rolling. She joins the crew in the chuunibyou nonsense, which is fine, but then she is immediately given the spotlight in order to cause melodrama where there never needed to be any. I suppose when you lack the imagination to create drama between two developed characters, you can haphazardly throw in a new character with the same exact drama as previous. It's essentially just a copypaste of Rikka's growing feelings for Yuuta at the end of the first season. Heck, KyoAni is so lacking in ideas that they even threw in the 'Yuuta reading a note from his past self' again. I guess the only positive thing that can be said in Shichimiya's defense is that she is cute... at least when she's not splitting your ears with her "Nihahahaha" catchphrase.
The characters are not mature enough to support the drama. It's difficult to care much about Yuuta's and Rikka's relationship when they go about it as a toddler would. The season desperately, desperately needed more Nibutani (and Yuuta without the influence of Rikka) as they are the only two in the show who feel even remotely like human beings. Even if KyoAni decided to go full-force with the drama, there's a good chance it could have worked with Nibutani. Instead she is relegated to the background during the important scenes, a sort of cheerleader, a pal who pushes the two forward because they are too childish to take that step themselves.
At least there is little to complain about when it comes to the visuals. It's the usual quality you would expect of KyoAni, with plenty of motion blur and pretty scenery for you to gawk at. I did count a number of scenes where the art quality dipped into the abysmal, though, like when the camera zooms in on a swimming Shichimiya, lazily drawn as two coloured blobs stuck together.
The music is also great. Most of the background tracks are so quiet that you wouldn't ordinary notice them, but they do a solid job in enhancing the mood of each scene. The sappy piano pieces make the otherwise cringeworthy melodrama a bit more tolerable, but I don't think even the most beautiful piano pieces would be able to save those scenes. On the other hand, the opening sequence is catchy but noticeably less interesting than the first season. Many people complained about all the fast cuts in the first season's opening, but hey, it was unique. It gave the show that extra bit of charm. The opening and ending sequences here don't really achieve that. They just exist.
Chuunibyou Ren should have been better. I wanted to like it; I wanted to see the adorable relationship between Yuuta and Rikka explored further. But all I ever experienced was mild amusement in between the mountains of irrelevant nonsense. Ren does nothing but undermine the ending of the first season. It ruins the relationship almost entirely and provides nothing that needed to be shown. It is a painful example of one of the problems with the anime industry, for studios repeatedly produce sequels 'for the fans' rather than because of any artistic interest.
If you are desperately, desperately craving for more Chuunibyou, you might have a better time with it than me. If you are sceptical about how the heartwarming ending of the first season could ever be expanded upon-- avoid, avoid, avoid. It's far more likely to damage your image of the series rather than improve it.
Maybe some day KyoAni will return to what made them interesting. Somehow it seems unlikely.
I think most of the anime watching community has learned to generally expect two things from KyoAni:
1. There will be moe
2. The story and plot will either be subpar or shit.
I want to say that it's nice Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! got a second season, I really do. The first season of Chuunibyou was decent; it had a little bit of eight-grade syndrome, a little bit of romance, obligatory KyoAni moe, and a bit of slice of life. Characters actually felt like they made progress and it was a fairly enjoyable watch overall. I can't say the same about the second season.
like to discuss the story, but I'm afraid there is really nothing to talk about. There is no story. There is no plot. Asking for either of these from this sequel is like asking a rock to win a race, and no, this isn't Spongebob. I made a mistake by hoping there would be some kind of turn around and something interesting might happen during the second season, like the ending of the first season. The so called 'romance' between Yuuta and Rikka, which was the whole driving force behind this sequel, is severely lacking. Yuuta seems more like Rikka's father than boyfriend and that's just pathetic. The attempt at a love triangle is not only badly paced, but also feels extremely forced. Basically, if you watched this sequel, or plan to, you most likely didn't come for the story. At least, I sure hope not.
Assuming you've seen the first season of Chuunibyou, you have a general handle of what the characters are like. There's not much change other than the introduction of Shichimiya, Yuuta's old chuuni buddy. The character development is stagnant and most of the series is about Rikka getting romantically flustered. But hey, remember that one character Ishikki? Yuuta's friend, the bro-tier dude of season one? Yes, the guy who gets his head shaved. Guess what? The series takes a massive diarrhea dump on him. The sequel throws him in at random times and tries to garner some cheap laughs at the expense of his already unfortunate life. I couldn't even laugh at instances aimed to be funny gag moments. If I felt anything, it was sadness and pity.
The only saving grace that Chuunibyou Ren! has is that I find KyoAni's animations to be good. The art and animation are consistent and I believe that's one thing that the studio does right. Sound is decent, but I didn't find the OP or ED to be anything noteworthy.
Sequels for anime can be a blessing when done correctly. Sequels can also tarnish whatever good the first season had accomplished. The latter is what happened here. There's nothing more frustrating to watch the second season of an anime only to be disappointed by the steep drop in quality. This sequel felt like KyoAni put little to no effort into it besides giving the audience the finger while trying to reach into your wallet. Unless you have time to waste, and I mean a lot of fucking time, I'd say watch something other than this.
I had very high hopes for Chuunibyou demo Koi Shitai! Ren. I have been a fan of the first season ever since I watched it, but I cannot say that with the second season.
With a slice of life, character development is important. Very. Important. And the first season, I believe, did a very good job at that. Behind the whimsical nature of the first season, there was a serious theme of growing up and what is lost when someone does. This was emulated through Rikka. Sadly, the second season doesn't touch this at all.
Instead, the second season has the audience follow the relationship of Yuta
and Rikka. It is a full on romantic comedy, but it also fails at being a well-made one. The romance is tiring to watch and the comedy is pitiful. Isshiki becomes the center of horrible jokes and becomes nothing more than a town fool. "Hahaha! He's darker than he should be! Lol! A dude likes him!" The comedy revolving around Isshiki is lackluster and, at times, can be offending. The only saving grace from this hell is the romance of the anime. If I had to compare it to the hell of watching the comedy, I'd compare it to purgatory.
The romance is meant to be cute. The audience sees the couple in various situations that would never happen and watches as the couple takes their relationship an extremely small step forward every episode. Emphasis on the extreme. Yes, it's supposed to be cute seeing both of them blush at the thought of doing anything that involves their significant other, but it becomes a drag to witness. Even more enervating to watch is the half-ass attempt at creating a love triangle.
Shichimiya is the new character introduced this season, and she is also the old chuunibyou buddy of Yuta. And she is a horrible character. "I love Yuta, but Rikka loves him now. I'm sad. Now, I'm happy for Rikka and Yuta." That is the extent of her existence.
The main thing I find saddening in this last season is the chuunibyou. In the first season, it was the thing that was viewed as childish, something people grow out of. Eventually, the audience finds out that people can grow up and keep a part of them childish. Hence, Rikka's "grown-up" love for Yuta while she still keeps her chuunibyou. For this last season, there is now reason for the chuunibyou. It is just there. The main use for it in Ren is to provide comedy. Thankfully, the outrageous behavior of Rikka's, Shichimya's, and Dekomori's chuunibyou is still as funny as the first season.
Also, the anime keeps it's well done art and animation. It is pleasing to the eyes and softens the blow one gets from the other aspects of Ren. I found the OP fine and thought the ED was really good, but this is a rating of the show and not how much money a studio can pour into their OP's and ED's.
Overall, I was extremely disappointed. I went into Ren expecting more of the first season. With this tragedy, I hope that there will never be another sequel. My love for Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! has been stained.
There is no sequel to Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai!
It does not exist….
Or at least that’s how it should have been. Unfortunately, KyoAni decided to make Chuunibyo Demo Koi Ga Shitai! Ren, a sequel for an anime that's one of the best of its genre.
When a sequel is created for any concluded story, it is akin to flipping a coin; It can either improve and provide a wonderful expansion to the story, or ruin the story and fall flat on its face. Sadly, the latter happened to Chuunibyou Koi Ga Shitai! Ren. The most concise reason as to why that is, is simply because
it was completely unnecessary. The story of Chuunibyou was already done. Finished. Concluded. But then KyoAni had a great idea that maybe they shouldn’t end it there. And the finished result? A supposedly romantic rivalry between Rikka and Shichimiya, Yuuta’s old friend.
Well I have to admit, the thought of a love rivalry is a pretty good concept, and it could’ve honestly worked. However, the fault here lies in the fact that none of that actually happened. Instead, we were given a subpar plot which revolved around Rikka and the gang just finding the newest ways to mess around, without actually having anything to add to the plot. In fact, over half of the show was just about the cast doing their weird chuuni things and making comedy, which surprisingly isn’t as funny as it was in the first season. There was no direction to the plot, and so instead it went all over the place, ranging from beach episodes to napping contests, which basically made everything feel like filler.
And the rest of the season? Well, it was spent doing an incredibly rushed and contrived love triangle between Rikka and a new character named Shichimiya, and believe me, it wasn’t good at all in the slightest. That’s because it just… happened. Yes, there was some foreshadowing, which in this case was brought about by Yuuta’s complete insensitivity to romance. However, when the romance part did happen, it was like: Development, Climax, and Resolution, all in 4 episodes. In other words, the pacing was utter garbage. So as I said, the romance just kinda happened.
Also, another downfall of this anime is in the character development, or the lack thereof. From the start of the anime to the very end, there was very little changes in the cast, if any at all. In fact, the only noticeable change in the characters is the fact that they are now a lot more chuunibyou-ish, and all of them have started to participate in those chuunibyou battles. Other than that, there isn’t much to be said. And the new character Shichimiya? Well her sole purpose in this anime is to provide a rival for Rikka to compete against and to add another chuunibyou character. But as with the rest of the cast, she is just a dull character, and even moreso than the rest of the them due to not being in the prior season.
So pretty much the only good thing I can say about Chuu-2 Ren is that its animation was amazing. KyoAni may not be the best when it comes to storytelling or plot writing, but they sure are the best when it comes to animating stuff, as it has been proven time and time again. The animation for Chuu-2 Ren was smooth, clean, and very modern. There were no flaws or stutters as far as I can tell, and the fight scenes were just jaw-dropping. But then again, this is KyoAni we’re talking about, the same people who can animate water and make it look gorgeous beyond words.
Other than that, there’s also the music. The opening of Chuu-2 Ren, VOICE by ZAQ and its ending, Van!shment th!s World by Black Raison d'être are both very energetic J-pop songs. They are very much fitting with the theme of the anime, and are both quite catchy.
So, did I enjoy Chuunibyou Koi Ga Shitai! Ren? No, not at all. It’s an anime that lives off the popularity of its prequel. A horrible continuation of what could’ve been a good ending. That’s why I cannot give this anime a score higher than I did. It’s not as funny and doesn’t have the same romance its prequel had, nor does it provide a good continuation for Chuunibyou, and is overall a bad anime.
So, does Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai! have a sequel?
Unfortunately it does, however I deny its existence.
~First and foremost, thanks for reading my review. If you have any comments regarding my review or just want to have a discussion, then leave a comment at my page. I will greatly appreciate it. =)~