Yuuta Togashi suffered from "chuunibyou" while he was in middle school. When he graduated, he put that dark history behind him and forgot about it... or he was supposed to. High school was smooth sailing and full of enjoyment―until the unavoidable, sad event occurs. The event that locks Yuuta into a contract with Rikka Takanashi and disrupts his desperately ordinary life.
A highly acclaimed series, Kyoto Animation did a splendid job on animating Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai. The series strayed away from the typical slice-of-life romance by involving school kids with dark pasts they want to keep secret: the cursed days when they were infected by the eighth grade syndrome, also known as chuunibyou. However, the original light novel series that made the anime possible is often overlooked.
Written by Torako, the story of Yuuta and Rikka spans just only two volumes. What must also be taken into account is that a number of characters from the anime does not exist in the original text
including the twin tailed Sanae Dekomori, Rikka’s older sister Touka Takanashi, and the sleepy Kumin Tsuyuri. However, the absence of such characters does not mean the story is more boring; instead, it allows for more room to focus on the relationship between ex-chuunibyou patient Yuuta Togashi and current chuunibyou patient Rikka Takanashi.
Each chapter separates a series of events. For example, one chapter may be about Yuuta visiting Rikka’s house, and the next would be a school field trip. Plot-wise, there is nothing much other than the adventures the couple have together. Volume one tells how the two classmates eventually become lovers. Volume two, however, introduces a new love rival that tests how serious Yuuta and Rikka are for one another. Overall, the plot was average but nicely executed. The story was clear to the reader, and there were a few unpredictable plot twists.
Even for a light novel, there was a lack of illustrations that would help portray the story. However, the art did provide clear visuals on the characters’ appearances. And like most light novel illustrations, the art was beautifully drawn. Emotions were clearly expressed and color tones and shadings were of top quality. Though he is not known to many, Nozomi Osaka did a great job of illustrating the world of Chuunibyou.
In terms of how well Torako portrayed the characters in the series, he did an outstanding job. The main character Yuuta is clearly seen as a somewhat feminine male lead who struggles to lead a normal life yet is tempted to revert back to his past chuunibyou self. Rikka is known for her delusional antics and her undying devotion to Yuuta. The popular Shinka Nibutani regrets her chuunibyou past and currently lives her school life as a dance club team member and class representative. Her friend Kazari Kannagi is also popular, second only to Shinka and a great support for Yuuta when he is troubled. Makoto Issiki is seen as a pervert with a pure heart and Yuuta’s childhood friend Satone Shichimiya is a self-aware chuunibyou patient who is in love with her “Hero.”
Overall, it was a great read. Though it was not an exceptional piece of work, it is a series that should be eventually read, especially when one is already familiar with the anime adaption. Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai is different from many popular light novel series that have badass or infallible main leads. Yuuta has flaws he must overcome, fears he must get rid of, and a love he must requite. The chronicles of the Dark Flame Master is not just about action, it is also about acting. Acting on one’s feelings for another and signing a contract to be together forever.
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Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! takes plentiful influence from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu. However, it twists that show's formulas in new ways to create an original comedy/drama anime with profound takes on escapism and teenage embarrassment.