A new season brings all kinds of new anime; some good, some bad, maybe a few masterpieces, or none worth remembering. After the one lack-luster season after another – after the end of our beloved Hyouka and the suffering that is Sword Art Online (ugh >_<), this Fall season of 2012 looks to be a very promising one as we’re treated to (at least) 12 different & interesting kinds of anime series! 12! So far, we have Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun & Shinsekai Yori, and now we’re presented with KyoAni’s new anime Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, or She Has Adolescent Delusions, But I Want to Love Her! My most anticipated anime of the season, and one that I’ll make time for regardless of University. But I have to wonder just what is it with anime and their ridiculously long names?
What is “Chuunibyou”? It literally translates to “middle-schooler syndrome” or “8th-grader syndrome”, and it’s a derogatory term associated with those with self-delusions of grandeur; AKA they think they’re “special” and/or have special powers. Yuuta Togashi (Jun Fukuyama) was once infected by Chuunibyou, now determined to bury that dark history once-and-for-all. However, fate has other plans when he encounters Rikka Takanashi (Maaya Uchida), a girl still infected with Chuunibyou. And so, hilarity ensues.
Not even 10 seconds in and my eyes were already glued to the screen; the instant the words “Are you familiar with the term ‘chuunibyou’?” were spoken (NORIO WAKAMOTO, IS THAT YOU?!) I knew this was gonna be good. I really like the light-hearted, humorous tone of the story, as well as the strange, embarrassing nature of the events throughout the episode. The moments where the main characters would unleash their fantasized powers were quite well done, and I’m excited to see how creative these “delusions” will become over time.
The characters are so face meltingly adorable, with some, er… “interesting” personalities. Rikka is pretty amazing, and often amusingly cute, although I can see why some view her apparent immaturity as annoying or even off-putting. But much like Eru’s curiosity and Kirino’s jerkass-ness (Oreimo), there’s a reason for it, and we’ll find out what it is soon enough. Yuuta’s somewhat contrasting characterization bounces off Rikka’s quite nicely, as he’s obviously embarrassed by his chuunibyou phase, and seems all too reluctant to slip back into it. Although, his “normal” self is a bit abnormal as it is. These two leads have a very intriguing relationship that almost parodies the typical “boring guy meets exciting girl” theme, and particularly due to their superb chemistry, their interactions are easily the best part of the show. I’m excited to see just how they’ll develop over the course of this series.
The ending leaves off with Rikka preventing Yuuta from throwing out his youthful possessions, and him momentarily indulging in his fantasizes for Rikka’s sake. It raises some interesting questions, like whether this condition will be embraced by Yuuta or discarded by Rikka. But while the idea of Rikka understanding the importance of maturing into an adult leaves room for plentiful character development, there are a few points about the ending that proves otherwise.
“That’s what I said. But the rain this spring was actually pretty warm.”
This quote by Yuuta seems to suggest that some small part of him still yearns for his adolescent delusions, and it might become a recurring theme of this anime; that rather than abandoning your childish past, you welcome it with open arms and look back on those times with fondness. For Rikka, she might be similar to Okabe (Steins;Gate); maybe she’s fully aware that powers and whatnot don’t really exist, and that they’re just childish delusions, but continues to believe in them as they’re an irreplaceable part of her. Of course, this is all just mere observation on my part – we’ll see if it’s so soon enough.
Do I even need to speak about the art? KyoAni lives up to their reputation once again with sublime animation and art – the colours that pop onto the screen, the fluid & over-the-top animation, and the red-outlining of the character models – I can go on and on, but I’ll leave it at that. The OP, while interesting, is a bit poor in execution… but I can see what they were trying to do. The ED is a bit reminiscent of K-On endings, though.
Wrapping up, this is a strong introductory episode. The romantic aspect has yet to kick off, but so far the interactions between the Yuuta & Rikka are nothing short of ridiculous. Despite some little flaws, the subtle humour, great characters, excellent art & soundtrack, and the charming premise all jumbles into a promising & endearing series, which I’ll look forward to every week.
Here’s to Fall 2012, everyone! ^_^