This is review number one hundred and twenty three. Oh boy, the year is about the end. Isn’t that just awesome? I’m seven months into my blogging journey and I pretty much suck at obtaining my 1000 anime goal. Oh well. I’m just glad other people are reading my sh*t.
Anyways, the anime I’ll be reviewing is part of the Fall 2012 lineup. It’s a twelve episode anime called “Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!” or “Even People with Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur Want To Experience Love!” That’s a pretty awesome title. Oh wait, this anime is about love? That sounds sweet. Let’s read on.
This anime is about a guy named Yuuta Togashi who had a severe chuunibyou syndrome when was in middle school. He has recovered from it but his reputation as the “Dark Flame Master” will haunt him. He decided to enroll in a school far from his home so nobody can recognize him. One day though, he saw a girl climb down their apartment balcony. He can tell right away that she has massive chuunibyou and to make it worse, they both happen to go to the same school. Determined to walk away from his middle school life, he tried his best to stay away from the girl who calls herself the possessor of the Wicked Eye. That’s too bad for Yuuta because Miss Wicked Eye is very fond of him. Yuuta would soon have no choice but to look after the girl as they spend their high school days together.
Taking the Pants Off
Apparently, there is a term in Japan called “Chuunibyou” (or Eight Grader Syndrome) which refers to people who try to act like a different persona. Heavily influenced by anime or video games, these people would try and act like their favorite characters for other people to see. Don’t get me wrong, we all like to rock out in the privacy of our bedroom but the ones suffering with chuunibyou would do this wherever they are. Don’t act like you don’t know someone like that. I have a friend who was so into Metal Gear that he talked and walked like Solid Snake. I have a friend who is a massive Narutard that he dash along the hallways with his hands behind him and crouching like a ninja. He yells out “kagebunshin” and all other bullsh*t like that. He even makes paper Chinese stars and throws them at people. Yes, anyone balls deep in the geek or otaku culture is aware of this syndrome. I just honestly never knew that the Japanese had a name for it. This unusual relation to the syndrome is also one of the reasons why “Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!” is so easy to love.
This is a very cute anime. The main selling point of the anime is the interaction between the two main characters, Yuuta Togashi and Rikka Takanashi. Yuuta is this serious and no nonsense guy who wants to start a new life in high school. He had a massive eight grader syndrome (EGS) back when he was in middle school and he now wants to forget that part of his life. He wants other people to just look at him as a normal high school kid. He was shocked to find the girl living above his apartment is suffering from EGS as well. Rikka is this cute girl who wears an eye patch over her left eye and she believes she has magical powers. She loves to imagine stuff and does a battle pose on people she isn’t familiar with. She’s a big oddball for sure and she seems to be very fond of Yuuta. Throughout the anime, these two characters would slowly become closer. Their interaction really brightens up the anime. Rikka would often ramble on about random stuff and Yuuta would suddenly hit her in the head. She would turn into a moe puppy as she feels the sting of his head chop. They look cute together and they both have their moments of comedy. I love it when Rikka would imagine of having a big fight with her sister where they both have big weapons and they fly in the air when in reality, she’s attacking her with an umbrella. Yuuta, despite being a serious person, would often have his moments of EGS where he would just light up seeing some peculiar things he is very fond of.
The first half of the anime is about the two main characters and their school life. Along the way, they meet a bunch of other characters with their own oddball personality. The Comedy aspects of the anime are very prominent on the first half. The sheer randomness of the characters really brightens up the anime. Each character has something special to bring to table so every interaction in the anime is pretty fun to watch. I personally love Rikka’s imagination scenes with her playmate as they fight using brooms while rolling on the floor. The way the viewers can relate to the characters is pretty amazing as well. As I said before, EGS isn’t uncommon and seeing the characters act out different personas gives the audience something to laugh at and somewhat relate to as well. Yuuta banging his head on the wall being embarrassed at how foolish he looked when he had EGS is also pretty awesome. There is so much in this anime that you would never be bored.
The other genre in the anime is obviously School. KyoAni loves their School genre since it’s the only genre they do. In this anime, the characters also created a club of their own while enjoying their ordinary school life. KyoAni is starting to turn into a one trick pony. I get, K-on is f*cking success but does the rest of your anime really had to have the same pattern? People in school spending time in their clubs and enjoying their youth is so overdone now. The thing that makes KyoAni amazing is that they can incorporate other genres to the School genre to create a pretty successful anime. I still love Hyouka because of its Mystery and School genre so nicely intertwined. KyoAni does a nice job in this anime as well. The nice combination of School and Comedy is so nicely done that you easily get absorbed by the anime.
I wish I could say that School and Comedy was the only genres in this anime. I think if it was the only genres then this anime would’ve been much better. It came to a point where the characters are having so much fun that it closely resembles similar club related anime like “Boku wa Tomidachi ga Sukanai” with it’s funny cast and nicely executed comedy. The second half turned a bit differently though as another genre invaded the party. This genre called “Drama”.
Yeah, the anime turned heavy on the second half. First of all, I understand why people didn’t like this part of the anime because it was completely opposite of its first half. The things that makes the first half so wonderful is pushed to the side for something else. The drama scenes are also a bit out of place because it just suddenly happened. It fondly reminds me of an earlier KyoAni work called “Air” that had an awkward drama to it. That anime was completely drama but the part about the mom and daughter aspect was out of place because the guy and the daughter was the centerpiece of the anime in the first half (no surprise BTW cause the dude who directed Air directed this one as well). In this anime, it’s like someone threw cold water on the fun and suddenly died out.
I don’t blame people for hating the second half but there is one thing I really admire about it. The anime transformed and it broke out of its norm. Most anime would settle for a setup where the characters are having fun in the club. KyoAni doesn’t do “most anime” though and they pushed it as far as it could. The second half featured some heavy drama but it also had some pretty nice character development. Yuuka started out as this guy who wants to become a normal guy and Rikka started out as this girl who has EGS. The characters had a nice transformation entering the second half and they are now beyond just the two characters from the first episode. There are some heavy fleshing out that I didn’t think KyoAni would do. So it’s up to you if the drama troubles you but make no doubt about it, the anime is still pretty solid at this point.
The contrast between the first half and the second is pretty interesting. In the first half, it was light hearted. The characters are just having random fun and enjoying their school life. It’s the pretty standard KyoAni setup. The second half was different. It was heavy. It had realistic themes and relatable conflicts. It took the comedy potential of having the chuunibyou syndrome and making something dramatic out of it. I love that amazing transformation of the anime. It had a nice lesson that life is not all about childish games and that people eventually needs to grow up. Like I said before, the second is pretty solid despite the change of tone of the anime. I’ll try not to spoil much of it, but I personally enjoyed the raw honesty of the second half.
I really enjoyed this anime. I watched this anime in one sitting which often indicates how well as series is to me. If I can watch it in one sitting then there was enough intrigue and flawless execution in the anime that kept me want more as I keep watching it. KyoAni has once again made another solid anime and it looks like there’s no stopping their momentum. I just hope they get over the school genre now. It’s getting freakin old and they seem to always inject some light music club mention in their anime. We get it, you created a legion of moe zombies and you’re proud of it. Unless KyoAni man up and give us a School and Gore anime then I’ll stop complaining. Then again, I can’t resist a good KyoAni anime. Just call me a hypocrite and be done with it.
Sight and Sound
Once again, the animation is pretty awesome. It’s not as detailed as Hyouka though but there is enough clarity and smooth transition to still claim KyoAni’s animation brilliance. The animation really stands out in this anime especially during the imagination scenes of Rikka. They often feel like shounen anime with super powered characters. I love how the characters call forth their weapons out of thin air. The animation is so smooth and the proceeding fight scene is pretty outstanding. The way the characters move is so free flowing and the camera angles are impressive that it really feels like a big epic fight scene between two rivals. It would make an action oriented anime like “K” blush. The everyday stuff was also nicely done. The animation wasn’t as noticeably pretty like Hyouka though. I think it’s the color palette of the anime. The colors look a bit faded compared to the bright colors of the other anime that make simple scenes pop.
I really love the fight scenes because I feel like KyoAni is breaking out of their conventional shell. The last fight scene I saw from this studio was from the Haruhi movie and I feel like they’re testing the waters in this anime. If this could result in an action anime from the masters of the School genre then that would be pretty freaking epic. It makes me feel excited from some reason.
The character design is the same as Hyouka. They’re K-on inspired. In fact, Yuuta looks a bit like the main character from Hyouka if you look at him from a different angle. I do love the addition of pervy male cast in the anime. That is another addition that feels like KyoAni is trying to break out of its shell. The female character design is definitely K-on inspired. The moe aura of the characters is pretty dominant. Every movement they make seems to be cute and I just love that from KyoAni.
The background is also something worth mentioning. The details of each picturesque background really stand out in a spectacular fashion. This is another KyoAni trademark where they take pictures of a real place and turn in anime. The nice clean lines and the subtle colorful background really give the anime its lighthearted feel. The fact that no background is used twice also makes this anime pretty awesome.
The anime’s OP is “Sparkling Daydream” by ZAQ. It’s a pretty mellow song and I love the romantic gestures of the lyrics. I say this all the time but this really fit the anime perfectly. The Op sequence wasn’t as gimmicky as previous KyoAni openings and I know a lot of people cried foul at it. It features the characters acting all cute and what not. It has two screens that alternate scenes and often do split scenes perfectly timed. The split second shifting scenes was hard to watch but it is still pretty enjoyable.
The ED song is “INSIDE IDENTITY” by Black Raison d’être (Maaya Uchida, Chinatsu Akasaki, Azumi Asakura, Sumire Uesaka). It was sung by the female characters of the anime and I tell ya, this one is pretty sweet. Their voice really stands out magnificently and the alternate voice shifts was pretty nice. The song was clearly made for the anime as it mentions identities and ignoring people who put you down. The ED sequence is certainly gimmicky. It’s reminiscent of the K-on sequences and you can tell KyoAni just can’t seem to let go. It features a Rikka dancing and being all cute. It also has all the female characters striking poses and being rebellious. There was also an apple and other trippy stuff.
8/10 “A solid anime with nice themes of friendship and family the way only KyoAni can dish out.”
This is a no brainer. This anime is a definite must watch. The second half is a bit weak but it holds a lot of substance for the anime. Try taking it all in with an open mind. It can go a long way. Even so, the characters, the character development and the comedy is pretty top notch. I highly recommend it.