VOICE by ZAQ
I wanna fall in love…
The dream will continue
We made a promise, but, deep inside, I’m still scared it might all disappear
Even though I want to believe you’ll always be there
Being in love with each other isn’t happiness all by itself
Even if I pretend that it’s all that matters,
You just laugh
And you always give me strength,
But if one simple word can change your whole world,
Then two loves will start to progress,
That’s the truth
Every time I got lost and asked myself what I should do,
You always led me to the answer
Even if I can’t work up the courage to do it,
I want to tell you everything
(All that my heart feels, with a sparkling voice)
Let it out, and let it ring loud!
It’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’re covering Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, whose Japanese title is Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai! (lit. “Despite the Eighth-Grader Syndrome, I Want to Fall in Love”). It is an ongoing light novel series by Torako, with three volumes to its name, but it has also been adapted into two anime seasons, the second being titled Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! – Heart Throb – (Chūnibyō demo Koi ga Shitai!: REN, lit. “Despite the Eighth-Grader Syndrome, I Want to Fall in Love: LOVE”).
Season 1 of the anime ran in the Fall 2012 anime season, while season 2 ran for the Winter 2014 anime season. There’s also a compilation movie for season 1, as well as twelve 4-minute shorts. All of this, including the novels, are published by Kyoto Animation. Sentai Filmworks is handling the North American release of the anime, with a sub-only release of season 1 available and a dub planned.
The source material is fairly grounded in reality and features really meaningless, short plotlines (for example, the first volume is about Yūta tutoring Rikka so she can retake a math test), but the anime takes that single volume and expands it all into a full plot, going way beyond what was covered and generally being the more fun format. As such, I will be focusing on the anime here, though I have read the light novels.
Before I begin, I should explain what eighth-grader syndrome, or chūnibyō, is. It is basically when one has fantasy delusions about oneself and one’s surroundings.
The story focuses on one Yūta Togashi, who once called himself the Dark Flame Master. He has left those times behind him, and entered a distant high school to avoid anyone who remembers those days. However, when he yells out his last “Be engulfed by the flames of darkness and disappear!” for old times’ sake, he’s seen by a girl by the name of Rikka Takanashi, who currently calls herself the Wicked Eye. She wants to drag him back to the world of delusions at all costs.
After some outside prodding, Rikka realizes she’s in love with Yūta, turning this into a weird love story. The two are a couple by the end of season 1, but season 2 is about them trying to act like it. That doesn’t end up getting resolved at all, with the pair never even kissing, so many were disappointed by it as a result.
But the plot is just one of the three reasons to watch the series. Another is the comedy, but the last one… Well, I’ll just let the video talk:
Yes, they animate the delusions. For comedic effect, some of the longer fights will cut to the much lamer reality of a fight and then go back to the epicness.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, the comedy is hilarious and the romance is cute – both of those are done really well, plus Rikka’s backstory is handled with sufficient weight. But the delusions definitely steal the show here. Kyoto Animation doesn’t mess around, and they clearly had fun animating these scenes.
There’s one point in the series where the main cast has a napping battle with another school’s napping club, and it’s also animated in this way for whatever reason. It ends up being very epic, too epic for a napping fight.
Still, it’s not exactly right to just gloss over those other important aspects of the series. The romance between Yūta and Rikka, at least in season 1, is handled well, with neither one rushing to the conclusion that they like their counterpart, even if a friend tries to prod them along. It takes some introspection. Even then, it would all have been for naught if it weren’t for the delusional Yūta thinking ahead and sending a letter to himself to coincide with the 2012 end of the Mayan calendar, since Rikka’s family is just plain unreasonable at times.
Throughout all this, the series takes one episode with Rikka dropping the delusional side of herself completely, and all of the subtle things present in the episode make it an interesting watch.
I’d go into more, but this is a series better watched than explained.
It’s a very fun series to watch once, and you’re likely to rewatch the combat scenes if nothing else.
This series is very fun, and has multiple charms to it. Season 2 is disappointing if you’re not mostly in it for the fight scenes, though.
Reality, be rent! Synapse, break! Vanishment, this world!