Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 12 (Fin)

Yuuta is distraught  as he’s heard no word from Rikka since she left with her mother. Dekomori has reverted to a normal eighth grader, while Kumin appears to have “inherited” Rikka’s Wicked Eye. When Yuuta’s sister tells him the movers came for the rest of Rikka’s stuff, he races to her house by bike, heeding a letter he wrote to himself two years ago as Dark Flame Master, imploring him to remember he is “special”. He learns that his past exploits triggered Rikka’s Chuunibyou, which she used as a coping device. He “rescues” her from her mundane existence at her grandfather’s house, flees the police with the help of their friends, and shows Rikka the “Ethereal Horizon” so she can say goodbye to her father.

Well now…we’re quite happy with this, the first ending of the fall. It was a good ending, with the message that we all have our little “syndromes” at varying times in our lives to deal with whatever life throws at us. Rikka and Yuuta are no different from anyone else in this regard, except that Yuuta’s Chuunibyou led Rikka to explore her own imagination, and find solace there from the harshness of reality. In flashbacks we see that she was essentially numbed by her father’s death, as she always held out hope he would recover and had no indication he wouldn’t. The world of fantasy she enters doesn’t hamper her growth. It makes it bearable. Yuuta finally makes the right choice, deciding to listen to his past self and heroically races to save Rikka from the prison of normalcy he himself helped build around her.

Ironically, in order to face reality, Rikka had to return to fantasy, and Yuuta helped guide her there, just as he inadvertently guided her into the world of Chuunibyou years before. Certainly, fantasy mustn’t occupy every waking moment of one’s life, but nor can it be totally repressed, going against one’s instincts. Ever since Rikka removed her eye patch, both she and Yuuta both felt something wasn’t right, because something wasn’t. We can never totally reject the extraordinary from our lives, because the fact of the matter is, when you take a moment to look at it, every aspect of life is extraordinary. So, we bid adieu to Yuuta, Rikka, Sanae, Kumin, and Shinka, all of them having realized that in their lives a personal balance must be struck between the ordinary and the fantastical.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

UPDATE: Looks like there will be a second season of Chu2Koi. We look forward to it, and hope it further fleshes out a Yuuta/Rikka relationship.

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Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 11

Three weeks after Rikka removes her eyepatch, Touka takes off for Italy. Yuuta is impressed by her progress, dressing and talking normally and even reaching out to make friends in class, but a part of him is uneasy. Shinka also notices there’s a forced quality to Rikka’s transformation, and Yuuta’s support of it. Multiple attempts by Dekomori to say her back into the realm of fantasy fail miserably. Yuuta helps Rikka clear her room of unnecessary clutter. She tells him her mom wants to go to her dad’s grave with her. Yuuta tells her he’s fine with it, and lets her go, even though part of him doesn’t know if she’ll come back.

This is where it gets tricky. On the one hand we commend Rikka for being so dedicated to kicking her Chuunibyou to the curb and starting to act like an ordinary high schooler, but the cold-turkey manner in which she quits…just doesn’t sit right with us. Or Shinka. Or Sanae. Or even Yuuta, who appears outwardly proud and supportive of her choice, but is now having regrets that so much of the girl he fell for is just…gone. It’s like she’s a different person. Life needs a little magic; get rid of it all, and its hard to take joy in life. Sanae makes things even more difficult, especially because she’s echoing voices within Rikka and Yuuta they’re trying desperately to tune out. Sanae is so distraught over essentially losing a friend, even Shinka offers her comfort.

We know why they’re both so keen to stick to their guns: Yuuta promised Touka he’d help set Rikka on the straight and narrow, and Rikka, no longer obsessed with what doesn’t really exist, now has to come to grips with things that do; the things she ran to Chuunibyou to get away from in the first place. But this isn’t entirely fair. Her mother’s happiness and her sister’s peace of mind are important, but they shouldn’t come at the cost of her happiness. Everybody’s winning here except Rikka. Yuuta knows what has to be said in the face of Rikka’s brave front – but he can’t say it, because part of him is beholden to the normal Rikka her family wants. Now that the eyepatch is off, there may be no going back. Growing up can be a bitch.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 10

After their embrace, Rikka consults with Dekomori while Yuuta talks with Isshiki on how to proceed. Both are supportive. While walking home, after a couple failed attempts, Rikka successfully confess to one another and enter into a “lovers’ contract”. On coming home Touka takes Yuuta to a cafe, where she tells him she’s moving to Italy to train to be a chef, and their mother will be moving in with Rikka. The next day at school, Rikka’s mom appears with a lunch for her. Yuuta tells her to take off her eyepatch, but a heated exchange ensues. Yuuta doesn’t perform with Rikka for the festival. Later that night at the talent show, Rikka sings a song her late father liked, then removed her contact and eyepatch.

That was one hell of a hug last week. Yuuta’s first time hugging a girl, and Rikka’s first time hugging a guy. Considering their inexperience, it’s inevitable they’d have trouble figuring out how to proceed. And yet, they do a pretty damn good job of it, not spending episodes not talking or avoiding each other or falling subject to rivals – just walking home, getting stuck in the rain, grabbing a bite at EcDonalds (yeah that’s spelled right) and ending up under a bridge with a beautiful, romantic scene of the town-lit river. And they make their feelings known to each other. Yuuta definitely gets style points for preparing a confession as Dark Flame Master, and of course Rikka eats it up. Weights are lifted and everything’s peachy…until Rikka’s mom enters the picture.

Rikka’s mom…the one whose responsibility was to deliver the truth about her father in a timely fashion, but didn’t, resulting in a complete fiasco when Dad died. Rikka hasn’t forgiven her, and we don’t blame her. But we also understand Yuuta’s position: he can’t continue to enable Rikka to live in a fantasy world; she needs to turn the page and grow up. The time for that comes right quick too, as their honeymoon is tragically brief. In a rapid flashback of Things Not Going Well (when Yuuta presents Rikka with a lunch her mom made), we see them grappling roughly, so far removed by the day before, when she seemed so fragile she might break if he held her closer. But after that tantrum, when Rikka removes her eyepatch – her trusty armor against…something – in front of the whole school, it’s like a long-overdue first step towards adulthood.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 09

Shinka unilaterally decides the club will perform a flashmob battle. The fall semester is nearly halfway gone, and Rikka has been avoiding Yuuta ever since she spent the night. Rikka believes the “overseers” planted a “dark anomaly” in Yuuta, making her heart race at the sight or thought of him. She and Sanae call him out one night to “defeat” him with, but fail. Shinka picks up on Rikka’s behavior, takes her aside, and tells her she’s in love, then crafts opportunities for Rikka to get Yuuta to respond. The third attempt, when Rikka nearly falls off the roof of the school, succeeds when Yuuta rescues her resulting in a passionate embrace.

Akasaki Chinatsu voices Shinka. She also voiced Oribe Yasuna in Kill Me Baby!, which wasn’t the best anime in the world, but her strong, flexible, energetic voice was the main reason we watched it. The running gag was that no matter how many crazy methods she used, she’d never quite achieve her goal, much like Wile E. Coyote. This week, Shinka channels Oribe once she realizes the blatantly obvious: Rikka has well and truly fallen for Yuuta…like a ton of bricks. Shinka’s schemes come straight from shoujo romance manga, but this time, she finally succeeds. And all it takes is Rikka almost falling off a roof!

Yuuta, for his part, is your typical passive male lead who lets half a semester of awkwardness pass before his harrowing rescue of Rikka. Rikka mistakes her feelings for some form of sorcery, and we’re not even sure how sincere she is in that skewed interpretation, considering her Chuunibyou is a coping device, not just something she does for the hell of it (like, say Sanae, until she gets a tragic backstory…). Deep down, of course, Rikka knows the true reason why Yuuta makes her face red and her heart race; she just afraid and needs a little catalyst, which Shinka helpfully provides. She and Yuuta aren’t out of the woods yet (nor are any of the couples this Fall :P), but it’s a hug in the right direction.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 08

Rikka and Touka “do battle” in the lot where their house once stood, but Touka can’t get through to Rikka, who flees. Yuuta chases after her, and he finally finds her on the night train back home. She forgot her key and his family is all away, so the two spend the night at his place. Meanwhile Isshiki goes on a walk with Kumin, but he misinterprets her intentions. While in (separate) bed(s) trying to sleep, both Yuuta and Rikka are kept up by the possibility they may have a deeper bond than they thought…

Throughout the last couple episodes, Yuuta has felt compelled to come to Rikka’s aid and stay by her side, no matter how out of breath he gets. Part of him is doing this because he identifies with her Chuunibyou, having gotten it after feeling “left out” with his friends. Part of him wants to cure her. And then another part is totally into her, whether she’s acting like a kid or not. He and she are, as Isshiki said, high schoolers. Acting like the adults they’re becoming isn’t just about accepting the reality of lost homes and departed dads – it also means girlfriends and romance. While Yuuta finds himself in a most fortuitous situation – alone with Rikka in his house all night – he’s confused by how to proceed, and it seems would rather not want anything to…happen.

Not that it would; most of the time Rikka mistakes her racing heart for her instincts telling her the “goddess” or other “overseers” may be near. Yuuta remarks to himself she may not even be that conscious of the whole concept of love. But the fact of the matter is, the two have bubbling chemistry, and are very comfortable being around each other. So will Rikka ultimately come to escape her Chuunibyou through her strengthening bond with Yuuta? Or will Yuuta continue to “regress” back into Chuunibyou under her charm and influence? Or will this just be another case of nothing happening between two people who would seem to be a good match? What is that, some kind of KyoAni hallmark?


Rating: 8 (Great)

P.S. Isshiki’s little side-story involving Kumin was actually quite entertaining. We even felt for the guy when she left him a polite note telling him she’s going home ahead of him while he’s on the phone with Yuuta pleading for advice on how to…proceed.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 07

Summer vacation arrives, and Shinka, Kumin, Sanae, Isshiki, and Yuuta travel with Rikka to her grandparents’ house by the beach. Yuuta notices Rikka is quieter than usual, and when they arrive at the house, she retreats to her room. Later Tooka tells him Rikka hasn’t been able to accept that their father is dead. Tooka wants him to help Rikka grow up and accept, but Yuuta takes Rikka’s side instead, and they bike to the house where she used to live with her father, mother, and Tooka, now just an empty lot for sale.

If you’d told us some of the most poignant drama and most important character development of the series thus far would come in the beach episode, we’d have had our doubts. But unlike a (sub)standard obligatory beach outing, the fanservice isn’t the raison d’être of the episode; merely garnish (there aren’t even bikinis until ten minutes in). Instead the beach is just where Rikka and Tooka’s grandparents happen to live, and where Rikka doesn’t want to but probably should face some painful truths, namely: her father is dead, her mother is gone, and it’s time to grow up. It’s implied he was ill, but his wish to go suddenly without warning Rikka, along with all the domestic fallout thereafter, is a big reason why she turned to Chuunibyou.

We always knew Rikka’s living situation wasn’t ideal, but now we have firm and highly reasonable rationale for her obsession with fantasy. Fantasy is an escape; magic can distract from not only the mundane, but the painful. Feeling for Rikka, Yuuta can’t rip the band-aid off the way Tooka wants. He knows Rikka shouldn’t go on like this – it’s not even a matter of liking the things she likes or saying weird things, its the fact she’s also hiding from real life. Yuuta and Rikka’s scenes this week are, as usual, the best. He helps her escape to her old house, not wanting to destroy his clout as Dark Flame Master. But Tooka is clearly running out of patience. She wants progress and she wants it soon.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 06

Yuuta laments that it’s July and Rikka still hasn’t spoken to anyone who isn’t in their club, but his attention moves elsewhere when Isshiki reports to him with an anonymous love letter and a plea for help. They take their conversation to the clubroom, where Isshiki sees things Shinka warns him never to disclose to anyone, or else. Isshiki leaves his notebook with the cutie poll at the train station, and it ends up in Shinka’s hands. Isshiki fesses up and takes full responsibility, and Yuuta shaves his head. As his family considers moving to Jakarta where his dad works, Yuuta is visited by Touka, asking him to spend summer vacation with her and Rikka.

This episode focused primarily on the “Token Annoying Male Classmate” AKA Makoto Isshiki. Were we given the choice, we would probably decline most of one twelfth of a series be dedicated thus. While it contained quite a bit of him yelling, it wasn’t that bad. But we can’t stress enough: we don’t watch this series for Isshiki, nor is the series about him. He doesn’t even struggle with Chuunibyou. He’s just an ordinary, horny, dull guy. The entertainment in this episode, then, is how the rest of the cast – the cast we’re invested in – react to his continued presence in the episode. The results are what make this episode, as previously stated not that bad.

Isshiki sees the other side of Shinka, watching her ongoing feud with Dekomori. For much of the episode, we thought Shinka wrote the love letter, but it made less sense as things progressed. Kumin and Rikka’s obsession with his shiny, Buddha-like chrome-dome is pretty amusing. And Instead of meeting a potential girlfriend under the Gingko tree, Isshiki is mobbed by his fellow male classmates, who all appreciate him covering for them in Cutiepollgate. But our favorite scene had nothing to do with Isshiki. It was Rikka taking Yuuta’s hand and holding it as a train passed. For a brief moment, Yuuta was thrust into the world of magic he had abjured, and found it…seductive. It should be an interesting summer.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Lite – 01-06 Bento

Rather than take up the final three minutes of the regular episodes, these Lite omake episodes air separately on KyoAni’s YouTube channel. They may only be three minutes each (minus the OP and ED), but that turns out to be an ideal amount of time for exploring the little nooks and crannies of the Chuunibyou world, adding color and texture in the process.

01: Yuuta coaches Rikka on the finer points of volleyball (such as not having one eye covered), only for the class to switch to basketball, nullifying their hard work.

02: Flashes back to middle school when Rikka first started wearing a bandage on her arm. She added an arm sling, eyepatch, face wraps and crutches, but her teacher made her scale it down to the present arm bandage and eyepatch. Her classmate is amusingly unfazed.

03: Flashes back to when Yuuta was in the full throes of Chuunibyou, dressing and talking funny. His mom and sister Kuzuha aren’t impressed, but Kuzuha’s friend Mika thinks he’s cool.

04: Rikka shows Yuuta’s baby sister Yumeha (who is outside on her own for some reason) how to be a good wife by taking her to the store and purchasing dubious ingredients for meat stew – which she’s clearly never made.

05: Tsuyuri Kumin introduces herself and her clubmates from her point of view, and reports how fun it is having Yuuta, Sanae, Shinka, and Rikka around all the time. She also believes while Yuuta plays the straight man, part of him wants in on the Chuunibyou fun (this is true).

06: Dekomori starts a fight with Shinka involving doorway trips, rubber bands, and water balloons (Shinka uses her inner Chuunibyou to deflect one). Shinka chases her around school and finally beans her with an enormous water balloon. They end up in the bath, trading splashes and insults.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 05

The teacher who approved the circle says it will be disbanded if Rikka doesn’t pass math exams. Rikka is terrible at math and hates studying, so she first tries praying at a shrine, then has the circle volunteer to clean a pool. Her teacher then tells her she’ll have to at least meet the class’s average score, not merely pass. Yuuta takes her under his wing and gives her a crash course in math, using nomenclature that appeals to her Chuunibyou. She ends up beating the average by two points. As a reward, Yuuta bestows her the email address “Black Raison d’être.”

Just about everyone in the circle revealed something new about their characters. Sanae is really good at math. Shinka is just class rep and cheerleader because it’s the opposite of Chuunibyou, not because those things actually interest her. Yuuta softens his self-embargo on Chuunibyou in the service of education. Kumin…well, Kumin still just likes to nap. Finally, Rikka is extremely bad at math; may have ADHD…and while we’re quite familiar with her upbeat, over-imaginative side, this week things got a little more…melancholy.

Rikka’s not the best when it comes to chores (her room’s a mess and she leaves dirty dishes around), and her sister is almost always late. Tooka and Sanae may well be the only contacts in her phone. In short, she’s lonely and isolated, and for her, Chuunibyou makes life that much less depressing. So rather than insist on minimizing its role in their interactions, Yuuta, having gotten to know Rikka more, embraces it in helping her cram. Math, like high school socializing, is a language she isn’t comfortable with. If Yuuta wants her to learn either, it must be on her terms.This seems to be steadily building up to a weird but interesting romance.


Rating: 8 (Great)

P.S. Sanae really should stop ending every other sentence with “desu”…but she probably won’t.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 04

Yuuta grudgingly joins the Far Eastern Magic Nap Society because Nibutani Shinka also joined, though he can’t figure out why she did. She asks Yuuta if she can visit him at his house on Sunday, confusing him further about her intentions. It turns out Shinka was searching for Sanae’s “Mabinogion”, which she herself wrote a year ago under the pseudonym “Forest Summer.” She seeks to destroy all evidence of her Chuunibyou past. She burns the book, but Sanae tells her she has other copies. Yuuta suggests Shinka “fight her” with magic, but Sanae defeats her. Shinka decides to stay with the society until her goal is complete.

We thought we knew what was going on…we thought Yuuta was being needlessly suspicious and catious…we thought Shinka joined because she – teehee – liked him. How wrong we were. Shinka is rotten to the core…well, it’s more accurate to say she’s like Yuuta: a Chuuneetotaler, one who has forsaken their dorky past and switched schools so she could have a normal high school life. But she doesn’t like Yuuta. Yuuta was right all along. She isn’t interested in him in the least (not yet, anyway). We daresay this new, imperfect Shinka is far more interesting than the ditzy cipher we’ve seen the last three episodes. The Oribe Yasuna (same seiyu) within has been drawn out, and we’re lovin’ it..though we still don’t get her barrette placement.

It would seem the Chuunibyou phenomenon is a lot more common than one would think; the club is made up of two currently in the throes of it, two who tried to kick the habit but were brought back into its midst by fate, and…Kumin, who just naps all the time. But there are sure to be more at their school. Aside from learning more about Shinka, we had Yuuta making clever use of his “darkness notes” to shoo Rikka and Sanae away for his “date”; we saw Shinka resorting to chanting a curse, reverting to her Chuunibyou habits. This week’s battle was between Shinka and Sanae is a battle Sanae wins not because of her Mjolnir, but by reciting Shinka’s own Mabinogion to her verbatim, wearing her down till she yields in self-disgust.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 03

A month of school passes, and the time comes to select clubs. Rikka decides to form the “Far East Magic Society”, giving Yuuta the presidency. He declines, but she doesn’t take no for an answer. She recruits Kumin (adding “Nap” to the club name), her middle school “servant” Dekomori Sanae, and her cat, but it still isn’t enough for club approval. After cleaning a classroom for her, a teacher approves them as a circle. The next day, Shinka tells Yuuta she wants to join the circle (adding “of Summer” to the name), giving them the “Far East Magic Nap Society of Summer” five human members.

By this episode’s end, our friend Yuuta has stumbled somewhat unintentionally into a full-fledged harem, made up of the crazy girl, the crazy girl’s twin-tail friend, the sleepy girl, and the girl voted cutest in the class by the guys, who just happened to be lurking in the bushes late at night just when Yuuta, Kumin and Sanae were leaving. This is a lucky bastard. Shinka – whom he keeps dreaming about in squeaky-clean fantasies – actually seems like she’s interested in all the Chuunibyou crap. So he’s made in the shade, right?

You’d think so. I mean, she’s the cutest girl in his class; the guys have spoken. If she’s into him and his weirdo circle, then why should he care what the rest of his class thinks? He has a harem, even if it is a harem of dorks. But the male leads in the middle of these things always seem to find a fly in the ointment. This development has likely only confused, not clarified, matters for him. It all depends on what he deems more important: having an all-female group of spirited friends who like him for who he was and is (which he has), or achieving the ideal of normality, shedding all vestiges of his Chuunibyou (which he hasn’t).


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

P.S. Another quick but fun duel, this time between Rikka and Sanae. In their imaginations, they’re extremely cool looking, but in reality they’re just rolling on the floor with pushbrooms. It’s moments like that that make us see why Yuuta is so hesitant to return to that kind of lifestyle!

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 02

Yuuta is chosen as one of the class reps with the beautiful Nibutani Shinka, and feels like things are looking up. But Rikka acquires a lost “chimera” (cat) and requests he take care of it, as her sister is allergic. Shinka points them to Tsuyuri Kumin, whose cat is missing. They go to Rikka’s house, and the cat isn’t hers. Rikka’s sister Tooka confronts them, and blackmails Yuuta into taking the cat with inflammatory audio of him from eighth grade. Rikka escapes, Yuuta and Kumin follow, and Tooka pursues and duels with Rikka, defeating her. Yuuta adopts the cat.

The surprisingly engrossing story of a lost cat combined with Yuuta’s clinging to the notion of living a normal high school life and gradually failing was enough for us to rank this as an 8 relatively early, but that was before a totally unexpected diversion into Rikka’s imagination when she battles her older sister. What’s merely and umbrella and ladel become huge, FLCL-esque weapons wielded with lightning speed and deadly force in a kick-ass action scene. But this eye candy was only the icing of the cake; a means to an end.

It showed Yuuta that there’s still value in a vibrant imagination – it gives excitement to life and makes the ordinary extraordinary. He totally geeks out on an antique weapon on Rikka’s wall – checking himself too late to avoid Kumin’s bemused/charmed gaze – but it doesn’t seem to matter. Both Kumin and Shinka earlier on aren’t really put off by Rikka’s behavior, nor do they turn their nose up at Yuuta for it. Perhaps Rikka’s over-active and Yuuta’s re-emerging Chuunibyou-ness and Yuuta’s desire to make friends in high school aren’t mutually exclusive. Only his desire to be dull and normal is.


Rating: 9 (Superior)


Car Cameo: Honda Civic
sedan on the bridge, right in the beginning.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 01

Togashi Yuuta, over his eighth-grade fantasy obsession phase (which he calls “Eighth-Grade Syndrome or Chuunibyou), is hoping to start a new, normal life at his new high school, but immediately comes across Takanashi Rikka, a cute but eccentric girl who is still in the throes of Chuunibyou. What’s more, she heard him try to seal his alter-ego “Black Flame Master” and thinks it’s all very cool. He is forced to walk her new home, which happens to be the floor above where she lives, and then help move her stuff in. After dinner with his family, Rikka convinces him not to throw out his old life. He grudingly agrees.

Nazo no Kanojo X this is not, but we found the first episode a very charming and likable introduction to the unlikely couple of Yuuta and Rikka. For one thing, it focuses on these two and their interactions. It’s also nice to see teenagers interacting naturally and not blushing like tomatoes constantly. There’s a part of Yuuta who thinks Rikka is cute, but he’s embarrassed by all the nerdy nonsense she’s constantly spewing. For her part, Rikka is quick to befriend her “spiritual soulmate”, attempting to impress Yuuta by “opening” a train door with her mind, showing off her “Wicked Eye” (a contact) or winning him a free soda with a button-combo.

The two show great chemistry and promise, as Yuuta will no doubt try to juggle the new normal high school life – something he so desperately desires he enrolled at a different school from his middle school peers – with his unplanned relationship with this very odd girl. But he proves neither cruelly dismissive of Rikka nor totally opposed to playing along with her from time to time. As a KyoAni production, this series is suitably pretty and tight in its technical execution. We consider this a pleasant surprise and will stick with it.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Car Cameos: Incidental shots of a Daihatsu Conte and what looks like a Suzuki Wagon R Stingray (it’s very small)