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! – 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! – 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! – 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)